If you follow the
downhill trail at the southwestern part of the Acropolis, you will find the
upper entrance to the Agora,
the ancient marketplace
of Athens. A visit to the site and to the Agora museum,
which has many ancient
cooking and serving utensils, gives a sense of the everyday life during
classical times. A short walk through the narrow streets of the Monastiraki
(which is mainly occupied by kitschy "Greek Arts"
stores) leads to Athinas Street, where themodern
agora is located. The triangle enclosed by the streets Athinas,
Evripidou, and Sophocleous comprises the core of the market.
Although many stores and
stalls have undergone serious renovation in recent years, you'll still see
whole slaughtered animals and parts of meat and innards hanging in the
corridors of the vast hall. At the fish market,
seafood of all kinds lies on crushed ice atop marble counters. The scent of
fresh blood and fish intermingles with the aroma of garlic,
dried herbs sold by vendors at every corner. Walking down Evripidou street, you
and other spices, often mixed with the sweet
intoxicating aroma of incense,
made with thick olive oil–phyllo
pastry, filled with spinach, scallions, and Feta, and baked in large round
While the central market
doesn't have a lot of vegetables and fruits, produce can be found at
touringfarmers' marketsthat appear once a
week in every Athenian neighborhood. The huge Saturday market of Neos
Kosmos, behind the Intercontinental Hotel, is one of the best ones,
while on Fridays there is a farmers' market in Koukaki, a
short walk from the Acropolis.
If you're looking
forbars, coffee shops,and clubs, head
to Herakleidon Street in the old neighborhood of Thission—it's the meeting
point for Athenian youths. On sunny days you can enjoy a frappé(ice-cold
foamy instant coffee) sitting at a sidewalk café, as the locals do. Southwest
of the central market isPsiri— it
seems that every house in this once-dilapidated neighborhood has become a
restaurant or a bar, and many have live music (particularly on Sunday
afternoons during the winter).
Central Greece used to be called, has mountains, plains, and an extended
shoreline, and traveling around the area you'll find an incredibly diverse
range of culinary specialties. There is a general belief among Greeks that the
custom of spit-roasting young lamb and kid was invented in Roumeli, and many
meat-loving Athenians head here on Saturdays and Sundays to eat at hasapotavernes(butchers'
than a three-hour drive from Athens, is a favorite winter destination, with ski
slopes and plenty of hotels in the surrounding villages. This is shepherd's
country, where the Sarakatsani nomads
have settled permanently and continue to
herd sheep and goats. A favoriteFeta cheese,
creamy and rich, is made in Parnassus, as iskatiki,
slightly tangy spreadable fresh cheese made from a combination of goat's and
sheep's milk that's the perfect addition to salads and grilled summer
Further north, the
mountainous and once isolated prefecture of Evrytaniahas
become a favorite weekend destination for young Athenians, with luxurious
small boutique hotels in some villages.
Stremmenos Pork Meat Factory in the picturesque village of Proussosproduces
exquisite organic ham, sausages,and
other products according to traditional recipes.
Wines/grapes native to
this region: Savatiano,
which is made into Retsina and also an eponymous fruity
and versatile white wine.