The alternative and hip district of Athens

Metaxourghio is not the district your travel agent or even your friend from Athens will tell you to find an hotel in. Its reputation has been brought down by the fact that many junkies and drug dealers moved their activities here after being forced out Omonia square area and because many of the city’s brothels are in this area. These two situations, drugs and prostitution, are common in every city of the world so I’d suggest you use some of your courage and go to explore the neighborhood, you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll discover two or three spots where you’d definitely want to come back. Metaxourghio is in fact gaining a new reputation as a hip, artistic, and alternative area with full bars, tavernas, and clubs buzzing with people each day of the week.

It is true that this area has seen a decline but lately something has started to change: streets are being cleaned up and some buildings underwent major restoration plus new kind of residents are moving here: young artists, musicians, and visionaries are taking advantage of the low prices of rents and of the abandoned buildings and empty lots to set up galleries, cafes, and gardens. Much of the neighbourhood is still your regular every day Athens working class area, with apartments and types of shops and businesses you would find anywhere so it is very fascinating to see how these two realities manage to coexist.

Avdi square is the centre of the area, it is just a five minutes walking distance from the closest metro station and it is the ideal place to start your visit. Once here you can decide if you want to take a seat in one of the nice cafes or have a bite in one of the two restaurants that face the square. One of them has great Greek traditional dishes (Seychelles) while the other one is arguably the best place for Thai food in Athens (Tamarind). Then walk down Keramikou street to find many other kafenia (Greek coffee houses), street food joints, and bars with live music performance. Plus take a look at the street art, there are some really impressive and meaningful pieces around.

So Metaxourghio is worth a visit if you are in Athens; it won’t impress you with fancy stores or boutique, you might have to change sidewalk a couple of times while strolling but you’ll discover an evolving district where modern ideas and common bad habits found their way to mingle.

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