May 17, 2023
Close to Thissio and the suburb of Koukaki, but a far cry from their tourist traps, Petralona features a mix of old-world charm, creative types and stylish haunts. The suburb is split in 2. Ano Petralona where all of the bars and restaurants are and Kato Petralona where its more of the day to day living, with Athenians going about their day.
The neighbourhood of Petralona is a very quiet suburb and has a very different feel to the rest of Athens. It has somehow managed to avoid the urban jungle that represents the rest of Athens. Ano Petralona is the suburb where you can eat and drink your day away. Its the perfect spot to mingle with the local Greeks.
The History of Petralona
Petralona derives its name from the Greek words 'Petrina Alonia' (πέτρινα αλώνια), which translates to 'stone threshing floors.' These floors were once utilised in the area for grain threshing before urbanisation took place.
Additionally, the region was previously referred to as Katsikadika (Greek: Κατσικάδικα) due to the presence of goat herders who would distribute milk to the local residents. Following the ban on goats in the city of Athens in February 1925, the area adopted its present-day name of Petralona.
How to get to Petralona
One of the best ways to get to Petralona is to walk. The suburb sits just behind the city center and the Acropolis making it easy to find. If you are coming from a further distance are you are able to catch the metro. The metro station is on Line 1 (the green line).
I would suggest walking, you will get to discover more of the area and surrounding suburbs such as Koukaki and Thissio.
Restaurants and Bars in Petralona
A small, cosy Cretan restaurant serving great, creative dishes with fresh ingredients.
The staff are some of the best in Athens, they are super friendly, attentive and professional.
I highly recommend it for someone who wants to dine like an Athenian.
Must try dishes: Beetroot salad, Dakos salad, Lamb shank and the eggs with staka
Boasting a great garden area, and a even better cocktail list, Paribaba is great for an night time cocktail. Alternatively, they are famous for their brunch menu as well.
Must try dishes: Bloody Mary, Rose eggs.
If you are looking for a more upmarket Greek meal, or as they like to say in Athens, 'Modern Greek', then Chrysa Chrysa is where you have to go.
Serving traditional Greek dishes, but with the chefs own twist.
Must try dishes: Lamb shank and potatoes, Saganaki with sesame, fava
Aschimopapo - The Ugly Duckling
If traditional meze is what you are after with your tsipouro then this is your place. Its a small old school taverna, that is made up of random bits of pieces.
The old lady that runs the place can come across as an angry old lady, but she is actually rather charming!
The place has been running for over 50 years, so she must be doing something right!
Must try dishes: Pork steak, tzatziki and keftedes (meatballs)
An upmarket restaurant serving a fusion of Greek and French food. Its almost there on the Michelin guide.
The food is exceptional but be prepared to fork out €100 per head (at least).
Things to do in Petralona
Besides eating and sipping on wine all afternoon, Petralona sits under on of the great hills in Athens. Philopappos Hill. It would be ambitious to try and walk up the hill after lunch but, if you have the time, possibly after visiting the Acropolis, then heading up to Philopappos Hill is a must!
Once you arrive to the top of the hill, you will get a great view of the whole of Athens.
The hill holds some importance from ancient times.
Following his exile, Philopappos found a new home in Athens, where he gained citizenship and held esteemed positions in both religious and civil realms. Revered as a generous benefactor, he earned the admiration of the local community.
Crafted from marble sourced from Mount Pentelikon and Mount Imittos, the Philopappos grave monument graced the landscape. Nearby, hidden from view, stands a stone structure with iron gates—a place said to be the prison where the renowned Greek philosopher Socrates was imprisoned and met his demise.
A well-laid paved path commences at Philopappou, leading to Pnyx Hill, the historic gathering spot where Greek orators engaged in passionate discussions on political matters. On the hill's distant side, the enchanting Dora Stratou theatre awaits, hosting captivating folklore dancing performances. In proximity to Philopappou, you'll also encounter the National Observatory, a prestigious institution dedicated to the study of astronomy and seismology, along with the Agia Marina church.
Accessible via the Athens Metro, disembark at the Thissio or Acropolis stations to embark on your exploration of Philopappou Hill.