Anafiotika is a tiny neighborhood in the heart of Athens and under the northeast side of the Acropolis. It is part of Athens oldest neighborhood Plaka. What makes it so special is that it reminds you of a Cycladic island. It has narrow alleys that lead to beautiful terraces and white cubic houses with blue doors and windows. Most of the houses are well-kept with a lot of flowers and colorful Bougainvillea. Anafiotika has also some very cute residents that you will see lying under the sun, cats.
The area took its name after the Cycladic island of Anafi. In the middle of the 19th century when Otto was the king of Greece he needed some builders in order to build his palace and other buildings around Athens.
The best builders at the time were from the Cycladic island of Anafi. When the builders came to work in Athens they needed somewhere to stay so they built these little white houses under the Acropolis to resemble their houses on the island.
In the 7o’s the greek authorities said that the houses weren’t legal and decided to demolish a few. Some inhabitants of Anafiotika refused to leave and nowadays there are 60 buildings left in the area.
It’s not only houses that have survived in Anafiotika, though. The village is also home to a number of Byzantine churches that add to the cultural charm of this inner-city gem. Agios Giorgos tou Vrachou (Saint George of the Rock), Agios Simeon, Agios Nikolaos Ragavas and the Church of the Metamorphosis Sotiros (Transfiguration of Christ) are just some of the churches here, each with their own architectural style and history.
If you simply wander around the narrow streets of Anafiotika you’ll stumble across these pristine churches, many of which boast gorgeous views of the village and the city beyond.
In stark contrast to the 11th and 17th-century churches that call Anafiotika home is the modern-day street art that graces many of the white-washed walls of the village. The bold graffiti here has mainly been done by street artist, LOAF, and is much loved by locals and tourists alike despite being at odds with the traditional Cycladic houses!
One alleyway is particularly dedicated to graffiti and makes a great backdrop for photos as well as being an insightful way to learn about the urban culture in Athens. Visitors can take a walking tour of Anafiotika with a street artist guide who can explain more about the designs and why graffiti has become so popular across Athens.
The easiest way to get there is from Acropolis metro station. Take Vyronos Street, pass the Lycicrates monument, and turn left to Thespidos street until you arrive at Stratonos. Turn right in Stratonos walk straight ahead and there you are. Of course, there are other ways that you can reach Anafiotika but I usually use this one.
Don’t be afraid to get lost and remember to admire the view of Athens and Lycabettus hill.
Have you ever visited Anafiotika in Athens? Isn’t it like you are on an island?