Exploring Thissio Neighborhood in Athens

Elegant and glamorous but also cool and full of young people: that’s Thission, a central neighborhood that has lately become one of the main gathering points of locals for their nights out and their weekends off.

If you are spending a few days in Athens, save some time to visit this nice area of the city and enjoy a walk in nature on the beautiful Filopappou Hill overlooking the Acropolis.

After your daily wanderings, be ready for some fun in the many bars along the pedestrian streets of Thission!

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A Guide to Thissio Neighborhood

Where is Thission?

Its borders are Monastiraki (Adrianou Street), Filopappou Hill and the Acropolis Hill

Athens neighborhoods

How to get to Thissio neighborhood

Take the M1 metro line and get off at Thissio station. It’s also very easy to get there from the Monastiraki flea market and you can walk along Ermou Street until you reach the Kerameikos area. If you want to visit the Acropolis first, get off at the Acropolis metro station and you’ll reach Thission neighborhood in about 10 minutes on foot.

History of Thissio

Thissio

You might be wondering where does the weird name of this neighborhood come from: it is actually the result of a mistake! It comes from the temple of Theseus, which is located in the Ancient Agorà and it was thought to be the place where the mythical founder of the city was buried. Later on, it turned out that it was actually the temple of Hephaestus, who was the god of fire and the protector of the craftsmen.

However, the entire area was already known as Thission, so the name has not been changed since then. The temple of Hephaestus was appropriate for this area of the city because it was once full of blast furnaces and it was mainly populated by metal workers and their families.

In the past, Thission was not very popular among visitors, because it was mainly a working-class area, but many bars, restaurants, and cafés opened their premises there in recent times. As a consequence, the neighborhood has become livelier and full of young people, especially around its nice pedestrian streets Today, this is one of the most popular Athenian areas among international visitors too.

Thision

Thission is an important historic place: the Ancient Agorà was there, making the area the beating heart of the city. Moreover, it was also the place where democracy was born: the first democratic assembly in the history of Athens took place on Pnyx Hill.

Things to do in Thissio

1. Visit the Kerameikos archaeological site and museum

Kerameikos

The area named Kerameikos was the ancient neighborhood of the local potters. It’s now the name of a large archeological site including the oldest Greek necropolis ever discovered. It dates back to the IX century and it was once the first cemetery of Athens, located outside the city walls.

Kerameikos

It was buried underground for a very long time and it was not until 1862 that it was rediscovered during some road works. The ancient tombstones, the statues, and all funeral objects that were found nearby are now displayed in a small museum.  Address: 148 Ermou Street.

Opening Hours: daily 8:00 – 20:00 (last admission 19:45) during summer. daily 8:00 – 15:00 during winter

Closed: 1 January, 25 March, Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December, 26 December

Tickets: Full: €8, Reduced: €4

Combined Tickets: €30. The combined ticket includes entrance to the Acropolis and the North and South Slopes of the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora, Museum of Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Kermakeikos, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion – for 5 days

Free Admission Days: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, the last weekend of September, 28 October, every first Sunday of the month from November 1st to March 31st.

2. Learn something about Greek mythology at the Temple of Hephaestus

temple of Hephaesus
temple of Hephaesus

On the western side of the Ancient Agorà, you’ll see a beautiful and well-preserved Doric temple that was dedicated to Hephaestus (and not to Theseus as it was initially believed!). During the XIV century, the temple was turned into a Christian church dedicated to St. George and it underwent some architectural modifications.

During the Ottoman domination, there was a plan to turn it into a mosque, but the project was abandoned and the temple was left as it was. It was later used as a stable for the horses of the Turkish army during the War of Independence, then it was turned into another Christian church and also used as a temporary museum. Address: Ancient Agorà (24, Adrianou Street)

3. Immerse yourself in the history of art at the Herakleidon Museum

The museum was opened in 2004 thanks to the art collectors and philanthropists Paul end Anna Belinda Firos with the intent of spreading their love for the fine arts. They didn’t want to just display their collection of works of art, but they aimed at letting visitors learn more about the artists, their lives, and the evolution of their techniques.

This is made possible by the use of some audiovisual materials and a wide collection of documents and sketches.  The museum mainly displays modern and contemporary art and it is also famous for its temporary exhibitions, cultural events, lectures, and musical performances.

Address: 16, Herakleidon Street. Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Cost: 7 euro full ticket and 5 euro reduced ticket. Website: https://www.herakleidon-gr.org/home/

4. Commemorate an historic event on Pnyx Hill

Pnyx Hill
Pnyx Hill

This archeological and historic site of Pnyx is located on top of a small rocky hill, right in the heart of Athens. It stands about 500m west of the Acropolis and it was an important sacred place during prehistoric times. However, its fame was due to a later event that changed local history forever: the first democratic assembly of the Athenians.

It is thought that about 20.000 citizens could gather there and stand on the rocky platform named “brema” which was rock-carved on top of the hill. The word Pnyx itself actually derives from a Greek word meaning “packed together”! Over the years, the population of the city grew and the assemblies were moved to the Theater of Dionysus.

5. Visit the beautiful churches of Thission

Church of Aghia Marina

Church of Aghia. Marina

Its peculiar look and its reddish domes will surely impress you while climbing up the nice Hill of the Nymphs. Spend some time admiring its decorations in Art Nouveau style and visit the rock-carved chapel, which is older than the church and it was used in ancient times for some rituals about health, fertility, and pregnancy.

The modern church dates back to 1927 and it was built upon some ancient ruins and upon an older church dating back to the XIX century.

Address: 1, Agias Marinas.

Church of Saint Demetrios Loumbardiaris

Loumbadiaris

One of the most beautiful churches of Athens is located on Filopappou Hill and it’s often chosen as a location for weddings and baptisms, thanks to the pleasant natural environment nearby. The church is small and ancient (IX century) and its fame is mainly linked to a historical event that occurred in 1658.

At that time, the Ottoman governor of Athens was planning to bomb the church and kill all the Christians inside during the Sunday mass. On the planned day, a thunderbolt fell on the gunpowder deposit where he was hidden with his family, so that everything blew up and he was killed.

That was taken as a divine sign by the population that surnamed Saint Demetrios, the patron of the church, “the Bombardier”.

Address: Filopappu Hill

6. Relax at a Hammam

After a long day of sightseeing, you deserve some relaxation at the best hammam in this area of the city. Hammam Bath is a hip and exclusive place offering many high-quality oriental treatments for your wellness. Address: 17 Agion Asomaton Street and 1, Melidoni Street. Website: http://www.hammam.gr/en/home

7. Watch a movie under the stars at Cinema Thission

The summer tradition of watching a movie outdoor is very popular among locals and you’ll find one of the nicest locations to try it in the heart of Thission. This movie theater is located right on the pedestrian street named Apostolou Pavlou connecting Thissio metro station to the Acropolis and it was opened in 1935.

You’ll enjoy a nice view while sitting under a beautiful vine canopy that makes the place pleasantly cool on a summer evening. Watch a classical or contemporary movie sipping a drink and tasting one of the snacks prepared by the bar on-site for an authentical Athenian night!   

Address: 7, Apostolou Pavlou. Opening times: from May to September. Website: https://cine-thisio.gr/

8. Observe the night sky at the National Observatory on the Hill of the Nymps

National Observatory Athens

It was the first research institute founded by the newborn independent Greek State in 1842. You can choose either a night tour to learn more about astronomy and also use a powerful telescope or a more traditional day tour.

You’ll have to climb a nice hill immersed in nature in order to reach it, but you can take an easy stone-paved path connecting Filopappou, Muse, Pnyx, and Nymph Hills.

Website: http://www.noa.gr/index.php?lang=en

9. Spend your night out in one of the many bars of Thissio’s pedestrian streets

  • Irakleidon Street: the former tram tracks make it look picturesque and vintage and its neoclassical buildings give it an elegant look. The hippest bars are located on its upper side.
  • Apostolou Pavlou Street: from there, you’ll see both the Acropolis and the Ancient Agorà and it’s the right place to find a trendy cocktail bar or a typical Greek restaurant for dinner. It’s also a perfect place for your shopping during the day.

Where to eat in Thission

  • The Underdog: the best place of the neighborhood for a Sunday brunch or to simply have a coffee with your friends on a busy weekday. It’s a contemporary and stylish venue full of natural light and its fast service together with some good music makes it very popular among locals. Address: 8, Irakleidon Street. Website: https://www.underdog.gr
Underdog brunch
  • To Steki tou Ilia: its specialty is grilled lamb so you’d better avoid it if you are vegetarian! You’ll be asked to choose how many pounds of meat you want and you’ll have the chance to taste some typical Greek dishes in an informal and friendly place, which is not too crowded by tourists. Address: 7, Thessalonikis Street.
  • Kappari: this design and contemporary restaurant- bar is ideal to enjoy an abundant meal inspired by the typical Greek dishes enriched with a modern twist. It is located inside a historical building and it’s one of the most popular places for a night out in Thission. Address: 28, Akamantos Street. Website: http://www.kappari.gr/

Where to stay in Thission

Hotel Thission: One of the best accommodations you’ll find in this neighborhood is the Hotel Thission, a family hotel located in Agias Marinis/Apostolou Pavlou Street. Its fantastic location will let you walk your way through the city center and you’ll be just a few blocks away from the Acropolis hill, the picturesque Plaka, and the vibrant Monastiraki flea market.

If you prefer using public transports, Thissio metro station is just 300m away. The picturesque pedestrian streets nearby will provide entertainment and excellent food for your nights out and the hotel rooftop terrace will offer a great view of Filopappou Hill and the Ancient Agorà. Another plus? It’s literally 2 minutes away from the nice Cinema Thission, so you’ll have the chance to spend an authentic Athenian night any time you want.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

For more information on where to stay in Athens, check out my post.

Thisio
Thissio

Practical tips

  • Your wanderings in Thission require comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking a lot and not just on paved streets: the neighborhood also has some rocky hills and natural spots you cannot miss!
  • Plan your visit to Thission on a sunny day to enjoy its nature and its panoramic views at their best;
  • Remember to bring your sunglasses, a hat and some sunscreen with you. In summer, remember to also bring some water with you, because weather is hot and sunny.

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