The residents of Exarcheia have long suffered from the extreme leftist and at times violent groups of those that seek refuge in this area. But as Greece slowly moved away from the crisis-striken years of 2010-2015, the neighbourhood started attracting more young people, including lots of expats, that seeked comfort in a central part of the city but one that was more liveable in terms of cost but also in terms of proximity to your fellow neighbour. In this pocket of the city centre, people know each other by name and business at the local shops is a personal affair.
Added to that and as Exarcheia is getting gentrified (in the right way), the nightlife in Exarcheia has started becoming more lively with lots of interesting places to explore.
Exarcheia Square and Kallidromiou Farmers Market
Before you venture out to any of those places, it’s worth getting a cup of coffee at behold theman so that you can witness the real people of Exarcheia first hand. Don’t let the loud beats in the background fret you, or the somewhat unruly setting of this coffee place full of posters, graffiti and stickers on the wall. They serve a very tasty espresso and when the sun is out it’s a great place to start your day at.
If you can make it there on a Saturday there’s the added benefit of an authentic farmers’ market on Kallidromiou street where you can roam up and down and shop for fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce. The bright orange umbrellas have by now become a cult around here with the streets around it bustling with life every Saturday morning.
If you’re looking for a bite to grab on the go, there are many options around! From the rough and authentic bougatsa cheese pie at Makedonikon, all the way to the delicate filled croissants at Portatif (their pistachio cream filled one is top!).
National Archaeological Museum
If you want to get off the busy streets and are seeking a bit of more classical culture, you can visit the National Archaeological Museum which features an amazing collection from Ancient Greece. It is one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art, founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over the country. You can view a wide collection of sculptures, metalwork, vases and jewellery. The pedestrian streets and gardens around it are also nice to walk through. Once you exit back to the busy streets of Exarcheia you can seek shelter at To Rini for a nice brunch or coffee. Their quiet patio in this very small street is a joy!
Shakshuka eggs and watermelon salad at To Rini
But food doesn’t stop there in this neighbourhood. The microbakery of Black Salami opened in 2021 by Antonis Kazakos and his team that also includes Italian-Greek breadmaker Bruno Pezzia, baking fresh Italian-inspired foccacias, flatbreads and other loaves on a daily basis. They source the flour from a family-run mill in Torino and use high quality produce from all over Greece, which probably explains the long queues you may stumble upon visiting.
Apart from the warm focaccias and the wholesome bread, they serve a killer egg avo dish. On weekends they also offer a specialty sandwich inspired by a traditional Greek dish (think pastitsio et al).
Delicious flatbread at Black Salami microbakery
If you’re more into something sweet, then you must visit the dessert shop of Asimakopoulos bros where they have a wide selection of pralines and other goodies. Their tsoureki, one of the best in Athens, is a killer!
Exarcheia by night
At night, the vibe around here cranks up a notch with streets bustling with young people having drinks and nibbles in almost every single corner of this part of town. Most of them err towards the more casual side of things with lots of taverna on offer, but things have becoming more interesting as of lately.
Warehouse at Valtetsiou pedestrian street was one of the first spots that attracted crowds from neighbouring Kolonaki, offering a wide selection of good wine and some tasty nibbles to go with it. Tanini Agapi Mou is also a nice option for wine and more curb-side vibes. Both require a reservation so plan ahead accordingly.
As of late 2023, Stepa and To Bar were added to the list with the former offering great cocktails and plenty tables outside and the latter a secret courtyard at the back this tiny bar. In the late hours, Falaina and Ypovrihio are both a must if you’re looking for louder music and some more drinks. When it gets really late, an unmissable experience is the classic rebetadiko (Greek folk music taverna) O Aggelos where you can enjoy a bit of the old allure of Greek nightlife accompanied by some tasty meze and bites.
- National Archaeological Museum – the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to Greek antiquity artefacts.
- Kallidromiou Farmers market – open only on Saturdays, this open air market along the whole of Kallidromiou street is bustling with flower shops, fruit stalls and other fresh produce. Great to meet locals and get the vibe of this neighbourhood.
- Strefi Hill – limestone hill and urban natural park, 150m above sea level, best experienced when you ascend the colorful steps up from Exarcheia. Nice views at the top and a small café.
- Monsieur Didot – cosy and elegant rooms in this traditional house in the outskirts of Kolonaki. Book your stay here.
- Shila – eclectic boutique hotel with artsy interiors and intimate rooms, some featuring a small garden. Book your stay here.
- Elliot – elegant apartments just steps away from Exarcheia, by the same group running The Modernist Athens.
Dining at Pharaoh
- To Rini – one of the newest additions next to the museum, a leafy patio and some delicious, relatively creative dishes. Read our full review here.
- Pharaoh – famed, trendy restaurant in this grudge part of Exarcheia with a great selection of wine and a long wine bar to nibble by. Must try their chestnut stew (when in season). Read our full review here.
- Frumel – casual hip taverna in a small, quiet alley serving a few original dishes like fried meatballs.
- Ama Lachei – modern Greek dishes and meze in a breezy garden.
- Warehouse – one of the best food options around Exarcheia. Very wide selection of wines too.
- Alex the fresh pasta bar – recently relocated from Kolonaki, this pasta bar serves amazing quality pasta from a young and aspiring female chef, Alex.
- Aggelos – traditional rebetadiko if you want to listen to some original folk music after-hours. Also serving delicious fried potatoes amongst other dishes.
- The Black Salami Microbakery – new age bakery serving mouthwatering foccacia and more. Must visit despite the queue!
- Portatif – fluffy croissants, try the one with the pistachio or the cheese bacon one if you’re into a more savoury mood.
- Makedonikon – arguably the best bougatsa in town, on the go.
- Tanini Agapi Mou – hip and busy wine bar (make sure you get a reservation or go early enough). They also serve some dishes to share.
- Tigre – small bar a nice ambience for a drink or two.
- Falaina – also very small and nice one for the after-hours
- To Bar – nice joint with a cosy patio at the back, also serves great cocktails.
Cocktails at To Bar