When in Athens, a visit to the Central Market is indispensable. Its main entrance is situated on Athinás Street –one of the oldest streets of the city- while the market occupies a whole block. It opens early in the morning, weekdays and Saturdays, in order to cater restaurants and the Athenians with its fresh goodies. An outstanding variety of meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, dry fruits and nuts from every part of the country -and not only- is offered at the best prices you can get. It’s got a unique boisterous atmosphere and it can get really noisy when all the merchants start shouting in an attempt to draw the attention of potential buyers!
If you’re the gourmet type then keep in mind that in the market you can find four restaurants that serve humble but extremely fresh and tasty Greek food. You won’t get creative, posh dishes on your table but you will surely taste unique traditional Greek cuisine. They’re very popular and sometimes you need to wait for a while in order to find a table, yet they’re definitely worth the visit.
Still, some of the best things happen outside and around the market. During the market’s opening hours, Athinás Street transforms into one of the most vibrant places in the city. It’s a pure pleasure walking up and down and in between the hustle and bustle of this high street whose end is an open sight towards Athens landmark, the Acropolis.
Nevertheless the market area is not limited on Athinás Street. Evripídou Rd. (a small road close to the market) is one of the most particular spots of the city. It is where you can find some of the best spice shops in the city. Spices are a key factor in Greek cuisine, and so it comes as no surprise that these shops are always busy, full of people trying to find the right spice. They’re truly a paradise of spices! The unique character of this road is due to the fact that next to these spice shops you can find charcuteries and the scent of cinnamon, vanilla or lavender intermingles with the strong aroma of pastramis and other salamis from all over Greece! It’s definitely a unique experience, a pure treat for the senses!
Foodie or not, next time you’re in Athens stroll on Athinás street and don’t hesitate to walk through the market’s entrance. You won’t regret it!
For those who are interested in staying at a hotel round the market area, a great recommendation is the Fresh Hotel http://www.freshhotel.gr/ . As it is situated in the heart of the area, you can get the real feeling of a busy, vibrant Athens, but at the same time you will relish the tranquil, sophisticated and stylish ambience of the hotel. A true haven, Fresh Hotel provides a calm, colorful atmosphere; still it has one the most impressive roof bars in the city with a breath taking view to Athens major landmarks. What’s better than, after a day’s walk in the area, to sit under the Athenian sky and enjoy a cocktail while the night falls on the city!