Anafiótika neighbourhood in Athens, Greece

In the Anafiótika district, at the foot of the Acropolis hill in Athens, you suddenly feel transported to another world. Instead of walking through the busy streets of Athens, you seem to be suddenly wandering through the dreamy alleys of a Greek island.

In the heart of Athens, northeast of the famous Acropolis, the street-less neighbourhood of Anafiótika presents itself like a quiet remnant of the 19th century. Tiny houses nestle along narrow alleys, connected by narrow staircases and decorated with colourful flowers.


PICTURES: Anafiótika in Athens

Photo gallery: Anafiótika district in Athens

On the road in Anafiótika

Walking through these streets, the noise and exhaust fumes of busy Athens are left behind and an atmospheric, almost dreamy side of the Greek capital opens up.

The houses stacked on top of each other, none of which denies the other a view of Athens, are strongly reminiscent of a small village on a Greek island - and in the middle of the national capital.

Quiet, dreamy Athens

Cats are as much a part of the cityscape of Anafiótika as the low walled gardens and colorful doors, Athens, Greece - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

Colourful doors, hidden gardens with low walls, stray cats and lots of flowers characterise the picturesque image of Anafiótika. The streets have no names, the houses are simply numbered.

Spectacular views of the historic district of Plaka and the distant Mount Lykavittos open up again and again. Among the most striking buildings in Anafiótika are the Church of Metamorphosis and the Museum of Byzantine Art.

The tiny stone church of Metamorphosis in the Anafiótika district of Athens, Greece - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

Anafiótika got its name because the district was built in the mid-19th century primarily by craftsmen from the island of Anafi near Santorini. They built their quarter in the typical style of the Cyclades, with seemingly haphazardly stacked houses, low-walled gardens and snow-white terrace roofs.

The tiny little houses of the illegal Anafiótika

The tiny houses in Anafiótika were allowed to be built without permission, as long as they had a roof on the first day, Athens, Greece - © James Camel / franks-travelbox
© James Camel / franks-travelbox

The adorable little houses are so small because back then the builders were allowed to build without permission if their house already had a roof on the first day.


The buildings are still not really authorised and should have been demolished many times at the behest of the Greek authorities. 75 families of the 84 houses have already been expropriated, only those near the church of Agios Simeon are still inhabited. Nevertheless, the houses have not yet been demolished. Not only the other residents, but also the people of Athens love their charming historic Anafiótika.

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