Pagrati is a residential area just east of the National Gardens, behind the Panathenaic Stadium on Leoforios Vassillios Konstantinou.
We stayed here in December 2013 and really like the area. Itís a lively neighbourhood full of shops, people and activity, densely built with modern apartment blocks. It's full of everyday Greek life and activity, but still close to the centre of the city.
The area broadly runs from behind the Panathenaic Stadium across to Evangalissmos metro, over by the Hilton Hotel.
The central road is Ymittou, which is tree lined, with a wide pedestrian walkway, cafes, shops, cinemas, take-aways and a small park. Itís an interesting street with lots of people and activity. Itís also a major route into the city centre, and busy with cars, buses and trams at all times of the day.
The streets and squares branching off both sides of Ymittou and around Plateia Plastira and Plateia Varnava are interesting to explore.
You can find shady squares and pedestrianised roads, alongside vibrant and busy shopping areas with bakers, cafes, grocers, supermarkets and clothes shops.
There are two fruit and veg markets in the area. On Tuesdays itís a particularly big one, with an extensive clothes and general goods section as well as the usual fruit and veg. Itís in the area around Plateia Evangilou Martarki.
On Fridays thereís a smaller market, concentrating on fruit and veg, running between Plateia Pagrati and Plateia Varnava.
Mets is a smaller, quieter area to the south of the Panathenaic Stadium, below the national cemetery. Its streets are connected by steep steps and pathways criss-crossing the hill.
Thereís a smattering of old neo-classical houses, and you get enticing glimpses of the Acropolis. The area has a richer, posher feel than Pagrati, and is less densely built up. There are some shops and cafes on Marko Mousso, but mainly this is a purely residential area.
Kesariani is an area running above Pagrati, and similar in tone to Pagrati. The main attraction here is Kesariani Square, a pleasant, pedestrianised square on Formionos. The tavernas here are renowned for their food.
You may also find yourself wandering into the area of Byronas - which sits above Pagrati, and pretty much merges with it.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Plateia Varnava, assuming you are starting from the centre, is a trolleybus from Omonia or Syntagma Square. The 2, 4 and 11 all run near Omonia and then through Syntagma. (You need one of the stops on the 'downhill' side of the square, near the top of Ermou Street.)
They then run down the side of the National Gardens, past the front of the Panathenaic Stadium and up to Plateia Plastira. Get off here and a two minute walk up Proklou Street will take you to Plateia Varnava.
There is a nice cafe, the Kafenion Ellas, in Plateia Plastiria if you want to stop for a drink.
Proklou Street is on the opposite side of the square from the cafť.
To walk, you need to go across the National Gardens to the Panathenaic Stadium. You then take the small side road to the left of the front of the stadium and turn immediately up the stairs on the right. Follow the footpath along the side of the stadium. As you emerge you will see the Taverna Virynis almost opposite you. Turn right past the Virinys and then left. Two blocks up you will find Plateia Varnava.
The large church of Profitou Ilia is also a good landmark, visible from many places. Youíll get a clear view of it if you are approaching Pagrati from Evangalissmos metro, as you come up Spirou Merkouri.