Mets is a small neighbourhood, very close to all the main touristic attractions of the city center (it is a 10 minutes walk from Acropolis and just a few hundred meters from Kallimarmaro Stadium) but it is not touristic at all. It is located on Logginos hill and between Ardittos hill and the First Cemetery of Athens. A little bit of Montmartre, a little bit of East London, this is a place you should discover, if you want to visit one of the most charming areas of Athens.
Mets took its name from the beer house with the same name that was established on the hill in 1870. That was one of the innovations which were brought to Greece by King Otto and the Bavarians who accompanied him. In the course of time the beer house was transformed to cafe-aman, a type of entertainment venue with live music. Others venues like that began to operate in the surrounding area and on the banks of the nearby Ilissos river. Therefore this part of the city became known for its live music venues and small theatres. At the same time smaller places and bars appeared here and became the meeting place of illegal love couples. For that reason the area was known among the citizens of the capital as “pantremenadika”, which in free translation means the place where married meet their lovers. At the end of the 19th century, due to the area’s proximity to the Palace and the city center, the neighbourhood was populated by middle class families who built elegant and quite big neoclassical houses and consequently the character of the area changed completely.
During the 20th century the area retained its middle class and urban style and was considered one of the most stylish neighbourhoods of the city. The last two decades many of the old houses have been restored and new inhabitants have relocated here. Many artists, musicians, actors, painters have moved in Mets and have given it a more bohemian character. There is only a handfull of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants in the area, a fact that creates a more intimate and cosy atmosphere. At the same time the proximity with the cemetery, which is an open air museum of Greek sculpture (you could find more information here), along with the marble sculpture workshops that still exists here, outside the gates of the cemetery on Anapafseos street, give to the area a unique artistic quality. Added to all the above, many streets and houses offer views and glimpses of Acropolis, an ever-dominant shape of Athenian skyline and eternal symbol of high art.
As you walk along the picturesque streets of Mets (streets like Markou Mousourou, Anapafseos, Theotoki and Sorvolou) you will come across some wonderful places which deserve your attention. Characteristic places like : the bakery Kallimarmaro (M. Mousourou 28), the bio-grocery store To Paradosiakon (M. Mousourou 24) and the small but very interesting publishing house To Doma (M.Mousourou 22). At the same time you could relax and have a cup of coffee at Oden Cafe (M. Mousourou 19), a meeting place for the inhabitants or Metz Cafe (M. Mousourou 63) with tables under the big trees on Logginos hill. If you feel hungry, search for Colimbri (Anapafseos 9), a well known restaurant with excellent burgers and pizzas, but also unique cocktails. Finally if you want to stay out late, you could either visit Kain Bar (Anapafseos 22) for quality drinks and cocktails or the legendary jazz club Half Note (Trivonianou 17), probably the best place in Athens for live jazz, ethnic and quality Greek music with a history of 40 years (you could check their program and buy tickets here).
Mets is a place that you could spend a wonderful afternoon, away from the touristic areas of the city and meet an part of Old Athens, that remains relatively unspoilt. Respect the inhabitants and mingle with them in the cafes and the small shops of the area. Get lost in the streets without map, search for the view of Acropolis, admire the elegance of the old houses and discover small glimpses of art around every corner.
P.S. Our photographs in this article have deliberately no captions in order to challenge you to discover this unique neighbourhood all by yourself.
Other articles on our website about Athenian neighbourhoods :