Not to be unduly nautical about it, but plunging into Psirri is like a deep dive into a different kind of Athens than you probably new existed. Sure, you knew about the ancient ruins and maybe trendy Kolonaki, but Psirri is home to scruffy cultural verve all its own—and you’re a part of it for as long as you’re here. This is a compact and largely self-contained, thoroughly urban universe where hipster cafés and bars collide with antique shops full to bursting with quirky merchandise, vintage record stores and busy craftsmens’ shops than you could ever take in on a single walk.
This is where storefronts sprout up in former warehouses and leather tanneries and instead of gardens there are exuberant murals and expressive graffiti blooming everywhere you look., Psirri is perhaps the world’s most extraordinary repository of living street art right now. Oh, don’t worry though, it’s not all urban grit—there are flashes of pink bougainvillea to dazzle the most jaded flâneur and the Attica light works its magic to transform even the narrowest lanes into slender avenues of promise. What discovery are you about to make? Give yourself ample time to slow down, wander and explore. One of the more compelling things you may find is the mix of people; the Plaka has its acolytes and deservedly so but Psirri attracts a mix of Athenians of all stripes and lots of visitors from further afield, too. This is not the ancient Agora, but as much newer crossroads in the Greek capital it may very well be considered a new one.
Psirri is a neighborhood that stretches boundaries, though of course it has a few borders: there’s Ermou Street along the southern perimeter, Sofokleous Street on the north (though not as far as Omonia) with Pireos Street to the west and Athinas Street on the east. Within the neighborhood are streets like Sarri, Aisxylou, Aristofanous, Pallados and of course Mikonos — named for the ancient sculptor, by the way, not the party island. And don’t miss a stroll along Evripidou Street—it’s one atmospheric spice shop after another, with fragrances that are intoxicating. By night though, you will find a party atmosphere takes over many of Psirri’s little winding streets. In a city big on ancient history, here in Psirri you can find many ways to make a little bit of Athens your own.