This is a scam that I foud multiple times on Athens. If you are eating at a restaurant, the waiter will open a large bottle of water and put it on your table. Then will charge you for it, even if you dont ask for it. Also, he may walk up, after he sees you are a tourist and place some food on the table (it was Titziki for us). You think this is a free thing they might do for tourists, but they added 10 euros onto our bill. he said that he thought we would want it.
Unique Suggestions: Tell him you dont want the water if you dont, and tell him to take anything off the bill you didnt ask for.
plaka is a very popular tourist area.it is a very nice area as is the first place ancient greek lived and stands above the foot of Acropolis. as the main tourist trap of athens try to avoid eating in plaka area and shopping around the stores.
Unique Suggestions: it d be better to seat somewhere you like and have a coffee
Fun Alternatives: if you are hungry move to monastiraki area, best souvlaki-Bairachtaris, best kembab-Thanasis or you can ask for psiri area where you can find a soho whanabee area with trenty and traditional little tavernas and bars.
As about every shop in Plaka and Monastiraki sells the same kind of souvenirs, they all will be wanting to make a sale.
Unique Suggestions: When you want to buy something go to several shops and compare prices. Once you have found the lowest price, complain it is too high and you will go and buy somewhere else. Bargain with the shopkeeper!
Tell him this is all the money you have left and you are leaving tomorrow, that you mother is in need of expensive surgery, that you grandfather died when he heard the news, that you have been robed the day before and that your partner is going to hit you over the head if you pay the shop price.
If the shopkeeper doesn’t throw you out, you’ll get a good price!
Fun Alternatives: An alternative is to go into town, away from the tourist area, where prices are less.
Plaka is a narrow but very long, beautiful street and you can find a lot of shops over the street. I bought a lot of magnets for my friends, one magnet is 1-1.5 euros, you should bargain a little, I bought silver with a original Greek design, very cheap. And you should buy original Greek shoes with pompoms. ( 8 euros)
A lot of travel companies glorify the Plaka as a place where you can journey into an authentic Greek shopping and dining experience. It's bull. There's nothing authentic about it. The Plaka is a place you will either love or hate. I hated it because I wasn't prepared for agressive haggling sales people and the tourist kitsch was being passed off as authentic.
Of all the places I've been, (New York City included) Greece, especially the Plaka, was the place I felt that you are most likely to be ripped off, conned or mugged. (No offense!) Anyway, I wasn't warned when I went, so I didn't know what to expect. If you plan to visit the Plaka, enjoy it for what it is- a slice of Greek commercialism. You'll pay inflated prices for inauthentic merchandise, period and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Unique Suggestions: If you can find an affordable accomodation the Plaka would not be a bad place to be stay because of the proliferation of eateries in the area. It's also a choice place to stay because of it's proximity to the Acropolis and the fact that the main part of the Plaka is closed to cars- pedestrians only! Personally I would prefer to stay in an untouristy area though... the local eateries I found in the neighborhood I stayed in can't be rivaled by the places in the Plaka.
Fun Alternatives: I have a photo I have been debating for a long time about to post with this tip. At first glance it just appears to be a bunch of faux-Greek merchandise available at one of the shops in the Plaka. Upon further inspection you will notice the focal point of the photo is a minotaur displaying his humoungous nude, erect phallus. I was postively shocked when I observed this item for sale right at curb side. ( I think I'll refrain from posting the pic... so I heisted this one from www.athenstaxi.net)
It's fine for the first timer to go for a minute and look around, but please don't eat here. The restuarants are geard for tourists, so the food is mediocre, and overpriced. (and they all have a hawker in front telling yoiu in english to come in) It's streets are filled with tacky souveneer shops that all sell the same thing. There are so many better places to go in Athens. Although I will say that Bretto's Ouzeri is actually worth the trip to Plaka.
Unique Suggestions: At least try to wander off the main streets, and eat in a taverna that A. doesn't have photos of the food. B. Doesn't have an agressive hawker out front. And C. Isn't overly crowded with other tourists.
Fun Alternatives: The Psiri, which is on the other side of Monastiraki, is a great area, with better taveranas.
The Athens Fleamarket that starts in Monastiraki towards Thissio (at the right of the metro entrance) was originally an antiques market held on weekends and selling old things, furnitures, antiques... But now there is a permanent section of shops selling clothes and souvenirs.
I found this touristy part of the Fleamarket a bit overpriced. I was looking for some beach sandals (mine broke on the 2nd day) and all I found was "surf like" sandals or "Olympics branded" material, all of them starting at 12-14 euros.
So I walked up the Athenas street from Monastiraki and entered a few local shoe shops, where I found some "regular" sandals for 4 euros...
Everything we saw for sale on the Plaka was more expensive than everywhere else we traveled in Greece, including very touristy Santorini. If you have some shopping to do in Greece, don't do it on the Plaka. There is nothing unique about the things you'll find for sale there - The same stuff is available everywhere else, and often for much less money.
Restaurants also tend to be very expensive on the Plaka, so shop around and look for places of the beaten track before you decide on a place to eat. We found some more reasonably prices restaurants after searching for a while, especially in the Monistiraki area.
Unique Suggestions: It is definitely worth your while to walk around the Plaka and surrounding areas, and obviously you'll want to see the Acropolis.
The Plaka was a carry over from an older an more sedate Athens, at one point they were going to tear it down as part of urban re-newal but came to their senses.
Now its a tourist area and over priced. Adrianou (Hadrian) and Kidathineon Sts. are the two main drags of the Plaka.
Its loaded with tourist trinkets and knic-knacks from the kitch to some real bargains. Bargaining is the way to go.
Unique Suggestions: Don't be afraid to bargain, don't buy from the first store you get to. Ask the price so you get relative idea and then move on till you find the price you like. If it still seems expensive then start to moan and groan and play tough. These folks want to make a sale.
Fun Alternatives: Just BARGAIN!!! or buy your stuff outside Plaka. Remeber, almost every shop in Athens have the same souvenirs to offer!
And when I say "artists", I mean it! These guys make millions from selling dirt to tourists. Either they have a shop that sells "exact copies" or "souvenirs from Greece" made in Taiwan or a bar that sells promises of erotic nights -just promises- along with some cheap booze (cheap in quality, expensive in bill), these guys are out to get your money!
Unique Suggestions: I dunno, bargain if you want, or beat yourself to it!
Fun Alternatives: If you want something greek to bring back home, try some conventional stores, ie if you want greek music, walk into a specialized music store and ask for greek music. Or try the antique shops around Monastiraki, sometimes you find really nice stuff there.
Stuff like olive oil soap bars and olive oil, or lufas, or sponges are actually very nice and very traditional. The rest is junk for me. Except gold, of course!
at the tourist area of PLAKA, under the Acropolis hill.