City Guide /
Greek islands seem to be the summer holiday of choice recently and usually that means a stopover in Athens to catch a ferry to the islands so I’m pretty sure this little city guide will come in handy. Keep in mind, it is is a wonderful city to visit outside of the busy summer months for a warm and sunny European break.
Athens is an intoxicating city with a mix of old and new. A sweet pace of life. The city is very walkable and there is A LOT to see. I’ve compiled some of the places I’ve loved and tried. Keep in mind a lot of the classics spots are not mentioned especially when it comes to cultural visits but you can easily find these online.
The Makers is a concept store/restaurant and it is the perfect place to kick off your day. Teti Haritou, George Ballas and Ilias Stavropoulos are the masterminds behind The Makers, offering some artisan accessories (think aprons, t-shirts and the likes) whilst serving some of the best coffee and (healthy) breakfast in town.
Me Kolonaki is by the same team behind The Makers. You’ll think I know the owners but I don’t. I really enjoy a good breakfast and great coffee. Me is definitely a happening place and fun to people-watch. Especially that the rest of the day, I’ll indulge in Greek food!
Dexameni is a place you shouldn’t miss. Just below Mount Lycabettus, Dexameni is a large open-air venue with tables and chairs scattered around on 2 wide steep sidewalks, separated by a pedestrianized street. A very Athenian hang-out for all generations. Expect meze type of plates to share, local food of course. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, that place is great at all hours of the day. You’ll probably have to queue but it goes fast and it’s worth it… Little inside info: the nearby open-air cinema!
This is a legendary taverna in Piraeus specialized in fried shrimps, fish and Greek salad. Athenians and locals enjoy the sun and this deliciously simple menu. The shrimps and the fish are fried to perfection, sprinkled with rock salt and served hot! Margaro is a family affair that started when the family moved from Ano Mera in Mykonos to Athens back inn 1944 when they opened the restaurant. A real institution.
If you’re looking for a fancy dinner, Vezene is the place to go. The menu is made of local seafood, line-caught fish and grass-fed sustainable meats. Vezene describes the experience “as though you were coming to my house and my wife and I were entertaining you.” Deal’s Closer is the signature dessert but you’ll have to go to know what I’m talking about.
Jerar is perched on a pedestrian street in the Dafni quiet neighborhood. Cosy interiors and lighting with an industrial feel with a bistrot-like menu. The staff is very kind and helpful and they will greet you with the restaurant’s own sourdough bread. Definitely a place you should visit for intimate and friendly gatherings.
The perfect place for a meze-style meal both from the sea and the land with local ingredients that remind us of all the high-quality produce around Greece. Eat inside or on the terrace, you can be sure to have a great night.
There are so many places to see in Athens but some you should not miss are the Cycladic Museum, the Benaki Museum (both of these are close by in Kolonaki) and of course the Acropolis Museum. Close to the Acropolis, you can walk to the Lalaounis Foundation, a little gem where you will discover the creations internationally renowned artist-jeweler Ilias Lalaounis.
If you want specialty coffee, vegan delicacies and a 60s interior vibe, Anana Coffee is for you. The place is very tastefully decorated and always buzzy. Their ‘eco-conscious sweets’ are delicious, make sure to try their signature banana bread. Little inside tip: on the top floor of the building, there’s a hidden vintage store.
The Naxos Apothecary is a one-of-a-kind combination of a herbal pharmacy and a concept store. beautiful shop in the center of Athens where you can find the Naxos Apothecary product collections, from tailor-made face creams to fragrances inspired from Naxos villages, to homeopathy remedies, personalized food supplements, natural skincare solutions and of course Greek brands. The most impressive feature of the shop is the exposed lab where you can observe the preparation of herbal remedies.