Athens has a renewed energy, it’s an energetic city that allows you to be immersed in classical architecture and then be on a mountain walk within 20 minutes. It has great bars and restaurants, often hidden behind crumbling facades, such as The Art Foundation with its secret garden. If you love faded-grandeur and independent old-world boutiques, Athens is littered with them, expect Haberdashery shops and dusty stationery stores. Aside from all the obvious monuments and museums that have to be visited, just wonder the streets of the many neighbourhoods, areas such as Mets which is home to the Kain Bar and the neighbourhood of Gazi are really worth seeking out. Athens is kind of crumbling, its progressive, relaxed, understated and comfortable with itself.
The Zillers Hotel
I love staying in this this neoclassical townhouse designed by Ernst Ziller. The views of the Parthenon and the divine rooftop bar and restaurant are the real reason to stay in this part of the old town called Plaka. Behind the hotel is a warren of sweet haberdashery stores, fur coat shops and trendy bars. It gets a little noisy with the church bell ringing around the clock so earplugs really help here.
Mitropoleos 54, 10563 Athens
+30 21 0322 2277
Philos, has a slight feel of the late Paris concept store Colette, but a very laid-back Greek version. The store is housed in a ramshackle building with an old heavy wood staircase winding up the three floor levels that showcases a curation of fashion and design objects. The store feels more like a friends chic-apartment that you are visiting for lunch, on that note the food is great, go for the eggs which come with smoked pork, feta and oregano.
32 Solonos Street, 10673 Athens
+30 21 0361 9163
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation
There’s a huge amount of new architecture and regeneration in Athens, the place that this impacts most is a stunning park, garden and cultural complex in the suburb of Kallithea. The Great Lawn, which hosts outdoor festivals is encased by olive trees and indigenous herbs. The centre was designed by Renzo Piano and the whole complex was gifted to the city and consists of an opera house, library and international hub for the arts. There's also a 400-metre sea-water canal, where you can learn to sail or kayak, after-dark the canal provides a canvas for live jazz and music.
86A Vasilissis Sofias Ave, 11528 Athens
Only two decades ago Gazi was a quite and rundown neighborhood in the shadow of an old gas tower, now sun-kissed Greek couples and sharply dressed boys roam the streets past the many bars, restaurant’s, boutiques and galleries that have sprung up in the area over recent years. Gazi is easily accessible by public transport (the blue line Kerameikos stop is right on the main square). Hoxton Bar is a great hangout, this former warehouse is now home to great music provided by talented DJ’s in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. There are literally are so many great places to hangout in Gazi, but if you want a latenight live music experience, a trip to Afrikana Jazz Bar is a must, live Jazz and Funk are the thing here and its intimate Greek island-style décor make the night even more inviting.
Afrikana Jazz Bar, 13 Lerofanton, 11854 Athens
Hoxton, 42 Voutadon, 11854 Athens