If you are after a chic yet private, honeymoon-style sanctuary in Thassos, Meli Suites Isle, the latest hotel of the Meli Suites collection in Skala Potamia, offers an elegant, relaxing and stylish stay for loved-up couples.
The striking architecture of Meli Suites Isle is the first thing you notice when walking through the stone-built entry. Picture scattered olive trees, beige sandstone walls, rattan hanging chairs and outdoor raffia roofing all intertwined with one big swimming pool – the focal point of the entire space.
But it’s not just a swimming pool! Just as ‘meli‘ (honey) is the ingredient that makes any Greek breakfast special, respectively, this swimming pool is the ‘meli‘ that makes this place so distinctive- as it effortlessly connects the rooms – with each suite having its own access to the water.
The concept is not only unique but it also contributes to the harmony of Meli Suite’s design.
“It takes an architectural genius to build a place like this,” is what another guest said while we enjoyed our breakfast by the pool one morning.
Then, you get to know that the owner, Stelios Nikoloudis, who is a London-based civil engineer with a keen eye for textures and materials.
The isle in the middle of the swimming pool with its growing olive tree, the brilliant marriage between all the textures and natural materials – plus the painstaking attention to detail is what makes Meli Suites so special.
With three rooms and eight suites all individually styled and named after their unique features – we stayed in the Arch Room, where every morning felt like we were waking up in paradise. Featuring views of the serene pool, the swim-up private deck allows guests direct access to the water right by the bedroom suite.
Having breakfast by the pool was another unique experience, with owner, Yianna being the epitome of Greek hospitality. Not only does she serve a homemade breakfast, she also makes recommendations for places to visit on the island, and shares local secrets, including how to find the most gorgeous beaches.
We tried the floating breakfast on our last day in the hotel and it was the ultimate luxury! Presented on a large tray complete with homemade Greek pastries, freshly squeezed juices, and eggs- it was the best start to our day and something to remember.
There are plenty of spaces to stay in Skala Potamias but Meli Suites Isle is most certainly our favourite. Not only will you fall in love with the impeccable design and architecture – but you will also be blown away by their warm hospitality. Book your stay at the Deluxe Suite with a bathtub now and you can thank me later.
Whitewashed walls, Greek coffee poured from a copper briki, the sound of dice rolling across a tavli board, spontaneous live music, and handmade mezedes (at affordable prices). These are the traditional kafeneia of the Cyclades; picturesque gems where you will find friendly locals- offering a glimpse into their relaxed, everyday island life.
O Megalos Kafenes – Tinos
“Megalos Kafenes” has been operating for over a century in the only square of Pyrgos (with the famous ancient plane tree) in Tinos. A hangout that combines the old with the new, thanks to the creative flair of architectural designer Dimitra Papadopoulou, who supervised its renovation. Enjoy the tranquility of the village and savor homemade sweets like galaktoboureko, orange pie with ice cream, and ekmek with a Greek coffee in the briki or salty mezedes with ouzo.
A: Panormos/ tel. 2283 031647
Stou Stratou – Serifos
In the heart of Serifos’ Chora, against the backdrop of the imposing City Hall and the church of Agios Athanasios, is the traditional café Stou Stratou, with its blue tables and chairs welcome visitors for a morning coffee on embers and a tasty omelette. In the afternoon you can taste homemade sweets (try their famous chocolate cake) and appetizers accompanied by ouzo or rakomelo from noon onwards. Spend a few minutes (or even hours) viewing the menu since that also features art and poetry (literally).
A: Chora Serifos /tel. 2281 052566
To Kafeneio Tou Drakaki – Sifnos
With more than 100 years of life, Drakakis’ kafeneio, in Apollonia, offers the ambiance of a Greece that is reminiscent of black and white movies. With tables spread across the paved central alley, you can enjoy a rakomelo with delicious traditional appetizers of Sifnos. Espresso coffee or filter coffee are unknown words here!
A: Apollonia/ tel. 6972123571
To Kafeneio Tis Charas – Schoinousa
In the picturesque Chora, one of the oldest buildings hosts To Kafeneio Tis Charas. Famous for its rich breakfast made with local products from small producers- here you will taste fresh eggs and handmade sweets. In the evenings the rakomezes take centre stage, as you take part in the improvised celebrations featuring violins and lutes.
A: Chora Schoinousa/ tel. 2285072026
Photodotis – Amorgos
Away from the hustle and bustle of Chora, in an upper neighborhood, you can relax at Photodotis. This traditional kafeneio features white and shades of green, plus a courtyard with wooden and iron tables, where you can enjoy local products such as Amorgian xynomyzithra, pumpkin meatballs, and dolmades with fresh vine leaves; handmade sausage or hunkiar begeti with local veal- dishes that are all prepared with a lot of love! Often violin nights are also held here.
A: Chora Amorgos/ tel. 2285072059
Kali Kardia (Bohoris) – Kimolos
Kali Kardia or the café of Bochoris -as the locals call it- is a traditional trademark found on the main road of Kimolos’ Chora. Operating as kafeneio, tavern, and convenience store- here you’ll find classic black and white tiles on the floor, wooden chairs around marble tables, and a jukebox. You can try the same traditional recipes that have been used since 1920, featuring pure, fresh, and local ingredients only. Ouzo and tsipouro appetizers, plus some signature mom-cooked dishes are also on the menu. Tip: if you are after something sweet, order the orange pie or kataifi.
A: Chora Kimolos/ tel. 2287051495
Kafeneio Nios – Ios
In the picturesque square of Chora of Ios, under some pretty bougainvillea, lays Kafeneio Nios. Enjoy your coffee in the morning, varieties of cheese and cold cuts during the day, and (every day) live music (bouzouki, tomberleki, and baglama) will accompany your rakomela at night.
Not your average bar, Grasshoppers near the centre of Athens is a place where all the details have been seen to, and the cocktails are no exception.
By Gina Lionatos
The low down… Grasshoppers is a striking contrast to the all-day cafe across the road (incidentally under the same ownership) in the neighbourhood of Neos Kosmos. Here you’ll find an intriguing space, a thought-provoking cocktail menu designed by mixologist Nikos Sotiropoulos, and a focus on seriously good bar food. Just a stone’s throw away from the Onassis Stegi Cultural Centre, Grasshoppers opened its doors in May 2022 and is already a favourite among Athenians who take their drinks seriously.
Décor/ Ambience: There is something decidedly grown-up about Grasshoppers, despite the associations of youth and inexperience that the name conjures. The use of the signature dark blue hue throughout the space, textural touch points (from the walls to the menus) and sleek interiors make Grasshoppers a bar that could easily be found in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Something to drink: The cocktails have been named after the types of couples you might find at a bar (see: Flying Lovers, Fervid, Unbearable). The Vulnerable is a delightful concoction of dry gin, chamomile, peach, almond, citrus and fresh herbs.
Menu: The menu offers classic cold dishes like beef tartare and salmon gravlax as well as sandwiches and cheese plates. All are made to order and prepared next to the bar.
Order my fave dish: The Vitello Tonnato boasts delicately sliced veal, dressed in lemon sauce with tuna, mayonnaise, mustard leaves, smoked eel and capers.
Price range: Bar food ranges from 6-9 € and a cocktail will set you back 10 €.
Perfect for: A night of sipping, chatting and mingling with friends. A great date night option.
Location: Eurudamantos 6, Athens
Opening hours/days: Closed Mondays, Open from 6pm-2am Tuesday-Sunday.
A wonderful variety of wine bars have sprung up all over Athens, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed chat with friends over a glass of good wine, complemented by equally good food.
Notable bottled wine production didn’t start in modern Greece until the 1960s when substantial investments in facilities and technology first took place. Nevertheless, the traditional low demand for bottled wine by Greek consumers kept its quality relatively low. Since the 2000’s remarkable efforts in bottled wine quality improvement by wineries and vine farmers brought about spectacular results.
As a consequence, low domestic demand has since surged and Greeks have begun to consume more and more bottled Greek wine, either as part of their entertainment or as an accompaniment to their food.
So, while fifteen years ago the term wine bar was mostly unknown to the Greek public, nowadays, every remarkable bar and restaurant cluster in Athens has its own place dedicated to wines. Most wine bars in Athens employ knowledgeable staff, feature a large variety of wines, and offer complimentary or even main dishes; with quality (most of the time) ranging from descent to high-end.
Athens has been an attraction for the past few centuries for both Greeks and foreigners alike. Its ancient history and ruins worked as a time travel in its visitors’ imagination.
Modern Athens has changed a lot from the time of its liberation from Ottoman rule when it was already a prominent destination for knowledgeable travellers to the various lands of the Mediterranean Sea.
But up until recently, Athens was still a destination of historical interest only. Tourists used to visit Athens for a few days to see the antiquities before they embarked on their trip to the islands of the Aegean, where they mostly spent their vacation time.
Thanks to the information technology burst, internet proliferation, and the increase of its users and time spent on it, more and more people have discovered that Athens offers more than history and sunshine.
Its Mediterranean climate urges its people to go out and enjoy themselves. This outgoing need has created and sustained a vibrant entertainment scene in the city for the past few decades, which is well-synched with global trends.
Dance clubs, generic and various music genre-oriented bars, concert halls, Greek urban and folk live music halls, Greek, ethnic cuisine, and gourmet restaurants comprise the melting pot of Athenian outdoor entertainment.
Within this lively amusement scenery, wine bars have sprung up in the city like mushrooms filling a gap between nightlife entertainment and the need to have a meal outdoors and socialize. Relaxed evening talks around a bottle of good wine, complemented with equally good snacks and food was an experience that may have been lacking in Athens- but that has now changed.
As luckily, the city’s young wine bar scene has grown; and very well at that. It features many young-gun sommeliers and established restaurateurs whose services offer real added value to the customer.
The wine bars of Athens are redefining the way we Greeks drink wine and offer those already familiar with them a chance to not miss them while far from home. So here’s a list of great wine bars to choose from, for your next visit to the Greek capital!
Perhaps the most famous wine bar in Athens. Located just a stone’s throw away from Syntagma Square, Oinoscent is a wine bar and restaurant. Its wine list is focused on international vineyards but it also features several Greek labels from selected wineries. The food menu is focused on small, dish varieties that are very tasty. Prices are slightly on the higher end of the spectrum but the quality justifies the premium. Don’t miss the chance to inspect the wine cellar in the basement!
This cozy little wine bar, not far from Syntagma Square, is another great option for getting to know domestic wines. All labels on the list are also available for retail purchase at cellar prices. Their wines combine ideally with carefully selected local varieties of cheese, hams and other delicacies, which are available in its unique space downtown.
This sophisticated wine bar, a few steps from the new Museum of Contemporary Art in the Koukaki district, is ideal for quiet wine drinks in the evening. It has a detailed wine list and offers troves of interesting wines at reasonable prices. Nevertheless, choosing Materia Prima as a date destination with your significant other might not be recommended as you may find its wine list pretty distracting!
Imagine a chic, rustic, warm, atmospheric penthouse apartment decorated in earthly colours with a laid-back feel; now, add a 1200+ bottle wine list and you’ve got Vintage. What is more, are the many choices for those who love meat and cheese, as well as its central location in Athens, since it is very close to Syntagma Square.
Perhaps the wine bar with the best view in all of Athens. It’s located on the rooftop of Utopia Hotel and once there, you can enjoy the wine while staring at the Athenian horizon ranging across from the hill of Lycabettus, the Parthenon to the city’s old but still operating sky Observatory and along from Mount Hymettus at the background all the way to the Parliament at the forefront. The 100+ labels focus on Greek vineyards; framed by simple and delicious dishes of the Mediterranean cuisine. What else can one ask for?
Heading down to the southern suburbs of the city and specifically to the once industrial zone of Piraeus, lies an exemplary wine bar housed in a stunning converted warehouse. The décor is very original where the shelves filled with empty bottles give the feeling of a wine depository, the chairs are painted with wine landscapes and the tables are made of repurposed wine barrels. The owner is an experienced sommelier and offers his guests a list of 300 labels from the European South accompanied by Mediterranean dishes.
Featuring two wine bars across the city (Glyfada and Voula), Cava Vegera is the perfect antidote to the overcrowded city centre scenery. Both bars pay tribute to everyone who truly loves wine, by offering wines and dishes from across the Mediterranean and around the world. Cava Vegera wine bars also feature a wine store, upstairs, where you can find close to 1,000 different wine labels that you can drink in-store for a small corkage fee.