September is when holidays are ending and our psyche subtly but surely begins to shift from summer flimsiness to autumnal focus.
Perhaps this year even more, with the threat of more lockdowns looming over us, we want to make the most of the sunshine, outdoors and chances to explore. In Athens, September is usually a kind and mellow month, when the city comes back to life and (always somewhat chaotic) order. It’s the time
…when the sun is still hot but not scorching and swimming is still perfectly pleasant.
Throughout the week, the loveliest and most central – not to mention the largest in the capital – pool to visit is the one at Hilton Athens. It might not be cheap, but the sheer size of the pool and lovely greenery surrounding it, quality of its water, Coronavirus-cautious cleanliness, excellent service, and satisfying Oasis poolside restaurant menu will keep you relaxed and carefree for hours on end. On the ground floor of one of the city’s most architecturally fascinating hotels, designed in the 1960s, the pool here attracts mainly low-key glamourous types, families, and singletons who just want to chill in style. Another brilliant handful of great swimming options awaits you at Piraeus port, just 20 minutes’ train ride on the green line from the centre of town. Hop on a ferry or flying dolphin and within an hour you can land at lovely Argosaronic islands like Aegina, Angistri, Poros, Hydra and Spetses to spend the day at lovely beaches, eating fresh fish and sipping a sunset cocktail before returning to urbanity.
…when kefi-fuelled night owls reunite after a summer apart and make the most of being outdoors while it’s still warm.
Head to the bars where you can be part of the crowd pouring onto the pavement, courtyard or rooftop and watch the world go buzzily by, like Ipittou on Ipittou Square in Syntagma, Baba Au Rum in Monastiraki, Blue Parrot in Metaxourgeio, Floral or Warehouse in Exarcheia, Latraac Cafe & Skate Bowl in Kerameikos, Bios in Gazi, Couleur Locale or
Taf The Art Foundation in Monastiraki, Drupes & Drips in Koukaki, Briki in Mavili Square, and Six Dogs or Atlandikos in Psyrri. Or take the quiet path and stroll at sunset time or under the stars in magical places like Philopoappou or Pnyx hills, Lycabettus, the Zappeion gardens, Anafiotika, and Plaka’s backstreets, the upper fringes of Kolonaki and the village-like part of Mets.
…when we start to look ahead at how we will prepare our home and wardrobe for winter with a touch of Greece.
Whether you’re in Athens during September as a visitor or resident, it’s an exciting time to go window-shopping and start dreaming of how you’ll add classic or ultra-contemporary Greek touches to make your home and wardrobe both cozily comfortable and pleasurably stylish. Maybe you want a knitted lambswool fisherman-style pullover or elaborately-embroidered cushion covers that you can find in some of the finer tourist shops of Plaka like Loom. Or vintage stores with an international selection, including Greek designer specials, found around Kolonaki, Monastiraki, and Exarcheia. It may be classical-style jewellery or objects d’art inspired by Greek culture and sold either as a direct replica or with an extreme modern twist and found at specialty shops in the Cycladic Art, Benaki, Benaki Pireos Annexe or Lalaounis Museums or at Greek concept stores like SOPHIA, Forget Me Not or Paraphenelia.