7 Best New Boutique Hotels in Athens 

Uninterrupted views of the Acropolis, rooftop bars, elegant designs and stylish decor… the city is now full of boutique hotels so lovely that you’ll definitely want to stay for longer than a few days. And with so many new ones to choose from, here we round up 7 of our favourite! 

The Marblous Athens

Having recently opened its doors, Marblous is located in the heart of the city, close to Athens’ most vibrant neighbourhoods. Housed in a classic 1938 building, the design and decor are timeless and minimalist with blushing marble tiles and a pastel colour palette. Boasting a rooftop suite with views of the city and a charming breakfast bistro on the ground floor, it’s the ideal place to explore the lively city at your doorstep.

A: Voulis 24, Athens

Gem Society 

Right in the heart of Athens’ Historic Triangle, The Gem Society opened in June 2020, in an immaculately restored mint-green building. Simple, modern and spacious, this is the ideal base for culture enthusiasts, history buffs and anyone who wants to feel right at home. There’s also a cool bistro serving up all-day brunch, and the decadent spa features a stone-built hammam, a custom-built Cycladic inspired jacuzzi and private treatment rooms where you can unwind. 

A: Aristidou 3, Athina

Athens 1890 Boutique Hotel & Spa

Located in the centre of the Greek capital (only 300 m from Monastiraki) Athens 1890 opened its doors in September 2020, in a 19th-century textile store on Athinaidos Street. Spilling over six floors, there are 14 spacious rooms in total, some of which include a hot tub. There’s also a large open food hall on the ground floor; and a fully equipped spa. The mansion combines old-world charm with its elaborate facade, impressive wooden staircase, hand-painted ceilings and unique decor. Only steps away from the Acropolis hill and next to Ermou St– it’s an ideal starting point to explore Athens. 

A: Saint Eirini square, Athinaidos 10, Athina 

The Dilan 

Located 300 metres from Acropolis Museum, The Dilan features 11 suites and apartments set in a renovated 1930s building in the heart of ancient Acropolis. Having opened in October 2020, the spacious private suites and apartments have a distinctive style that features exposed stone walls and concrete columns. From the moment you step inside, you feel right at home and some rooms include a fully equipped kitchen- ideal for visitors seeking longer stays. Close to well-known attractions, it’s set 600 metres from Herodes Atticus, 600 metres from the Temple of Zeus and 600 metres from the Parthenon.

A: Falirou 33, Athina 

The Modernist 

Located in Kolonaki, and housed in the former Canadian Embassy, The Modernist is just metres from some of the Greek capital’s best boutiques, restaurants, bars; and Lycabettus Hill and the Museum of Cycladic Art are just 600 metres away. The rooms come in S, M, L and XL, and feature customised furniture, mood lighting and seamless comforts, the hotel, which also has a restaurant and concept store on-site, combines casual, contemporary luxury with mid-century detailing and minimalist Danish design.

A: Ioannou Gennadiou 4, Athina 


A century-old building in central Athens has been transformed into a boutique hotel, Asomaton opened its doors in August 2020. The building made from wood and stone was a horse carriage wheel repair shop in the early 1900s and its historical essence blends in beautifully with its new contemporary design. Here you will find an indoor swimming pool and spa to relax, plus a rooftop terrace where guests are served breakfast and evening drinks. It’s located very close to the Acropolis with amazing views from the terrace and New York-based Greek artist Philip Tsiaras hosts his pop-artworks onsite.

A: 10 Asomaton St, Athina 

Oniro City 

This is another boutique hotel that recently opened in Kolonaki. Poised along a leafy, tree-lined street in Athens’ fashionable neighbourhood, Oniro City has been designed and furnished with impeccable style, cool contemporary lines, warm, earthy tones and layered textures, that give it a warm and inviting feel. From a gourmet breakfast to evening dining, the hotel restaurant is a great place to eat and from here you are only footsteps away from other great spots for food and shopping

A: Omirou 56, Athina 

Athens Capital Hotel – MGallery

Opening its doors in mid- 2020, MGallery brings an understated level of finesse to this cosmopolitan and vibrant city. The hotel is located at Syntagma Square and features 177 guest rooms, which include 18 suites and an impressive Presidential Suite with spectacular views of Lycabettus Hill. The design is modern and decor walnut hues and sea-blue accents are highlighted with contemporary furnishings. Galerie Café, the hotel’s lobby bar is a great spot for guests to enjoy a cocktail before heading to MFlavors, the hotel’s in-house restaurant.

A: 4 Eleftheriou Venizelou Avenue and 2 Kriezotou St, Syntagma Square, Athina 

Cover image: The Modernist

One of Athens’ Newest Bars

One of Athens’ newer bars, Santarosa represents a ‘new breed’ of all-night hangout in Athens. Stylish, alternative, with intriguingly-put-together DJ sets and an artsy, playful approach, it draws a youthful (but not only) and hip crowd. 

Style/ Décor: Moody and atmospheric, gothic lighting, an old mosaic, a wooden ceiling, plants, and Athens’ longest bar (14m), this non-underground dive bar is inspired by the exoticism of the Tangiers. The long bar gives the narrow space a lively buzz that stretches throughout the bar as well as a strip of stools lined along the window across it.

Insights Greece - One of Athens' Newest Bars

What makes it special? Apart from the slightly glamorous yet decidedly edgy ambience, Santarosa has made quite an imp[act via social media for the mystical haiku posts it shares as well as for having its own mixcloud soundtrack channel. Many people return here for not only the very well mixed drinks (Negroni is excellent here) but also the original and varying choice of music played on different nights by sophisticated DJs. You’ll hear everything from German ambient electro of the 1980s to B movie soundtracks and spiritual jazz. The nibbles are nice too: instead of the usual bowl of peanuts, here you can accompany your drink with cold cuts by Arapian store.

When to go: This is a pure-blood bar, not a café by day or an all-day bar. It opens at 18:00, which is probably the ideal hour to arrive if you want to sprawl out at the bar and have a quiet chat.

Tip: Asklipiou has become one of Exarcheia’s coolest streets for bar-hopping. On this street, you’ll find several other places well worth visiting. Among them are popular bars Rinokeros, Tralala, Kokki Café, Ipovrihio, and Blue Fox.

Location: Asklipiou 69, Exarcheia

12 Best Things to Do at Cape Sounio

Less than an hour’s drive from Athens, Cape Sounio is the ideal weekend getaway or perfect day trip from the Greek capital. There are plenty of things to see and do at this beautiful spot and we reveal what not to miss when visiting! 

1. Explore the 444BC Temple of Poseidon, honouring the Olympian God of the Sea. It is located at the edge of Cape Sounio at the southern coast of Attica, with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. If you can only be here for a few hours make sure it’s during sunset from the temple’s ruins, which is by far one of the best sights in all of Greece.

Insights Greece - 12 Best Things to Do at Cape Sounio

2. With its crystal clear and calm waters, the beaches surrounding this area are ideal for people of all ages who can take in the blue sea and its surrounding beauty. For a swim that offers amazing views of the Temple, head to Sounio Beach or the Aegean Hotel, which are organised and offer umbrellas. Legrena is also one of the largest and most popular beaches in the area. 

3. KAPE deserves a mention of its own. With a beach bar right on the water, you can order a Freddo/Frappe, cocktail or a light lunch. It’s a relaxing place to sit and watch the sun and the sea while tanning away or dipping into the crystal clear water. 

4. Have a pampering day at Elixir Spa Retreat. The spa offers a range of natural therapies based on Greek herbs and flowers. After a pampering therapy, you can enjoy the nearby gardens whilst sipping on a freshly-prepared tisane from the resort’s organic garden, or enjoy the Greek sun along with your favourite book by the pool.

Insights Greece - 12 Best Things to Do at Cape Sounio

5. If you are after some action head to Lavrio where you can rent boats or equipment and go scuba diving or sail into the Mediterranean Sea.

6. For some great Asian check out So Oriental,  one of the most unique Asian restaurants near Athens. Here you can relax on one of the outdoor swing-beds which doubles as your dining table.

7. If you love seafood Cape Sounio offers plenty of fish taverns to choose from. Our favourites include Marida, Taverna Syrtaki and Stamatis

8. For an unforgettable fine dining experience, The Restaurant, located on the rooftop terrace at the Grecotel, is a gourmet eatery that boasts a Greek-French menu designed by acclaimed chef Sakis Tzannetos.

9. Chill out at the stylish Panorama Lounge Bar overlooking the Temple at Sounio and take in the splendid atmosphere while you relax on the peaceful terraces beside the water and fire fountains.

10. Book a scenic sunset sailing tour, where you can truly enjoy the magnificent Athenian coastline, as you swim in crystal blue waters and secluded bays far from the crowds. In the early evening you can enjoy the magical sunset; and for those who really want to indulge,  book a private chef who prepares your lunch and dinner on board. 

Insights Greece - 12 Best Things to Do at Cape Sounio

11. Stroll along Lavrion, which is on the tip of Attiki and famous for its lovely marina. The Ancient Theater of Lavrion is a fantastic historical landmark situated very close to the shores of the marina and will surprise you with its unique architecture. 

12. Last but not least, make sure you snap away as Sounio really is one of the most iconic sights in mainland Greece and a must for photographers. Have your camera ready as there will be plenty of great shots that are more than just Insta-worthy! 

Getting there

Take the bus (KTEL) from Athens, or travel by car along the coast of Athens and Attica, as you pass by Athens’ Riviera and its glamorous neighbourhoods including Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza and Lagonisi. 

Cover Image Pinterest

Syntagma’s European Gastronomic Bar

A “contemporary European gastronomic bar”, this place serves brunch in the mid-morning and a great selection of sexy cocktails at night. With a recently renovated space and cocktail menu, this elegant bar near Syntagma Square especially draws a chic after-work crowd. 

Style / Décor: Like its cocktail menu, the décor leans toward classical elegance. A shiny wooden bar and polished wooden floors, modern versions of classic items like chandeliers and leather stools and gilded gold-framed mirrors create an ambience of old fashioned opulence and contemporary urban charm at once.

What makes it special? This bar prides itself on its cocktails. The ways in which they are mixed, the ingredients they contain, and the way classic recipes are given a unique twist or completely creative drinks are there for hours of tasting, are characteristic elements here. Release the Kraken, with rum, spicy mango chutney and lime or Liza Banana ball with Metaxa 12 stars, roasted coffee, pineapple, banana essence, kaffir lime leaves and peanut butter powder are just two examples of the bar’s original take on drinks. For something almost completely Greek, try Mastiqua with Skinos mastic liqueur, chia seeds, tahini, bergamot, agave syrup with Saffron from Kozani, Greek coffee powder and orange aroma.

Guide to Kolonaki’s Gourmet Food Stores

We love spending endless hours walking along the elegant streets of Kolonaki, a fashionable neighbourhood that has no shortage of high-end boutiques, stylish concept stores, cool cafes, trendy bars, and classy restaurants. 

So we’ve put together an in-depth guide revealing our favourite places to shop around here- designed to help you discover this ultra-chic district.

Part 2 | Gourmet Food Stores

For locally produced honey and coffee, homegrown herbs and nuts, through to handmade pasteli, chocolate, cheese and loukoumia- these are the spots we head to in Kolonaki to grab our favourite Greek delicacies to take home with us!


For healthy delicacies enter the doors of Carpo, where you can purchase handmade pasteli (sesame seeds with honey), dried fruits (such as dates, figs, and apricots), premium nuts (roasted, unsalted, sea salted, and coated) homemade chocolate (pieces, slabs, pralines, and truffles), plus a range of Greek honey and state of the art coffee beans, which are all beautifully packaged- making it the perfect spot to pick up some edible gifts.

Insights Greece - Guide to Kolonaki's Gourmet Food Stores


Did someone say cheese? If you love dairy, add Kostarelos to your list as this institution dates back to 1937 when the family began making cheese and yogurt using milk from their farm. Fast forward to 2020 and now you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this specialty store that allows you to sample all their famous goods on-site. The irresistible menu includes Greek cheese fondue and a tailor-made platter, featuring 20 different cheese options such as their specialty Feta, Graviera, Kefalotyri, and Maestyri.

Insights Greece - Guide to Kolonaki's Gourmet Food Stores


With a four-storey flagship store in Kolonaki, Yoleni’s is the ultimate Greek Gastronomy centre showcasing the best of Greece’s goodies under one roof. Stock up on wines, oils, herbs, and sweets from the Aegean, as you try the freshly baked pita (pie) of the day. There is also a great steak bar where you can choose your favourite cut and have it cooked just the way you like it, or arrange to have a private wine tasting session on Level 3! 

Insights Greece - Guide to Kolonaki's Gourmet Food Stores


If you would like to stock up on some local Loukoumia, Koufeta (sugar-coated almonds), mountain tea, spoon sweets, oregano, and legumes, head over to Matsouka, where you can also purchase locally produced dried fruits, nuts, and irresistible confectionery.

Insights Greece - Guide to Kolonaki's Gourmet Food Stores

Nora’s Deli 

In search of local and international gourmet items? Nora’s Deli is for you. Here you can get your hands on imported sauces, herbs, spices, cheeses, meats, salmon, wines, and other goodies from Greece and other parts of the world.

Insights Greece - Guide to Kolonaki's Gourmet Food Stores

The Dark Side of Chocolate 

For a French vintage-inspired chocolate lab make your way over to The Dark Side of Chocolate. Owner and chocolatier Aristotelis Panagiotaros creates an amazing range of chocolates on-site using flavours such as cardamom, pink pepper, chilli, lime zest, sage, as well as Greek herbs; including basil and mint.

Insights Greece - Guide to Kolonaki's Gourmet Food Stores

Starter’s Guide to Great Kolonaki Shopping

We love spending endless hours walking along the elegant streets of Kolonaki, a fashionable neighbourhood that has no shortage of high-end boutiques, stylish concept stores, cool cafes, trendy bars, and classy restaurants. So we’ve put together an in-depth Insights Greece - Starter's Guide to Great Kolonaki Shoppingguide revealing our favourite places to shop around here- designed to help you discover this ultra-chic district.

Part One | Concept Stores

SOPHIA Enjoy Thinking Live is an art and design lovers’ heaven where you can source stunning and unique handmade home decor, lifestyle, and fashion items, stationery, as well as organic beauty products. Here you can also take part in curated events and workshops with talented local artists and designers.

A:  Pindarou 15, Athina 

A: Solonos 36, Athina

Philos Athens is a multifunctional space that brings together stunning designs and homeware items. It serves as a restaurant, cafe, event space, retail, and design studio. The beautiful shop is set up in a historical Athenian residence, offering a unique glimpse into Ancient Greek history and architecture. The store is currently closed due to COVID 19 but will be opening its doors again shortly.

A: Solonos 32, Athina

DTales is a revolutionary way to buy fashion. The pioneering store brings together designer wear from Paris, New York, Australia, and Europe, allowing customers to shop an unparalleled range of labels and pieces as well as beauty products, perfumes, accessories, deco-art treasures, and statement jewellery.

A: 6, Xanthou Street

i-D CONCEPT STORES is a curated space showcasing Greek fine jewellery designers, colourful, eclectic apparel, unique objects, and upcoming brands. This store is designed to allow visitors to feel and sense the merchandise and you will find a range of labels you won’t find elsewhere.

A: Kanari 12, Athina

Insights Greece - Starter's Guide to Great Kolonaki Shopping

Simple September Pleasures in Athens

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.

Insights Greece - Simple September Pleasures in Athens

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.

Insights Greece - Simple September Pleasures in Athens

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.

Insights Greece - Simple September Pleasures in Athens

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.

A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

Neo-tavernas have become a huge hit among both visitors and locals over the last decade because they provide authentic-style cuisine in a fresh, modern setting. Yet there’s an undeniable charm to the real, old, non-renovated Greek taverna that should be experienced at least once.

Many of the Greek tavernas listed here opened in the ‘20’s – the ‘50s, and it is much more than nostalgia that has kept them going, especially during a merciless financial crisis. Their charm, infused in the décor reflective of a bygone era, the owners, who have created dishes inspired by their culture for so many decades for so many hungry customers, are important factors. And then there’s the food itself, which may not be playful and innovative, culinarily-fluid or instantly Instgrammable, but it tastes pretty much the same as it did when it was first served up. 


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Opened in 1932, this is the only place in this guide that is a little bit closer to a restaurant than a classic taverna, although its menu is comprised of classic traditional dishes. Bang in the heart of central Athens, it has been a favourite of famous Greek painters, politicians, and poets for its homey and unpretentious yet chic style.

Dishes To Try: The large variety of meze dishes and platters eaten with a glass of ouzo. Giant beans baked in tomato sauce (gigantes), bite-sized minty, fried meatballs (keftedakia), pan-melted cheese with pastrami (saganaki me pastourma and tart, salty) and marinated smoked mackerel (tsirosalata).

Location: Themistokleous 2 & Panepistimiou Sts

To Koutouki Tou Andoni

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: The cosy ambiance in this taverna, with a covered, tiled courtyard with a large fig tree, wine barrels, wooden tables with lion’s claws, and a vintage mosaic and stone walls hasn’t changed since it opened in 1958.

Dishes to Try: Fresh, fried small fish, calamari and cod, fava bean puree, wild greens, charcoal-grilled sausage, and meat patties (bifteki), as well as meze dishes with your house (hima) wine.

Location: Argyrokastrou 26, Palia Kokkinia, Metamorfosi

Taverna Tou Axoti

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Still standing proud after 60 years of operation, this family-run taverna makes you feel right at home. If you’re lucky you may be treated to a spontaneous live song performance by the owner’s grandsons.

Dishes to Try: Lamb chops, fried cod with garlic sauce (bakaliaros skordalia), fluffy meat patties, and hand-cut, freshly-fried potatoes.

Location: Paparseni 15, Polygono

Bakaliarakia Tou Damigou

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Considered one of Athen’s most antique tavernas, Damigos is said to have opened in 1864, when it specialised in cod. Today run by the fourth generation of proprietors, who have over time extended the menu. Numerous actors, writers, poets, and painters have traversed Damigos’ threshold over the century.

Dishes to Try: Definitely the cod, spicy anchovies (gavros), garlic sauce, and taramosalata.

Location: Kydathinaion 41, Plaka


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: More of a traditional meze-restaurant-kafeneion than taverna, this is a favourite for many (since 1975) because of its scenic view of the Ancient Agora in Plaka.

Dishes to Try: Take a break from touring to eat a Greek salad and a grilled meat platter accompanied by a cold beer.

Location: Dioskouron 13, Plaka


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: By now somewhat famous for being so old, authentic, and traditional, Diporto is just a few minutes walk from the Central Athens Varvakeios Fish and Meat Markets. It is charming especially because it’s a basement that you enter by walking downstairs, as well as for its remaining, heavily traditional working class of the ‘50s décor; and the food is delicious too.

Dishes to Try: The house retsina wine, oil-cooked pulses (ladera), traditional slow-cooked stews (mageirefta) and small fried fish.

Location: Sokratous 9 St & Theatrou Square, Psyrri

To Eidikon

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed
Image Courtesy of Culinary Backstreet

History & Style: This only remaining – since 1920, when it started off as a food store, as its décor reveals – old style-deli tavernas in Piraeus is located behind the tobacco factories at the central port. It was a favourite hangout of Greek Rembetika musicians Kazantzidis, Tsitsanis, and Papaioannou.

Dishes to Try: Sausage, the taverna’s well-known corned-beef omelette, fava, keftedes, sardines, and a side of juicy tomatoes, olives and good quality Greek gruyere cheese.

Location: Psarron 38 & Salaminos, Piraeus

Koutouki Tis Harikleas

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Located in an old refugee building, this place looks more like an antique store than a taverna. Old radios, sewing machines, cooking utensils, photographs, and wine barrels make up the surprising décor.

Dishes to Try: Lamb chops, fried pork, melted cheese, and great salads.

Location: Artis 29, Metamorfosi


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: In the leafy northern suburb of Kifissia, this early 19th Century taverna has hardly changed its menu since it opened in 1893, making it a beloved old classic. In summer enjoy sitting out in the garden.

Dishes to Try: This place is for meat-lovers and is known for its steaks, as well as some home-cooked stews and oil-based (ladera) dishes.

Location: Kifissias Avenue 311, Kifissia


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: This legendary taverna in Proskopos Square opened in 1920 and has a devout local as well as a tourist fan base. Its large wooden wine barrels and cosy ambiance are its most noteworthy characteristic feature.

Dishes to Try: Their famous meat patties, either plain or stuffed with cheese, crispy lamb chops, and traditional side dishes.

Location: Arktinou & Pafsaniou 4, Pangrati


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Originally a kafeneion next to the temple of St John, since 1927 this wine tavern offers customers both a real sense of old Athens and tasty dishes.

Dishes to Try: Lamb with potatoes slow-cooked with garlic in a ceramic pot, onion pie, melted cheese, tomato-stewed rooster with mashed potatoes, and good house wine.

Location: Theatrou Square 2, Psyrri


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed
Image courtesy of This Is Athens

History & Style: Since the 1970s this basement-level family-run taverna with an old mosaic-tile floor has lured many a diner, especially with its wine and meze dishes. All even better when accompanied by rembetika music.

Dishes to Try: Oven-baked beans (gigantes), sausage, lamb chops, wine meze dishes, and steaks.

Location: Ymittou 253 & Vinkelman 3, Mets


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Over half a century old, this wine tavern has retained the vibe of Athens’ bygone era when friends gathered to feast on simple yet authentic and delicious food.

Dishes to Try: Meat stew with orzo (yiouvetsi), shrimp pasta, and chicken cooked in tomato sauce.

Location: Pythodorou 10, Metaxourgeio

Mister Loukidelis

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Nea Filadelfia’s most well-known taverna opened in 1932 and is now managed by the third generation of proprietors.

Dishes to Try: If it’s your kind of thing, try the famous Loukideli’s testicles” (ameletita) meze. Also try the cheese pie, fried cod, fava puree, and snails.

Location: Georgiou apandreou 79, Nea Filadelfia


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Old mirrors from 1919, wall paintings, antiques, and old photographs create a nostalgic and singular ambiance here.

Dishes to Try: Roasted mastelo cheese from Chios, coal-fire smoked aubergine dip (melitzanosalata), pork cooked with mastic, fluffy croquettes with wild greens and herbs and pork with hand-cut fresh fried potatoes.

Location: Mavromichali 152, Exarcheia


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: Since 1930 when it opened, this taverna has changed its appearance several times, but the food has remained deeply gratifying.

Dishes to Try: Well-grilled, good-quality meats like lamb chops, steak, liver, and meat patties with fresh, hand-cut fries, as well as home-cooked stews. In winter warm-up with the meat soup.

Location: Konstandinoupoleos 34 & Proussis, Vyronas, Nea Smyrni 


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: An authentic, traditional taverna that opened in 1922, signs of which you can see around the tavern- an old set of scales, wooden plate rack, and ceramic bowls. Through the glass floor, you can see the old wine barrels in the basement. Some days you can enjoy live Greek music performances.

Dishes to Try: Fried meatballs, goat, fried cod, and fava puree.

Location Kaisarias 9, Ymittou Square

O Vathis

Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: With a large, lovely garden, this 1974 taverna has a warm, family feeling both because of its friendly service and cosy ambiance.

Dishes to Try: Grilled bread with olive oil and oregano right from the start. Cabbage-wrapped meat dolmades, lamb chops, a big choice of tasty home-cooked stews and ladera dishes, fava puree, melitzanosalata and fried courgettes.

Location: Kyrou 7, Kifissia


Insights Greece - A-Z MINIGUIDE: Athens’ Authentic Old Tavernas You Never Knew Existed

History & Style: A taverna that used to be the home of Yiayia (granny) Triandafyllia and has kept elements of her life, who was from Smyrna.

Dishes to Try: Unsurprisingly, the cuisine here is also influenced by Asia Minor and includes dishes like tabbouleh, pastrami pie, egg and cheese terrine, homemade liqueur and kazan dipi dessert.

Location: Vas. Alexandrou 10 & Ymittou

Main image: Karavitis 

The Effortless Joy of Electric Cycling Through the Capital

Solebike Tours organize electric bicycle excursions throughout the day – and year – and you don’t need to be super-fit to enjoy them!

Ah, la luna, la luna…the night that I sped under the spell of the moon. In Athens, the August full moon is the one night of the year when the city’s ancient sites are open to the public after sundown. I hopped on my Solebike electric bike and off we travelled through the city’s most beautiful spots, in the silvery light of the moon.

Easy, Breezy, Fascinating!

Insights Greece - The Effortless Joy of Electric Cycling Through the Capital

Solebike, created by cycling-enthusiasts/tourism experts Costas and Sofia has been successfully running city tours for people of every age (baby and child seats are both available and safe) for several years now. Daytime tours include wearing an earpiece through which you can follow a fascinating guided tour by Costas, Sophia, or Dimitra as you cycle. Electric bicycles are so easy to ride, all you need to do is pedal a little and zoom! Off you go, whether you’re on flat ground or up-hills. As for downhills – and believe me, we had some steep ones on my night trip – just gripping both brakes gently assures a smooth, easy experience.

The greatest thing about electric bicycle tours such as the ones so skillfully organized by Solebike is that regardless of traffic – by cars or people – you can easily and speedily navigate through the city. Vastly appealing to both foreign visitors and Greeks (indeed on my tour is was an all-Greek group), the tours are fun and always have something interesting to teach. Except for stopping at various points of interest, you get to observe life, architecture, nature, and often unknown side streets or other areas you wouldn’t normally walk through in the city.

The Moonlight Tour

Insights Greece - The Effortless Joy of Electric Cycling Through the Capital

On my tour, we started at the dinky Solebike Tours HQ in Makriyanni, near the Acropolis Metro station, where we registered and were offered complimentary water, helmet, and instructions. The first stop was the ancient and deeply historical area of Filopappou, where we walked to the same-named Roman monument from where we took in heady panoramic views of the city, sprawling glitteringly all the way down to the deep blue coast on one side. On the other was the gold-lit Acropolis, admired by families and friends who sat around in groups, and lovers concealed behind olive trees on ancient benches.

Next, we whizzed through the very lively Plaka neighbourhood, with its old tavernas, neoclassical buildings, seductive smells of delicious Greek foods, and buzzy crowds of revellers, many of them out to soak up the full moon’s light like us. After that, we cycled to the all-marble Panathenaic Stadium where the Modern Olympic Games were organized in 1896, but we got to see it both from the ground level and a ‘secret’ angle that Costas took us to from high above on Ardittou Hill. Finally, we visited the Zappeion Megaro next to the National Gardens, before parking our bikes back at the shop and enjoying a refreshing complimentary glass of wine and happy chat at Wine O’Clock bar on Vrassidas St.

Something for Everyone

This was just one of many creative, educational, and fully enjoyable tours that Solebike offers. They also organize cycling visits that include food and/or wine stops, seaside routes, and soon they are hoping to launch excursions to nearby Saronic islands like Aegina, where there are a whole different variety of pleasures to discover – food, sea, ancient sites and varying nature.

Solebike are out-of-the-box thinkers and even include a Sea Turtle Rescue Tour, while they are always coming up with new ideas of how to make the best of the developing Athens Walkway, the cycling paths on the southern coast, nearby locations and creative/pleasurable pursuits. They also organise private tours.

The Most Romantic Spots in Athens

Even with social distancing, nothing can quell romantic notions if you and your amour are in Athens.  

There are several go-to places in the city that can push your romance up a few notches and it would be foolish to not make the most of them! Here are some of our favourite spots in the Greek capital to visit with our other half! 

Head for the Hills

Grab a chilled bottle of prosecco from the fridge and walk up Lycabettus hill at sunset, seeing a panoramic vista of the city’s lights twinkling on at glowtime. Other scenic spots for a scenic al fresco drink are Philopappou or Pnyx hills, where you can sit on a rock or lay down a blanket and soak up the ancient vibes and awesome views of the Parthenon seemingly side by side with Lycabettus hill. Finally, get away from the urban throng and summer heat in the shady, verdant National Gardens (closes at sunset); enjoy walking amongst tree and plant species from around the world and spotting exotic birds like parrots, peacocks and black swans.

Islandesque Romance 

Take a stroll through Anafiotika, an island-like ‘village’ neighbourhood built by locals of Anafi in the foothills of the Acropolis. The pretty mini gardens and whitewashed houses, narrow cobblestone lanes and sweeping city views are all delightfully romantic. Start in the morning with an early stroll here while it’s still cooler and then head to Makryianni neighbourhood below for a coffee at Little Tree Cafe, Lotte Cafe or Drips and Drupes charcuterie where you can enjoy a midday prosecco or a healthy juice and a cold cuts platter a deux.

Foodie Turn Ons

Share a refined, delicious meal in a buzzy restaurant like Asian-Greek Nolan in Syntagma, meze-garden Ama Lachei in Exarcheia, Seychelles in Metaxourgeio or Nice N Easy in Kolonaki. If you prefer romance by the sea, visit the magical Temple of Poseidon in Sounio (around an hour from Athens by car or KTEL bus), have a cooling dip and then admire the temple lit up in gold light as you sit for dinner by the lapping waves at one of the tavernas below.

Hold Hands in the Dark

Munch on popcorn, sip iced drinks and venture to other worlds together watching a movie at one of Athens’ refreshing open-air cinemas. Some of the best and most classic (and still open despite Covid) are Cine Thisseion (one of the city’s oldest, where unlike anywhere else the bar snacks include bottarga from Mesolonghi, homemade cheese-pie and cherry liqueur) and Vox in Exarcheia.