Spotlight on Marathi, Chania’s Hidden Gem

If you’ve ever wondered where local families head to for a perfect day at the beach in Chania, it’s the same spot where you will find Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and First Lady Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki, who spend most of their summer weekends here.

Marathi is around a 17 km drive from the city of Chania and this gorgeous spot boasts two clear, sandy beaches that are separated by a charming little port. Both of these bays are organised, so you will find rows of umbrellas and sunbeds, which are filled with visitors who come here for all-day swimming, followed by a late lunch at one of the many cafes or restaurants along the coast- serving delicious local seafood and other well-known Cretan dishes.

Ioanna Filippakis, who along with her brother and parents own and run Marathi Villas and Psamathi Restaurant, recently spoke with IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the family business and why this spot in town is one of the island’s best-kept secrets.

When did Marathi Villas open?

The property has been in our family for over three generations. Initially, there was only a small house and an olive grove. Then we renovated the spaces (without disturbing their natural beauty) and created eight elegant villas, which now accommodate up to four people in each. By the water, a space that used to be the local “kafeneion” has now become a restaurant, offering visitors a range of Mediterranean flavours, including fresh fish and good Cretan wine.

Tell us about the style and décor of the villas.

The four villas, with uninterrupted sea views, have a purely minimalist feel. The other four overlooking the garden have attics and are decorated in a 1930s and 1960s style. We chose pastel shades because they blend in perfectly with the surrounding environment.

Your restaurant “Psamathi” is a favourite amongst locals, tell us about your menu. 

All the produce used in our restaurant is organic and locally sourced. The oil, honey, and wine are actually produced by our family. There is plenty on offer for brunch, lunch, and dinner. My favourite dish at the moment is Pasta served with Mediterranean squid and stuffed with Feta and olives. Our customers’ most loved breakfast is the Cretan specialty, which consists of Strapatsada (eggs with tomato and Feta), Yogurt with Walnuts and Honey, Sfakian pie, and Cretan Dakos.

Where do locals love to swim?

Very close by you will find a bay, known to a few, which is called “White Beach”. You can get to the bay by boat or by swimming. The sand is white and the waters are crystal blue. There are high cliffs, ideal for diving, and a small cave.

What makes Marathi an ideal spot to visit?

Marathi is a place where the natural landscape wins you over. Souda Bay which encloses the area does not allow the winds to get through, so the sea is always at peace. It’s always calm and looks like paradise. Marathi is ideal for rest and relaxation. Here it’s all about sunbathing and swimming. You can also enjoy walking along the adjacent bays and participating in water sports such as canoeing and pedal boating.

What history can be found here?

Marathi is built on Ancient Minoa at the Port of Aptera. Parts of Ancient Minoa, the jetty, and the ancient sanctuary are visible from here.

Insights Greece - Spotlight on Marathi, Chania’s Hidden Gem

What are the best months to visit?

The best months for holidays here are May, June, and October. The weather conditions during these months are such that the temperatures are at the best levels so you can enjoy a wonderful vacation without the crowds.

Tell us about Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ connection to Marathi.

The Mitsotakis family originates from Chania. Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ father the late Konstantinos Mitsotakis built a holiday house here because he loved the wonderful natural environment with views of the mountains and the Gulf of Souda. The Prime Minister spent his childhood here and has incredible memories of summer vacations in Marathi, which he has now continued with his own children. Former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis Mitsotakis, sister of the PM, considers Marathi “a place of unsurpassed beauty.”  

Marathi Villas

Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets

The Greek Islands may be a vibrant oasis offering a cornucopia of pleasures, but we strongly suggest getting off the beaten path and heading to Mani — the central peninsula of the Peloponnese. Behold the marvel that is Limeni: Stone-built houses, turquoise waters, and colourful caiques (quintessential Greek postcard, anyone?) that are well worth the trip.

Preserved by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Limeni is a place where natural beauty, coastal vistas, and history combine. Located just minutes away from Areopolis and Gythio and in close driving proximity to Kalamata, this tiny traditional fisherman’s village is one of Mani’s best-kept secrets waiting to be explored.

What to See

Monastery Evretrias (Panagi H Vreti)

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Must visit destination

This catholic church built in the 18th century, dating back to 1731, belonged to the Mavromichali family. Overlooking the seaside with its iconic bell tower, it’s definitely worth a visit (and an Insta-post).

Paralia Dexameni —  Mani Water Sports

Adventure with a side of crystal clear waters? Whether it’s scuba diving into the big blue, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, or simply an intimate sunset cruise you crave, Mani Water Sports is a recreation centre right on the “beach” that will fulfill your adrenaline needs. Paralia Dexameni is more like a natural rock formation (like a natural swimming pool), so if you’re looking for a “proper” beach – you may have to drive further to Foneas, Alypa, or Gerolymenas.

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Charming alleyways

Just a 5km drive away is the village of Areopolis (in fact, Limeni is the seaport of Areopolis). This traditional village pervaded with stone-built houses has grown into a flourishing town filled with buzzing cafes, bars, and restaurants and if you’re lucky enough to be there on the weekend — a lively open-air market takes place in the main square every Saturday- you don’t want to miss it!

Where to Stay

Mavromichalai Hotel

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Rustic hotels

One of the most iconic places to visit and stay is at the Mavromichalai Hotel, built directly on the water’s edge. Now converted and restored into a luxury hotel, the Tower was the first residence of Limeni-raised Petrobey Mavromichalis, the last Bey (or ‘Prince’) of Mani and chief leader of the Maniots during the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Offering six exclusive rooms, all with unobstructed views of the picturesque bay and village of Limeni, visitors also have the opportunity to visit the tower and the tomb where the famous maniacal military leader is buried.

Pirgos Mavromichali

Luxury, history, and a private beach area with a sun terrace. Ah, where do we sign? Pirgos Mavromichali (or Tower Mavromichali) is a historically restored 18th-century stone tower, turned family-owned boutique hotel overlooking the Gulf of Messiniakos. The hotel provides practically everything you need for an enjoyable stay in Limeni, including an exclusive restaurant and bar overlooking the turquoise waters.

Where to Dine & Drink

O Takis

Prefer to live on the edge? Watch the fishing boats chug up and down the bay from your perch at taverna “O Takis”. Famed for its exquisite fresh seafood and its Insta-worthy sunset, “O Takis” is one of the best seafood restaurants in the Peloponnese. P.S. Ask for the Lobster Pasta, cooked with Takis’ “secret” recipe for two!

To Mavromichaleiko

If you’re craving Traditional Mani cuisine then “To Mavromichaleiko“ in Areopoli is your stop. Charming wooden tables and stone-built walls fill this family-owned taverna in Areopoli. We recommend their specialty: Hand-made pasta served with Maniatiko cheese, fresh farm eggs, and “siglino” (Mani salted pork). Trust us, you won’t leave unsatisfied.

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Delicious cuisine


This two-story stone building, located just above the water, houses one of Limeni’s fave cafes and restaurants – Teloneio. Whether you’re looking to enjoy your coffee where the water breaks, or a quality feed to see the sunset, you won’t be disappointed. We recommend the smoked sausage from Mani wrapped in grilled capsicums — delicious!

Bukka Bar

After the sun sets in Limeni, make your way to Bukka Bar in Areopolis. Adorned with a giant fuchsia bougainvillea wrapping the entrance of the stone building, Bukka Bar serves some of the best (and most original) cocktails you’ll sip. You can’t go wrong with ‘Grandma’s Choice’.

All images courtesy of Marina Bifsha © (Copyright)  

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 

Veganism in Athens in 2020: It’s So Easy Being Green

The vegan food scene in Athens just keeps blossoming, and their menus are as sophisticated as they come.

Veganism has become a way of life for many Greeks, especially those of the younger generations. Being more well-travelled and culturally awake, vegan eaters in Greece today expect – and are getting – great dishes at affordable prices. The places we list below each have their original style, décor and menu, often with several exciting options that include influences from ethnic cuisine or fun and flavorsome creations made by the chef. Whether you’re strictly vegan or just in the mood for healthy, fresh, surprising and meat/dairy-free foods, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

VEGANAKI (Athanasiou Diakou 38, Makriyianni)

Comforting Greek homemade-style dishes and recipes with Asian or Mediterranean elements are given a contemporary overhaul here. Try the classic Pastitsio dish which is made with soya instead of beef mince and a rich bechamel sauce made from pureed cauliflower and almond milk, juicy burgers made with veggies and pulses, salads, soups, sandwiches and smoothies

Insights Greece - Veganism in Athens in 2020: It’s So Easy Being Green

AVOCADO (Nikis 30, Syntagma)
The Original vegan gathering point in Athens is still a favourite for locals and visitors alike. The organic food here is nutritious, delicious and worldly – from comforting spicy Dahl or vegan sushi and avocado pizza to peanut-butter marinated tofu served in a vegan bowl with spicy edamame peas and quinoa, there’s something for everyone. The juices, teas, smoothies and desserts (try the chocolate fondant tart) rock too.

MYSTIC VEGAN (Emm. Benaki 76, Exarcheia)
What started out as Mystic Pizza, which quickly stood out because they use hemp flour with cannabis seeds, in later years branched out opening Mystic Vegan. From seasonal soups and fresh salads to lachmatzoum, peinirli, pasta and of course many choices of pizza, this too has become a favourite for Athenian vegans.

VEGAN BEAT (Perikleous 56, Monastiraki)

Located in buzzy Monastiraki, this dinky restaurant with a few outdoor tables serves the vegan rendition of fast food- from burgers covered in melted vegan cheddar cheese and caramelized onions to souvlaki and moussaka, there are plenty of meat-free ‘junk food’ options to keep you satisfied.

PLANT KINGDOM (Frynis 1, Paleo Faliro)
With a menu of fresh, seasonal, local and mainly organic ingredients, this green spot in the southern suburb of Faliro changes its menu every week. Try their vegan burger with vegan cheese and guacamole, lentil ‘meatballs’ with roast potatoes or try the dish of the day.

PEAS (Falirou 40, Koukaki)

Try a jackfruit burger, seitan club sandwich, cheesy tofu nuggets with black eye beans or any other creative and freshly conceptualized dish at this new arrival. Serving food that’s centred on flavour and health benefits, including smoothies, juices and mouthwatering desserts like lemon pie, Peas already has a devout following.

LIME BISTRO (Dekeleon 23, Gazi)

Lime in Gazi has an uplifting interior imbued with shades of blue and a back garden where you can taste a great choice of vegan burgers, a daily raw tart of the day, soups, power smoothies and salads. Try the raw carob-‘dako’ rusk tomato salad with creamy almond ‘myzithra’ cheese and the ‘seafood’ orzo pasta dish and don’t miss out on the banoffee pie.

YI (Grigoriou Lambraki 69, Glyfada)

Not only vegan but also raw, Yi’s sophisticated menu can’t fail to impress with its fantastic variety of homemade plant-based cheeses, nut-and-seed “butters”. The restaurant is also proud to be serving strictly glucose, gluten, sugar and dairy-free, non-processed foods only, making no sacrifice on flavour. They specialize in hot (with hot water added, not boiled) and cold soups and their most popular dish is the Burrito platter for two.

COOKOOMELA GRILL (Themistokleous 43-45, Exarcheia)

Greece’s first vegan/vegetarian souvlaki joint serves delectable gyro and wrapped souvlaki using mushrooms and pulses to replace meat and serving fresh crisp salads rich with aromatic herbs and seasonal veggies. Try their best selling dish Yellow, with mushroom gyro, avocado, handmade vegetable mayo, mustard, parsley and freshly cut fries.

Tribal-Chic Tortuga Beach Bar & Restaurant in Naxos

By Gina Lionatos 

As you drive down the dirt road of Plaka Beach in Naxos towards Tortuga beach bar and restaurant, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve laid eyes on a desert oasis…if it wasn’t for the white sand and sparkling turquoise water of the Aegean Sea to your other side.

A tribal-chic vision with accents of bamboo, cactus, wicker, and muted copper tones, Tortuga has been designed to immediately relax the eye and transport you into an exceptional Summer experience. Attached to the chic rooms of Naxian on the Beach and with its own beach bar, hours could easily roll into days underneath the bamboo-canopied sunbeds. Up from the beach, the dining experience becomes the focus, with a fresh and modern take on Mediterranean cuisine.

Insights Greece - Tribal-Chic Tortuga Beach Bar & Restaurant in Naxos

Type of cuisine: Modern, Seafood, Mediterranean.

Type of eatery: Casual yet chic, with a focus on fine food.

The low down…Whether you’ve stepped off the beach in your kaftan or dressed up to enjoy dinner and cocktails, Tortuga offers a unique dining experience that you won’t find elsewhere on the island of Naxos.

Décor/ Ambience: Tribal-luxe. Think long golden reeds blowing in the wind, bamboo walls, and an eclectic array of cushions and furnishings.

Entrees: Try the scallops with pumpkin and celeriac puree or the tuna tartare.

Mains: The orzo with prawns is memorable, for all the right reasons. Meat-fiends will love the Beef tagliata.

Something to drink: To quench that Summer thirst, try the gin-based Naxian Side or the Tortuga Spritz.

Order our fave dish: The ceviche is tangy and fresh, featuring locally caught fish of the day.

Insights Greece - Tribal-Chic Tortuga Beach Bar & Restaurant in Naxos

Price range: Tortuga’s pimped-up beach snacks (think salads, tacos, and club sandwiches) start from 10 €. At the restaurant, entrees start from 12 €, and mains are mostly priced between 15 to 40 €.                     

Location: Plaka, Naxian on the Beach

Opening Hours: 11 am to 11 pm 

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. 

Golf Enthusiasts Head for the Greens in Greece

It might come as a surprise to some, but Greece is now considered an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts.

Imagine perfect weather conditions, luxurious accommodations with magical views, and a superb golf course only a few steps away. If that sounds like a dream read on to discover three exceptional golfing experiences around the Aegean that will leave you wanting to head for the Greens!

Costa Navarino

In the heart of Messinia, Costa Navarino offers not one but two world-class golf courses with the stunning sea, mountain, and river as a backdrop to your tee shots. The Dunes and The Bay Course are 18-hole signature courses surrounded by five-star hotels and resorts, making it a prime location for golf connoisseurs. Here you will find everything from shoes and buggies to full sets of golf clubs for hire and you can test your skills while enjoying uninterrupted views of lush olive groves on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. This spot has become so popular with golfers from around the world that Costa Navarino is scheduled to open two new José Mariá Olazábal-designed golf courses in 2021.

Insights Greece - Golf Enthusiasts Head for the Greens in Greece
Porto Carras, Halkidiki
Porto Carras

Set on the spectacular coast of Sithonia, Porto Carras is home to the one and only golf course in Northern Greece, which is now considered a leading golf destination in the Mediterranean. Here you can enjoy a luxurious golf experience on its 18-hole and par 72 signature course, which hosts international tournaments all year round (pre-COVID). With breathtaking views of the Aegean, nearby mountains, vineyards, and the overall landscape of Halkidiki have made Olive Grove Golf Course one of the most admired in the globe. There are also private and group lessons, which are designed for every golfer level, including kids’ classes. The course is close to Porto Carras two 5-star hotels, a world-class villa, a casino, one of the biggest thalassotherapy and spa centers in Europe, a private 315-berth marina, a horse riding academy, a tennis club with nine courts, a diving center, a nautical club, plus Greece’s largest organic vineyard, making it a real treat for all.


Crete Golf Club

On Greece’s largest island, you will find an 18-hole Championship course that meticulously maintains the distinctive elements of Crete’s natural landscape. The mountainous course at Hersonissos, about 25km east of Heraklion, features a desert-style layout and each hole has been individually sculptured to blend into the authentic surroundings. The course is said to test every aspect of a golfer’s repertoire and the popular 11th hole offers an unrivaled view of the Lasithi Mountains and the unique Cretan countryside. Open all year round (prior to COVID) the course is only footsteps away from its 5-star hotel that consists of 25 suites, which all include large balconies with mountain/ sea views, plus a serene restaurant overlooking the course.