Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Pascha is the biggest religious holiday of the year in Greece, which follows the Holy Week rites in commemoration of the Passion of Christ and the celebration of His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Holy Week is the week just before Easter that extends from today, Palm Sunday, until Holy Saturday and marks the last week of Lent. It has been named “Holy,” due to the significant events that take place for Christianity in regard to the sufferings of Jesus Christ. During this week every year, believers prepare themselves for Jesus Christ’s Resurrection with special traditions. 

Here we share some of these age-old traditions.

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Palm Sunday 

At the beginning of Holy Week, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem following His glorious miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead.

Today, Greek Orthodox Christians mirror Jesus’ follower’s actions by carrying a small woven palm cross, which is given out during the Palm Sunday morning church service. While Palm Sunday still occurs during the Sarakosti (40 days of Lent), today the Greek Orthodox Church allows people to consume fish, oil, and wine and families gather after church to eat a seafood lunch. 

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday

From Holy Monday, the churches’ chandeliers and icons are covered in black and purple material, highlighting the atmosphere of mourning for the coming crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ. Church services typically take place in the morning and evening of Holy Week. 

Holy Monday is dedicated to two events: The life of Joseph, son of Patriarch Jacob, and the adventures of whom reflect the life of Christ and his sufferings. It is also dedicated to the story of the fruitless fig tree that Christ dried, with the fig tree symbolizing the soul of every human who lacks virtue. 

Holy Tuesday is dedicated to the parable of the ten virgins which aims to teach people to be full of faith and charity, as well as the parable of ‘Taladwn’, which aims to teach people to be hardworking and cultivate their spirituality. 

Holy Wednesday is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, who regretted her life of sin, washed Christ’s feet with myrrh, and was forgiven because of her strong faith.

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week
Image @Souvlaki for the Soul
Holy Thursday 

On Holy Thursday, Christianity celebrates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the twelve Apostles. In commemoration of this very important day, on Holy Thursday the preparations for Jesus Christ’s resurrection are underway in Greek households. According to tradition, people bake their koulourakia and lamprokouloura (Greek cookies), Tsourekia (Greek brioche), and traditional dye hard-boiled eggs, which symbolize the renewal of life since antiquity, while the colour red symbolizes Christ’s blood.

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy WeekGood Friday 

On Good Friday you will hear church bells ring all day for the funeral of Jesus Christ. The Bible said that He died in the ninth hour, and at nine o´clock in the evening, Greeks follow a symbolic funeral procession. Many people participate in the quiet procession while carrying candles and the experience overall is quite solemn. Each church carries an Epitaphios (a wooden canopied bier representing the tomb of Christ) covered with flowers of various colours. People follow along the streets of cities, towns, and villages listening to psalms being chanted. This is a day of mourning and the strictest day of fasting, with many people consuming very little food on Good Friday.  

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Holy Saturday 

Many people receive their Holy Communion during Saturday morning’s church service. When they return home, preparations begin for the festive dinner that is served after the Resurrection Midnight Mass. Magiritsa soup is a traditional dish prepared in most Greek houses (made with offal and finished in a lemon sauce). Before midnight, people gather in church holding candles, which they light with the “Holy Light” offered by the priest. Children hold their Lambades (candles) traditionally given to them by their godparents during Holy Week and join in on the midnight service. The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated when the clock strikes Midnight with drum beats and fireworks lighting the skies as the church bells ring and chanters begin the hymn ‘Christos Anesti’ (Christ is Risen), this is also chanted by all who attend. People then return home to gather around the dinner table and break their fast; this is when they crack their red eggs and say “Christos Anesti”. 

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy WeekEaster Sunday

Easter Sunday is a huge celebration in Greece, as the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates Jesus rising from the dead. In many parts of the country, lamb is skewered and cooked over charcoal. In other regions, the meat for the Easter table is roasted in the oven. The atmosphere is festive and joyous and people listen and dance to local folk music. And if you are lucky enough to be in Greece during Easter, don’t miss one of the local festivals taking place, as this experience is unforgettable.

Easter celebrations take place all over Greece; some of the most famous destinations to celebrate Easter in Greece are Corfu, Patmos, Kalamata, and Kalymnos. 

Main Image by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Bringing Elements of Greek Lifestyle Into Your Home

Greece is loved by many for its rich history, culture, design, cuisine, and more. After visiting Greece, many wish they could bottle up elements of the Greek lifestyle to take home with them.

If you have a love for the simple, laid-back and joyful Greek way of life, here are some easy ways of introducing a slice of Greece into your own home!

By Katerina Anastasiadis 

Greek diet

There is a lot of research about the healthy Greek diet, which is rich in legumes, vegetables, olive oils, fish, herbs, nuts and yoghurt. Food is an extremely important part of Greek culture and for many is one of the reasons they love visiting Greece. From simple boiled vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and the famous Greek salad; to rich traditional recipes such as Gemista, Moussaka and Dolmades- there is so much variety to choose from.

Insights Greece - Bringing Elements of Greek Lifestyle Into Your Home

Keep in mind that the Greek diet is more than just a list of foods. It’s about knowledge of gastronomy, skills, practices, and traditions related to the cultivation and preparation of food. Greeks take their food seriously and treat it as one of life’s everyday pleasures that should be enjoyed with family and friends.

Family, Friends & Filoxenia 

Greek culture places a large emphasis on family value and unity and when we say family, we also mean extended family. For Greeks, friends become family and strangers are made to feel welcome too. Greeks are known for their Filoxenia (hospitality) and when visiting a Greek home (especially one with a Yiayia) it means you will be mothered, smothered and welcomed with open arms. Entertaining is one of the most important parts of Greek life and that means lots of good food, conversations and laughter.

Insights Greece - Bringing Elements of Greek Lifestyle Into Your Home

Greek décor

Greece is also a cultural capital of the world for its beautiful architecture and design. One unique aspect of Greek interior styling is its minimalism and simplicity. You only need a few key pieces in a room to add a touch of the Aegean to any space. Whether it be traditional ceramics or pottery, all white details, or a chic boho island cushion and chair- there are plenty of ways to add a hint of Greek décor to your home.


Greece has a rich tradition surrounding the consumption of coffee. Not only is traditional Greek coffee considered to be one of the healthiest in the world, thanks to its heart- healthy compounds, it is the ritual of drinking caffeine that makes it so special. This is a special time to catch up with friends and slowly sip on a cup as you chat about your day’s events.


Insights Greece - Bringing Elements of Greek Lifestyle Into Your Home

Greece may not be as well-known as other Mediterranean countries for its wine, but Greeks do love their glass or two- with many still making their own homemade varieties. Recent research revealed that Ikarians (one of the world’s 7 Blue Zones) drank a glass of wine each day. It’s quite common for locals on islands and in remote villages to have a small glass of wine with lunch and dinner.


With a long history dating from the Antiquity, during which poetry, dancing, and music were inseparable- music has always played an important part in the Ancient and modern Greeks’ everyday life. Whether you love soul, jazz, rock, RnB, pop, country or even heavy metal- it’s therapeutic to put on your favourite sounds and sit back and relax with tunes that make you feel good. And as you know, Greeks don’t need an excuse to dance either- so even if you are home alone- turn up that music and get moving to the beat. We promise it will make you feel good!

*Main feature image by Blue Mandarin Photography © (Copyright) 

Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

A Greek goddess with a deep love for all that Greece has to offer, a commitment to good health mind, body, and soul, and a yearning for wisdom chances upon the opportunity to bottle these elements into the ultimate elixir. The liquid gold universally recognised as pure extra virgin Greek olive oil.

Greek American Krystalan Chryssomallis has seen the world, pouring her marketing prowess and photography genius into the incomparable (we’re talking groundbreaking concerts at landmarks such as the Pyramids) tours of her father, legendary Greek musician, and composer, Yanni.

Insights Greece - Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

Having searched the United States amidst a backdrop of widespread olive oil fraud, for pure, top quality extra virgin olive, it was serendipitous that Krystalan joined forces with an olive oil sommelier to create her own special blend, released last week. For the talented philanthropist who embodies kindness, optimism, philanthropy, and gratitude, it is fitting she labelled her blend Wise Life.

Krystalan spoke to us about her favourite places in Greece, the increasing need for wisdom and positivity in our lives, and paying homage to her ancestry in her special blend of liquid gold.

Interview by Gina Mamouzelos 

Tell us about your love affair with Greece?

I absolutely love Greece. Everything about it. The people, the air, the never-ending clear blue ocean, the olive trees, the singing birds, the food, the home-made wine, and all the special coves and surprises that you stumble upon as you wander around the cobblestone streets. The first time I visited Greece I was in university studying abroad in Spain and I was able to take several weeks to go and explore and enjoy. I remember my first experience very vividly… I felt a beautiful sense of peace. I felt at home. The energy there just seemed to match my own and I absolutely loved the people I came in contact with. Even though I didn’t grow up speaking Greek, I was able to communicate and connect with the locals in a way I’ve never experienced anywhere else. There is a big sense of love and inclusivity I experienced while on the islands and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.

Insights Greece - Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

Favourite memory?

By far my time with my dad in our family home in Kalamata, Greece. Nothing beats waking up early in the morning and enjoying the most flavorful fresh-picked fruits, swimming in the ocean and finding the most fish, and enjoying our time together with nothing to do other than enjoy the deep blue. It is our special haven. Since we are constantly touring, working and on the go, Greece is where we do nothing else other than just “be.”

Favourite experience?

Greeks know how to have fun! There are so many that stand out, but one of my favourites was my time in Crete. I had just arrived and met some new friends who welcomed us to their home with open arms. Before I knew it, we were all up dancing and singing into the early hours of the morning. Nights turn into days and dancing is always part of the fun… which, if you know me, I’m always in for dancing.

Favourite place to stay?

There are so many beautiful places! Greece has such great hospitality, that nearly any place you go will be magical. The most incredible thing about Greece is that there is an experience for anything you are looking for. Each of the islands all have their own unique personality, cuisine, energy, and activities and there are so many of them that you can return to and have a different experience every time. If you want high energy fun, Mykonos remains the place to go. Paros has a beautiful unexplored calmness, and I’ve been interested in visiting Cana Ves Oia in Santorini for a more serene and peaceful time.

Favourite place to eat?

Insights Greece - Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

One of the really exceptional things about Greece is that any corner you turn into has the most unbelievable food and wine. It’s always fresh, clean and the Mediterranean diet, to me, is among the best in the world. Nothing is overproduced and oftentimes, the owner made their own wine or picked their own veggies or fished what you are eating earlier that day. There is the cutest restaurant set right in the sand below my dad’s home in Kalamata that has the most amazing fish I’ve ever had.

Favourite beach?

I love the ocean and everything about it. You can’t go wrong anywhere you are in Greece. The water is crystal blue and clear and absolutely stunning. The beaches in Crete are quite spectacular. There are so many you can go to and visit while you are there. Preveli Beach is beautiful and unique in that Kourtaliotis River ends at the beach creating a delta that makes for a rare experience. That, coupled with the beautiful lush vegetation, palm trees and soft sand make for a beautiful landscape. It does get quite crowded, so it’s a great place for early mornings or later in the season. Milos is on my bucket list. They have a beautiful sun-bleached rock coastline set against the turquoise blue waters that I’ve been wanting to photograph!

Favourite spot to get your camera out?

Insights Greece - Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

Greece has so many incredible locations to photograph. I hope to be able to return someday soon and really dive in and capture the beauty as I have seen and experienced it. The colors and vibrancy are what always catches my eye. My favourite experience shooting was hiking the trails in Kalamata with my family. The contrast of the trees and the cliffs with the sun setting over the ocean is one of my favorite things.

I would absolutely love to someday work alongside Greece and capture and share the beauty and magic that exists there. That is my next dream!

What do you love to cook?

Since I was travelling so much, I wasn’t cooking as much as I would like, but now, with the current situation and having time at home, I’ve really had the opportunity to bring cooking back into my life on a more consistent basis and I’m loving it! My favourite foods are healthy and simple. I believe that when you have organic fresh ingredients, you don’t need to do too much to them and allow their natural flavors to come through. One of my favourites is the traditional Greek salad! It’s so simple, yet the juices on the bottom mixed with the olive oil and Feta and dipped with some fresh homemade bread is just delicious!

How did your Wise Life collaboration come about?

Insights Greece - Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

I absolutely love Greece and wanted to incorporate more of the things I love about it into my daily life, in a more meaningful way. It was a natural fit when I met Theo Stepan, the owner of a beautiful olive grove here in California, to create something that not only has a positive message, but also history going  back to our heritage in a way that we can share all the incredible benefits of “liquid gold.” From one Greek American woman to another, we knew we wanted to work together in some way and WISE LIFE comes out of that chance meeting. To me, being wise encompasses the ability to discern a moment in time and make a thoughtful decision. With all that is going on in our world, having wisdom in our homes is so important. Open communication and a willingness to listen and gain knowledge from one another, along with life experiences and understanding, provides the perfect combination to better understand one another and make wise decisions as we progress through life. My hope is that having a positive message and reinforcement of the powers of wisdom in your home in something you may use every day is a  reminder that together, we can live a healthy, happy, and wise life.

 Tell us about your delicious Wise Life olive oil?

Insights Greece - Deep Love for Greece Inspires Launch of New Olive Oil Blend

WISE LIFE is a limited edition first cold press run. It is organically grown, hand-harvested, guaranteed fresh, and made with love extra virgin olive oil. It comes in a beautiful 500ml black glass bottle that keeps the oil fresh and also just looks great in the kitchen. It will make for a beautiful gift come the holidays! Since it’s tricky getting around all of the fraudulent olive oil that’s in the market here in the US, I was thrilled to find a solution for my own kitchen. It had been years of searching and trying various olive oils that are here, but I was not able to find anything I was confident in and just loved. Creating this special blend with Global Gardens was my solution and I wanted to find a way to share it with others. It can be found at the Global Gardens.

How should people enjoy Wise Life?

I was looking to create something that could be used easily and on anything. I appreciate a great olive oil that allows the natural flavours to really stand out and that can make any dish enhanced. I love the kitchen and it’s important for me to find products that not only taste good but are great for you. Wise Life is just that and is perfect for drizzling on salads, sautés, frying, you name it. It’s quickly become my favourite olive oil in the kitchen. I should add, I also use it in my moisturizers! It’s fresh and pure so all of the health benefits olive oil has to offer are great for your skin too.


Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

Relax, recharge and reinvigorate yourself in just a few days at Nefeli Nine Retreat, located just an hour’s drive from Athens city centre.

The renowned retreat offers tailored experiences to meet all personal situations or goals — whether you’re in need of a fitness boost, peaceful sleep, nutrition advice, or relaxation and refocusing, Nefeli Nine is the ideal place to help you create a life-changing journey specific to you and your goals.

Insights Greece - Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

And it’s not just the personalised programs that will help you unwind — many features of the retreat were created with Ancient Greek design principles in mind to help you to disconnect and detox.

Found in Dikastika, in the Attica region, the location will enchant you by transporting you through its unspoiled beauty, rural scenery and historical monuments. Here you can indulge in pure R&R at a traditional villa with panoramic views of the sea.

We recently spoke with founder Stephanie Contomichalos, about her successful health and wellness retreat, which can quickly take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and treat your mind and body to much-needed TLC.

When did Nefeli Nine Retreat open and what was the concept behind it?

I started Nefeli Nine in 2018. I grew up in the UK and would spend every summer and Easter in Greece with my grandparents. In 2016 I moved here and completely fell in love with Athens. It is a young, vibrant city, the weather is fantastic, and nature is very easy to access. It ticked every box. Nefeli Nine was really born from two things: My love for Greece, coupled with my love for nature and sports. Health and fitness have always been important to me, so it felt very natural to combine all the things I love and to share that with other people.

Why do you think Greece is a great destination for healing? 

What is so special about Greece is its simplicity, the colours, the food, the traditions all play a huge role in what makes Greece so unique. Having grown up in London I really started to appreciate the simple things; the concept of eating seasonal food (which is totally alien in London where we eat mangoes and raspberries all year round), the pure joy of just being outside on a hiking trail, and the beauty of all the traditions.

Insights Greece - Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

Why did you chose Dikastika as the spot where you would open your retreat?

I had a few criteria, but the most important ones were that it was close to mountains and sea, easily accessed and yet gave you a feeling of being far away. Dikastika ticked every box. It is right on the sea, facing Evia island with beautiful views of the Aegean and is very close to the mountains. Despite its proximity to town, the thing that I really love about this area is the feeling of being in a small seaside village.

Dikastika will enchant you by transporting you through its unspoiled beauty, rural scenery and historical monuments to a glorious past. Located very close to Marathon (yes 26 miles from Athens!) the area is rich in history… from the famous battle of the Greeks versus Persians, the birthplace of the Marathon and you can even still visit the city of Rhamnous, a well-preserved and ancient citadel dating from 400BC.  During your time at Nefeli Nine, we will explore these ancient wonders and get lost amid pieces of living history.

What benefits can guests expect after visiting Nefeli Nine?

Insights Greece - Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

My main goal for guests is for them to leave feeling completely relaxed and refreshed. We aim to not ask any questions of people during their stay with us (other than whether they want us to bring tea or coffee to their room in the morning!) and all activities are optional. We do not push people. We hope that a week of fresh air, good food and exercise leaves them feeling revitalized and ready to go when they leave.

Nefeli Nine was designed to give people a true break from the stresses of their everyday lives, to spend a week by the sea, hiking, eating well, moving well and enjoying the company of others. Clients have the opportunity to experience Greek traditions, see some lesser-known archaeological sites, eat delicious seasonal food, and take a few days off from having any obligations. They leave feeling mentally relaxed and physically raring to go!

What is the busiest time of year for you and when do you recommend people visit?

We run retreats in Spring (April – June) and Autumn (September – November). These are my favourite times of the year, the weather tends to be lovely, there are less tourists and you get to truly enjoy Greece and all that it has to offer.

Tell us about the healthy dishes you prepare for guests and the local produce you use.

Insights Greece - Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

Coming from a Greek and Middle Eastern background, the table has always been an especially important place for me. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother watching her cook and taking notes, and then the whole family would sit together and share the food. This is very much a concept that I encourage at Nefeli Nine.

Everything I prepare is locally sourced and using seasonal ingredients. We buy our honey from a local beekeeper (who I actually found on a hike), our fruits and vegetables all come from local farmers’ markets, and even our wine and olive oil are produced within the area.

The concept behind Nefeli Nine is based on the Blue Zones Lifestyle, and this also applies to all of the food that we prepare. We can cater to vegans and vegetarians, but we promote a predominantly plant-based diet, supplemented by organic lean meat and fresh fish. We avoid all processed sugars, chemicals and additives, but we do offer delicious homemade sweets. 

Insights Greece - Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

What fitness classes can guests participate in?

We offer yoga, mobility, and bodyweight fitness classes. We tend to adjust these classes depending on our clients. For those who are looking for more we can organize watersports activities (windsurf, SUP, waterskiing and wakeboarding) nearby.

Are the programs designed for people of all fitness levels?  

The Nefeli Nine program has been carefully designed so that people of all levels can join. Our hikes have been chosen so that everyone can participate and there are always at least two guides allowing people to walk at different paces. All our yoga and mobility classes can be adjusted accordingly. We will never leave anybody behind, nor will we leave those looking for more of a harder workout feeling unchallenged!

Insights Greece - Relax and Recharge at Nefeli Nine Retreat  

Tell us more about the hikes.

All our hikes offer wonderful and surprisingly different experiences. Our hiking guides are very well-versed on the flora and fauna of the surrounding mountains and we always try to bring home some fresh herbs, mushrooms, wild greens or asparagus from our hikes.

Do you offer a more personalised program for guests?

We are deliberately small precisely so that we can be flexible and cater to everything from a couple who want to do something different and perhaps challenging, to a small group or family where we tailor different programs for people of different ages or fitness levels. If you are looking for the ‘one size fits all’ offering, then we may not be for you. If you want a bespoke product designed for your work team, family group or just the two of you, then we will rise to the challenge. We have a limit of 10 people.

Tell us more about the villas and the facilities available.

It’s a traditional stone villa, spotlessly clean and well-appointed so guests can truly relax. We have had to instill a program of daily rigorous cleansing and disinfecting so our guests can enjoy themselves without worry. Beds are firm, cushions and towels are fluffy, and you wake up with a view that puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day. There is a pool, there is WiFi, there are books and a variety of games, but the reality is you may just want to use the house for your downtime to recharge for the next day.


All Your Essential Oils

Greece is dripping in addictive, magical oils that pack a rich, antioxidant punch, and I’m not just talking about the liquid gold that is their world-famous olive oil. Follow the lead of the Ancient Greeks and experience the plentiful benefits of these key oils.

Insights Greece - All Your Essential Oils
Prickly Pear Seed Oil

The Opuntia Plant grows wild in Greece, as well as other parts of the Mediterranean, and is lauded for being a miracle plant. The prickly pear seed oil contains the highest percentage (88%) of unsaturated fatty acids than any other beauty oil and is rich in protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins E and K. Known to transform the skin by refining and tightening pores, reducing inflammation, brightening under the eyes, it also lightens dark spots, enhances skin tone and restores elasticity.

Find it in: Opuntia Luxury Oils,

Calendula oil

The Calendula flower holds many natural properties that assist in rehydrating dry, broken skin, as well as areas of redness. The oil from the flower is one of nature’s most powerful botanicals due to its therapeutic properties and contains vitamin C and and potent antioxidants.

Find it in: Dokimon Pure and Korres

Insights Greece - All Your Essential OilsOlive oil

Homer referred to olive oil as liquid gold, and the Ancient Greeks used their native olive tree for everything, including to hydrate and moisturize skin and hair. A natural source of vitamins, minerala, amino acida and antioxidants, make like the ancient Greeks and use it to deeply nourish your skin, lock in moisture, and restore elasticity to maintain youthful, soft skin.

Find it in: Supermarkets stocking good quality oil, Greek villages overflowing with their local pride and joy, and skin care from Korres and Apivita.

Insights Greece - All Your Essential OilsPropolis oil

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the most admired figure in the history of medicine, would use propolis to heal infections and wounds. Propolis is effective for treating acne, sensitive skin, protecting the skin against pollution, as well as soothing irritated skin. For its protective properties, it is also commonly used in lip balms amd multi purpose balms.

Find it in: Apivita products. In 2013, APIVITA won an Innovation Award for the Patent of Propolis Extraction against Premature Ageing, resulting from years of experience and the company’s extensive know-how on apicultural products. With effectiveness verified by 8 clinical studies, this particularly powerful antioxidant and anti-aging extract moderates significantly the influence of free radicals, increases skin vitality and enhances the production of collagen and elastin.

Athens’ Prettiest Cafes

When it comes to good coffee, great desserts and Insta-worthy decor, these are the Athens cafes you need to add to your must-visit list immediately! 

Petite Fleur

Now in four locations around Athens but each of the cafes maintaining the same comfort and style, Petite Fleur is inspired by Parisian nostalgia. With large windows that let in natural light and small tables with coloured chairs, floral tapestry and mosaic floors, the ambiance is old fashioned and romantic. This is the perfect place to drink hot chocolate and share a strawberry tart on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

A: Central Athens locations: Aminta 1 in Pangrati & Omirou 44 in Kolonaki

Dark Side of Chocolate

Sitting here is like stepping into a painting, not one full of colours and shapes but one rich in ambiance. The name itself evokes a sense of drama and mystery, and the artistic vibe of the store itself extends to the sophisticated and tantalizing menu of handmade chocolates made with Valhroma chocolate and other quality ingredients. Havinjg studied patisserie and chocolate-making in Italy and France, the owner treats customers to combinations including chilli, basil, honey and cardamom. You can either sit or buy hot drinks and of course chocolates to go.

A: Solonos 49, Kolonaki

Kimolia Art Café

This intimate café is named after chalk as a nostalgic image of one of our first childhood drawing tools and decorated in a creative, cosy way that comforts the inner child in us. A small space with little pockets and warm, hushed tones is the creation of three artists and sometimes even hosts creative events. During lockdown it was the first and only café in Greece to go online, creating virtual tables for people to meet and connect as they would in a café. One of the owners, Nikos Palavitsinis, says: “However much we change, we remain loyal to our vision for Kimolia, against mass-tourism, mass-hospitality and faceless and colourless venues.”

A: Iperidou 5, Syntagma


Currently the city’s most Instagrammable café, pink and girlie Ellyz is new to the city’s lively café scene. With an entire wall blanketed in large pink flowers, tables decorated with gold candelabra, crystal chandeliers and colourful fantasy cakes and smoothies to match, this is probably the only place in town where you’ll find a doughnut sprinkled in gold dust and butterflies.

A: Aghiou Filippou 11, Monastiraki


This café has had a loyal clientele and keeps attracting new visitors since it was created by a Greek actress in Makryianni several years ago. Its stylish and original vintage décor, with pistachio walls and floral curtains, wooden bar and artfully placed objects and artworks, create a soothing atmosphere that makes you want to linger over your hot chocolate. Being a café-bistro it also serves fresh savoury pies, cocktails and mocktails and homemade ginger ale and lemonade.

A: Tzami Karatasou 2, Makryianni

Traditional Greek Taverna: Where the Locals Go to Eat

When it comes to types of eating establishments, the French are known for their bistros, Italians for trattorias, the Spanish for tapas bars, the British for their pubs, and the Greeks head out with family and friends to a great local taverna, which can be found in every city, village, and island around Greece. 

Not to be confused with a tavern, a taverna is a small, authentic Greek restaurant, characterised by rustic décor, relaxed atmosphere, and a limited, seasonal menu that is reasonably priced.

It is referred to as the traditional public eating house of Greek cuisine and is known to be an integral part of Greek culture. The styling is simple (checkered tablecloths, rustic tables and chairs) and they are owned and run by local families.

Insights Greece - Traditional Greek Taverna: Where the Locals Go to Eat

Greek tavernas generally have a limited amount of food on the menu and serve up what the chef has cooked fresh on the day. Here you can expect to find Greek dishes such as Moussaka, Pastitsio, Dolmades, and Gemista. Most places also include a range of grilled meat, fish and seafood, some sides, and of course a variety of dips, salads, as well as homemade sweets.

As for vegetarians and vegans, you will be delighted with the range on offer, which includes Xorta (wild greens), Padzaria (beetroot), Kolokithia (zucchinis) Gigandes (broad beans), and other seasonal vegetables. Keep in mind the local taverna is also the best place to taste local dishes and delicacies from each region.

You will also find that many tavernas located by the sea specialise in seafood and are called Psarotavernas, or Fish Tavernas. Others on the mainland may offer more meat and there is also the Hasapotaverna (the butcher’s taverna) which specialises in meat only.

This is where you will get to meet and mingle with the locals, so it really is worth a try!