The Other Side of Kolonaki

Discovering Daily Feel-Good and Wonderful Places in a Neighbourhood I Once Disliked with a Passion

I was never a big fan of the Kolonaki that’s usually written about and seen. The busier part, where the main square and all its surrounding streets thrive with costly liveliness. Essentially, I have always somewhat avoided the super-trendy areas with their hyper-expensive boutiques, glossy cafes and wine bars, delis and galleries.

Insights Greece - The Other Side of Kolonaki
Views over the neighbourhood

For just over a year, I’ve been fortunate enough to have made my nest in the neighbourhood that overlooks the heart-opening, lush greenery of Lycabettus. The forested hill across my home resounds daily with the sound of birds, church bells and mainly spirited chit-chatter in all languages. On windy days, I listen out for the rustling leaves and the flag from the church of St George, which I feel privileged to watch flapping at the top of the hill through a tiny gap in the trees.

On cold winter mornings, I relish opening my balcony window to inhale the mulchy, crisp forest air, feeling like I’m living in the countryside; on summer nights I say “mmm” from the intoxicating wafts of jasmine, orange blossoms and night flowers. My part of Kolonaki was unbeknownst to me before I moved. It is quiet, quaint, and green, with joggers, tourists, families and dog walkers as its protagonists. Here I will share with you the favourite places I enjoy on an average day, places I reach around the area without ever entering the central part.

Morning to Midday

Insights Greece - The Other Side of Kolonaki
Kora Bakery

One of my favourite ways to indulge myself in the morning is to buy a Pain au Chocolat with Gianduja chocolate, or a perfectly flaky and buttery croissant with Cretan apaki ham, Greek graviera and a mustard bechamel from Kora Bakery on Anagnostopoulou St. What an Italian neighbour/friend of mine aptly described as a place that looks more like a hairdresser’s or bathroom – because of its yellow tiles on a stark white wall – rather than a bakery, Kora also sells artfully stacked loaves of freshly baked bread, including a very special one with hints of dark chocolate. The quality is high, the service is professional and there’s no hanging around.

For food shopping, I love visiting Kostarelos on Patriarchou Ioakeim St, originally a cheese manufacturer (since 1937) and now also a deli with top-quality products sold at very reasonable prices. One can get a takeout coffee and savoury or sweet pie or sit here and eat a yummy cheese (or chocolate!) fondue as well as other easy meals. Or, like me, just head straight for the counters deeper into the store, where I buy chocolate or vanilla cream (kremoula) puddings for my son, great ice cream (the pistachio flavour is made with Aegina pistachios) as well as wonderful fresh cuts of hams and cheeses, organic sliced bread with olive oil and even homemade style jams from small producers around the country.

Afternoon to Evening

Insights Greece - The Other Side of Kolonaki
Kostarelos cheese

Xenokratous Street is my go-to shopping zone. During lockdown, it was, happily, the only place I circulated in. I say happily because it’s one of those streets that has everything you may ordinarily need: two butcher shops, two kiosks of the type that sell ‘everything’, a neighbourhood café (The Daily, where mainly locals hang out) two small supermarkets, a florist, a cava, two pharmacies, a key shop and two jewellery shops, my favourite of which is Amaya, where I spend a good while gazing through the window to admire the beautifully handmade earrings, pendants and rings. It’s also the street where the ‘laiki’ open-air market takes place every Friday from 8 am-4 pm. The vendors definitely pinch up their prices for what they presume are richer locals, but the variety and product quality is good.

It’s also pleasing, especially during summer and springtime but also in cooler months, to spend afternoons and evenings at Dexameni, where you’ll find an ancient Roman aqueduct, an open-air (summer only) cinema, a playground and a café-restaurant with tiny tables lining the steep hill that leads down to it. This is where I often meet friends either for playdates with our kids or for drinks or a combination of both, a few meze dishes or a movie. On summer nights Dexameni Café gets very crowded with everyone from millennials from around the city to elderly regulars who queue to sit at the tables.


Insights Greece - The Other Side of Kolonaki
Bar 56, a hidden spot in Kolonaki

Since I moved to Kolonaki I must have walked by Bar 56 a gazillion times without even noticing it. Shrouded by a giant black umbrella and hidden in an enclosed, leafy corner along the Ploutarchou Street stairway, once I did notice the warm, reddish light coming from inside it I thought it may be an underground haunt frequented by mafia, and/or ladies of the night. Much to my surprise, when I finally plucked up the courage to pop my head inside upon returning from the St George’s Kick Boxing Club just two minutes down the stairs, I was somewhat awestruck in discovering a vintage-style bar with a jazzy soundtrack that was dreamily lit by fairy lights, with old photos covering the walls, a layout designed for lovers of clandestine corners and a piano. It turns out it has been around for some 30 years and is a “known secret” among serious whiskey and rum connoisseurs. It’s now what I call “my new neighbourhood steki” or hangout, although with Covid madness I’ve only made it there twice thus far.

Nice N Easy

Insights Greece - The Other Side of Kolonaki
Prasini Tenta

This place, where Skoufa Street meets Omirou Street, reminds me of the TV show ‘Taxi’, “where everybody knows your name” as the theme song goes, and I’ve had some of the best nights of my life there. Why? Chiefly, the owners, Eirini Andersen, Dimitris Christoforidis and Executive Chef Chris Athanasiadis, individuals who know everything right about running a successful, ‘I’ll-Be-Back’ vibe restaurant that offers an idyllic combination of warm hospitality, delicious farm-to-table healthy food, feel-good décor and a happily buzzy ambience. Located near the beautiful Agios Dionyssios church and classically intellectual-friendly Filion Café, this place has always felt like a perfect place to get away while also feeling like home.

Prasini Tenda
Oh…Those Summer Nights! When, after a short (but sharp, let’s face it!) walk up the steps towards St George church on Lycabettus you arrive at a stunning, and at night, sparkly, panoramic view of Athens, the Parthenon, the sea…Enough said. From morning to night, but especially seductive at night, this café-restaurant is the perfect place to fall in love with the city you’re in, and if you’re with the right company, perhaps with whoever happens to be sitting across you. The main dish is the view, but the service and menu are appealing as well.

Main image by harrypapaioannou

Athens’ Favourite Concept Store and Cafe Reopens

Set in a stunning 1930’s neo-classical building, Philos Athens, (part cafe/ part event space/ part boutique) located down Solonos Street in chic Kolonaki, is the Greek capitals’ ultimate destination store and favourite weekend hangout alike!

Having closed its doors over a year ago (due to the pandemic) Philos’ loyal local fanbase was overjoyed at the store’s recent re-opening; allowing visitors to once again experience three levels of delightfulness (it’s so carefully thought out, it makes you feel right at home.)

From the moment you step inside, you’re immediately drawn into a real living space- featuring a grand wooden staircase, distressed walls, classic meander tiles and an eclectic mix of furniture that’s so warm and welcoming – you can easily sit here all day admiring the authenticity of this exceptional setting. With a finely curated edit of brands that combines high fashion with exciting emerging designers; Philos’ minimal space is filled with homewares, art, books, magazines, apparel, jewellery, shoes and other accessories.

Throughout the sleek store are beautifully displayed covetable pieces and distinct items that you’ll no doubt want to take home with you. The concept behind Philos is to evoke and inspire. Here customers don’t just come to shop. They come to engage, to sit back, to enjoy the energy, the people; and to discover the stunningly restored space that still reveals so much about its rich history (the building was once the property of Greek art collector Evripidis Koutlidis.)  

On the ground level is where you’ll find the cozy eating area. Philos’ delightful menu is based on the principles of simplicity and farm-to-table dishes- using local vendors and seasonal produce. From fresh eggs (made any which way you like) to French Toast with cinnamon and honey; plus their great coffee, refreshing salads and healthy juices- it’s easy to see why Athenians from all over the city love coming here for brunch on any given day of the week. 

But not only- as it’s open till late- you can also arrive here in the afternoon, or early evening and enjoy a light dinner, along with a fine wine or your favourite drink of choice!  

A: Solonos 32, Kolonaki

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday – 9 am to 12 am, Saturday- 10 am to 12 am, Sunday 10 am to 8 pm

11 Best Places for Shopping in Athens

If it’s shopping you are after, Athens has something for everyone. From international labels and cool concept stores to colourful marketplaces, stunning boutiques in chic neighbourhoods, and shopping outlets located just outside the city- there are endless options for every style and budget. 

So, whether you’re a fan of window browsing, or prefer to buy as you please, here is our list of best places to shop in Athens!


Insights Greece - 11 Best Places for Shopping in Athens
Luisa World in Kolonaki

Just a few minutes away from Athens centre is one of the best areas to shop in the city- especially if you’re looking for high-end stores. The charming streets are filled with beautiful boutiques that feature Greek and international designers. And if you love spending endless hours browsing, Kolonaki is a must. This fashionable neighbourhood has no shortage of luxury labels, stylish concept stores, cool cafes, trendy bars, and classy restaurants (plenty of places to sit down for a nice long lunch, or a quick bite to eat). Here you will find unique pieces of couture and ready-to-wear clothing, as well as a stunning range of shoes, accessories, beauty products, and more. 


About a 30-minute train ride from downtown, Kifissia is filled with elegant and classy boutiques. This is where you’ll bump into stylish Athenians from all over the city looking for the latest seasonal pieces. From high-end stores that stock clothing, handbags, jewellery; plus decor and homewares by both international and Greek designers- Kifissia stands out for its impressive range of shoe shops. 


Along the Athenian Riviera you will come across one of Athens’ most popular shopping strips in Glyfada, which is filled with boutique after boutique- stocking womenswear, menswear, and kidswear. Home to SOHO SOHO and Glyfada Centre, there are plenty of stores featuring local and international designers. It’s a long open-air shopping mall, so make sure you are prepared with comfy shoes and an umbrella if rain is forecast! 

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places for Shopping in Athens
Ermou St and Monastiraki

Ermou St

A paradise for shoppers, pedestrianised Ermou Street stretches over one and a half kilometres in the centre of Athens. Along the way, you will come across a variety of stores that stock international brands and local designers. From beauty stores such as Sephora and Mac through to the largest retailers in fast fashion- Zara, H&M, Pull & Bear and Bershka, you will find them all at Ermou. For those who love shoes, make sure you stop off at Migato, Mourtzo and Tsakiris Mallas, which are local brands. We also suggest you make time to check out the streets parallel to Ermou, for lots more stylish boutiques and designer wear.


As you make your way down Ermou St, you will arrive at the heart of Monastiraki, which is famous for its Flea Market. Here you will discover a variety of stores including souvenir shops, vintage and second-hand shops. It’s the perfect place to pick up all your bric-a-brac and on Sundays, the streets of Monastiraki welcome a colourful open-air market, which is well worth visiting as there is nothing here you can’t find. Tip: When you walk through the Flea Market make sure you stroll through the tiny alleys and check out the little antique shops.


One of the city’s busiest spots-  it’s home to several stores. Here you will find locally made jewellery, sandals, and clothes; as well as books, vinyl, antiques, and souvenirs to take home with you. Make sure you check out the good range of clay, copper, and ceramics that can be found on pretty much every corner of Plaka. 

McArthur Glen

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places for Shopping in Athens
Awatara in Plaka

This was the first designer outlet in Greece, where you’ll find international labels with price reductions from 35 – 70%, all year round. McArthur Glen Athens Designer Outlet is conveniently located just 15 minutes from Athens International Airport and 30 minutes drive from Athens city centre. Open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm- there are over 100 stores including Hugo Boss, BSB, Diesel, Gant, Moschino, Ralph Lauren, Prince Oliver, Salvatore Ferragamo, Scotch & Soda and Toi & Moi.  

Factory Outlet

If you are around Piraeus way (maybe waiting for your ferry to depart) and you have some time to kill- head to the Factory Outlet where you can get heavily discounted prices on labels including Adidas, Ben Sherman, Boss, Converse, Diesel, Folli Follie, G-Star Raw, Karl Lagerfield, Nike, Pepe Jeans, Polo Ralph Lauren, Reebok and Ted Baker.

Golden Hall

If you’re in search of Athens’ leading shopping mall with a great range of stores then head to Maroussi, where you’ll find Golden Hall Shopping Mall. About a 20-minute drive from the heart of the city, the mall features both international and Greek fashion brands under one roof including Adidas, American Eagle, Benetton, Diesel, DKNY, GAP, Nike and Zara. 

The Mall

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places for Shopping in Athens
Attica Department Store

The Mall is one of the largest shopping centres in Athens. Also located in Maroussi, this popular shopping centre houses over 200 stores that are spread through four levels. Open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 9 pm, and Saturday 10 am to 8 pm here you’ll find Adidas, Calvin Klein, H&M, Intimissimi Uomo, Lacoste, LEGO Store, Migato, Massimo Dutti, Nike, Replay, Sephora, Swarovski, Tommy Hilfiger, Tsakiris Mallas, Benetton, Victoria’s Secret, Zara and Zara Home.


Attica is Greece’s largest department store. Housed in a neo-classical building it’s located right in the heart of Athens and here you’ll find a range of high-end brands and personalised services. From womenswear, menswear, kidswear, sportswear, accessories, jewellery, and homewares; Attica is a one-stop-shop for designer brands including Burberry, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dsquared 2, Escada, Emporio Armani, Isabel Marant, Kenzo, Maje, Max Mara, Missoni, John Varvatos and Zeus + Dione.

16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens

Planning a trip to Athens soon? We’ve chosen a handful of the top neighbourhoods in the Greek capital that are perfect to visit during your holiday. And with so much rich history and culture, plus great cafes, eateries, and boutiques, these spots are sure to delight all the senses.


The oldest part of Athens, Plaka is a picturesque neighbourhood filled with beautiful houses, loads of restaurants and cafes, and some of the city’s best museums and archaeological sights. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens



Reminiscent of a small Cycladic island with its white cubic houses and blue doors and windows, this area is partially covered by beautiful bougainvillea. Anafiotika is an oasis of tranquility in the centre of the Greek capital and a spot to take amazing photos. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


An older residential neighbourhood, Koukaki is close to Plaka, but far less touristy and much quieter than the more popular central neighbourhoods. Here you will find some great spots to grab a coffee and bite to eat. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens
Image @athensguide


One of Athens’ most upmarket neighbourhoods, Kifissia is about 45 minutes from the centre of Athens via metro. Perfect place to stroll around and enjoy the greenery, and also the place to go if you are looking for some boutique stores and gorgeous cafes. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens
Image @pinterest


A wonderful place buzzing with colourful taverns, cafes, and bars, Psirri comes alive at night with locals and international visitors who gather to enjoy a casual dinner at one of the many traditional taverns. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


This is Athens’ central square and home to the Greek Parliament House and where you will catch the Evzones (changing of the guards.)  It’s also the top of famous Ermou Street, the city’s busiest shopping strip. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


Upscale, and filled with designer shops, museums, cafes, restaurants, and bars, Kolonaki is a glamorous neighbourhood at the foot of Lykavittos Hill and a place where you will find locals wining and dining on any given evening. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens
Image @travelzonegreece


The Northern suburb of Chalandri is one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Athens and a great place to visit. From a great range of eateries, bakeries, and cafes to unique bookstores, jewellery shops, and cinemas, there is something here to suit all tastes. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


With an array of amazing places to eat and drink, Pangrati features some trendy shops, art galleries, and some amazing buildings. Pangrati is also home to Athens’ oldest cinema, Pallas, which opened in 1925.

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens
Image @cntraveller


This neighbourhood in Athens has received a major makeover over the last few years and has now become one of the most popular spots for Athenians. With some must-see galleries, all-day cafes, and ancient sites, you can spend all day here and it’s still not enough. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


A great place, especially over summer as it’s a favourite venue for open-air events and festivals. Athenians love coming here for a catch-up with friends at one of the many cafes. Make sure you check out the museums and the open-air Cinema, which opened in 1935. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens
Image @trip2athens


Another upscale area of Athens, Glyfada features seaside living complete with endless restaurants, bars, and boutique stores. The area is very popular, especially over summer where it gets packed with international visitors making the most of the Athenian Riviera views. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens

Voula/ Vouliagmeni

Also along Athens Riviera, here you will find some of the city’s best beaches and swimming spots, as both neighbourhoods (located next to each other) are upscale residential areas. The “downtown” of Voula has lots of restaurants and cafés, and Vouliagmeni is home to some of the most luxurious hotels in Athens. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


From fine dining restaurants to little-known archaeological treasures, there’s a lot more to Piraeus than its port. With great bakeries and cafes to the Piraeus Archaeological Museum, make sure you add this neighbourhood to your list. Zea Harbor is also located here; it’s a promenade of restaurants, cafés, and home to lots of fancy yachts.

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


This is actually a small section of the central suburb of Pangrati that has a character of its own. Less than a 10-minute walk to Syntagma Square and to the Acropolis, where you feel as though you are in a small town rather than a big city. It’s away from the crowds and tourists and a place where you will get a real sense of old Athens.  

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens


Only a ten-minute walk from the Acropolis Museum and lots more historical sites, this is another lesser-known neighbourhood in Athens. Full of charming cafés with outdoor tables, it’s a great place to stroll around. Make sure you stop off at the National Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Insights Greece - 16 Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit in Athens
Image @greeka

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

Athens’ 6 Most Romantic Dinner Spots

We may not be able to get there for Valentine’s Day this year but these restaurants should be bookmarked for future reference. 

Romance is certainly a very subjective notion – a luxurious dinner in a stunningly decorated Michelin-star restaurant might be romantic for some, while a souvlaki in a cozy pocket of Athens may be just as romantic for others. In this feature however we focus on the more classically romantic restaurants of the city, and although there are so many of them, the ones selected here are sure-fire winners for a grand majority of Athenian and foreign diners both.

The GB Roof Garden Restaurant

Awarded for its quality menu, sophisticated ambiance, excellent wine list and startling Acropolis views by Wine Spectator, the Grande Bretagne Hotel’s rooftop restaurant (on the eighth floor) is nothing if not glamorously romantic. The menu, created by Sotiris Evangelou and Asterios Koutsidis, centres on Mediterraean cuisine with ethnic touches. Luxurious ingredients and a creative, playful and modern approach offer you a delight that equals the panoramic visual beauty of the Acropolis, Lycabettus hill, the Panathenaic Stadium and Syntagma Square. This is also a great spot for starting your night on a high note for a cocktail and finger foods or nibbles at the roof garden bar.

A: Syntagma Square

Insights Greece - Athens' 6 Most Romantic Dinner Spots


Seafood lovers can find an even deeper connection to each other and the riches of the Greek seas at this place. Its quirkiness – from being named after a Hollywood star to calling itself a ‘fish tavern’ while it serves some highly sophisticated and gourmet dishes and even its location in Peristeri, not exactly an area one would think of for dining out – have definitely contributed to its popularity. Here the romance comes more from the exchanges of delighted glances as you indulge in exciting flavours, rather than from the ambiance or decor. It can be fun for a couple to explore classic tastes like red mullet calamari served up in novel and highly palatable ways – such as a carpaccio of red mullet with sea urchin, or cuttlefish with orzo. There is a good selection of raw fish dishes too, including sushi and tartare. 

A: Agiou Pavlou 33, Peristeri

Insights Greece - Athens' 6 Most Romantic Dinner Spots

Scala Vinoteca

Healthy, modern, sea-focused yet delicately indulgent enough to leave you feeling giddily satisfied, the menu is focused on a concept of fine dining that can please most palates. From ravioli filled with pear, aged pecorino cheese, jamon and mushrooms to Black Angus steak or lobster bolognaise and several ‘sharing platters’ you can clink forks over, this place also has a friendly service and cutting edge, warmly rustic yet also edgily romantic vibe.

A: Sina 50, Kolonaki


Located in a beautifully refurbished neoclassical house with deco in warm tones and a fireplace, as well as a lovely garden for al fresco dining in summer, Aleria introduces you to Greek cuisine with a playful and healthy twist. Chef Gikas Xenakis combines modern techniques with old fashioned or classic recipes and local ingredients, offering a sense of innovation and discovery to diners. Dishes such as pumpkin puree with truffle and chestnuts or giant gigantes beans cooked in a red sauce with capers , yuzu and celery are as strange-sounding as they are delicious. 

A: Megalou Alexandrou 57, Metaxourgeio

Insights Greece - Athens' 6 Most Romantic Dinner Spots

Cafe Boheme

Smart-casual, small and buzzy, this place is ideal for a dimly-lit Mediterranean feast that is as elegant and flavoursome as it is unpretentious. Attracting the city’s high-profile professional crowd in their low-key moments, the bar/restaurant is ideal for talking business at lunch and love at dinner. Dark wood, unique paintings by British artist Alison Wagstaffe covering the walls, tables decorated with flowers and candles and a real sense of privacy amongst the crowd are all romantic pluses at this central yet out f the way place. With a Mediterranean focus, the menu changes according to the season and is loyal to the concept of fresh, Greek and seasonal ingredients. Sample seafood, risottos, homemade thin crust pizzas, traditional dishes with a modern twist and a wonderful wine menu starring some of the best local wines.

A: Omirou 36, Kolonaki

Top 5 Tea Houses in Athens

Few things are more delightfully decadent than catching up with good friends over a cup of tea. From hotel restaurants to proper teahouses, here’s where to go on the weekend (or any day of the week really) for the best tea Athens has to offer! 

Grande Bretagne Hotel

The ultimate “proper” English afternoon tea drinking ritual can be enjoyed in the polished Winter Garden City Lounge of Athens’ plushest hotel. The service is set for two and you can choose from a variety of 16 classic and lesser known tea blends. Friendly to the philosophy expressed by the Dowager Countess (so exquisitely played by Maggie Smith) in Downton Abbey, “nothing succeeds like excess”; and fully honouring authentic the British high tea tradition, your blend of choice will be served in an elaborate China teapot and cups along with warm scones and fresh clotted cream, to be topped with the hotel’s rich marmalades; fluffy white finger sandwiches filled with cucumber or egg mayonnaise with cress or  smoked salmon, vibrantly coloured macarons, profiteroles and other pastries.

A: 1 Vasileos Georgiou A’, Syntagma Square

“A woman is like a teabag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Insights Greece - Top 5 Tea Houses in Athens

To Tsai

With an award winning architectural design (architect Giorgos Batzios was awarded the European Architecture Awards for his design in 2017), To Tsai serves and sells tea varieties from around the world in pots relevant to where the tea comes from – Japanese tea is served in cast iron pots, Chinese tea in clay pots from Yixing and other teas in porcelain pots. Over 500 varieties imported from tea-producing countries by Mlensa Hellas are served in the warm yet minimal environment. Soft lighting concealed behind rows of timbre panels, (“to resemble a sunrise”, the architect has said) creates a Zen Japanese vibe that enhances the feeling of restoration. To Tsai also serves a high quality selection of light meals such as freshly made salads, eggs Benedict and quiches as well as desserts, including vegan options. A great option for a business brunch.

A: Alexandrou Soutsou 19, Kolonaki

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”  C.S. Lewis

Insights Greece - Top 5 Tea Houses in Athens

Petite Fleur

Now with three stores in Athens (Kolonaki, Pangrati and Halandri), this cozy cafe serves around 25 varieties of ethically sourced tea blends in a colourful, stylish environment. With a mix of old school charm and a playful vintage theme (a piano, ‘60s vinyl records, an old record player, faux early-19th Century tiled floor, a jazz music soundtrack and furniture reminiscent of the Belle Epoque in Paris) it serves heartwarming teas such as Ceylon Black Wood with orange peel and cinnamon stick, green gun powder and Kusmi, as well as a delectable variety of hot chocolate and coffee beverages, always accompanied by delicious desserts and satisfying snacks. The perfect spot for catching up with a friend for a few hours of serious banter. 

A: Omirou 44, Kolonaki, Platia Platia Eleftheroton 16,  16, Halandri and Aminta 1 (Proskopon Square) Pangrati

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Insights Greece - Top 5 Tea Houses in Athens

Madras – House of Tea for sophisticated takeaway

Inside the Bolani Stoa in central Athens you’ll find this delightful little store, which boasts one of the largest varieties of tea in Europe – 400 to be precise, with imports for 14 tea producing countries in Asia and Africa. With 45 years of experience under his belt, owner Stefanos Papatzialas has a well-trained staff of flavour experts who can explain, inform and recommend brands and varieties. The Madras company also creates their own trademark blends with aromatic plants and fruits, with wild, organic, pest-free Greek herbs and more. Here and in the Piraeus store you can take tea to go rather than linger over a cuppa, but the proprietors are planning to open a store in Athens where customers can drink tea in house. Just what you need when you’re on the go on a cold winter day.

A: 7 Voulis, in Stoa Bolani, Syntagma, Notara 21, Piraeus 

“Tea … is a religion of the art of life.” – Kazuko Okakura

Insights Greece - Top 5 Tea Houses in Athens

Cafe Taf

One of the capital’s best coffee shops also serves a great cup of tea. Selling a broad variety of herbal, fruit and black or red tea loose leaf blends created by the British Suki Tea brand, first set up in 2005 by Annie and Oscar. Popular choices include Lemon and Ginger, Red Berry, Green Tea Sencha and Mango Tango but there are also more classical blends like Earl Grey and Breakfast Tea. The ambiance is urban chic with colourful touches and minimal furnishings, perfect for a working morning.

Insights Greece - Top 5 Tea Houses in AthensA: Emmanouil Benaki 7-9, Exarcheia

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;

if you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.” – William Ewart Gladstone

Kolonaki for Kids

If you’re planning a stylish shopping pilgrimage to Kolonaki, there’s no need to leave the kids behind, or even have to dread bringing them along.

There are plenty of ways to combine adult interests (from shopping to the essential prosecco pit-stop) with things that will entertain your young ones too.

Insights Greece - Kolonaki for Kids

There are two playgrounds you can visit, both under the foothills of Lycabettus, and surrounded by greenery. The first is more ideally suited for children between baby and toddler ages, and is located in what is known as Deinokratous park, on the street of the same name. The large park is lovingly tended by the municipal gardeners as well as the parents who take their kids there, and includes a roundabout in one corner, several benches, and a marble drinking fountain. The playground itself is not very well shaded so it’s best to visit in ealy morning hours or late afternoon. It’s strewn with toys brought by residents so that besides the classic rides (swins, slide, climbing frame) young kids can find oodles of other entertainment.

The other playground is located in Dexameni square, right under the St George Lycabettus hotel. The steep downhill that leads to it is lined with little tables where you can have anything from cake and lemonade to fried calamari and lentil salad with ouzo. The square by the playground is ideal for scootering, football and hide and seek and during pre-Covid times it’s a great place for lingering until dark and then going to the open air Dexameni cinema.

Insights Greece - Kolonaki for Kids

Lycabettus hill itself is a lovely place to take kids of any age for a scenic nature walk, again, ideally during the cooler hours of the day. You can either take the teleferique  cable car – an adventure in itself for younger kids (on Aristippou 3) or simply enjoy a leisurely uphill walk, stopping to look at the lovely panoramic views of the city, and even down to Piraeus harbour. Head up to the Church of St George for the best view of all.

The most exciting museum to visit with kids in Kolonaki is by far the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology (Pindarou 16), where you can see models (many real-size and all very artfully crafted) of inventions that you wouldn’t believe came from millennia ago. From the Antikithera Mechanism, to a door alarm and the first robot – which served guests wine – this museum is not to be missed.

Children also love The War Museum (Rizari 2) next to Evangelismos metro. Apart from the many artefacts, pohotographs, weapons and uniforms housed inside, visitors are allowed to climb steps and peek into a great variety of historical war planes, cannons and more.

Mum, I’m hungry!

Kolonaki is full of cafes and restaurants, but there are a few places that are especially great for kids, and more budget-friendly too.

Kalamaki Kolonaki (Ploutarchou 32) Meat on a stick (beef, pork, chicken) and delicious hand-cut fresh fries to various salads and dips. Relaxed, comfortable setting and tolerance for kids who like to get up and play.

Yoleni’s (Solonos 9) A big variety of homemade-style fresh savoury pies, sandwiches and pies.

Filippou (Xenokratous 19) A classic Greek taverna-restaurant with homemade-style stews, fish and meat dishes, pies and other Greek classics. Don’t miss out on the prawn salad.

Mailo’s The Pasta Project (Patriarchou Ioakim 39) Freshly-made, quick, delicious and affordable. There are a few tables to sit at or just grap it in a tub on the go.

Cover image @kidslovegreece

Shila: Athens’ Striking Boutique Hotel

If you are searching for an extra special place to stay in the heart of Athens, this striking mid-century 1920s residence that has been converted into a boutique hotel is ideal as it transports you to another world with its charming decor and eclectic style.  

Insights Greece - Shila: Athens' Striking Boutique Hotel

Shila is an ethereal late 1920s property located in the heart of the Greek capital and brings new meaning and inspiration to the concept of a boutique hotel. This is a place where you feel indulged and carefree, and at the same time, are able to experience an otherworldly realm of elegance and sensuality. 

Situated in the ultra-chic Kolonaki neighbourhood, you are only moments away from Syntagma, Monastiraki and some of the Greek capital’s best museums, cafes, boutique stores, restaurants and bars. 

Style & Character 

Sophisticated, mid-century vibe mixing, ethereal, romantic, vintage and antique furnishings in the classiest way. Each corner of this hotel has been expertly curated with stunning pieces of artwork and furniture. The property is filled with life and soul and truly feels lived in. Internal features take from the original architectural elements of the building. 

Room Types

Cleverly combining elements of the bygone and the contemporary – this neoclassical house comprises of six distinctively designed suites, each unique in character, with a unifying element of simplicity and inviting charm. There are six rooms sleeping between 2 – 4 people, each differing and curated to create the ultimate romantic escape within the city. Art plays a big part within the hotel and each suite features its own collection as well as the lounge and library areas, which often host private exhibitions.

Insights Greece - Shila: Athens' Striking Boutique Hotel


The hotel features a lush courtyard, tranquil rooftop, lounging areas, and reading nooks, ideally suited for social gatherings, art exhibitions and private events. The sumptuous lounge and library area feature rustic walls, vintage fixtures, original 1920s mosaic floors, and an eclectic piano. 

Ideal for… Couples and friends looking for a perfectly tranquil escape within a busy city.

Food & Drinks

Complimentary breakfast provided daily

Espresso machine with fresh beans 

Artisan products in mini bar

Extras are available upon request

Insights Greece - Shila: Athens' Striking Boutique Hotel


  • Concierge 
  • Wifi iPad & Netflix
  • Custom-made towels & sheets
  • Daily breakfast driver
  • Car rental
  • Laundry / dry cleaning
  • Car parking
  • Private hire of the entire property
  • Event hire of rooftop and library lounge


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

Taking it Nice N Easy at Athens’ Top Farm-to-Table Restaurant

Ahead of its time, when Nice N Easy opened in Kolonaki in 2008 it introduced a way of eating to the Greek public that was relatively unknown at the time: food that’s designed to be delicious as well as highly nutritious.

Vegetarians and vegans can find numerous options to suit their dietary needs, while meat-eaters can choose from dishes made with well-farmed meats. Since then, owners Eirini, Dimitris and Chris (the latter being the executive chef) have developed a loyal clientele by continuing to serve top quality farm-to-table, organic food made with ingredients sourced from small producers. Today, Nice N Easy can be found in Kolonaki as well as Kifissia and Mykonos.

Type of cuisine? Farm-to-table Mediterranean – North American – Fusion. Healthy comfort food with a sophisticated, contemporary style.

Type of eatery? An all-day restaurant with a well-curated menu that offers plenty of options for every taste. Stylish, modern, spacious and fun, both because of its décor and its friendly, professional service. You can dress up or dress down, there’s no pressure to look the part.

Insights Greece - Taking it Nice N Easy at Athens’ Top Farm-to-Table Restaurant

The low down… The Kolonaki restaurant has become one of my favourite hangouts, not only for its endless options of delicious and healthy dishes but also because of its buzzy, uplifting ambiance – which truly is nice n easy! – and chic but unpretentious crowd. Open-air in summer and enclosed by transparent curtains in the colder months, its outdoorsiness is pleasant, and not only for Covid-related reasons. It has become my ideal place to meet friends on a Friday night for a wonderful bottle of wine (the wine list includes many Greek and international labels of the highest quality) or cocktail and a large selection of tasty bites. It’s also great for a Sunday brunch, whether you’re craving creamy, oozy eggs benedict (here served both in the classic rendition and a Greek version) or super healthy Spa Omelet or avocado toast and juice-veggie smoothies.

Insights Greece - Taking it Nice N Easy at Athens’ Top Farm-to-Table Restaurant

 Décor/ Ambience? Having spent many years working in the food industry and often catering for Hollywood in the US, co-owner Dimitris brought with him his love of the golden years of the world’s most stellar film industry. The restaurant’s menu and décor are thus themed on legendary film stars and their incandescent glamour. Eat under the gaze of Frank Sinatra and Marylin Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Entrees? If you’re here for wine and bites in the middle, go for the Laurence Olivier lollipop-style chicken wings, the Anne Baxter fried calamari on a tarama spread, the Marvin Gaye grilled meatballs with sweet potato hummus or the Diana Ross fresh tuna tartare with fresh and dried strawberries. Other good entrees are the Otis Redding buffalo burrata with pistachio pesto and the Power Bowl with quinoa, sweet potato, pomegranate, beluga lentils and avocado.

Mains? The mains include a vegan menu, pasta dishes, burgers and meat or fish-based dishes. Meat eaters should try the Clark Gable slow-cooked pata negra steak, Marlon Brando cheeseburger with caramelised onions, coleslaw and pickled cucumbers while vegans can choose the Cary Grant burger. For a twist of healthy Asian flavour don’t miss out on the Brigitte Bardot konjac root noodles, and for a hearty Italian-inspired pasta dish try the Sophia Loren with skioufihta traditional pasta, gruyere, wild mushrooms and truffle paste.

Something to drink? With a quality wine and cocktail menu, there are numerous choices to enjoy, and you can ask the restaurant’s sommelier for pairing advice too. If you want a cocktail that’s in your thirsty imagination rather than the menu, feel free to ask the barman to create it for you.

Desserts: When it comes to sweets, Nice N Easy likes to indulge its visitors with classic American and European specialties like Banoffee pie, Profiterole and Galaktoboureko. However, if you’d rather stick to your healthy eating plan, they produce a fantastic – lactose and sugar free – ice cream made by a specialist gelato artisan in Greece with olive oil and served in hazelnut, vanilla, chocolate and mango flavours.

Price range? Around 35 € per head for a three-course meal excluding drinks

Location?  Omirou 60 & Skoufa, Kolonaki

Opening hours/days? Daily, 9:00 – 24:00

Best of Athens with Kids: Enjoying the National Gardens & Zappeio  

Playgrounds, trampolines and a huge variety of plants, flowers, trees and animals make this a wonderful area to take your children to.

Throughout the year, but especially during the hot summer months, Athens’ National Gardens are a wonderful leafy getaway. Kids can feed the ducks, watch swans, peackocks, parrots, goats and turtles in action, play at the large playground and play among a unique variety of plant, tree and flower species. They can explore the grounds and enjoy a picnic on the grass, playing in a gazebo, looking at ancient ruins and mosaics, crossing bridges over ponds, throwing twigs into running streams and admiring the sundial at the park’s entrance.

The National Gardens were created in 1880 as a commission by Queen Amalia of Greece, and has an impressive array of plants from all over the world. Located between Kolonaki and Pangrati, behind the former Royal Palace (now the House of Parliament), it’s a great place to visit in between stops to other child-friendly areas. There is also a café here if you’d like to stop for a refreshment.

Next to the Gardens is the Zappeion Megaro, the first building to be built in honour of the modern Athens Summer Olympic Games of 1896, where kids can enjoy scootering, running and playing in the large green grounds. Between the Zappeion and the National Gardens is Fokianos Sports Park, a fun and relaxing stopover for children as it has a seated outdoor café area as well as several features to keep children active: a climbing wall, basketball courts and trampolines. There is also a nice café serving child-friendly meals like homemade pizza and club sandwiches as well as adulty-friendly offerings like Aperol Spritz, salads and wines.

While in the area cross over Vas. Konstantinos Ave to see the Panathenaic marble stadium, originally constructed as a racetrack in 330 BC, rebuilt in marble by Emperor Herodes Atticus in 144 BC and renovated fully in 1896 to host the Olympic Games. Once here, visit the museum where all the Olympic torches from past games are housed.