Complete Guide to Syntagma Square 

Where to eat, drink, shop, and spend the day in and around Syntagma Square — the beating heart of Athens. 

Whether it’s your first visit to the Greek capital, or you’ve done it all before – chances are at some point you will end up around bustling Syntagma Square, which is filled with locals and visitors both day and night. 

And to help you decide where to go and what to do, we’ve rounded up the best spots (a mix of old and new) that are worth seeking out! 

Eat + Drink 

Brunch Time 

Athénée – Start your day in style at this elegant all-day bar-restaurant that’s been serving A-listers since 1939. And if you are lucky enough to be around on a weekend, Athénée teams up with some of the city’s finest pastry chefs each Sunday to serve up a deliciously sweet brunch. (Voukourestiou 9)

Ergon Bakehouse Athens- A few doors down from Ergon House (Athens’ first foodie hotel) you will now find its sister property Ergon Bakehouse. As you step through the doors, you’re greeted by the aroma of artisanal breads and meticulously crafted pastries, rising in the ovens. Take a seat inside and enjoy a satisfying breakfast featuring seasonal, fresh produce and a variety of breads. (Mitropoleos 27 & Patroou 9-11) 

New Taste – Locals come to the NEW hotel for its enticing brunch menu that includes a Viennoiserie basket, Tsoureki French toast, and a club sandwich that pairs well with their Bloody Mary. (Filellinon 16)

Best Coffee 

Kaya– This specialty coffee shop is the place to come to for those who know and love their coffee. (Voulis 7) 

Third Place – About a 5-minute walk from Syntagma Square you’ll find a minimalist shop with a great range of Greek coffee blends, a curated selection of design objects and laid-back vibes.  (Apollonos 23Β) 

Dope Roasting – Another 2-minute walk from the city’s famous square, you’ll find yourself at this cool espresso bar that’s set in a stunning 19th-century neoclassical building. (Vissis 25)

Casual Street Food

Pnyka Bakery – In between all the back-to-back sightseeing, come to Pnyka to grab a freshly baked tiropita (cheese pie) or spanakopita (spinach pie). (Petraki 24) 

Poke Hawaiian Sushi – A mix of Japanese and Hawaiian flavours, the menu features Tempura Shrimp with a drizzle of spicy mayo and exotic poke bowls- the perfect lunch on the run. (Petraki 7) 

O Kostas – Serving some of the best souvlaki in town – just get here before midday, as they tend to sell out by 3 pm. (Pentelis 5) 

Thess Bao- Enjoy freshly made bao buns with creative fillings such as pulled beef, BBQ pancetta and fried zucchini fritters. (Perikleous 30-32)

Long, Lazy Lunch 

Tzitzikas kai Mermigas – If you are looking for authentic Greek dishes such as keftedakia (meatballs), fava (yellow split pea dip), or a great selection of grilled meat and seafood dishes that are ideal for sharing, this is the place. (Mitropoleos 12)

Birdman – A Japanese grill restaurant and pub, Birdman has become one of the most popular Asian restaurants in Athens thanks to its fresh flavours and creative dishes. (Voulis 35) 

Hanoi – Introducing authentic Vietnamese food to Athenians, here the broth for the pho soup simmers for a minimum of 12 hours before being served. (Petraki 12) 

Standout Dining 

Nolan – Greek-Japanese chef Sotiris Kontizas is the brainchild behind this award-winning restaurant serving unfussy yet sophisticated dishes. (Voulis 31)

GB Roof Garden – If you are searching for a restaurant in the centre of Athens that’s special- this is it. Serving Mediterranean flavours made with fresh, raw ingredients- GB Roof Garden offers fine dining along with prime Parthenon views. Note: it’s closed for renovations until April 12, 2024. (10 Vas. Georgiou St)

Okio – Just a few blocks from Syntagma Square, Okio features a modern sharing-style menu highlighting Mediterranean and Asian cuisines in a simple yet exquisite manner. (Nikis 33) 

Feedel Urban Gastronomy- Serving gourmet Greek cuisine that’s modern and sophisticated- here you can enjoy creatively made dishes featuring fresh, local ingredients. (Ktena 1)

Treat Yourself 

Bon Bon Maison –This boutique pastry store offers a delectable selection of French pastries including lemon tarts and croissants with handmade raspberry jam. (30 Petraki St) 

Le Greche – Delicious handmade artisanal gelato created from pure ingredients. We recommend trying the fig and mascarpone flavour! (Mitropoleos 16)

Estrella – Come here for the waffles and pancakes or to try their signature “bougatsan” – a mixture between croissant and bougatsa. (4A Romvis) 

Cocktail Hour 

Bar in Front of the Bar – This cool street bar features a creative cocktail list that changes daily based on the mood of the talented bartenders. (1 Petraki) 

Drunk Sinatra – An all-day hangout where you’ll catch funky young locals ordering craft cocktails and crowds spilling out onto the street on balmy nights. (Thiseos 16)

The Clumsies – About a 5-minute walk from Syntagma you’ll find yourself at a place firmly lodged in the World’s Best Bars List. Let’s be real, you can’t come to Syntagma and not head over to The Clumsies for the perfect drink. (Praxitelous 30)

Rooftop With Acropolis View

Zillers Roof Garden- A lush terrace with fine views of the Acropolis, Zillers serves light meals and snacks during the day and in the evening, it’s transformed into an award-winning restaurant with amazing dishes that can be enjoyed alongside impressive cocktails. (Mitropoleos 54)

Retiree – Located on the top of Ergon House, here you can enjoy proper cocktails, a relaxed summer vibe and unbeatable views of the Parthenon. (Mitropoleos 23)

Nyx – Set on the top floor of the Academias Hotel and offering majestic views of the city, Nyx features Japanese flavours combined with signature cocktails. (19 Omirou St)

Wine O’Clock 

Heteroclito- With over 200 labels from Greece and abroad, you can enjoy a glass or two over a cheese platter. (2 Fokionos  & Petraki St) 

By the Glass – Choose among 250 Greek and global wine labels, around 50 of which can be served by the glass. (3 G. Souri & Phileillion St) 

Oinoscent- With over 1000 labels from all over the world, every week there is a new selection of wines that you can sample. (45-47 Voulis St) 

See + Do 

As you stroll up Panepistimiou St, heading towards Syntagma Square, you will encounter three of the most elegant and imposing neoclassical buildings in the Greek Capital – collectively known as the Athenian Trilogy. Made up of the University of Athens, the Athens Academy and the National Library, each was designed in the mid-19th century. 

Right in the middle of Syntagma Square, every day (on the hour) you can catch the changing of the guards (Evzones) outside the Hellenic Parliament House.

Then head on over to the National Garden – a peaceful spot that was once the official royal garden and former playground of Queen Amalia of Oldenburg.

As you walk towards the famous steps and fountain of Syntagma, you will come across The Hotel Grande Bretagne, which is a local institution and a preferred stay for many international celebrities and politicians. This historic hotel was founded in 1874 and is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. It’s worth stepping inside to admire the classic décor and for a drink at Alexander’s Bar.

Panagia Kapnikarea, a Byzantine church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, is one of the oldest churches in Athens. Built around 1050 AD over the ruins of an ancient temple, you will find it in the heart of Ermou Street.

In between Monastiraki and Syntagma Square, you can visit another important church, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. Known as the “official” church of the capital, it features both neoclassical and Greek-Byzantine elements.

Culture Fix 

Benaki Museum – A few minutes walk from Syntagma Square you can discover a curated selection of ceramics, sculpture, and jewellery in the magnificent Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine collections on display at one of Athens’ finest museums. (1 Koumbari & Vasilissis Sofias) 

Museum of Cycladic Art – This lovely museum currently holds one of the biggest collections of Cycladic art in the world, with around 3000 objects from all phases of Cycladic, Ancient Greek and Cypriot art. (Neophytou Douka 4)  

National Historical Museum – Set in the Old Parliament House, the museum narrates the history of Greece since the fall of the Byzantine Empire. (13 Stadiou St) 

Numismatic Museum of Athens – One of the most important museums of Greece, it houses one of the greatest collections of coins (ancient and modern) in the world. (12 Panepistimiou St) 

Where to Shop

From beauty stores such as Sephora and Mac to the largest retailers in fast fashion- Zara, H&M, and Pull & Bear – you’ll find them all as you walk along Ermou Street. 

Around Syntagma you will also come across high-end brands including Hermès, (Voukourestiou & Stadiou streets), Dior (Voukourestiou 18), Gucci (El. Venizelou 3) and Tod’s (4 Panapestimiou), as well as Attica–  Athens’ upmarket department store that stocks a wide selection of designer wear (9 Panepistimiou St).   

Zeus + Dione – Specialising in relaxed, artisanal resort wear and classic pieces, you can find the flagship store of Greece’s leading fashion brand right in the heart of Syntagma. (Voukourestiou 6)

ANAMESA Concept Store – Discover a range of cool creations, including fashion pieces and accessories for men, women, and kids, as well as minimal homewares designed by Greek and international artisans. (Nikis 24)

Naxos Apothecary – Take home a stunning range of luxury natural fragrances, herbal skincare, and lush scented candles from this beautiful store that pays homage to Naxos, the largest Cycladic isle. (Kolokotroni 3-5 & Voulis) 

Carpo- Make your way up to the fourth floor of the Attica department store and you’ll find a range of high-quality nuts, chocolates, coffee, dried fruits, and honey, which make for the perfect edible gifts. (Panepistimiou 9)

How to get there? 

Metro Line 3 connects the airport to Syntagma Square and the journey time is approximately 40 minutes. Otherwise, you can also catch a cab from the airport (also around 40 minutes depending on traffic) at a flat rate of €40 during the day. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Ergon Foods

Athens’ Glamorous Brunch Spot Just Got a Whole Lot Sweeter 

Athénée, the elegant all-day bar-restaurant that’s been synonymous with Athenian glamour since 1939, has just upped its “Lazy Sunday Brunch” menu, with enticing sweet creations by award-winning Greek pastry chef Spyros Pediaditakis and his talented team from leading Glyfada patisserie Ourse. 

The stunning restaurant in Syntagma is an iconic meeting spot right in the heart of the city, where locals gather each Sunday to enjoy a long, relaxed catch-up with friends- while tasting delightful dishes and sweets, along with their morning coffee, tea, and other drinks of choice.

And starting from tomorrow, February the 13th, through to March 6th, 2022, for four consecutive Sundays’, visitors will be able to taste Spyros’ signature sweets, which appear in his new cookbook Notebook (featuring 38 unique creations specially created for award-winning restaurants) including Spyros’ famous Crunchy Apple, a lush lemon tart, the famous St Honore, Paris Aegina (Ourse’s version of the classic Paris- Brest), as well as a range of decadent chocolate desserts. 

All of the pastries will be delightfully displayed on the remarkable Athénée dessert table- where guests will have the opportunity to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of each pastry before trying it- as they not only taste lush- but also look like a piece of art! 

A: Voukourestiou 9, Athina

Opening hours for “Lazy Sunday Brunch”: Sundays’ from 9 am



Renovation Work on Panepistimiou Street Begins

The highly-anticipated renovation works of Panepistimiou Street, in the centre of Athens, have commenced with the section between Amerikis and Sina Streets being the first part of the project to take place.

Work began on Sunday the 28th of November, 2021, with this part of the revamp expected to be completed by March, 2022.

The new 3 million euro eco-friendly project is said to create an additional 19,360 m2 of public space and 2,260 m2 of green areas, which will include 87 new trees, as well as bike routes and recreational areas. The project has been influenced by similar urban plans that can be found in other European cities including Paris and Berlin.  

The renovation also includes the creation of new sitting areas, as well as new public fountains with drinking water to cut down on plastic waste in the capital; plus much-needed mobility ramps.

“Panepistimiou is changing, the works on Panepistimiou has begun and in about a year the most important thoroughfare between Omonoia and Syntagma will have changed,” said Deputy Mayor Vasilis Axiotis.

Panepistimiou St, covers a great part of the city’s centre including all the major banks, ministerial seats, universities, and a variety of stores. 

Some shopping arcades are found along its length, as well as several museums and historical buildings such as the National Library, the Greek University, and other well-known sites. The long road starts at Amalias Ave and ends at Alexandras Ave.

Syntagma Square’s Christmas Tree Lights Up for 2021

Tis’ the season for all things jolly and The City of Athens annual tree-lighting event to celebrate the Christmas holidays, took place at Syntagma Square overnight with the centre of the Greek capital beautifully lighting up and bringing joy to Athenians earlier than usual this year.

The 19-metre-tree from Karpenissi, Central Greece, was lit with 60,000 multi-coloured lights measuring 5km from top to bottom, signalling the official start of the end-of-year holiday season.

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said that the annual decoration of the city came earlier this year than any in the past, “In order to leave behind the negative atmosphere of the [ongoing] pandemic and bring a spirit of celebration to the city sooner.” He added that it would also help boost the Athens market, which had suffered during the pandemic.

The Mayor also announced that the low-budget infrastructure introduced this year will be reused in the future, and “turn Athens into a brilliant and contemporary European capital this year too.” He also reminded the public to keep health measures.

The city’s main square, the Greek Parliament building and nearby streets and buildings have also been decorated with a total of 350,000 Christmas lights and green garlands. The lighting show was designed by lighting specialist Giorgos Tellos and the original music was provided by composer and sound artist Stavros Gasparatos.

Images Courtesy of INTIME and Eurokinissi 

Redesign of Syntagma Square Set to Begin

Athens’ Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis has announced the commencement date of the highly-anticipated makeover of the lower part of Athens’ popular Syntagma Square- scheduled to begin in early August 2021, following final approval by the Athens City Council.

The revamp is part of a huge urban regeneration project that was launched by the Athens Municipality. The overall aim is remodelling the Greek capital, with an emphasis on the historic city centre. According to authorities, the purpose is to improve everyday life for both residents and visitors of these areas.

As part of this project, Syntagma Square will see the widening of pedestrian walkways near Ermou Street; these sidewalks will be extended for pedestrian use, and the area will be made more accessible to locals and international visitors who visit this part of Athens year-round.

There will also be fresh landscaping (including 28 tall trees), the installation of smart road crossings, new shaded areas, and modern lighting. There will also be a new public space that will become an entrance point to Athens’ retail and historical centre.

An emphasis has also been placed on allowing people with disabilities to explore the city more easily- as there will be an increase in new accessibility ramps.  

The project also aims to increase road safety, and reduce noise and air pollution levels, thus making Syntagma Square more sustainable for current and future generations.

According to Bakoyannis’ statement, the design will blend in nicely with the area’s rich historic past, “Once completed, we will wonder why this project took 20 years to be approved,” says Bakoyannis. 

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

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

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


Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

The gyms are closed, but the bakeries are open, and those little blue delivery bikes are buzzing around the city dropping off their parcels of (fattening) comfort food. But if, like me, you are not quite ready to roll over and hibernate in front of Netflix, here are five things you can do to stay fit and healthy in Athens during the lockdown.

 By Christopher Nicholas 

1. Go jogging in Athenenian History

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

Put on your running shoes and go for a jog in the National Gardens, the best ‘park’ of Athens, directly behind the Parliament in Syntagma Square. The sun is still shining and palm trees line your track, and once you work up a sweat you will forget that winter is upon you. Pedion Tou Aeres is another big park in central Athens, and smaller, but quite unique is Akadamias Platanos, where you can take a jog through the ancient ruins of Plato’s Academy (where else in the world ?!). Finally, a satisfying route is to be found on Dionyssiou Aeropagitou pedestrian road that connects with Apostolou Pavlou St, starting from Acropolis metro and ending all the way down to Thisseio. For more inspiring runs around the city, check out Great Runs and search for suggestions in Athens.

2. Flex Venice Beach style at Technopolis Gym Park

If working out in the sunshine is your thing, then you will love this outdoor gym. Tucked away in the corner Technopolis (the old gasworks factory of Athens, recognisable by its tall brick tower that’s lit by red lights at night) arts and leisure park in Gazi, this is my favourite place to exercise. There is strict social distancing, and entrance is limited to 3 people, so this is a safe and comfortable place to train. The “calisthenic” gym machines and bars, use your body mass as resistance, so if you are used to lifting heavier weights in the gym, this might not hit the spot at first. But slow down the motion and aim for higher reps, and you will soon start to feel the burn in all the right places!

3. Get on your Podylato!

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

Ok, so I would not recommend this during normal times, but as Athens is grinding to a virtual halt, there’s never been a better time to discover the city by bicycle. To be fair, and Covid aside, the city of Athens is steadily making significant progress in greening the city centre. Panepistimiou Street, one of the major arteries running from Syntagma to Omonia Square, now has a dedicated cycle lane, for example. Mysteriously, many bicycle shops remain open, but you can also find a bargain on, while is a good place to shop for second-hand bikes. Another option is to rent a bike from Funkybikes. In these tourist downtimes, you can pick up a very affordable weekly deal.

Do be careful, however, because unlike some other European cities, biking is not so commonplace and car drivers do not always have the instinct to look out for their two-wheeled compatriots. And make sure your lights go on as the sun goes down. To help you plan your cycle route around town log on to Bike Map.

4. Walk around Old Athens at dusk

Simple but there you have it – just take a nice, long walk. Start at Thission station, and wander up the cobbled streets towards the foot of the Acropolis, carry on past the ancient theatre of Herodes Atticus, before curling back into the Plaka and the maze of charming streets, taking in the beautifully lit Roman Agora and Hadrian’s library, before entering the eerily quiet passageways of the flea market, ending up at Monastiraki station.

A brisk walk is proven to build stamina, burn excess calories, and make your heart healthier. The ideal is to walk about 5km an hour to get the physical health benefits, and you can use the free Active 10 App to check your speed. But even a gentler stroll, under the moon, in the shadow of this iconic ancient hill will be deeply soothing for the soul, and good for your mental health.

5. Workout at home and travel the world

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit During Lockdown in Athens  

You don’t need to waste hundreds of euros on a running machine that will gather dust as soon as lockdown is over – a yoga mat and a couple of resistance bands are all you need. If you need some inspiration, many gyms run online courses for their clients. But then again, why visit the same old gym? The beauty of working out on Zoom is you can tour the world as you pursue your fitness goals.

Try Yoga on the banks of Lake Orta in Northern Italy (, or Pilates in Sydney (@movewithnicole), or jet off to New York and join a ballet class with Sarah Jessica Parker (search for New York City Ballet workout on Youtube). I like Alex Crockford (@alexcrockford), fitness model turned coach on social; he will help you work up a sweat and maintain muscle mass. Evolve do some great high energy sessions. For something closer to home, Maria and Alikis of Twinsfit (, have taken their pilates, yoga, and TRX training out of the studio and into your living room with Zoom. Or tune in to Charlie’s (founder of GaziCrossFit) “Quarantine workout core crusher” on Instagram (@charliemakkos). Street Workout Athens, have come off the streets,  and are offering a wide range of classes, from Combat and Bootcamp to Spinning and Pilates on Zoom.

Whatever you decide to do, try and do a little every day; just 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day will have significant health benefits. We would love to hear what you are doing to stay fit and healthy during lockdown. Stay safe, stay healthy, and try to say no to these lovely Greek cheese pies!

*All images by Christopher Nicholas © (Copyright) 

Greece’s First Parenting Academy Readdresses How Families Work

With decades of working with families and children behind her, Mia Adamidou is creating a school for parents and parents-to-be.

Systemic Psychotherapist Mia Adamidou owns a space called Inner Flow, a holistic wellness meeting point where she works one-on-one with clients as well as organizing a variety of workshops featuring her own teachings and those of leading therapists from abroad. Beyond its urban-chic and elegant surroundings, the space feels highly professional and deeply comforting at once, and it’s not by chance, because the person who owns and runs it has those qualities herself.

Insights Greece - Greece’s First Parenting Academy Readdresses How Families Work

“Systemic Psychotherapy is not to be confused with Bert Hellinger’s Systemic Constellation work,” she tells me. “It is field of Psychotherapy as Psychoanalysis, Rogerian, Gestalt and so on. We focus first on the person- the client – connecting their mind, body, spirit, and then all the ripple circles around that individual such as the immediate family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, and going all the way to the universe. We work on the stories, family patterns, trans -generational schemes, the perceptions & imprints on all levels. It’s important to be in the here and now, so in systemic therapy we always connect to the past by bringing it to the present in a meaningful, transformational way.”

Since 2006 she has worked a lot with both children and youths as well as adults, with Inner Child work being one of her core areas of interest. Thus, it seems inevitable that she is now setting up The ‘Wisdoms Keeper’s’ Academy for Parents, which is a school for parents with lessons on specific issues. Parents will learn about caring for, supporting, empowering, mastering emotional intelligence and enhancing the inner beauty strength and all potential their children have. The courses will be both practical and theoretical, with experiential workshops that will work to support both women and men, young and old, who want to become parents and those who are already.

“The Academy will simultaneously focus on the inner work and growth of the parents and aim to resolve their own childhood issues. It will introduce alternative ways to parenting through InnerChild workshops, body work and other tried and tested techniques,” she says. “We will bridge the old and wise ways of our ancestors along with the new ways that are of a higher vibration. We will aim to embrace a more humanitarian consciousness based on trust, integrity, diversity and freedom from all that has held us in fixed positions and norms.”

Insights Greece - Greece’s First Parenting Academy Readdresses How Families Work

As a Family / Couple therapist who has worked with parents, children and family systems in the public and private sector in Greece in the fields of therapy, prevention, education, community building & counseling, Adamidou feels it’s high time to direct her expertise into this new initiative. “I hope that along with other collaborators, we can help make this world better for the new generation of children and leave them a legacy we all can be proud of. I will continue working as I do from 1997 with one-to-ones and family therapy but will launch the Academy with an organized programme. There will be courses and workshops running from this new season 2020-2021 that will be held in small groups at InnerFlow but also online for Greek people as well as English speakers.”

The Wisdom Keeper’s Parents Academy aims to provide parents or parents to be with the opportunity to choose from various programmes – part-time or full time training, or independent courses. “For those following the whole Academy there will be exams, projects , presentations that will be shared in the larger community of InnerFlow,” she says.

“These will include Creative Arts performances at the end of the semesters that will present what they have learned and lived and transformed. Through this philosophy of sharing I hope to make more people interested in joining this new way of expressing who we truly are; to truly help each other be genuine, living with clarity, openly giving and supporting each other. I will do whatever it takes to make things better for the new generation, to stand beside them, hold the light for their wisdom to come forth. I also hope to inspire others to embrace this mentality and realize such “bridges” and co creations for our world overall.”

Inner Flow City Center for Psychological Support/Creative Expression: Praxitelous 8, Syntagma

Where Health Food Fans Can Shop in Athens

Organic, vegan, gluten-free, blessed by angels before packaging – you name it and you’ll be able to find a store selling it.

Mangos, papayas and avocados from Crete. Endless varieties of Greek and exotic mushrooms and truffles from Epirus and Evia. Seitan, vegan cheese, kale crackers, gluten-free-anything and other packaged vegan or super healthy bioproducts. Ethically farmed meat and fish. Biodynamic and organic wines. Pure olive oil and honey of all grades, shades and tastes. Salt pipes and Neti pots. Health supplements in the form of liquids, potions, capsules, and powders. Oil press extractors. By now the health-food and alternative wellness trend is in full swing in Athens and bio minimarkets are regularly opening their doors to new streams of keen and increasingly savvy customers. Here’s our reliable guide to the best places where you can stock up in the capital.

Insights Greece - Where Health Food Fans Can Shop in Athens

Gaia’s Dora (Online)

What you’ll find: Organic food products, vegan, vegetarian and raw food products, health supplements, household cleaning products and essential oils. Anything special? A great variety of organic pasta from Greece and abroad.

Four Seasons Bio (30 Nikis, Syntagma)

What you’ll find: Fresh groceries (including avocadoes, mushrooms, papayas and mangos from Crete and Evia) eco-friendly cosmetics, organic foods and household cleaning products and cosmetics from around Greece and the world. Anything really special? The store can create a Bach flower remedy blend of your choice at a good price.  

Bamboo Vegan (102 Solonos & Mavromichali, Exarcheia)

What you’ll find: As the store’s name suggests, there are vegan food products a-plenty here – a broad variety of meat and cheese alternatives as well as sweets. Also, a good range of green cosmetics, superfoods and supplements. Anything really special? Vegan pet food.

Viofos – Organic Products (Themistokleous 3, Exarcheia)

Insights Greece - Where Health Food Fans Can Shop in Athens

What you’ll find: Organic food products, superfoods, health supplements, household cleaning products, natural/green/ethically produced cosmetics for face and body. Anything special? A broad variety of gluten-free products.

Viologiko Horio (in Kolonaki, Psychiko, Voula, Nea Smyrni)

What you’ll find: A supermarket chain in many areas of Attica, this is where you’ll find practically anything and everything organic, fair trade, ethically farmed, vegan, gluten free and green. Anything special? A huge selection of healthy kid-centric products in the food and cosmetics categories.

Kampos Biomarket (Filellinon 2 & Mitropoleos, Syntagma) 

What you’ll find: A more than satisfying array of fresh food products (groceries and refrigerated goods, as well as frozen, dried and other packaged foods from Greece and abroad. Essential oils, flower remedies, superfoods, supplements and books.Anything really special? The cosmetics range includes a large variety of face and body products including organic Henna hair dyes.

Bioway (57 Panepistimiou, Omonia)

What you’ll find: Organic food products of all varieties, superfoods, supplements and cosmetics. Anything special?A great array of innovative wellness-related equipment and appliances like humidifiers, dehydrators, wooden flour mills, blenders, juicers, an oil press extractor, a salt pipe and ecological cups.

Bioshop (30 Veikou Ave, Galatsi)

What you’ll findBooks, gardening accessories and products. Organic cosmetics, eco household items, supplements and superfoods and an array of quality health foods. Anything special? A good range of wellness tools and items like salt inhalers and salt crystal lighting.