Athens – City Guide

 

Athens. The city with the most glorious history in the world, a city worshipped by gods and people, a magical city. The enchanting capital of Greece has always been a birthplace for civilization. It is the city where democracy was born and most of the wise men of ancient times. The most important civilization of ancient world flourished in Athens and relives through some of the world’s most formidable edifices.

This is after all the birthplace of modern culture and democracy, and a city with a rich and fascinating history of political change from the Ancient Greeks to today. The monuments are not confined to museums and galleries, but are all around you as you wander the cobbled streets. Some may say this is a city living in the long shadow of a golden age 2,500-years long gone, but nowhere else do new and old contrast so dynamically.

You can sip a glass of ouzo ogling that audacious achievement of mankind, the Acropolis, and yet the walls behind you will be graffitied and a DJ spins electro in the distance. The calm of island oasis of Anafiotika or the pretty Plaka make a striking contrast against the gritty art scene of Gazi or the rebel youth of Exarchia. This is a city where the classical past is the stage upon which a very contemporary world continues to carve its way.

Hotels and Resorts

ASTIR PALACE BUNGALOWS (Apollonos 40)

Part of the Astir Palace complex (recently rebranded a Starwood Luxury Collection resort), the 55 laid-back but luxurious bungalows are set among pine trees on the Athenian Riviera 25km from the city center. The original 1960s architecture has been reworked by top Greek architects Zege and the ambience is contemporary coastal chic. The bungalows are decorated in natural tones and nautical stripes with sunken tubs and plunge pools, and the Matsuhisa Athens – one of six restaurants – is the city’s hippest dining spot. The Arion spa is dazzling.

HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE   (Syntagma Square, 105 63)

Hotels and Resorts  Athens – City Guide hotel grande bretagne 21

This Luxury Collection hotel teams neoclassical opulence with state-of-the-art technology. The former palace has hosted VIPs from Joan Collins to Jacques Chirac and has the poshest address in the Greek capital – presiding over Syntagma Square, Parliament Building and the National Gardens. There are 321 rooms and suites including the 400-square-metre Royal Suite that has a private gym, media room and wine cellar. The Art Deco GB Corner is good for power lunch over T-bone steaks, the GB Roof Garden for romantic liaisons, and Alexander’s Bar – all mottled black marble and tinkling piano – stocks a selection of rare spirits and has a walk-in humidor. The GB Spa is glamorous with a palm-filled atrium, ESPA treatments, a herbal steam room, and a sea-green pool. Rooms with Acropolis views are worth the surcharge. Price rating: 4/5.

OCHRE & BROWN  (7 Leokoriou Street)

A relaxed hideaway hidden on a backstreet in the pleasantly scruffy district of Psiri, a short stroll from Plaka, the Parthenon and the trendy clubs of Gazi, staying here will make you feel like an insider. The 11 compact rooms are more fuchsia and orange than ochre and brown, and come with free Wi-Fi and marble bathrooms with rain showers. There is little outside space, but the enthusiastic staff, who will gladly arrange an in-room massage or dinner reservation, more than make up for it. Plus, breakfast is served until noon, and chef Stefano Rossi turns out great pasta and risotto in the all-day restaurant.

Spas

ATHENAEUM ATHENS (Syngrou Avenue 89-93)

The spa at the Athenaeum Athens has seven treatments rooms, a sauna, hammam, whirlpool and experience shower. A range of marine cosmetics and thalassotherapy treatments are offered alongside body treatments and facials, some of which use Phytomer products.

DIVANI APOLLON PALACE & SPA (10 Ag. Nikolaou & lliou Srt)

Spa  Athens – City Guide divani apollon palace spa

This Vouliagmeni hotel is located by the sea, set on its own private sand beach near Kavouri Beach and Vouliagmeni Spa Lake. The 3.500 m2 Spa and Thalassotherapy centre is the only facility offering thalassotherapy in Athens region. On a privileged setting next to the sea, our Athens spa hotel offers revitalizing thalassotherapy programs, combined with a section of the best beauty care and fitness treatments available.

Museums

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM (15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street)

Dionysiou Areopagitou opened in June 2009, the Acropolis Museum is located at the foot of Acropolis and houses some of its finest treasures. An architectural marvel, it is set to become one of the most-visited museums in the world.

NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM ( 44 Patission Street)

Museum  Athens – City Guide national archaeological museum

The  National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest archaeological museum in Greece and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art.It was founded at the end of the 19th century to house and protect antiquities from all over Greece, thus displaying their historical, cultural and artistic value.

 

BENAKI MODERN ART MUSEUM (Koumpari 1)

It looks just like an ark adrift in an industrial wasteland – but the new Benaki Museum is a magnet for design junkies. The red-marble façade conceals an atrium lined with steel mesh and blinds, a café, bookstore and an architectural archive.

Galleries

ATELIER SPYROS VASSILIOU (Webster 5a)

Gallery  Athens – City Guide atelier spyros vassiliou

The home and studio of Spyros Vassiliou (1902/3-1985) is now open to the public as a museum and archive. The Atelier recounts the artistic progression of one of the most acclaimed exponents of contemporary Greek art by displaying a large number of his works in a wonderful setting under the Acropolis. The Museum Shop offers a selection of original lithographs, prints and books. Open daily.

THE ATHENS GALLERY (14 Pandrossou Street, Plaka)

Conveniently situated in the Plaka in Pandrossou Street, the traditional heart of the city of Athens, The Athens Gallery offers the visitor an unparalleled opportunity to experience the world of modern Greek art.
Contemporary Greek art is a fascinating blend of modern techniques and ideas with traditions that date back to the worlds of Byzantium, Rome and Ancient Greece. At the same time it is a vibrant reflection of current Greek life. A visit to The Athens Gallery gives you the opportunity to experience this world for yourself.
The gallery contains examples of all major Greek arts, crafts and ceramics. You can see work from the mainland as well as the islands of Greece and many of the workshops that have built up the Greek artistic tradition contribute to the gallery. A number of leading Greek artists and sculptors, many of whose work can be found in famous collections in Europe and further afield, display some of their finest work here.

Design Shops

PECORA NERA – DESIGN SHOP (Michalakopoulou 117)

Pecora nera is Androniko’s Deligiannis “source of inspiration”. Andronikos is a freelance graphic designer with more than 10 years’ experience in this field. Here lies the role of our team of experts who thoroughly examine all parameters in order to come up with cutting edge, customized marketing and promotional tools. Our services include branding, corporate identity, logotype, stationery, invitations, flyers, brochures, web desing and packaging.

PAUL SARZ JEWELLERY (Mavrokordatou 4)

Desing Shops  Athens – City Guide paul sarz jewellery

Sarz’s jewellery looks like it was handed down to you by a great-great grandmother who “heard voices”. This tiny jeweler’s shop is a showcase for the unique, spookily charming work of designer Paul Sarz. The shop’s exclusive collection of pendants, rings and earrings shows clear influences from both the ancient world and the Victorian era, but still managing to look edgy and modern.
Not really the place to splash a month’s wages on a big old rock, Sarz’s handmade pieces are affordable, the aesthetic in keeping with the shops location in alternative Exarcheia.

Design Centers

TAF – THE ART FOUNDATION

Gallery, art space, coffee shop, and bar rolled into one, TAF is housed in a renovated turn-of-the-century building. The space also features a beautiful example of the classic 19th-century Athenian courtyard.

6 D.O.G.S. (Avramiotou 6-8, Monastiraki)

Another art and event space with music and drinks thrown in to the mix. It aims to be an all-day/all-night meeting space for creative minds in the heart of the city.

Restaurants

MILOS (Vassilissis Sofias Avenue 46)

Costas Spiliades reinvented Greek cuisine at his restaurant in Montreal and New York and now he’s brought the Milos phenomenon home, to the Hilton Athens.

KUZINA (Adrianou, 9)

Stylish modern taverna serving quality cooking that has rightfully earned its place among the most famous fusion cuisine restaurants. The well-known chef Aris Tsanaklides uses his experience and imagination and combines successfully tradition, Mediterranean ingredients in an innovative way based on the international gastronomic trends.

MAMACAS (Persefonis 37-39 Gazi)

This new spin on the old-school tavern serves great Greek food, such as peppers stuffed with goat’s cheese and dill, meatballs in tomato sauce and lemon chicken. The glamorous clientele is equally appetising.

Wineries

THE MEGAPANOS WINERY (1o Km. Pikermi )

Wineries  Athens – City Guide the megapanos winery

The Megapanos Winery is an up-to-date wine producing & bottling company. Its premises are situated in Pikermi, in the heart of the wine growing region of Attica just a few kilometers from Athens. Pikermi is situated in the Mesogia, in Attica, where the growing of vines is a heritage from the olden times. The area is known for the cultivation of the noted local Savatiano grape variety, which produces a fresh, light dry white wine with a fruity flavour and a crystal clear color. The company’s philosophy and aim is to produce wines of excellent quality from the renowned wine producing localities of Attica in particular and of Greece in general.

Showrooms

ALKETAS PAZIS (101 Thessalonikis str. A. Petralona)

The passionate collector Alketas Pazis has spent much of his life building up a fantastic collection of carefully selected pieces of furniture, lamps and items from the 1900-1950 period. In Athens, he has created a veritable treasure chest of collector’s items. His main interest has been equipment from factories, schools and hospitals, and it is almost a mission for him to save as many of these items as possible from the scrapheap.

 

AFU (34 Alopelis St.)

Afu is a concept store that brings tdc’s trademark designs to the public in the form of tailor made furniture, objects and interior concepts.

Country Club Living

JOCKEY’S COUNTRY CLUB

Jockey’s Country Club -following its relocation from the Goudi Equestrian Club facilities- since 2006 is located at a 32.000 square meters country side area nearby the Olympic Village and next to the biggest Equestrian Club of Attiki.

A breath of fresh air…a breath away from your office.

Deserty Home Living

ACROPOLOS VIEW HOUSE BY MINAS KOSMIDIS

Deserty Home Living  Athens – City Guide acropolos view house by minas kosmidis

Greek architect Minas Kosmidis creates a functional house with an incredibly unique view from the magical atmosphere of the Acropolis whilst bringing the Ancient city to life within its walls. The area is Thisio in Athens, Greece Kosmidis literally turned the house upside down by positioning the bedrooms on the ground floor in order to maximise the property’s space and potential for scenery. This house has unique features, like the bold and striking walnut staircase displaying the highest quality of craftsmanship and has been designed to last.

DAZZLING RESIDENDE

N. Koukourakis & Associatescreated was created the vivid residence in kifisia project in Kifisia,  A house of 350 m² in Kifissia is an oasis for a family of four, constructed in a small, almost square level plot. The visitor enters through the left side of the building. The design concept focused on establishing additional open air spaces so as to create a pleasant habitat in the small plot. Thus, the stone mass in the entry of the plot separates the common use areas from the more secluded spaces thus creating the essential privacy.

Luxury Properties

LUXURIOUS GREEK COUNTRY STYLE VILLA

Designed to blend with the natural environment it is settled on, this newly built villa of 485 sq.m. is split in three levels on a 465 sq.m. plot of land in a most prominent Athenian suburb.

UNIQUE VILLA IN AGIA MARINA

In a plot of 6.000 square meters, less than 2km away from the sea you’ll find this prestigious villa of 610 sq. meters split into 3 levels, built in 2007.

VILLA IN THE SOUTHERN SUBURBS OF ATHENS MOUNTHYMETTUS

Villa of 560 square meters in a plot of 1.000 square meters, built in 1994 in the safe environment of Voula, Attica. Voula is a suburban town in southern Attica, located approximately 20 km South of Athens city center, northwest of Cape Sounio and South of the Hymettus mountain.

 

Points of interest:

MOUNTHYMETTUS

Famous for its thyme honey and beautiful marble since antiquity, Mount Hymettus has long been a favourite refuge from the heat in Athens. The beautiful pine trees were damaged in the devastating fire of 1998, but are slowly recovering. Almost all of Athens can be seen from here, along with the airport and the mountains of Parnitha. The more adventurous should head here to enjoy a stunning sunset. Just remember to be careful not to spark another forest fire in the heat.

MOUNTLYCABETTUS

There are two ways of reaching the top of Mount Lycabettus – walk up Ploutariou Street or take a cable car. The church that greets you on top of the summit, 277 metres above sea level, provides a perfect spot from where to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view over the bustling city below and the Aegean Sea.

PHILOPAPPUS HILL

Point of Interest  Athens – City Guide philo
Once you have been to the Acropolis, you might want to see it from a slightly different perspective. The Philopappus Hill offers the best view of the ancient building and its surroundings, as it is located directly opposite.

Celebrity Homes

KENNY ROGERS

The Gambler’ singer Kenny Rogers knows when to hold them, and when to fold them, especially when it comes to his real estate. Rogers is putting his 60 hectare property near Athens, Georgia up for auction next week, and hoping the five bedroom, 5.5 bathroom home goes for more than $3.5 million. The lakeside property includes a 528 square metre Polynesian-style home, private beach, waterfalls, go-kart track, horse trails, outdoor pool and a pontoon boat.

MICHAEL STIPE’S HOUSE

Michael Stipe is a rock singer, the leader of the band R.E.M has a house in Athens.The three-bedroom co-op has three and a half baths, views of the Hudson River and the city, high ceilings and exposed brick, the Post reported. Other features in the penthouse loft include a dramatic living room with a fireplace, a large master bedroom suite, a den/library, and an open gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, the paper reported. Stipe’s new building is a haven for artists of all kinds.

Art Shows

THEATRE OF DIONYSOS AND ODEION OF HERODES ATTICUS

Points of interest  Athens – City Guide theatre of dionysos and odeion of herodes atticus

Located on the south slope of the Acropolis, the Odeion is a semi-circular theatre still plays host to a summer festival of classical drama and music performances and the occasional gig by the likes of Jean Michel Jarre.