At a glance
Gone are the days when Athens was regarded as no more than a quick stopover for visitors eager to reach their island paradise.
Despite–or perhaps because of–the financial crisis, the Greek capital has carved out for itself a highly contemporary, sophisticated and exciting identity, offering residents and visitors alike a multitude of immersive reasons to stay on and explore it in depth.
With a wide array of exquisite gastronomic, cultural, sportive and social experiences in and around the town centre, the friendly, multicultural, 24/7 city is on many levels on a par with the world’s top destinations, while just half an hour from central Athens you can discover lush green spots on mountains like Parnitha and Hymmitos, as well as lovely coastal areas in the southern suburbs.
Athens is cheap to navigate by taxi, safe to walk around and has one of the world’s best metro networks, so there’s no reason why you can’t get to see everything you desire within even a few days.
The Athenian food and wine scene is experiencing a renaissance over the last few years, with restaurants now specializing in a bold variety of cuisines, from traditional French to Peruvian-Japanese, healthy raw to authentic Cretan, and often featuring inventive menus, wine lists and a captivating ambience with stylish decor.
Certainly, the old-school Greek food haunts and meze joints around the town continue to be honoured by locals and visitors, making for delicious classic Greek dining, but over recent years, new Greek chefs are making a wave by utilizing traditional Greek, seasonal, authentic and organic ingredients and recipes from different regions of the country to create fusion dishes with new, surprising results.
You can find good food on all budgets in Athens – from well sought-out, high-quality renditions of street food like souvlaki, various pies and sandwiches, to artwork-like molecular dishes by Michelin starred chefs that reflect the latest trends in gourmet gastronomy.
Drinkers too can today celebrate the safe landing of fabulous cocktails in Athens, often also made using Greek spirits and liqueurs like mastiha, ouzo or raki, or infused or distilled with Greek flavours, by skilled mixologists.
Meanwhile, cool and elegant wine bars serving labels from around the country by the bottle or glass and accompanied by tasty finger foods are a widespread trend that attests to the success story that is the new Greek wine as it gains momentum worldwide.
- Homemade-style, yet beautifully presented Greek products made by small producers. Think gold-leaf honey, olive oils and hand-picked organic herbal teas, sold at an increasing number of traditional stores.
- Vegan/vegetarian restaurants, juice-bars and organic groceries, part of a health food scene that has recently blossomed in Athens.