If you really want to get to the heart of Athens, scale the ancient citadel of the sacred Acropolis and check out the urban landscape sprawling before you like concrete arteries of a throbbing city. Discover secret rooftop bars buzzing with unadulterated energy like Colour Locale in Monastiraki or step into one of the world’s leading ‘best bars’ and Athenian favourite for a deftly made cocktail at The Clumsies. Gastronomy is taken very seriously in Athens, with hip places like Funky Gourmet sporting its shiny Michelin status and classy restaurants like Spondi setting the standard for fine cuisine. Of course there is the deluxe Grande Bretagne Hotel if you want to stop for afternoon tea in its Winter Gardens, where the line-up of famous guests has included Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Maria Callas and Brigitte Bardot, not to mention Sean Connery, Francis Ford Coppola, David Bowie and Jay-Z.
Shopping is a blissful pursuit with Ermou Street catering to fashion-conscious shopaholics, whilst a walk up to Voukourestiou Street is true soul therapy for those who want to add to their collection of Louis Vuitton bags. Then head for up-town Kolonaki, the place to see and be seen while sipping on the newest ‘boutique’ coffee blends. Check out the spectacular remains of the Hellenic past, testimonies to the Ottoman occupation and old Byzantine churches, all nestled amongst elegant 19th century neo-classical buildings and designer stores.
The modern Athenian is in love with every part of this city’s past yet embraces the modern vibes of the new with vigour. Colourful street art, gastro eateries, trendy bars and a feeling of living in the moment make this a destination which continues to be an all-time classic.