Despite the economic issues that Athens has dealt with in recent times, 2014 has seen a great increase in the city’s tourism industry. The Greek capital and original host of the Olympic Games has transformed once again into a metropolis with a lively international atmosphere, surrounded by a timelessly beautiful landscape.
The centre of modern Athens has many global-class hotels, sophisticated restaurants and designer shopping boutiques. Here’s our top pick of the city’s best accommodation, eateries and shopping spots that have managed to keep afloat during economic hardship and continue to provide an excellent service.
St George Lycabettus Hotel
Xanthippou, Athens 106 75, Greece
This chic hotel is located in the exclusive district of Kolonaki in Athens – a stone’s throw away from most of the main tourist attractions. The hotel restaurant ‘Le Grand Balcon’ offers magnificent views of Acropolis while the Frame café makes the perfect stop before a day’s sight-seeing.
The pool area is exquisite with an abundance of sun beds and loungers – so no running to the pool early to place your towel! If the bustle of the city gets too much, there’s the onsite SENSIA spa for massage and other soothing treatments.
Royal Olympic Hotel
Athanasiou Diakou 28, Athens, Greece 117 43, Greece
Situated in front of the Temple of Zeus, the Royal Olympic hotel offers amazing views of the city. With a rooftop gourmet restaurant that serves eclectic Greek cuisine and a swimming pool that’s perfect for the kids, the Royal Olympic Hotel has everything you need for a fabulous holiday in Athens, hence why it has continued to play host to thousands of tourists each year.
Dexamenis & Olimpionikon 4, Kifisia, Athens 145 63, Greece
The Olive Land restaurant – as the name translates – is the perfect hideaway, perched on the rim of a cliff overlooking the Aegen Sea. Situated in northern Athens in Skiathos, young olive trees adorn the room, decorated with pale colours and gentle lights.
Everything on the menu is cooked exclusively with Greek extra virgin oil, standing true to its slogan in that it really does serve “Greece on a plate”. Looking not only at classic Greek cooking traditions but further back to the bronze age, the chef brings an inexhaustible supply of flavours and dishes to the table. It’s no surprise the Eleas Gi has stood tall amidst economic difficulty.
37 Kolokotroni St | Kefalari, Kifisia, Athens 14562, Greece
In Kifissia, on a veranda looking onto Kefalari Square, Chef Michalis Nourloglou has put together a varied menu featuring Mediterranean flavours that are sure to please. Still a popular location for tourists and locals, this kind of restaurant has a level of elegance and class that can never grow old. The food is exquisite, the venue atmospheric, and the views ever-changing.
The Attic Black Shop
Corner of 50A Nikis Street & 6 Kydathineon Street, Athens 10558, Greece
The Attic Black Shop is the retail outlet for the Thetis Workshop, who produce beautiful, authentic reproductions of historical items like necklaces, decorated pottery, toys and tableware. Each piece is unique and has its own character. The necklaces are particularly exquisite, made from workshop-fired beads and hand-selected semi-precious stones.
Athens Protasis Jewellery
Adrianou 136 | Plaka, Athens, Greece
Perfect for buying gifts, Athens Protasis is a long-time favourite for island visitors. Producing handmade necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewellery, it’s the ideal place to treat yourself or a friend to a sentimental gift at fabulous prices.
The Ice-Cream Shop
Pandrosou Street & Monastiraki Square, Athens 10555, Greece
Situated on Monastiraki Square, directly opposite the Metro entrance, this quirky little ice cream shop is the perfect place to cool down on a hot summer’s day. With an array of different ice-creams bursting with flavour, it’s of a standard to rival even the classic Italian gelaterias. The parlour has continued to be a favourite for both locals and tourists throughout the recession in Athens, and is always thronging with people eager to try their famous waffle cones.
Where are your favourite spots and recommendations for Athens? Let us know in the comments box below.