Greece’s islands get all the glory – but don’t overlook its incredible capital. Whether you deploy it as a hub or a destination in its own right, tailor your trip with our short-break ideas.
ATHENS IS AN INCREDIBLE PALIMPSEST of history, politics and edginess, its cultural and social life unfolding in and around landmarks that are centuries – if not millennia – old. The relics of Ancient Greece get most attention, of course; the Acropolis is ever-present, a daily reminder to citizens of their magnificent heritage, but there’s great architecture from later periods, too. Thousand-year-old Byzantine churches stand unruffled on busy streets and hillsides. Ottoman traces are present in buildings and in food, while the Neoclassical style of the 19th century lends elegance all over the centre. Though citizens have endured tough times since the economic crisis began 10 years ago, the city crackles with energy – in politics, street art and fashion. Leave room in your schedule for spontaneous discovery. Buy a ticket to that dance show that’s just starting as you walk by, or stop in the square where the musicians are setting up. You’ll be rewarded with grunge and grace in equal measures.
DITCH YOUR SUITCASE
A cosy converted old mansion with 15 rooms, handy for all the major sights, Sweet Home has an inviting interior that is a good mix of vintage features such as wooden floors and chandeliers and modern design, such as the sleek, if petite, bathrooms (www.thesweet homehotel.com; from 1,000). A hip hotel in the gritty area south of Omonia, Fresh Hotel has modern, brightlycoloured rooms, a good breakfast and a fantastic rooftop with (tiny) pool, bar and restaurant. Front rooms have balconies but can be noisy (www.freshhotel.gr; from 9,000). At classically elegant Electra Palace, you can breakfast on your balcony beneath the Acropolis (in higher-end rooms) and dine or swim on a rooftop with views. The well-appointed rooms are buffered from the sounds of the city streets (www.electrahotels.gr; from 13,000).
GET YOUR BEARINGS
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE