Athens is also a winter destination – and these are the best places for coffee, kebabs and cocktails


Picture Joost Stokhof

The Greek-Egyptian Amanda Galal (30) grew up in Athens, lived in Cairo for years, later in London and now for a while in Amsterdam. She is a graphic designer and artist. In her art, ancient Egyptian figures merge with images from Greek mythology in contrasting paintings. Sometimes Galal misses his former place of residence: ‘Especially during the gray winter months in Amsterdam. When I think of Athens, I see the azure sky, the bright light, the sea and the mountains. We have both there: a sea in all shades of blue and turquoise and mountains on the horizon. Athens is a lively city where people are friendly and hospitable and above all want to have a good time. A city where everyone has time, or so it seems. That you have suddenly been sitting in a café for four hours, or that a friend calls to get a cup of coffee now, so immediately and not in two weeks, as always happens in the Netherlands’.

View of the Acropolis

Amanda Galal: ‘This restaurant is located in the green, on top of Mount Lykavittós, the highest mountain in Athens, right in the center. The green tent has an outdoor terrace and views of the entire city. The Acropolis can be seen from here. At night you can see all the city lights and an illuminated Parthenon. Brunch in the Green Tent on a sunny day is also fantastic. It’s quite a climb, up the hill.’

The green tent, Prasini Tenta

Freddo espresso sketch

“Coffee is everything in Athens. For specialty coffee in the center I often went to Kaldi coffee bar, where they serve super espresso and fine filter coffee. And my favorite, ice cold freddo espresso sketto, without sugar. A stylish and open café.’

Kaldi, Hippocrates 164

null Picture Joost Stokhof

Picture Joost Stokhof

Art, vegetables, frames

‘Quite hidden: 48 Urban Garden. This building houses the Ileana Tounta Gallery of modern art by Greek artists. There is also a kitchen garden and a restaurant. A hotspot among Athenians, many friends can be found here on weekends and there is sometimes dancing. I would also like to mention Iris Gallery, a modern gallery with a view to the future, where I myself have exhibited my works. And when it comes to art, Elias Kouvelis is important. He has a framing shop and virtual gallery called Omicron. That gallery was there before the corona variant.’

48 Urban Garden, 48 Armatolonke Klefton
Iris Gallery, Antinoros 12
Elias Kouvelis, Gelonos 9

Modern and old

‘I find it difficult to choose between the museums in Athens. The National Gallery, recently restored, displays a great deal of modern art, including works by Alekos Fassianos, who died earlier this year. He was a Greek painter who did beautiful, colorful work. I also like to be found in the Museum of Cycladic Art, where all the incredible statues and figures made thousands of years before Christ are kept.’

The National Gallery, Leoforos Vasileos Konstantinou 50
Museum of Cycladic Art, Neofitou Douka 4

null Picture Joost Stokhof

Picture Joost Stokhof

Three sisters

‘This is an elegant Italian restaurant. Especially beautiful is the liquor cabinet, where we prefer to go with some friends to go through life. Tre Sorelle is usually busy but relaxed, without much fuss, and they have delicious pizzas and wines.’

Tre Sorelle Pagrati, Archelaou 19

Lotte and Duende

‘I must not forget Lotte, a favorite café, very atmospheric, Parisian, with table lamps and curtains. To order coffee and cake or – later – a drink. Lotte is not far from the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. And close to Lotte is Duende, which is more for the evening, a semi-dark, cozy café with leather sofas, an old gramophone, good wine and whiskey and tasty spaghetti bolognese.’

Lotte, cafe bistro, Tsami Karatasou 2
Duende, Tzireon 2

null Picture Joost Stokhof

Picture Joost Stokhof

Insane

‘During this time, the central Syntagma Square is decorated in Christmas style and fully lit up. Eetbar Noel is immersed in winter moods all year round and lavishly decorated with lights everywhere. It’s always nice. For cocktails from all over the world, but also for something to eat.’

Noel, Kolokotroni 59B

Glyfada

‘I lived here for years in Glyfada, the green area on the beach, in the south of Athens. When I think of Glyfada, I immediately think of Su Casa, a house that has been converted into a restaurant. Cozy place, with two floors, lots of greenery, special lamps and sushi, calamari, pasta or risotto on the menu. We also often went to Tsi Tsi. A true Greek restaurant for anyone who likes a friendly priced plate of meat. Gyros, kebabs, souvlaki, that’s what they’re known for. Also in Glyfada: Charlie Do’s Espresso Bar. You don’t often see such an adventure bar. I myself prefer cocktails to coffee, they have good food and often live music. For a nice beach, I would drive a little further south, to Zen Beach, beach with a nice tavern.’

Tsi Tsi, Leoforos Dimarchou Aggelou Metaxa 50
Su Casa, Kiprou 82
Charlie Do’s Espresso Bar, Pandoras 14
Zen Beach, Vakchou, Vouliagmeni

Winter in Athens

Finally, Athens’ biggest secret. It is a relatively unknown summer and winter destination. We also only have summer and winter in Athens, hardly a season in between. Winter can be a bit colder, but not very cold and often crisp and clear with light blue skies. It is good to winter in my city. And you can even ski, an hour or two from Athens, in Parnassus (mountain range, ed.), which is not far from the picturesque mountain village of Arachova, near Delphi. Maybe an idea for a day trip?’

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