Athens with Caroline de Maigret

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Athens: An ancient city with modern verve.


When you’re in Athens, you feel a certain power; the place has something really strong and deep emanating from its history and its people.

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Why I Love Athens

Athens is a place that holds a lot of history. From Greek mythology to its philosophers and the origins of democracy, this city continues to leave a permanent impact on our modern day society. The Ancient Greeks led the way for a lot of what shapes us, now. And you do feel that power when you are in Athens; there is something really strong and deep that emanates from the city and its people. I’m addicted to it. I stop over there every summer, on my way to the islands. It’s a vibrant city, with a very cool atmosphere.

Whether you’re aiming to go for culture, food or fun, it’s a great place for both short and long trips!

Athens Tips

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What are three essential things to pack for a trip to Athens?

• Trainers! Because sandals won’t get you up to the Parthenon!
• A hat is mandatory if you want to avoid sun damage.
• Don’t bother bringing heels. The city is filled with cobblestones and you might roll your ankle.
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What’s something that surprises you about Athens?

Most of the hills in Athens have played significant roles throughout the city’s history. Some of these mounts were once dedicated to specific ancient Greek deities. Every corner of the city seems to have some link to Greek mythology, and I love that!
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Where to Stay

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Hotel Grande Bretagne

I love to stay here when I visit Athens, it’s the oldest and most elegant hotel in the city. It has been through decades of Athenian history, and to this day, it’s where international artistic types continue to stay. Hang out at the hotel’s beautiful rooftop for the view of the Acropolis, as well as its pool, which is the most amazing luxury after a day in the heat.
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King George

Perfectly situated for captivating experiences, a truly inspiring and gracious venue, King George is located within walking distance from the wonders of Athens. The Acropolis, Agora, Plaka and Thission are nearby, so are upmarket boutiques, world-renowned museums, and the city’s vibrant business district.
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Where to Eat & Drink

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Restaurants

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Kuzina

This is probably my favorite restaurant in Athens. It features traditional Greek cuisine with a modern twist and a rooftop with a view of the Acropolis and the Hephaestus temple. As good as it gets!
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Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani

This is where I go for authentic Greek food. The décor is stunning and you’ll find all the classics: mezzes, local meats, cheeses and more. You’ll get to taste what Greece is all about. I love their baklavas. Vegans, stay away, there’s a deli-style, meat-filled open kitchen.
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Kostas

You can’t go to Greece without eating “gyro,” traditional Greek street food. Indulge after your visit to the Acropolis, because you’ll need something really good after that hike. Gain back those calories you burned during your walk!
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Bars

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Baba au Rum

Baba au Rum is known for its incredible rum selection and signature cocktails. Each drink has a story, and the atmosphere is amazing. It’s a really cool place for a night out.
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Upupa Epops

This cocktail bar is a great way to experience the nightlife in Athens. You can sit outside in the courtyard and enjoy one of their excellent cocktails. The atmosphere and energy in this place is always vibrant and the music is the best!
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Noel

Noel has a really cool and unique interior. You can go for a coffee or a drink depending on your mood. This place just, naturally, has a great vibe. Go on a weekday if you want it to be less crowded; the atmosphere is buzzing and the room is always full on the weekend.
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Recharge

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Yiasemi

Even if the street can get busy, this place has a very cozy atmosphere. It’s beautiful and definitely worth a visit. I’m a fan of their desserts.
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Upupa Epops

Peek a Bloom is where to go for breakfast to cure your hangover, they are famous for their great coffee. The atmosphere changes throughout the day. I love sitting at a table outside and partaking in the traditional Greek “Peratzatha.”
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Little Tree Books & Coffee

I love visiting book stores when I travel. It’s even better when they double as a café. Little Tree Books & Coffee is a cozy place to stop by. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and they have a lovely collection of Greek, English and French books.
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What is one place to dine/drink that you won’t find in a guidebook?

Kafeneio Ivis
This is definitely the place for mezze and traditional “ouzo.” Kafeneio Ivis is small and full of character.
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What to Do and See

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What site has the best view in Athens?

It may be a cliché, but you can’t beat the view from the Acropolis. Watching the sunset (or sunrise after a night out) from the Parthenon is a magical experience.
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What are your favorite Athenian places to find some peace and quiet?
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The spa at the Hotel Grande Bretagne

The perfect place to unwind after a long day. Make sure you try their Nourishing Yoghurt, Honey & Sugar Wrap. It does wonders for your skin, especially if you’ve been in the sun!
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Al Hammam

Plane journeys can be very tiring. I love going to the Hammam after a trip to relax my mind and body. The setting in these traditional baths is beautiful, and they offer a variety of treatments. Their “Guzellik” service is wonderful.
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Cine Paris

An outdoor cinema that first opened in 1920, Cine Paris has beautiful views of the Acropolis. There are many in the city. It’s probably my favorite way to spend an evening in Athens.
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Where do you most like to visit to see art?
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Tempor Aliquip

National Archeological Museum

If you want to visit just a single museum while in Athens, this is the one. It’s the kind of place you absolutely have to see at one point in your life; a bucket list destination. It hosts the widest collection of Greek archeological artifacts in the entire world. The collections are full of wonderful sculptures and vases. It’s an incredible experience in which you will dive into Greece’s history and beauty.
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Museum of Cycladic Art

This is an amazing museum with a wide collection of Greek art, and a beautiful way to see the evolution of Greece through different aesthetics and eras.
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Taf Art Space & Coffee

This is a cool place to visit while in Athens. The building is used both as a café and an exhibition space. A great spot to discover contemporary Greek artists and designers.
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What are some of your favorite places for celebrations?
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Spondi

An incredible restaurant for a romantic night out. It has been awarded two Michelin stars for its modern French cuisine (so you know it’s good). The Langoustine with caviar, watermelon radish and calamondin is to die for.
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Gagarin 205

A really cool music venue where you’ll mostly find rock concerts. Going to a gig is always a great way to feel the vibe of a city and discover its inhabitants in a different way.
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Where to Shop

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Varvakios market

This market is an engaging and interesting spot to walk around. You can find fresh local produce from fruit to fish, as well as a selection of spices. It’s a nice way to spend the morning and find traditional Greek products to bring home! It doesn’t really get more local than this.
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i-D CONCEPTSTORES

A trendy place to shop for fine jewellery and luxury items. You’ll find Greek and international designers, and a variety of cool bags and shoes. I love going to discover up-and-coming Greek designers.
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Bohbo

When I travel, checking out vintage shops is a must. This one holds a great collection of designer pieces.
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Rock & Roll Circus

This is a record shop that has all the classics, yet they also work with independent labels to bring a wide variety of old and new releases to their shop. Find everything from classic rock to exciting, on-the-rise artists.
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Underflow Records & Art Gallery

This is a super unique place to visit with a great vibe, a wide and interesting selection of music, and the staff are really passionate about music and art, which makes the experience even better.
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Mon Coin Studio

For a cool gift to bring back to your friends; the space is full of contemporary ceramic art by contemporary and traditional Greek artists. You can also participate in a workshop to bring your loved ones a truly unique gift, but I can’t guarantee it will be as beautiful as the pieces on display!
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