Athens, as a whole, is a city culturally on the rise after having sustained years of recession. But which are the neighborhoods that carry this transformation on their shoulders? What are the new areas in the Greek capital that have become seed beds for this positive change?
One should focus on the neighborhood of Koukaki, an area that lies between Acropolis and Syngrou Fix subway stations.
It’s one of those areas in Athens that you may easily bypass as a visitor, as it is usually overshadowed by more famous nearby neighborhoods, like Plaka. However, it encapsulates the real-deal of what Athens has to offer.
It has been suggested by top-tier publications such as the New York Times and the Vogue as an astonishing retro-style area to wander in, for a good many reasons.
Within walking distance from just about anywhere in central Athens, it hosts an interesting mixture of bohemian style with urban culture and has become the haven of those who seek the – still secret – beautiful spots in Athens.
First of all, let’s talk about food! Koukaki boasts some of the most innovative and creative new arrivals in the culinary scene of Athens. Visit Seven Cactus and its cozy garden for a Greek brunch with a twist. Alternatively, Riza Riza offers delicious oreo-cookie pancakes and, later in the night, delicious cocktails.
As Koukaki is truly close to the Acropolis, it can also be visited straight after your tour of the Sacred Rock. And if you’re up for an unforgettable lunch experience, try Little Venice restaurant and delve into Greek flavors presented in a modern fashion and, most importantly, at very reasonable prices.
Moving on to the distinguished list of cocktail spots, Spirtokouto (Matchbox in English) is a great choice with carefully made mixes. Often hosting live events and very close to the surrounding Athenian hills, it features the ultimate opportunity for a tasty drinking experience followed by a romantic stroll around the historic center of the capital.
At Tiki bar you might forget that you are in the heart of one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals and you will be transferred to a chill-out setting, closely resembling an island. The cocktails served here are very often seasoned with organic spices, bitters, and herbs but are also quite regularly revised so as for new flavors to be introduced.
You should also take time to visit The Art Gallery “Technohoros” which aspires to promote and develop the art of engraving, while at Urban Stripes you will bump into an amazingly beautiful building of modern architecture, right in the middle of the dark area which surrounds it. Last, but certainly not least, comes the chance to go to Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, the only of its kind in Greece, which exhibits contemporary jewelry.
It’s worth pointing out that Koukaki has been increasing its allure for visitors and, following the neighborhoods of Plaka and Exarchia, it now ranks third on the Airbnb chart of Athens with 343 listings, and fifth on Airbnb’s top 16 neighborhoods to visit in 2016, with 801% growth from 2015. This is according to data analysis by journalist Sotiris Sideris from AthensLive.
Cover image credit: GIANNIS GIANNAKITSAS