My sincerest apologies to anyone from Athens, but the first time I visited I really disliked it. In fact, I planned on never returning.
However, as fate would have it, I had to return last year after visiting the Greek Islands Kefalonia, Lefkada and Zakynthos and to say that my opinion of Athens underwent a change is an understatement. I loved Athens on my second trip and was sad to leave.
What was the difference between the trips? An understanding of what I love in a holiday and revolving my experience around that. I've often struggled to find a guide that I trust so hopefully I can provide that for fellow travellers who are aesthetically driven and enriched by mingling with the locals and their daily existence.
Kicking It For 24 Hours in Kolonaki
I'm not about to pretend like I slummed it on this trip. My previous trip was spent in a global chain hotel amongst the graffiti of Athens. So we went for a different experience with this trip.
Coco Mat Hotel
Patriarchou Ioakim 36, Athina 106 75, Greece
What do you get when a luxurious mattress store opens a hotel above? A sensational sleep. No seriously, I was ready to bring the mattress home. And not only was the sleep magical, the space that they have created in their hotel fired up all my creative senses - from the raw textures and monochromatic fittings, Coco Mat Hotel had me ready to pack up my things in Australia and move in.
From the robe & slippers (of which I still wear around the house - because I'm half Asian and the slippers we get are never this luxe!) to the scented pillows, Coco Mat has considered every simple luxury a hotel room should have and delivers.
And it would be absolutely remiss of me not to mention how much I loved their fittings throughout the hotel. (Particularly as my poor travel buddy, Chloe, had to put up with me talking about them & photographing them a fair amount of the time we were there).
Patriarchou Ioakim 56, Athina 106 76, Greece
If like me, you enjoy eating as the locals do and experiencing the best of local cooking, visiting To Fagopotpion is a must. Located on the same road as Coco Mat, you may need to use google to get you there as the signage is all in Greek. The Taverna serves up the most delicious cuisine - and as we couldn't try everything in the space of one meal, we found ourselves eating here more than once! (I generally try not to dine anywhere twice to maximise exploration on a trip...so when I go back... you know it has got to be good).
Patriarhou Ioakim 43 & Ploutarchou 23, Kolonaki, Athens 106 75, Greece
It's not Greek. It's Italian. But from the decor to the food, you're in for a treat. Unless you go in with your uncle or your dad. You'll have some awkward conversation starters in the way of what they have chosen as artwork.
Patriarchou Ioakim 45, Athina 106 76, Greece
Loukianou 36 & Spefsippou, 10675 Athens, Greece
Ante Post Cocktail Bar
Patriarchou Ioakim 46, Athina 106 76, Greece
Brunello Antica Enoteca
Loukianou 21Β, Athina 106 75, Greece
Let's be clear, I don't trinket shop. As a rule, I collect memories not things. But sometimes there is a store I just can't go past. And this is it.
Aiolou 9, Athens
This is almost the antithesis of a tourist store. Beautifully curated, Heroes is sure to draw you in with their curated souvenirs. It's almost sacrilegious to even call it a souvenir store considering the stores around it and their wares. But regardless make sure you make a visit!
Mitropoleos 16, Athina 105 63, Greece
La Greche has delicious gluten free cones. Need I say more? Probably... the gelato is also otherworldly. You'll be questioning yourself on how many gelatos is too many in a day!
Dickie Dee Athens
Voulis 23, Athina 105 63, Greece
I hope this inspires a trip of your own! Just in case you're wondering, none of this trip was sponsored or paid for and is 100% pure recommendation based on my experience! If you think I've missed anything, I'd love to hear about it! Get in touch via the comment box below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.