Greece has always been a firm favourite as a touristic destination, and as one of the most important cities in world history its capital, Athens, attracts a diverse range of visitors. Some come specifically to immerse themselves in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece, while some are just stopping off before heading out to party on the islands. But more and more people are showing up simply because the word is out that this is a pretty cool city.
Naturally, you can’t pass up a visit (and the obligatory selfie) to the icons like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Plaka and the Temple of Zeus, but there’s a new guard of “cultural cool” emerging amidst the ancient streets. Miss them and miss out!
Remember that time you went shopping in Soho in New York and got all those amazing quirky, one-off bargains? Well, the precinct of Kolonaki is known as the Soho of Athens and, while it may not be quite as sprawling as Soho, it’s certainly just as funky.
This eclectic neighbourhood is an attraction in itself, with loads of tiny boutiques tucked in alongside some pretty hip designer outlets. It’s got a really relaxed vibe and nobody seems to care if you’re smoking up your credit card or just doing a bit of “what if” window shopping. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping you can duck into one of the many tiny bars or al fresco cafes for a cocktail and watch the rest of the cool crowd go by.
Insider tip: Join a walking tour of Kolonaki and a host of other places with the local guides of the Urban Athens Collective.
This vibrant beach club is one of the hippest places to land in summer, and you might think you’ve taken a wrong turn to a Hollywood pool party! Perched on the edge of the ocean in Glyfada, this all-day, all-night venue is the place to come to enjoy beats at the beach. There’s a never-ending procession of high-profile local and international DJs keeping the dance crowd happy, and pro mixologists keeping the cocktails flowing.
With everything from a private chill out lounge to a fully equipped fitness centre, water sports and terrace soundstage overlooking the ocean, this is Athens’ own version of the Greek Island lifestyle – in style!
Tip: Get a Loyalty Card for the club before you leave home and you’ll be able to take advantage of the VIP treatment for the duration of your stay.
While this amazing place is a mixture of a concert venue, bar and art gallery, I can guarantee it’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before. With a collection of huge open exhibition and project spaces that double as venues for the constant rotation of live music acts, if you follow the secret (not so secret really!) passageway down to the basement you’ll discover a unique, lush city garden at the end.
Six D.O.G.S attracts a young and trendy crowd, whether for coffee and cake during the day or great food, music and drinks right through the night. Musical acts are as diverse as heavy metal rock bands and solo balladeers, to string quartets and hip-hop and electronic artists.
Find it: Avramiotou 6-8. Open 10am-7am every day!
This may officially be called a “multi-purpose art space”, but what it really is is one of the trendiest places in the city to eat, drink, see and be seen. Situated in the upmarket Gazi neighbourhood and set over three levels, this uber-cool space includes a movie theatre, sophisticated Library Lounge, bookstore and fabulous terrace where you can sip cocktails and dine from a world-class menu surrounded by tangerine and pomegranate trees.
There are several sound stages that play host to live music and theatre performances and feature a very busy calendar of events year round.
Find it: Located in the main central square in Gazi (right next to the metro station), offering magnificent views of the Acropolis – who says culture can’t be cool?
Dare to Discover the Other Side of Athens
There’s so much more to Athens than meets the eye, and people from all over the globe are discovering just how much fun this wonderful city can be beyond its high-profile cultural icons. These super cool, contemporary attractions offer a glimpse into the youthful undercurrent emerging from those ancient bones…
How to Get to Athens
From the UK it’s just 3.5 hours by air to Athens, with Ryanair, British Airways and Aegean Airlines all offering scheduled flights from Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick airports. You won’t find it hard to get a bargain flight: as an example, when booked online, a flight from London to Athens can cost as little as £40 each way with Ryanair.
Once you land, the easiest way to get into the city centre is with a pre-booked shared or private transfer with Shuttle Direct. Instead of messing around trying to navigate public transport, you can enjoy a relaxed 45-minute ride directly to the door of your accommodation.
If you’re travelling by rail, it’s an amazing journey via Brussels or Paris and on through Vienna, Belgrade, Thessaloniki and finally Athens. You can also book a convenient Shuttle Direct transfer to meet you at the train station and take you to your accommodation.
Where to Stay:
Central Hotel: While its name gives away its excellent location, you’ll be surprised at the style and comfort of the reasonably priced Central Hotel. Relax with a sundowner in the hot tub of the fabulous rooftop terrace overlooking the city, fill up on the daily breakfast buffet and enjoy the warm welcome of this friendly, comfortable hotel.
Ava Hotel and Suites: You don’t have to go far for your selfie action when you stay at the Ava Hotel and Suites – just head out to your private balcony against the backdrop of the Acropolis! With free Wi-Fi, elegant spacious suites and the best sights of the city within arms’ reach, this is your romantic home-from-home in Athens.
Electra Palace Athens: If you’re looking to treat yourselves on a romantic getaway in Athens, the Electra Palace Athens is the place to do it. Situated in the heart of the city, you’ll wake up to the vision of the Plaka on your front doorstep. With opulent rooms, a fabulous location in walking distance of all the attractions, free Wi-Fi, a roof top pool and romantic terrace restaurant, what more could you ask for?
About Shuttle Direct:
When you’re looking for a trusted name in airport transfers, Shuttle Direct is the go-to company for the most extensive range of shared and private transfers throughout Europe.
Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, Shuttle Direct has a service to suit any budget and group size. Book online with the easy-to-navigate system and all your onward travel arrangements will be set in place and confirmed before you arrive in Athens.
Contact the friendly, professional team at Shuttle Direct to book a fast, convenient and cost efficient airport transfer wherever you need to go.