An Interior Lovers Guide To: Athens

Welcome to Athens, where ancient history meets contemporary surroundings. In this design lover’s guide, I’ll help you uncover the best restaurants, bars, hotels, neighbourhoods & shops. Of course, all with from the view of a design aficionado! This travel guide has been written by me (Athina), founder of Topology and all photos taken from my trip by my partner Theo. Having visited many times following the recommendations of a friend who moved there, Athens has quickly become one of my favourite European destinations. So, naturally I wanted to share with you what I think to be a great selection of recommendations. Hopefully these will steer you away from the tourist traps and instead will encourage you to do as the locals do. Before though – if you fancy seeing our other city guides, check our London, Paris, New York, Copenhagen & Rome

Best Neighbourhoods

Plaka: Although a bit of a tourist hub, you can’t not enjoy the charm of Athens’ old town aka ‘Plaka’. Densely populated with cafes, bar, shops & market stalls it’s a fun place to explore late into the evenings until about 11pm. My favourite part is how side streets with narrow steps are turned into resturant seats with live oberico music. It’s more expensive to eat in this part and food is a bit basic, but the atmosphere is charming. This part of town closes ‘early’ for Athens, so if you want to eat at 10 or 11pm, head into Pssiri instead.

Pssiri: My personal favourite part of Athens due to the fact it lends itself to cafe culture and it’s amazing for people watching. Although it’s very touristy, if you find the right place to stop, it’s a great place to hangout in the evenings. In Pssiri, eating and drinking on the street is rife and streets are untraditionally pretty with graffiti and overgrown plants taking over the city’s concrete landscape.

Monestiraki : Where the main tourist square is, always hustling and bustling. Have a wonder around, people watch and explore some of the classic high street shops you’ll find in Europe in the ‘posher’ part with main transport links.

Kypseli (less touristic) : A charming neighbourhood that’s a bit of a walk to get to. Dotted around are a few nice restaurants off the beaten track from the tourists elsewhere. A good place to if you make your way to the Olympic stadium as it’s half way there.


In Athens, one thing you need to know is that no one eats before 9pm! So restaurants are often dead before this time and don’t tend to get busy around 9-10.30pm. You can expect people still to be walking in at 11pm or even midnight! If you’re looking for a quintessentially Greek experience try to find a restaurant offering oberico music and that is a ‘taverna’. The below suggestions are all tried and tested and my absolute highlights based off a friend who is a local. 

Avli – Amazing hidden restaurant filled with locals and very cheap prices. Food is fantastic and always buzzing. Expect to queue!
Kati Allo – A simple family owned tavern serving local cuisine
Atlantikos – Amazing fish restaurant, expect long queues, maybe even try to book

Di Porto – a hidden institution and only good for those who like to feel like a local. Expect to travel back in time here…Walk in and if there is a table, sit down (most likely sharing a table with a stranger!) and don’t expect a menu or anyone to speak English to you!
Alleria – for those looking for something gourmet, a Michelin star option
Kafenio ta Kanaria – a hipster hang out, with a young crowd, but a personal favourite spot. Great for a drink and nibble as the small plates are dirt cheap & really tasty and away from all the tourists.
Cinque Wine Bar – A lovely wine bar where the staff are super passionate about what they do. Great for a pre-dinner drink and nibble.
Au Revoir Bar – A late night hangout for a young crowd open to pouring onto the streets and drinking raki 
Kafenio Ivis – One of the few places on the tourist strip that’s actually great food. Be warned it’s food and drink only, and not a drinks only stop.

Klimateria – Book ahead to enjoy a truly Greek experience. Think oberico greek music and lamb dishes a plenty!
Boo Bar – A late night hangout for a sophisticated cocktail and higher tourist prices. Head to the roof top part!

To Lokali – A late night roof top bar for the young crowd wanting to stay out late

Other places I’ve not tried but come well recommended, ones I walked passed and didn’t have time to try but looked great…

Nissos Seafood Tavern, 360 Cocktail Bar, A for Athens Bar, Καφενείο sabir, Picky Brunch

Shopping – Antiques Markets & More

If you’re someone like me and love treasure troves of bric-a-brac, antiques, markets and more Athens is the perfect place for you. Many streets around the city are dotted with local sellers selling bits on the road but if you’re wanting to specific place to head to, try Big Bazaar. It’s a higgeldy-piggeldy building that looks like (in all honesty) it could collapse at the weight of the amount of things it’s containing. Try to wiggle your way through narrow alleyways of antiques and vintage finds. You might have to search through a lot of crap but be prepared to find a hidden gem. I came home with a mid-century art piece I absolutely love for just a few euros.

For markets check out options here and for proper shops explore Plaka. I really loved ‘Natural Greek Fabrics‘ a lovely shop for linen napkins, cushions & more.

For a stunning walk, head to The Athens National Garden. The online websites don’t do it justice, it’s a stunning park with animals to amuse kids, a quaint shady cafe and is a really a peaceful experience to amble through.

Just prior to sunset, visit the old Forum and smaller ancient sites around the city for an atmospheric dusk tourist experience. Not only is it more pleasant with cooler temperatures but the sites are far less busy than peak daytime hours.


Athens is not short on hotels to suit all budgets and tastes. Two hotels we’ve personally stayed in and really enjoyed are Asotmaton and The Foundry. Asomaton is a small boutique hotel right in the centre of town offering air-conditions and well-equipped rooms with an emphasis on stylish modern design. The Foundry are self-catered rooms ranging from studio’s to multiple bedrooms. They are super stylish and of epic proportion due to the nature of the buildings old factory heritage. For epic views and pizza’s, head to the rooftop and enjoy either their breakfast hamper or a sundowner cocktail.


I hope these recommendations bring you as much joy as they have on my various trips to this culturally rich city. 


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