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© Hotel Grande Bretagne

A Weekend in ... Athens!

Historical ambience: from the Grand Hotel Bretagne you look directly onto the Acropolis, the most famous building of ancient Greece. These are the places and things you should have seen during a weekend trip here.

14 June 2022

One of the oldest metropolises in the world and the birthplace of democracy, Athens is literally paved with history and represents architectural styles that span millennia. Monuments such as the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus or Hadrian's Library are undoubtedly reason enough to visit the city of antiquity. But Athens is much more than its eventful history. The city is practically bursting with life and, much like Berlin, makes the most of its mashed-up aesthetics. During the day, it's best to stroll the streets of Plaka, where handmade treasures and coveted souvenirs can be discovered on every corner, and sip coffee in the classic kafenions in the elegant Pangrati district or in the trendy Exarchia meeting place alongside locals philosophizing about life.

Athens is a fascinating case study in architecture that spans millennia and has been subject to many upheavals. Nonetheless, important buildings like the Parthenon (left) atop the Acropolis Castle (above) have withstood history. ©iStock, Unsplash

On Sundays, the flea market in Monastiraki is the centre of activity. With a jam-packed calendar of cultural events, you're never guaranteed to get bored in Athens, and when the sun goes down at the end of the day, the fun really begins - nightlife in the Greek capital is some of the most exciting in Europe. Spring in Greece tastes like fresh fish, tzatziki, stuffed vine leaves and souflaki - and is a true paradise for epicures. Athens is also the perfect base for hopping from one sunny Greek island to the next. Within a few hours, you can reach the Cyclades by boat and explore Mykonos, Santorini and Co.

Modern Athens is a fascinating interplay of old and new, with a burgeoning cultural scene like the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (above) and buzzing nightlife. ©SNFCC/Eftychia Vlachou, iStock


Why is a trip to Athens worthwhile?

World-famous monuments of antiquity, breathtaking museums and a dynamic nightlife make for a stimulating blend of past and present.


With over 270 sunny days per year, Athens is one of the most weather-favourable cities in the world.

Read more: Athens: The insider tips of Sotiris Kontizas

Where to eat

Materia Prima

The stylish wine bistros in the historic Koukaki neighbourhood and the lively, centrally located Pagrati area carry an impressive range of Greek as well as international wines and delicious homemade delicacies. The perfect place to toast the good life with friends.

©Materia Prima

Varoulko Seaside Restaurant

Star chef Lefteris Lazarou serves creative meals inspired by the sea and Greek tradition at Varoulko. True to the motto "The eye eats with you", you can enjoy real works of art of modern Greek cuisine on your plate in the charming restaurant directly at the marina.



What to see

The National Library of Greece
The new building of the National Library of Greece, which houses over a million works from the 9th to the 20th centuries, has been in existence since 2017 and combines the significance of Greek history with forward-looking progress.

©SNFCC/Yiorgis Yerolymbos


Where to sleep

Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens

Modern elegance, luxurious comfort and relaxation by the sea are located just 30 minutes from the historic centre of Athens. The first-class Four Seasons on the glamorous Riviera creates the perfect quiet balance to the hustle and bustle of the urban heart of the city. Five restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Pelagos, two bars, a cigar lounge and a spa leave nothing to be desired. 

Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens
40 Apollonos Street, Vouliagmeni, 16671 Athens, Greece
Tel: +30 21 0890 1000
Price: double room from € 655,- per night 



Hotel Grande Bretagne

The oldest hotel in Athens is an absolute legend. Built by Antonis Dimitriou in 1842, the residence was sold in 1874, renovated and reopened as a hotel. Centrally located on Syntagma Square, you can explore the city on foot from here. The 320 rooms, 58 suites, and spa offer pure luxury and are a prime example of old-world opulence. The unbeaten highlight, however, is the rooftop pool and restaurant with views of the Acropolis. 

Hotel Grande Bretagne
1 Vasileos Georgiou A' Str., Syntagma Square, 105 64 Athens, Greece
Tel: +30 210 3330000
Price: double room from € 656,- per night

©Hotel Grande Bretagne

Where to shop

Benaki Museum Shop
The store of the famous museum carries a wide selection of contemporary objects, prints and accessories.

©Benaki Museum Shop


Luisa World
The Greek boutique is the number one destination for luxury fashion and carries some of the hottest brands in the world.

©Luisa World


Oho souvenir
Over 80 Greek designers redefine the meaning of traditional Greek souvenirs, creating loving works of art that reflect and celebrate the regional culture.

©Oho Souvenir

Text: Michaela Hessenberger, Philipp Rossmann and Heidi Rietsch

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Spring 2022.

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