Where to stay
Perianth Hotel is a boutique accommodation housed in a 1930s postmodernist building near the Monastiraki flea market. The hotel spotlights contemporary Greek culture with its chic, minimalist interior and collection of local art. Each room boasts its own private terrace. In the upscale Kolonaki neighborhood, Coco-Mat Athens was opened by Greek sustainable bedding company Coco-Mat (known worldwide for its handmade, all-natural mattresses, which will be featured in Equinox Hotels). Standout touches include a menu of 12 pillows and wooden bikes for exploring the city.
Fuel up for an active day with breakfast at Novagea. Try one of their homemade juice blends like the savory Dakos—a liquified interpretation of the classic Cretan salad—made with ripe tomatoes, feta cheese, and briny capers. Energy bowls with Greek yogurt, honey, nuts, and fresh fruit are another healthy, filling option.
Option 1: Culture
If it’s your first time in Athens, visiting the Acropolis is a must. This historic citadel is where you can walk among the remains of the Parthenon, the most treasured monument of ancient Greece. First, check out the Acropolis Museum for educational context, then take a ten-minute stroll to the gate of the structure and climb up.
Option 2: Fitness
At 909 feet elevation, Lycabettus is the tallest and most central of the city’s seven hills and offers incredible 360 degree views at the peak. While a cable car can carry you to the summit, the less-than-thirty-minute hike up the stone steps provides a tranquil tortoise-inhabited forest escape in the heart of Athens. Perched at the very top is the whitewashed Chapel of St. George, which dates back to 1870.
For lunch, go to the neighborhood-of-the-moment, Koukaki. Settle in at the hip Bel Ray with the spanakopita salad, a deconstructed spinach filo pie served with soft goat cheese in place of feta.
Take in more of the city’s spectacular views with dinner at Galaxy, a rooftop restaurant. Sample dishes like parsnip and pear velouté and sea bream carpaccio in the dining room overlooking the Acropolis.
Start with a Mediterranean breakfast at Meliartos, a culinary emporium on bustling Ermou Street. The restaurant includes a coffee house, pie shop, creamery, and kitchenette. Items like omelettes and savory cheese pies are made on-site using the best Greek ingredients, with a bevy of alternate options for those with food sensitivities.
Enjoy a laid back lunch at six d.o.g.s. This hidden courtyard spot is an all-day hangout popular with Athenians for its finger foods, frappés (the quintessential Greek iced coffee drink), and aperitivi. Try one of their salads, like the Caprese or Cobb, then stay after the sun goes down, when it turns into a buzzing live music venue.
Even though you’re on the mainland, island vibes aren’t hard to find. Head to the Mikrolimano district near the port of Piraeus, where you can dine to the sound of traditional rembetiko music and waves lapping onto the shore. There are about a dozen restaurants around this semi-circular marina, though Varoulko Seaside is a local favorite for its refined take on classic fare like grape leaves stuffed with crayfish and shrimp and kritharaki (orzo) with prawns.
Don’t pass up a nightcap at The Clumsies back in the city center, ranked among the World’s 50 Best Bars for its inventive concoctions and convivial atmosphere. Order the signature Aegean Negroni made from house-distilled gin, Cretan dictamo plant, and caper berries—a perfect end to your experience.