Psychiko, Athens – The classy northern suburb through the eyes of a local
For most Psychiko symbolizes the traditional Athenian aristocracy; a posh suburb positioned just a 10-minute drive from downtown Athens, full of nature and baronial mansions. It has hosted some of the most distinguished and wealthy families in the country for over a century. For my part, I always envision Psychiko through the innocent and restless eyes of a teenager. After all, Psychiko is home to my beloved high school. I can only describe this suburb as the perfect place to go to school, enjoy the open basketball and tennis courts, take a nice walk after class (or while skipping it) towards the hill and appreciate the astonishing views of the city, or have a casual coffee at the commercial centre.
Psychico is divided into two parts, the old and the new, which are separated by Kifisias avenue, arguably the busiest highway in Athens.
Palaio Psychiko is not just known for the luxurious villas and green parks, but also for housing three of the most acclaimed private schools in the country (Athens College and Psychiko College, Moraitis School and Arsakeio) as well as one of the most historic public schools (Varvakeio), together with roughly 25 major Embassies. Arguably, Palaio Psychiko is literally an architectural masterpiece; an exclusively residential district with a balanced architecture of homogeneous structures. Its architecture is safeguarded by a long-lasting regulation, prohibiting building detachments and limiting building height up to 3 floors. Taking a nice walk around its large green squares, one cannot help but admire the numerous preservable and neo-classical buildings, designed by distinguished architects. They mix harmonically with the more recently built contemporary complexes and villas, all surrounded by spectacular tree gardens and dreamy swimming pools, with striking stone walls and elegant marbles. A perfect combination of class and taste is captured across the streets and parks of the most historic and aristocratic suburb of Athens. In a nutshell, Palaio Psychiko symbolises the lavish lifestyle of the Greek wealth.
In, Neo Psychiko the scenery shifts towards a more city-like suburb, with both a residential and commercial part, comprised of lots of stylish apartment complexes, all kinds of markets, restaurants, bars etc. Its centre, Faros, is one of the most visited places in Athens, or more accurately a “happening place”. Known for the upmarket all-day coffee bars, the designer shops and elegant restaurants, Faros is a place you visit when the sun rises and part after midnight. Personally, I always enjoy a long-lasting coffee in the gorgeous garden of “El Hiron”, a Mexican style coffee bar, that may begin with a fine cappuccino around the evening and end with a nice meal and beer close to midnight. Alternatively, I prefer having a scenic dinner with a fine wine selection at “Ombra”, an ambient Italian bistro in the heart of Faros. Nevertheless, my favourite places are by far the signature Greek-style taverns; like “Foititis” in Eleftherias square, one of the liveliest neighbourhoods in Neo Phychico; or the cosy souvlaki place in Pinelopi Delta square, “Tzatzikokinisi”, which has been a hub for sports players and fans for over 60 years. Finally, “Chochlidaki”, a Greek island-themed tavern with colourful lights and picturesque decoration, makes your mind wander around the beauties of the Greek islands. In essence, what makes Neo Psychiko so unique is this balanced setting of a nice residential neighbourhood that has all the comforts and luxuries of an urban market within walking distance.
Written by George Iliopoulos
26 July 2021