Kolonaki, Athens – A local’s guide to the city’s exclusive central neighbourhood
Growing up in the northern suburbs of Athens, I soon realized there was something missing from my life. Long-dog walks and bike rides were part of my everyday routine. As I was getting older, however, I considered myself more of a city-center person. Moving to Kolonaki changed my life. Close-by areas include Kallimarmaro, Syntagma, Plaka, Exarchia and the list goes on. Everything is accessible within a short walking distance. Just a breath away from the green oasis of mount Lycabettus, an ideal location.
As soon as I moved, I became aware of the things missing from my everyday reality: grabbing a fast coffee on my way to work, evening city strolls on my way home, running accidentally into familiar faces, ending up at a bar before going home with a friend to catch up, going out after midnight. Life in the city center is laid back, unpredictable and fan. There is a small gem hidden in Kolonaki for everyone. Whatever your preferences are, you can always find a place to call your own. This is where all the magic is.
There are numerous museums, galleries, cafes, bars, restaurants, bakeries, high-end fashion, and high street fashion shops, furniture shops one can only imagine. I would recommend starting a perfect sunny day in Kolonaki with a coffee and breakfast at “Filion” in Skoufa, one of the most popular streets in Kolonaki. Order a coffee and strapatsada (traditional Greek recipe – eggs with tomato and feta cheese) chill and observe the passersby. Afterward, make sure you visit the Church of Agios Dionysios right next to “Filion” cafe. Its emblematic dome and its amazing frescoes will take your breath away.
Do not forget to plan your visit to two of the most popular museums in Athens. The Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art are known for their fine private collections worldwide. On your way there, make sure you stop at Kolonaki Square also known as Filikis Eterias Square. There you will find a small ancient column ruin, approximately two meters high that defined the area before its urbanization. After all, Kolonaki was named after it, since its name means “small column” in Greek. At lunchtime, book a table at “Filippou” in Xenokratous street for some homemade Greek comfort food; the pastitsio and moussaka are a must.
If you can still go on with your day, find your way towards Lycabettus mountain. The walk and the view will refresh you and inspire you as you get the chance to enjoy panoramic Athenian views. Find your way towards the old yet fully refurbished café called “Prasini Tenta”, take a minute to relax and enjoy the scenery. Ideally, take an afternoon siesta and finish the day with a movie at the open-air cinema in Dexameni Square and then some nibbles and wine or tsipouro in the restaurant, right next to the cinema.
In essence, a perfect day at Kolonaki is a story to be endlessly rewritten. I sincerely feel that one day is simply not enough to explore the whole area. It is a place that invites residents to experience its everyday reality. Dullness is an unknown word in its crowded streets. It is always alive, vibrant, full of new-age and traditional places to fulfill almost everyone’s needs.
Click here to view MI4’s Properties in Kolonaki.
Written by Alexandra Diamanti
12 October 2021