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Athens & Greek Islands city guide: A Greek local’s perspective

We were pretty excited when we found out our good friends Tim & Bri were getting married and I must admit I was even more excited when we found out it was going to be in Athens, Greece with an open invitation to crash part of their honeymoon in the Greek Islands – Hello Grecian tan!

I need to give credit to a few people for this post. Firstly Tim & Bri for having their wildly multicultural, Greek Orthodox/Romanian/English wedding in Athens (their old home), which was a great excuse to get dressed up:

Greek Orthodox WeddingJenny+Mikee_Athens

And secondly to my favourite client Lila from Bottega Veneta, who gave me the most extensive, well researched list of restaurant and bar recommendations! She gets plenty of street cred because she’s obviously a fashionista and woman with great tastes but most importantly, she’s an Athens native –jackpot!

As usual, I’ve compiled a list of my Greek summer favourites in Athens as well as the breath-taking Greek Islands of Santorini and Folegrandros to help you dream, plan and enjoy 🙂

Greece Map

*Tips for using the map: Clicking on the printer icon in Google Maps will bring up a list with images and details that you can print and take with you on your trip. You can also send the link to yourself and use your phone browser to view the map on the go – remember caching the map is the best thing to do to avoid spending a lot of money on data roaming!

 

ATHENS HIT LIST

 

KEYBAR, PLAKA

Located in downtown Athens, in the historical center, Keybar is one of the city’s most vibrant hot spots frequented by all of its most understated and stylish pretty young things. Just check out their website to get a sampling of the atmosphere and crowd.

Best Bit: Vintage styling, people watching and well curated music

http://keybar.gr/

Key Bar 1Key Bar 2

OINOSCENT: CELLAR & WINE BAR, STNTAGMA

If Greek wine is as much of a mystery to you as it has been to me, head to Oinoscent – the first of this kind of new-school wine bar in the city. The staff here knows their wine and will give you well informed recommendations by the glass or bottle – even take your favourite bottle away as a Greek souvenir!

Best Bit: Hang out on the patio with all the young Greek locals and enjoy the summer vibes while listening to some well selected Italo-disco tunes.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oinoscent/198585923485643

Oinoscent

FOLEGANDROS HIT LIST

 

FATA MORGANA, CHORA

Seasickness got the better of me on the ferry to Folegandros so stepping out of the car to see Fata Morgana’s incredible pool over-looking the Aegean Sea and Milos Island was a real sight for sore eyes. The view literally does not look like reality but rather a too-perfectly Photoshopped version of real life.

Best Bit: Waking up to this view every morning for a mere 80 EUR ($105 USD) a night.

http://www.fatamorgana.com.gr/

Fata MorganaFata Morgana

POUNTA, CHORA

I had a routine each morning in Folegandros – wake up to that view before jumping out of bed with excitement knowing what was to come – breakfast at Pounta! Imagine starting the day with the freshest fruit topped with properly creamy Greek yoghurt and honey followed by a new menu item every day each more delicious than the next. You can’t go wrong at Pounta.

Best Bit: Each dish comes to you in the most adorable and unique handcrafted ceramics, which you could describe as a mixture of Danish design inspired by Greek light and colours. In fact, the owner, a Danish native, spends winters creating in her Folegandros studio and sells at her work in the restaurant during the summer.

http://www.pounta.gr/index.html

Pounta

Pounta1

 

KRITIKOS, CHORA

Widely agreed by Folegandros locals as the very best grilled meats restaurant on the island and that’s enough recommendation for me.

Best Bit: Zero indoor seating gives you a nice reminder that you’re on summer holidays 🙂

http://www.kritikos-folegandros.com

Kritikos 1 

VORINA BAY, CHORA

Not for the faint-hearted but definitely for the adventure seeking beach lover. We hiked down (or more impressively, back up) the mountain’s rather treacherous pathway to get to a little piece of paradise that we shared with only 5 other people.

Best Bit: Emptiness, quiet and crystal clear waters.

http://www.cycladia.com/best-beaches-greece/vorina/

Vorina Bay

 

SANTORINI HIT LIST

 

OLD CASTLE, OIA

They say Santorini has the most photographed sunset in all of Greece. I’m surprised it’s not the most photographed sunset in the world – that’s how spectacular it is. The Old Castle in Oia has the best vantage point where you can see the sun cast its glorious colours over the iconic houses of Santorini. It’s quite a peculiar but memorable experience watching the sunset whilst standing quietly amongst hundreds of strangers.

Best Bit: Every Instagram you take is going to look amazing no matter what.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g482941-d1754154-Reviews-Byzantine_Castle_Ruins-Oia_Santorini_Cyclades.html

Old Castle - Oia

KOUKOUMAVLOS, FIRA

If you get that urge to splash out and spoil yourself, go to Koukoumavlos. They serve higher-end, extremely creative Greek cuisine with a huge, well-curated wine list.

Best Bit: Order a bottle of the Drama Syrah 2004, Ktima Pavlidis – We have been searching high and low for this wine in NYC and I’ve now resigned to the fact that we’ll have to go back to Greece to drink it again.

http://www.koukoumavlos.eu/

Koukoumavlos

 

GINGER SUSHI LOUNGE, FIRA

After eating Greek food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the last night of the holiday I needed some cultural variety (spoiled New Yorker here). I was wary about having Chinese, Italian or any other cuisine the Greek’s aren’t exactly known for being masters at. Then logic steered me to Japanese at Ginger Sushi Lounge. I figured that the fish had to be fresh and the sushi chefs at the bar were definitely Japanese so I took a punt and was rewarded for being adventurous 🙂

Best Bit: Satisfying that urge for quality sushi you didn’t think you could get in Greece.

http://www.santorinisushi.com/

Ginger Sushi Lounge

 

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Athens & Greek Islands city guide: A Greek local’s perspective”
  1. linda says:

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

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