A City for the Soul

December 2022
Aliki Machaira
Dimitris Georgiou

A city to fall in love with and get lost in, Athens has morphed into one of Europe’s capitals of cool that awaits to be discovered while dancing along its own upbeat rhythm.

Living in Athens can be intimidating and chaotic, even for a local like me. Distractions here are delightfully rampant. At the same time, it is an instant source of inspiration with an anarchic spirit where you don’t have to play by the rules. This city that never sleeps harbours the vibrant energy of locals and visitors alike. Walking distance to everything it has to offer, you can decide how your Athenian experience is going to be. The bench you sat last night and watched the Athenian lights come and go can be the same bench you take your first sip of morning coffee, or the meetup spot to reminisce over yesterday’s spilled secrets. Athens is standing there, patiently waiting to cultivate curious minds.

Panathenaic Stadium

Wandering around this ancient city is a mindful experience in itself. It has so many different things to offer in every corner, regardless of the season. The secret is not trying to do everything. In the heart of Athens, every alleyway has its own short story written on its walls. Taking the road to Plaka—Athens’ oldest neighborhood—you will find colorful shops in an array with a distinctive pink flower dressing their brick walls, welcoming families and friends to enjoy their time in the city center. Fresh smells from bakeries and restaurants as well as the sight of different plates as you pass along will inspire an instant shift to your priorities and make you feel home away from home. Every little street is part of someone’s tale: a small piece of art on an unexpected balcony, a factory converted into a gallery, a hidden bar in an arcade with creative cocktails and a chatty barman, a shop with local designers that are answering to their own dreams, a wall that someone declared their feelings to someone else, a small opening through the buildings framing the lit Acropolis, everywhere you look there is a story to be told. This is where the heartbeat of Athens is racing.

National Garden

Local restaurants next to the Ancient Agora

Apart from these little moments you collect on your walks, Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities and that has its own significance. The birthplace of modern Western civilization with a deep historic culture, it is hard not to travel back in time when exploring its streets. In the very center, the Acropolis is patiently guarding the city passing down its wisdom to all those coming to admire it. The city overflows with museums of all interests bringing people closer to its history and culture at every chance. Even in the streets and squares, small statues, plaques or unexpected pieces of art, serve as a reminder of the different struggles and victories this place has been through. Structural details and motifs on neoclassical buildings keep the spirit of vintage Athens alive. No city juxtaposes old and new like Athens. While you can easily sense the passage of time, Athens always manages to stay current. Go beyond the Parthenon and you’ll discover a more youthful side to the city with new art galleries, languid cafés, buzzing bars, outdoor cinemas and modern architecture. One thing is for certain. One must visit to grasp the restless energy and charming contrast between its great past and vibrant present.

Hellenic Parliament

I am sure you’ve heard the rumors about how Greek cuisine is a whole experience in itself. Well, it is a fact. More so in the heart of Athens where little restaurants are slowly finding their identity and emerge within the streets ready to satisfy all moods and cravings. Greek food has taken a thriving turn in recent years, trying out modern concepts and experimenting with flavors. Here, food is a form of art not for its presentation but more for its full taste. A city that has openly welcomed and hosted every foodie’s dream is waiting for you to discover its little gems. Award-winning cocktail bars, street performers, music and city sounds, great food, people living, embracing the little things, and some more great food, are all in the Athenian equation.

A spirited mix of history and edginess, Athens is a master of reinvention. A vibrant city of dual character of tradition and modernism, a place with a proud past, vocal present, and exciting future. In Athens, you get to create memories. Gather around a friendly table and enjoy some local tsipouro, share a kiss under the shade of Acropolis, or simply get lost in the ancient alleyways. Athens is here for the memories, a place for the soul.

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