The revival of Europe’s classical capital has attracted plenty of artists, curators and digital nomads. But it’s entrepreneurial young Athenians who are opening pop-up restaurants, design collectives and guesthouses, regenerating derelict buildings in rough-around-the-edges areas such as Pangrati, Kypseli and Keramikos. Messy and unpredictable, Athens fizzes with an intense energy that burns bright into the night.
Everyone visits the Acropolis and the cleverly curated Acropolis Museum (€5, concessions €3), where you can get up close and personal with the antiquities, both above and below ground.
Hit the Parthenon first thing in the morning or just before dusk – at midday, the white marble reflects the high heat. To get beyond the symbolism, book a tailormade tour with Athens Insiders, whose charismatic guides even get kids excited about ruins, with treasure hunts, pottery workshops and a running commentary of mythology. Advertise.
Avoid the tourist traps in Plaka on a walking tour with Culinary Backstreets. You’ll get a taste for tsipouro (pomace brandy), served with fig paste and goat’s cheese in an artisan deli, cod cured in fenugreek at a 400-year-old taverna, and several regional variations of baklava – served with titbits of culinary trivia.
Natassa Pappa has mapped the stoas (covered arcades) that connect the commercial heart of Athens. Fans of typography, architecture and quirky old shops will love her Into Stoas trips.