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Athens/Kolonaki

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Kolonaki is in Athens near Lykavittos Hill. The district's borders are not very sharply defined; it covers the south and southeast slopes of Lykavettos Hill north of Vassilisis Sofias Avenue. Kolonaki is the posh area of central Athens. Traditionally the home of the in-town rich, it's the location of a number of foreign embassies and several prominent archaeological schools, including The American School [1] and The British School [2]. It also has the city's greatest concentration of trendy fashion boutiques, and many, mostly upscale, cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Cafes in Kolonaki

Get in[edit]

The Metro stop for Kolonaki is Evangelismos - upon exiting the station, turn north and walk uphill. Walking to Kolonaki takes about twenty minutes from Syntagma and a half hour from Plaka, though much of the walk is along congested, difficult to cross streets.

See[edit][add listing]

  • National War Museum, 2 Rizari, +30 729-0543. Strictly speaking not in Kolonaki, but just across the street, the National War Museum is the only significant surviving public project of the military dictatorship which ruled Greece 1967 - 1974. Very interesting to enthusiasts of military history.  edit
  • Benaki Museum [3]— Visit the beautiful Neoclassical main building which houses collections of Greek art, from ancient times through the Byzantine period and the modern state. Open late and for free on Thursday evenings. The museum shop is a good place to buy souvenirs. There is a small selection at high prices but the quality is excellent.
  • Museum of Cycladic Art [4]— Possessing arguably the best collection of Cycladic art in the world, the Museum of Cycladic Art also holds the second largest collection of Cypriot antiquities in the world outside Cyprus, after the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Cycladic figurines, the idols from Early Bronze Age Cyclades, whose style greatly influenced modernist work in the 20th century, and the amazing Cypriot pottery and beautiful Ancient Greek artifacts, especially the ‘Scenes of Daily Life in Ancient Greece’ display, which is popular with families. They also sell great souvenirs, and lunch is available at the elegant Aethrion Café. If you are lucky, you may bump into a quirky temporary exhibition too (with no extra entry fee), as they hold not only archaeological, but modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Open late on Th, closed Tu.
  • Greek National Gallery [5]— Located just south of Kolonaki proper, this museum exhibits Greek art from the 18th to 20th Centuries as well as some El Greco and Post-Byzantine art.

Do[edit][add listing]

Walking Tour:

Kolonaki used to be one of the nicest areas of Athens to walk around in, but in recent years the auto traffic on its narrow lanes has gotten congested beyond belief, especially on its lower slopes, making crossing the street anywhere in the district an unpleasant and even dangerous experience. Still, if you can choose a relatively low traffic period, a walk through the district might be worthwhile. Start off in Plateia Kolonaki and Plateia Dexameni, the main shopping street of Patriarchou Ioakim, and investigate the parallel streets up from it, such as Haritos, with its mixture of old neoclassical houses, upscale modern flats, and art galleries. Speusippou, which turns into quiet Souidias, is the home of the Gennadius Library. Further up the streets, climb steeply to the Lycavettos funicular station. If you're ambitious and energetic, you can climb to the top streets which to your left circle the rim of Lykavettos, which are successively Aristippou, then Il. Rogkaku. On this path, from the cross streets and some spaces where there are no buildings, you can glimpse spectacular views of Athens, some of them including the Acropolis. If you keep going around you'll reach Sarantapichou Street, but by this time you've left Kolonaki and are looking down on the student district of Exarcheia.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Kolonaki offers the usual range of shops you would expect from an upscale neighborhood; art galleries, hip clothing boutiques, and antique stores are thick on the ground. Since the area is small, and the boutiques especially tend to come and go, rather than make a list of promising shops the traveler is interested in, you may find it preferable to just walk around and discover the stores on your own, especially around Plateia Kolonaki (Kolonaki Sq) and the small streets north of it, including Skoufa, Anagnostopoulou, and the pedestrianized Tsakaloff. Walking along Patriarchou Ioakim and Haritos Sts and their cross streets, there are plenty of stores to wander in and out of.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Filippou, 19 Xenokratous, +30 210 72 16 390. A very long-established taverna whose simplicity disguises some of the best and most authentic food you can get in Athens. Seating is indoors and outdoors, though it's hard to find a seat in the latter during pleasant weather.
  • To Kioupi on Platía Kolonakíou, +30 210 36 14 033. Known among some American expatriates as "the hole in the ground," this is a basement taverna which has been around forever, serving authentic, inexpensive traditional Greek fare.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Kolonaki Square (Plateia Kolonaki; its official name is Plateia Filikis Etaireias, but no one ever uses it) is bordered with cafes whose customers tend to be drawn from the class of mature Athenian movers and shakers for whom the neighborhood is the traditional in-town home. Most of these cafes serve desserts and/or light meals as well as drinks, and most of them are expensive. They tend to be liveliest late at night. One of the best established, and most prestigious, is Lykovrisi. Not many foreigners show up in these cafes, but the visitor may find they make for interesting people-watching.

  • Showroom, Milioni 2 & Irakleitou, [6]. Nice cafe/restaurant. €5 beer.  edit


Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • Periscope (formerly The Athenian Inn), 22 Charitos St, [7]. Upscale (with prices to match) hip boutique hotel with an excellent Kolonaki location. The glossy, minimalist decor will please people who like that style.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Hilton, [8]. Located technically just south of the Kolonaki district, this is the biggest hotel with the biggest pool in Athens. Fourteen floors and wonderful views everywhere you look. Onsite "Milos Restaurant", has great seafood.  edit
  • The St George Lycabettus Hotel Athens, 2 Kleomenous St, +30 210 7290711 19 (, fax: +30 210 7290439), [9]. The St George Lycabettus Hotel Athens is ideally located in Kolonaki. This boutique hotel offers great views of the Acropolis.  edit

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