Kolonaki: The posh & beautiful neighborhood of Athens

Much like most cities on earth, Athens has its share of bling-y neighborhoods, where the well-heeled go to play and sometimes work. In Athens, the ‘affluent’ areas are found in the coastal area to the south, the mountainous area to the north and a couple of areas downtown. Each district has its own quirks and rules, and that makes for an interesting set up. One of these areas is the downtown enclave of Kolonaki; long considered the bedrock of Greek upward mobility. Curiously, Kolonaki is just a breath away from the riotous Exarchia neighborhood, notorious for its anti-establishment ethos. Kolonaki, then, has acquired a label as being at the forefront of cutting edge fashion and style, attracting the literary crowd as well as the hip and young, and is by all accounts the breathing heartbeat of the city.

Kolonaki: What & where

The fact that Kolonaki is situated in some choice real estate doesn’t hurt. Nestled at the foot of Lycabettus and sprawled out towards Syntagma, it is green as it is pretty. The pavements and streets are lined with cafes and restaurants. Loads of them. All times of day, rain or shine. And mainly frequented by the young. The café culture is strong, and so is procrastination so one can certainly see the correlation between its current predicaments.

In between all those eateries one can find a vast array of boutique shops and high end fashion stores. This is the mecca of high fashion in Athens and indeed, Greece. Anything and everything from Yoleni’s to Ancient Greek Sandals can be purveyed in Kolonaki (Portobello road, anyone?) and if the amount of Chinese customers is anything to go by (hint: it is) then we’d be safe to say that Kolonaki will be drowning in yuans.

But Kolonaki isn’t just ham and eggs. We’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the sheer amount of interesting museums on display. Take the Cycladic Art Museum for instance. In it one can trace the European civilization thousands of years back. Not to mention Picasso’s ‘inspiration’ (Is it theft when the other has been dead for thousands of years?). There’s also the Benaki Museum, as well as the Gagosian gallery to name but a few. Thursday night vernissages have never been more exciting.

Towering over them, of course, is the main attraction, Lycabettus hill. Standing proud at 300 metres above sea level and standing sentinel over the city, this limestone outcrop is one of the most romantic spots in Athens. Come summer time, the open air cinema ‘Dexameni’ provides an extra bit of city chic to the area.

Kolonaki: The posh & beautiful neighborhood of Athens

Kolonaki may be small but its beauty and magnetism punch well above its weight. It’s the ideal Sunday stroll. One that can take in some nature beauty as well as the artificial in the same breath.

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