The old: Altamira
One of the most famous restaurants in Athens, Altamira is one of those atmospheric places that draws the masses. It’s in a majestic old mansion in one of the most happening areas of the city, with a youthful crowd, multi-ethnic food and a friendly vibe.
Tsakalof 36a, Kolonaki (+30 210 361 4695)
The new: Ergastiri Baxevani
The famous Greek chef Yiannis Baxevanis (also behind Elia restaurant in Dubai) opened this new restaurant in a classically beautiful and elegant house. Think modern Greek cuisine, a fabulous wine list and even live cooking seminars.
48, Niki Street (+30 210 322 2839)
The old: Hotel Grande Bretage
This grand old dame has hosted more dignitaries and celebrities than you could throw a souvlaki at. After undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation to restore it to its turn-of-the-century glory, this landmark luxury hotel has every modern convenience, but also has stunning antiquated features in order to retain its quintessential old-world charm.
Vasileos Georgiou A’ One, Syntagma Square (+30 210 333 0000; www.grandebretagne.gr)
The new: Life Gallery hotel
Incredible minimalist architecture and interior design, this boutique hotel has 24 deluxe rooms, three art studios and three junior suites, all kitted out with hip mod cons. Be sure not to miss out on the Wine Gallery – which boasts more than 400 wines from around the world.
Ekali (+30 28 1030 0330; www.lux-hotels.com/gr/life-gallery)
The old: Acropolis
This famous colonnaded temple ruin, standing tenaciously above the bustling crowded city of seven-million inhabitants, is the birthplace of European culture. If you miss it, well, you can’t say you’ve truly been to Athens.
The new: Visit a bouzakia
The latest craze for young Athenians is to head to a bouzoukia for a night out on the town. These nightclubs feature traditional, if not slightly cheesy, folk performers. Try the Gazi area on the weekends for this absurdly enjoyable night out.
Posidonio, 18 Posidonos Avenue (+30 210 894 1035); Can Can, 62 Petrou Ralli (+30 210 561 2321)
Air Arabia flies direct to Athens every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Prices currently start from Dhs1,182 return