Only 45 minutes away from the centre of town by bus (550 or A7) or the green metro line (HSAP), Kifissia is a verdant and high-end northern suburb with plenty of enjoyable ways to spend a day. The area started to become a residential area for wealthy Athenian families in the 19th Century (mainly between 1870-1935) when it was only reachable after several hours’ on a bumpy ride along a dirt road by horse and carriage.
Today one can admire a fascinating mish-mash of villas built in various architectural styles – from neoclassical mansions and rustic romantic residences to Austrian-style chalets and art nouveau designs and beyond. Known for its distinct climactic difference from Athens – around five centigrade cooler, mainly because it’s sprawled out along the western foothills of Mt Pendeli, Kifissia also has a more laid-back and somewhat opulent air about it. With a multitude of designer shops, dainty cafe-bars and high-end restaurants, it’ no wonder that it’s home to a wealthier strata of Athenian society.
Here are some top hotspots you will find at this chic neighbourhood!
Art & Culture
Especially if you’re visiting in the company of kids, don’t miss out on the magnificent Goulandris Natural History Museum and its eco-centric Gaia Centre. Here you can see the replica of a giant dinosaur skeleton, all kinds of ancient fossils, themed exhibitions and interactive presentations. There is also a lovely garden cafe.
For modern art head to Mihalarias Art gallery, where the permanent exhibition showcases artworks by a broad and fascinating variety of Greek and foreign contemporary artists. For more art visit the Kouvoutsakis Gallery and for a cultural landmark see the House of “No” Ioannis Metaxas, the former residence of the Greek leader, now turned museum.
If it’s luxury shopping you’re into, you’ve come to the right place. Spread throughout the top part of Kifissia in various “shopping centre” clusters and lining the main streets such as Kassavetis is an endless choice of boutiques, jewellery shops and accessories stores selling designer labels. Shops like Luisa World, Detroit, Access Boutique, Paramour and Season sell a variety of chic designs and here you can also find Ralph Lauren, Diane Von Furstenberg, Juicy Couture, and Oscar De La Renta flagship stores.
For lower budgets you can also find Zara, Accessorize, Benetton and several other clothes stores with more approachable prices. In Kifissia you’ll also find top of the range jewellers such as Ilias Lalaounis, Minas, Fanourakis and Follie Follie.
Food & Drink
There are some great restaurants in Kifissia – from the daytime casual to the nighttime full-glamour. During the day head to Wagamama, Nice n’ Easy, Yellow, Blue Pine, Il Salumaio or Tzitzikas & Mermigas, Menoo or UE for international or Mediterranean cuisine, and in the evening combine dinner with drinks at Buba Bistro Exotique, The J-Bar, Oozora, Elaias Gi or Almyra.
For more classic, old-style Greek cuisine head to Vathys, Katsarina, En Elladi or Omikron Meze tavernas.
For coffee and cakes don’t miss Varsos, one of the oldest patisserie-cafes in Athens, where you can eat homemade ice cream, the signature stuffed croissant, vanilla or chocolate cream pudding or a variety of pastries. Amaryllis, Barefoot Contessa, Zillions, Ninnolo, Common Secret, Menta and Le Petit Fleur are other excellent options for cakes, ice cream and even brunch or tasteful light snacks.
More to do in Kifissia…
Right across the Kifissia train station are the bottom gates of the Alsos park, which is lovely for a tranquil stroll up to the main square. Sadly there is no playground for kids but it can still be fun to sit at the all-day cafe here as your children play, or visit the fish pond at the back.
During summer you can watch a movie under the stars at Bomboniera or Chloe open-air cinemas, both in the centre of Kifissia. For movie magic during colder months there’s the Kifissia Cinemax 1-2 and Cinemax 3.