If you’ve ever been in Athens during high summer you know very well that the temperatures are high. Although the Greek capital is never described as a “green city”, there are definitely ways to remain sweat-free during even the hottest hours (although it’s highly recommended that you stay well away from the mesimeri sun). You’ve got the white clothing, wide-brimmed hat, sun lotion, bottle of cold water and mini-fan, so what’s next?
We reveal some of the hottest spots around town that are sure to keep you cool
By that, of course I mean one of the city’s most exceptional, world-standard museums: the Benaki, Numismatic, Cycladic Art, Archaeological, Folk Music Instruments, Byzantine and Christian museums are all worlds unto themselves. A few hours of revitalising civilisation are an ideal way to remain gracefully cool on the outside while enriching your inner world in multi-dimensional ways.
And that’s just the tip of the cultural iceberg – there are also the Theocharakis Cultural Foundation, the Onassis Cultural Centre and for seaside chill, the brand new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, where there’s always something going on for people of all ages.
When Grecophile Henry Miller wrote “It remains in my memory like no other garden I’ve known” he was describing the National Garden, located right behind the Parliament Square. In this verdant getaway, made up of over 500 species of plants, trees and flowers from around the world, you’ll also see mosaics, ancient ruins and various animals including exotic birds, goats and swans. You’ll also find idyllically shady spots to sit and read a book, a large playground, a cafe and large grassy patches for the perfect summer picnic. Lycabettus Hill, Filoppapou Hill and Pnyx are also lovely places to traipse in a lush, shaded environment while also taking in some incredible panoramic views of the city and its landmarks. If you wish to venture just a little further from the city centre in your search for refreshing natural beauty, there are plenty of other options – the awesome Diomidis Botanical Garden, the Tatoi Estate, Mt Parnitha and Mt Hymmitos are all just 15-25 minutes drive away.
Roof It Out
At night, you can choose to sit indoors in a trendy yet gelid room, or out on a sweltering, lively pavement outside a bar, but there’s nothing like catching the breeze – and glittering vista – from a city rooftop. Numerous bars have picked up on the beauty of this fact and now welcome a nightly bush-load of star-gazing devotees to their establishments.
The (expensive) Hilton Galaxy Bar is the most classic, but if you want to hang out with every variety of Athenian sip your cocktail at Couleur Locale, Kuzina, Bios, Athens Was, 360 Bar or the Hipster Rooftop.