Just imagine that your future travels can take you to an up-and-coming winter destination in Europe — Athens. Spending Christmas in Athens might not be something that you have considered, but we’ve done our research and here is our list of the coolest things to do in this magical capital during the winter months.
How to spend Christmas in Athens
Athens is more than just the Acropolis, in fact it’s an epic getaway to experience sea, sun and snow — all in one trip. Less than a two-hour drive from downtown Athens, Arachova ski resort is one of the most popular weekend escapes from the capital. If you have a few more days to spare, how about driving a few extra miles to Pelion, one of Greece’s magical winter escapes. Here are a few local tips to help you plan your Christmas holidays in Athens and beyond.
Also read: 4 days in Athens: A Local’s Guide to Athens
Book Your Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Taxi
If you do like to travel in comfort then a taxi would be your best option. To avoid the hassle of waiting in line and to be sure that you are getting your own personal driver you can pre-book a car online prior to your arrival at the Athens International Airport. You will be met by the driver holding a name sign as soon as you come out at the arrivals with a bottle of water and city map.
The flat taxi rate is €38 from the airport to the city center. For arrivals from midnight until 5 am the cost is €54. Your trip will take approximately 35 minutes depending on the traffic. Book your Athens Airport Transfer
Christmas Spirit at Noel
Kolokotroni 59B, Athens. Tel.: +30 210 6989916592
Holidays never looked so good in Athens than with the eye-popping displays and decorations at Noel. This popular all-day venue in downtown Athens is ready to wow yet another season.
Spice up your day by visiting Noel for a festive drink, brunch or lunch. We tried their eggs served sunny-side up with an avocado yogurt mix and chilli con carne and a hearty portion of linguini with fresh cherry tomatoes and cheese. The menu includes sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizza and much more.
Reservations are recommended since it gets quite busy.
Sparkle yourself with Yannis Sergakis Adornments
5 Valaoritou Str., Athens. T +30 210 36 30 041
We’re all hooked and so is Yannis Sergakis’s new holiday concept that ties his flagship store in Athens with his pop-up store in Paris. Timeless, elegant and discreetly traditional — a yellow anchor and chain are just a few hints of maritime Greek charm.
Walking inside the minimal boutique we were greeted by Yannis Sergakis himself, sophisticated, charming and friendly. While sipping on a freshly made espresso accompanied by fresh Parisian truffles we admired the exquisite designs with a rich heritage and a contemporary twist.
Eloquent jewelry, created with love and affection — a timeless expression that cannot be tied down to a specific trend. Basically, when asked this question Yannis replied that his creations are feelings let loose. Delicate, special and unique. He also explained that he creates pieces that can only be exclusively bought in his Athens store.
The LA PIERRE collection is a fascinating collection of timeless rings that declare love — an engagement ring like no other which is either offered to oneself or to your other half.
If you are looking to bring a piece of Greece to your loved ones, how about buying a lucky charm number 8 or a delicate evil eye?
Christmas Flavors at the Winter Garden at Hotel Grande Bretagne
1 Vasileos Georgiou A’ Str., Syntagma Square, Athens
Celebrate the festive season in Athens at the city’s most luxury address — Hotel Grande Bretagne. Located at the lobby level the Winter Garden is the most elegant and inviting space. With its grand Christmas tree and glamorous decorations, Grande Bretagne is our favourite place to be.
Indulge in world-class deserts at the Christmas buffet where you can savor your favorite beverage (non alcoholic) with two eclectic holiday desserts.
Hearty Greek Breakfast at Polis Grand Hotel
19 Patision and 10 Veranzerou Str., Athens
Who doesn’t love a good breakfast? For a hearty Greek breakfast buffet head over to Polis Grand Hotel in the heart of downtown Athens. This 4-star property in Athens serves a fantastic breakfast which is made of locally sourced products.
Nothing here is fried, even your sunny-side-up eggs are served baked. From a fine selection of Greek cheeses, hams and dips, to hot dishes, baked goods and much more.
You can even have your Greek coffee prepared the traditional way in a pot called briki. All you can eat for a price of 12€ per person.
Christmas delights at Takis Bakery
Misaraliotou 14 Str., Athens
One of the most popular traditional bakeries of Athens tops the list of Athens’ hidden gems. Located in the area of Koukaki just steps away from the Acropolis this family-run bakery has even made it to being mentioned in Vogue. Due to its popularity, this place is always packed, so if you see a queue just wait patiently and you will understand why.
Known for its top-notch baguettes and other freshly baked delights, Takis bakery also sells the famous Greek cookies — kourabiedes and melomakarona. Kourabiedes can be recognised from their snowy Christmas touch — buttery, tasty and a perfect holiday delight. Melomakarona have a distinct orange, cinnamon and honey taste, sprinkled with hazelnuts. A traditional Greek dessert which you must definitely try.
Lunch with Acropolis view at St. George Lycabettus Hotel
Kleomenous 2, Athens. Tel: +30 21 0741 6000
Perched on top of the Lycabettus Hill, this 5-star luxury boutique hotel enjoys unparalleled views of the Acropolis. Just a few steps away from the shopping area of Kolonaki and Athens’ most popular attractions, it is the perfect place to enjoy sensational Greek flavors while sipping your wine after a day of shopping and cultural activities.
The award-winning La Suite Lounge and Le Grand Balcon located on the 6th floor of St. George Lycabettus Hotel serves delightful menus for all occasions. My friend Chrysoula and I met here for lunch and savored their Greek aromatic cuisine created by the talented Executive Chef Vasillis Milios.
For starters we ordered a fresh green salad served with avocado and grilled manouri cheese. I had a beef burger with green salad and hand-cut potato fries. The portion is very generous and was quite filling. Chrysoula went for something more light — chicken fillet served with a cream of lemon sauce and fresh vegetables.
We paired our meal with a glass of rose wine, Kanenas Tsantalis which is made from Mavroudi & Syrah. This is one of my favorite Greek wines. There are other dishes on the menu which you can choose from including the traditional Greek Moussaka, risotto, seabass — just to name a few.
If you are in Athens during the holidays you might like to join one of the Festive Celebrations.
Fairytale Christmas at Little Kook
Karaiskaki 17, Athens.
Little Kook in Psyrri is the place to go if you want magical Instagram-worthy photos and not only. This delightful cafe will impress children and adults alike. Different concept rooms are decorated with a unique theme.
The place gets extremely busy thus you will have to wait to be seated. We discovered the Alice in Wonderland themed room and it was fascinating.
Ladies dressed in Princess gowns showed us to our table next to two grand frogs — yes I found my prince charming. The menu serves mostly coffees, teas and desserts. You can also enjoy a glass of wine or a beer.
City Link Athens
Voukourestiou 5-7 Str.,, Athens
An all-day venue that combines shopping, dining and culture all under one roof. City Link is in fact a full block, situated in between Stadiou, Amerikis, Panepistimiou and Voukourestiou Streets.
Here you will find the largest department store in downtown Athens — Attica as well as luxury boutiques Hermès, Cartier and Salvatore Ferragamo. For a refined coffee break stop by the landmark coffee shop Zonars, a much-loved city chic escape.
Christmas World at SNFCC
Every year the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre puts on its best lights for Christmas. With the extravagant decorations, the tallest Christmas Tree in Athens, the shiny lights, the ice rink and of course the dancing water fountains dancing to Christmas hits, this is a must-visit destination if you are in Athens during holiday seasons.
Spoild Twisted Cream Bar
Voulis Street 5, Athens
“Made with love and power” these cookies are simply extra delicious. Hidden in a narrow street in the area of Syntagma, this small cookie and ice-cream bar has become very popular amongst Athenians who on busy days will line up to try their cookies and snap a photo inside the cute colorful shop. All cookies are handmade and freshly baked. During holidays they also add Christmas flavors!
Visit the Christmas Factory at Technopolis
Pireos 100, Athens
Athens’ number one Christmas park is back at Technopolis this holiday season where guests can enjoy the festive atmosphere in a safe environment.
From the largest open-air Christmas market to sweet and savory stalls, exciting workshops and of course Santa-Claus headquarters – the Christmas Factory is a wonderful place for all ages. Feel the spirit of Christmas while strolling along the magical courtyard decorated with a beautiful carousel, a bright Ferris wheel, a spectacular Christmas tree, and many more holiday surprises.
During the weekends enjoy a fun holiday entertainment program filled with musical and theatrical performances which will be held until January 6, 2023.
General entry ticket: 3,50 Euro
Operating hours: Monday – Friday (until 22.12) 16:00 – 22:00, Monday-Friday (from 23.12) 10:00-22:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 22:00
Have you celebrated Christmas in Athens? Let us know what you liked best in the comments below.
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