Do you want to visit the most “in” place of Athens?
Come to up-market Kolonaki Square where you’ll find an exclusive fusion of high-enders from politicians darting through when Greek Parliament is in recess, businessmen discussing their next ventures at elegant restaurants to medical specialists on their way to their thriving clinics.
As always, the gigolos are still there, eyeing the well-coiffed socialites and their pampered pooches – more discreet than they once were, but still there. The pampered pooches, these days, are more likely to be mutts as an air of political correctedness blows through the streets. The models brush by, strutting through the pedestrian walkway on Tsakalof Street as though it were a catwalk maneuvering their way over potholes with the grace of ballerinas.
An amalgam of A-listers is made complete by the up-and-coming artists drawn to glossy galleries. Sure, its a little bit worse for wear, but you can still see its posh side underneath the neglect. All is not lost, all Kolonaki needs to shine again is some tender loving care.
The extravagance is still there, though it’s hard to imagine that before the Sixties building boom, the area was grazing grounds for goats around Lycabettus hill, known as katsikadika (goat places).
Things to see and do at Kolonaki:
1. Shop at designer boutiques and antique stores
2. Have coffee at Caffe Da Capo or a frozen Freddit at Cafe Peros
3. Savour ladera (oil-based Mediterranean dishes) at the Kioupi basement
4. Visit the British Council
5. Check out the busts of three war heroes of the Filiki Etairia (Society of Friends) at the square that bears their name
6. Admire the marble medieval column after which the region is named (Kolonaki means “little column” in Greek)
7. Marvel daredevil antics at the landing of the square’s seven steps that were once a skater’s haven
8. Visit one of the nearby museums, such as the renowned Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art or the Byzantine Museum.
9. Enjoy the nightlife, because Kolonaki is not hectic after a period of recession, but is still an all-time classic with favourites such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
10. Try one of the five kiosks around the square… selling everything from Cadbury chocolates to cohibas. One of them is manned by former model Stamatis Vouros.
Location: Near Evangelismos Metro (5-minute walk), Syntagma Metro (10-minute walk). Nearby places of note include Petraki Monastery, Greek Parliament, National Gardens, Lycabettus hill, Gennadeion Library, American School of Archaeology, Museum of Cycladic Art, Byzantine Museum, Benaki Museum.