Athens cafes are packed between the hours of ten and twelve in the morning, and again from five to seven in the evening, and generally bustling on and off in all of the hours between. They're the go-to places for holding important business discussions or casual socializing- usually done over a tall frappe
or foamy cappuccino
and lasting hours. Traditional neighborhood cafes with painted wooden chairs and marble tables are called kafeneios
; they operate like gentlemen's clubs and may feel awkward for tourists. More modern Athenians prefer the high-design of cafeterias that are typically zoned in popular areas like Gazi, Panormou, Kolonaki and Thissio. The plush chairs and posh interiors combined with the hours that a group can occupy a table are reasons offered to validate the outrageous prices of beverages and snacks- some of the most expensive in Europe. It doesn't stop the crowds; we still think it's worth a small investment to get the genuine experience of Athens' cafes.
Our top pick is Cafe Zonar's in Syntagma for its classy, sit-up-straight attitude and decadent pastry selection. It's ideal for a sweet or coffee after a performance at the Pallas. Not far are the iconic coffee establishments of Kolonaki, Da Capo and Bibliothiki. They're both ideal for starting the day with a good newspaper and watching the pretty people with little dogs and expensive handbags swish in and out of exclusive Kolonaki boutiques. Go for a walk through the National Gardens and end at Lallabai Cafe in Aegli, just next to the Zappeion Exhibition center and across from the Kalimarmara Stadium, site of the 1896 Olympics.
Plaka offers up sweet, old world charm.
Panepistimiou & Voukourestiou
A cafe worthy of its address on Voukourestiou Street... read more
The upscale place in the shade of the National Gardens... read more
Surprisingly modern, bohemian cafe in upper Plaka...
1 Tsakalof Street
Meeting point of the "Who's Who" in Kolonaki...
Ομήρου (Omirou) 36
International party crew of Kolonaki... read more
40 Skoufa Street
Jazz, blues, and whiskey on Skoufa street... read more
3 Aischilou Street
Plateia Filikis Etaireias 18
A Kolonaki classic for your coffee-newspaper moment... read more
Coffee and cold beer directly on the harbor...