Guide to: Athens
It’s been a few years since Europe’s most well-connected urbanites pronounced Athens cool (‘it’s the new Berlin!’), but guess what? Athens has been pretty cool for much of its recorded history — some 3,400 years. As one of the world’s oldest cities, layer upon layer of civilisation exists here, from the ancient ruins of its old centre to the foundations of The Ellinikon, a vast new neighbourhood being built on a former airport base, which will connect the centre and the glamorous, breezy coastal suburbs of Glyfada and Vouliagmeni. Athens is hectic, friendly, dirty and vibey. Spend any time there and you’ll become expert at hopping on and off pavements, dodging cars and weaving around bins. Unless you’re passing through to head to the Acropolis, avoid Plaka and instead try out neighbourhoods like Koukaki, Kolonaki, Kypseli, Exarcheia, Metaxourgeio, Pangrati and Neos Kosmos. While the city is vast and sprawling, these areas are well-connected and walkable. While many people used to pass through Athens en route to the islands, or for a few days to tick off the ancient sites, increasing numbers of young travellers are coming here to spend time hanging out and absorbing the nightlife, food scene and culture. The energy is palpable. It’s the new Berlin!