My Little Black Book Of Athens for the audience of Forbes Magazine
A while ago, Felicity Carter from Forbes magazine approached me asking me if I was interesting in sharing with their audience my favorite spots in Athens. It was a true honor for me not only because one of the most influential magazines worldwide had chosen me of all Greek designers but also because I would get to present my beloved hometown through my eyes! I am truly very excited that Hermina has been so much associated with the city of Athens and Greek heritage.
Stay: The Foundry Hotel
The neighborhood of Psyrri is a quirky, alternative and vibrant neighborhood. It is central to all the sites that one would want to visit when staying in Athens.
What I love about this hotel the most is that it has an urban and industrial aesthetic mixed with vintage treasures and little pop-ups of moss and vertical gardens. Its most amazing feature and what actually makes it unique in my eyes is that it totally blends in with the Hermina philosophy of loving and embracing imperfection, for instance, its rooftop picnic garden is designed to look like an actual prairie. The added bonus is the amazing views of the Acropolis and the National Observatory of Athens.
Going to the cinema is one of my favorite things to do and most of the time it is something I prefer doing alone. Mikrokosmos is an indie movie theater or you could also call it an art cinema. It shows a really interesting selection of films which I like to enjoy with a gin and tonic from the bar. Of course, if you visit Athens in the summer it is worth going to one of the typical open-air theaters. The one I prefer is Dionysia, mostly because it is surrounded by jasmin flowers and old buildings, reminding me of open-air cinemas as they were during my childhood.
Address Mikrokosmos: 105 Syggrou street
Address Dionysia: 286 Syggrou street
Bar: Juan Rodrigez & Noel
Right next to the basket store on Pallados street you will find the most exotic and mysterious bar. Juan Rodrigez is a beautiful and colorful space serving amazing cocktails.
Another favorite bar probably for the same reasons is Noel at Kolokotroni street.
Address of Juan: Rodriguez: 3 Pallados street
Address of Noel: 59B Kolokotroni street
Eat: Ergon, Souvlaki & Greek Taverns
Athens offers an amazing variety of eateries. You can find all types of cuisine, but of course, you have to try Greek mezedes (small typical dishes) in either one of typical old style taverns or in more modern ones like Ergon, which also serves as a deli shop.
Don’t miss trying the Greek Souvlaki and one of the best in downtown Athens is Kostas. Just try and go a little before lunch to avoid the lineup. By 3pm, Kostas is usually sold out and packing up for the day.
My favorite entertainment is going to concerts. I like the energy I get from them. When I was growing up my mother used to take me with her and I cannot wait to start doing that with my kids. The picture I chose is from my old time favorite concert which was Pearl Jam in Athens.
Owned by a dear friend of mine, Christos Kalogeropoulos, this is a hair salon that also serves as a meeting point. It is so close to my heart as I go there to chat and listen to great music (Christos is also one of my concert buddies) plus there is a team of great professionals. I also take my kids there (Achilleas and Hermina) and in the picture, you can see Christos giving a haircut to Hermina! Extra bonus: it is really close to the Hermina Showroom.
As a designer, I am really drawn from the shapes, forms, myths, and stories of Greek antiquity. This museum houses one of the most complete private collections of Cycladic art worldwide and periodically hosts really interesting exhibitions. In 2018 I visited the Money, Tangible symbols in Ancient Greece exhibition from which I drew inspiration for my Ancient Coins collection. It also has an amazing café and garden inside the building.
When you come to Athens the first thing to do is visit the Acropolis and its new and modern museum. What I like the most though is strolling around the Acropolis, visiting the Ancient Agora where Greeks of Classical Athens used to assemble. It was actually the center of the political, spiritual, artistic and athletic life in the city.
Not to be missed is taking a walk down Dionysiou Aeropagitou street, which is the most picturesque pedestrianized walkway at the foot of the Acropolis. It starts at the Arch of Hadrian and ends at Philopappos Hill, where you can also have a break or small picnic in the shade, surrounded by the old pine trees.
Book/magazine store: Fotagogos
This is a concept bookstore owned by a publishing house called To Rodakio. It is an almost hidden haven. I would actually call it a magical place. You find it by entering the Courtaki Galleria and going through the tables of the beautiful Noel bar. There, if you are lucky enough, you will find one of the co-owners, Julia Tsakiri with whom you can have interesting talks on almost any subject I would say.