Why May Might Just Be The Perfect Time To Visit Athens - The Gloss Magazine

Why May Might Just Be The Perfect Time To Visit Athens

Athenian insiders will tell you May is the best month to see their city. You’ll avoid the crowds, the rising costs and heat, as well as enjoy the start of city’s festival season …

Forget Paris in spring, Athens is equally appealing. With temperatures of between 16°C and 25°C, it’s an ideal time to explore the city on foot without being overwhelmed by heat or other tourists. A further bonus is visitors can participate in some authentic festivals. Athens City Festival, from May 1 – June 2, features over 250 free activities from neighbourhood strolls to street food fairs, etching workshops, museum visits and wine tastings.

Worth doing: dining at the Acropolis Museum, exploring underground Athens or stopping to smell the roses in the green suburb of Kifissia, where its annual flower show takes place. Even if you are not particularly religious, Greek Orthodox Easter, or Pascha, from May 3-6 is the perfect time to visit and admire Athen’s Byzantine churches, or enjoy some seasonal sweet treats and spit-roasted lamb. A must-visit for me is the Maria Callas Museum, which celebrates La Divina – pack Daisy Goodwin’s Diva novel for extra insights – and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, where private tours can be arranged. It’s the perfect setting for a picnic too, where being serenaded by bands and musicians is part of its appeal.

Here’s where to stay:

Gatsby Athens
The Vibe: Playful and pretty

This art deco-inspired hotel is fun, and its motto “Stay and Play” is incorporated into the (sexy) interior design and amenities. One restaurant, two bars – one inside, one on the roof terrace aptly named Cloud 9 – and a small gym with treatment rooms are matched by 33 comfortable room each with its very own “surprise” button for guests to push if they dare. The concierge will arrange a gift to be sent to the room, ranging from a sweet treat to a delicious cocktail or entertainment. Guests are able to book Juliet balconies or terraces with private outdoor seating areas or a jacuzzi. As for the location, it’s in the historic downtown area with many of the sights only a 20-minute walk – from the Acropolis to the National Garden and the designer boutiques of Stadiou and Voukourestiou Streets. www.gatsbyathens.com

Brown Acropol
The Vibe: Retro and funky

This four-star hotel is inspired by the cosmopolitan vibes of the 1960s and is located in a modernist building designed by Greek architect Emmanouil Vorekas – who famously designed the Hilton Hotel in the city. Featuring 164 rooms, talking points include its lobby bar and library, as well as its spa and rooftop terrace and garden – one of the most impressive in the city, where guests can indulge in Brown Hotels’ “bubbles and bubbles” concept ie relaxing in a jacuzzi with a glass of champagne, while enjoying views of the Parthenon. The hotel is situated in Omonia Square, the capital’s business district, with access to the central metro station and within walking distance of landmarks such as Syntagma, Ermou Street, the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Many of the city’s hip bars and restaurants are also conveniently close (head to Pireos and Aiolou Streets and also Ayias Irinis Square). www.brownhotels.com

Athenian House of 1920
The Vibe: Airbnb beauty

Located in the heart of Athens, this apartment is on the second level of a two-storey listed neoclassical building. It has two bedrooms and can accommodate four guests. One of its best assets is its beautiful library, one of four reception rooms (there’s also a living room, dining room and office). Perfectly poised, it is also a five-minute walk from Victoria Metro Station and a ten-minute walk from the National Archaeological Museum. www.airbnb.ie

Monument Hotel Athens
The Vibe: Posh home from home

As one of Athens’ newest hotels, Monument is housed in a listed neoclassical mansion filled with history and curiosities in the heart of the Psyrri neighbourhood, which is a foodie favourite. With only nine bedrooms, Monument has been designed to feel like a private residence. Guests will find a private wellness centre on the lower ground floor, complete with treatment rooms for massages and facials, as well as a sauna and hammam. Minimalist in design, the space provides a quiet escape from the bustle of the city that lies above. Guests can enjoy breakfast each morning in the elegant dining area. There’s no on-site restaurant but social spaces have been designed to foster a sense of community and spark conversation. www.monumenthotelathens.com

Xenodocheio Milos
The Vibe: Quiet luxury

Located in downtown Athens opposite Old Parliament House, Xenodocheio Milos, is a leisurely stroll from the city’s chi-chi shopping streets, the National Gardens and central Syntagma Square. For gourmets, the hotel is the first boutique hotel of the renowned Greek restaurant estiatorio Milos. Popular with the Athenian social set, the hotel’s restaurant is a place to be seen and enjoy simple Mediterranean flavours and seafood specialities. Rooms are spacious and elegant with marble bathrooms and Bulgari amenities. For those with aching muscles after sight-seeing, the hotel’s spa suite provides soothing Elemis treatments. www.xenodocheiomilos.com

Fresh Hotel, Athens
The Vibe: Downtown den

On my last visit to Athens, when I popped over for a quick weekend of culture and some sunshine, I stayed at Fresh, a member of Design Hotels. It’s known for its hip rooftop pool and restaurant as well as well as contemporary design elements, with snug, minimalist rooms punctuated with brightly coloured accents and low slung sofas. It’s right in the centre so very close to Monastiraki flea market, trendy boutiques and a ten-minute walk to the old town of Plaka. The area outside of the hotel can be frenetic, but inside is an oasis from the busy surroundings. My tip: book a room on the upper floors for more peace and do have a sundowner on the roof. www.freshhotel.gr

Dave Red Athens
The Vibe: Quirky and budget-friendly

For those looking for a lower budget stay, without compromising on their design standards, the three-star Dave Red Athens offers an urban-style retreat with 87 rooms, an in-house gym, a charming massage room, and a rooftop with a hot tub, all in a prime location. www.brownhotels.com


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