Christmas in Athens – the perfect city break
Christmas in Athens is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when you’re looking for a city trip in December. Paris with its beautiful lights or German and British cities with their Christmas markets would be a more logical choice. Yet Athens is also at this time of the year more than worthwhile.
One of the main reasons for me personally to stay at home in Greece around Christmas (and not to go to the Netherlands for holidays with my family), is the atmosphere around Athens.
From mid-November, the city already slowly gets into the Christmas spirit. The weather often continues to be good until after Christmas beautiful; cool but sunny enough for a coffee outside.
Christmas Shopping in Athens
Athens is a great city for shopping, especially around Christmas. The streets are beautifully decorated and around Syntagma Square and the National Gardens there is always something to do in this time of the year. Think about cozy stalls selling Christmas items and snacks, live music and activities for children.
On Ermou Street you will find all known fashion chains completed with typical Greek boutiques.
Don’t skip the upscale neighborhood of Kolonaki at the foot of the Lykavitos hill especially at this time of year.
Do you fancy a day trip out of town? Then go with the green line towards Kifissia, a beautiful suburb north of Athens, full of lovely boutiques and beautiful parks.
Traditional Greek Christmas carols
Around Christmas you can hear children singing traditional Greek Kalanta (carols) everywhere.
Children go past the houses, but are also singing in the subway and on squares. Often they accompany themselves on the triangle and they are traditionally rewarded with sweets and dried fruit. Today they also get money.
Listen here to Greek Christmas Carols
Greek Christmas menu
Forty days before Christmas Lent begins. The Greek Orthodox don’t eat meat and other animal products such as cheese and yogurt in this period. Nowadays it is mainly the older generation who still strictly adhere to these rules. After 40 days of fasting is traditionally eaten pork and stuffed turkey accompanied by various side dishes and christopsomo (the bread of Christ).
Traditional Greek cookies that you will find anywhere these days are called melamakarona and kourabiedes.
Many restaurants offer a special Christmas menu. It is definitely advisable to reserve a few days in advance if you have found a nice restaurant.
Finally, I like to give a few tips for specific addresses around the holidays:
Fairy Tale Cafe Little Kook in Psiri
This cafe is awesome styled around Christmas, nowhere the decorations are as exuberant as here.
Enjoy delicious coffee and cakes in a fairytale setting.
Karaiskaki 17, Psiri
Fairy Tale cafe – Little Kook
Christmas and New Year with views of the Acropolis
Who is going for ultimate luxury has to book a room at the luxury Grand Bretagne hotel overlooking the Acropolis, the beautifully decorated Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament.
Do you have a smaller budget? Go there only for the fantastic breakfast with a view.
Grand Bretagne hotel
365 days a year Christmas
At Noel bar in the trendy Kolokotronistreet you can celebrate Christmas 365 days a year. A drink
later in the evening should not be missed during your holidays in Athens.
Noel – The holidaybar
The Christmas Factory
Visit Athens with kids? Make sure you do not miss the Christmas Factory Gkazi.
Children meet Santa here, write him a letter in the post office of Santa Claus and participate in various activities.
The Christmas factory