It always baffles me when I realize that I had already visited Athens on three separate occasions. Baffled only because I rarely return somewhere, always choosing to discover a new place. However, this ancient city always pulls me back. Throughout those three visits, I discovered many magical places in Athens. I wanted to share them with you, hopefully inspiring you to visit Athens. It’s an underrated destination that most people overlook in favor of the Greek islands. Yet, there are so many hidden gems in this lovely city!


Akadimias 18, Athens 106 71

One of my favorite recent finds, Kowalski is one of the most magical places in Athens. I walked past its gorgeous terrace back in 2022, vowing to return for drinks next time I’m in Athens. As luck would have it, I was to return to Athens just 10 months after that lucky stroll. A cocktail bar at night and an amazing café during the day, I loved every second spent here. I dropped by during lunchtime, enjoying another one of my favorite iced chocolates, which was delicious here! The interior is unparalleled, reminiscent of Belle-Epoque after it’s been left to the vestiges of time. However, it’s just an impression, a cleverly crafted patina on the walls and ceilings.

I can just imagine how cinematic returning here for cocktails in the evening will be. Kowalski was made for 1920s-themed cocktail parties, wouldn’t you agree? Every inch of this bar looks frozen in time, from its vintage tassel lamps to gilded mirrors and the cutest toilet setup I ever saw. It’s a one-of-a-kind place that you would never expect to find in Athens!

Erato secondhand bookstore

Thisiou 9, Athens 105 55

One of the first places I accidentally discovered during my first visit was this secondhand bookstore. In search of another spot, I got distracted by piles of books and a stack of vintage world maps. Without a doubt, the Erato bookstore is one of the most magical places in Athens. Tucked away and easy to miss, it has a wonderful atmosphere to it. I often wish I could work in charming secondhand bookstores but I still remember that wish being even stronger here. The endless bookshelves lined with books were a delight to scour through and I found many interesting titles in English and in French!

magical places in athens, erato secondhand bookstore

Athens City Museum

loannou Paparrigopoulou 5-7, Athens 105 61

We all know that Athens boasts a ridiculous amount of museums, one more interesting than the other. So it’s no surprise I missed this one during my first two visits to Athens. Maybe that’s why I consider the Athens City Museum to be a bit of a hidden gem. We met only a handful of people during our visit which was a pleasant surprise. This art museum comprises two buildings situated right next to one another. When the capital was moved to Athens, this was the official residence of the first royal couple. As we wandered through the two houses, we marveled at their beautiful interior. It’s one of the lesser-known museums and makes for a short visit but it’s one I would definitely recommend!

National Garden

Leof. Vasilisis Amalias 1, Athens 105 57

Right in the center of Athens is a park you might easily miss. Situated next to the bustling neighborhood of Syntagma, the National Garden hides many wonderful things behind the initial row of trees. Thousands of trees, various playgrounds, fishing ponds, statues, a museum, and an outdoor cinema. The National Garden is so big you could easily spend half a day there. It was wonderful in May when I first visited and equally so this January as the sun shone on. In fact, I remember it being the perfect place on hot days because you can find shade in many charming corners. But I think we all know that I’m now daydreaming about visiting that outdoor cinema!

Le Livre Ouvert

Solonos 77, Athens 106 79

This one is a hidden gem for the francophiles out there! Le Livre Ouvert was another accidental discovery, one that grabbed my attention due to the French language. Seeing words I can understand is a rarity when visiting Athens, so I impulsively walked in. Needless to say, I walked out with one of Irène Némirovsky’s books under my arm. You’ll find everything here, fiction, coffee table books, educational material, comics, you name it! I love returning to Le Livre Ouvert because it feels like a little pocket of home in Athens. A place where I can speak French with the booksellers and where I have to restrain myself from buying too many books!


This tiny neighborhood of Athens is one that anyone would describe as enchanting. Anafiotika is certainly one of the most magical places in Athens. This spot full of stairs and winding narrow alleys stands out in the urban landscape of Athens. More often than not, I thought I had wandered off to one of the Greek islands. And for a good reason too, as Anafiotika was built according to Cycladic architecture. The houses are white and often cubic, surrounded by dead-end streets and terraces. In short, I urge you to explore every nook and cranny of this picturesque neighborhood!

Par’Imin Bookstore

Charilaou Trikoupi Street 11, Athens 106 78

Last year, I walked through the doors of this stunning bookstore, knowing I wouldn’t buy a single thing. Not because I didn’t want to but because the Par’Imin bookstore only sells books in Greek. Had I found a section in English or French, I would’ve been glad to grab a souvenir from such a unique bookstore! The stained glass windows look magnificent and the whole interior is charming. I braved my shyness that day by visiting a bookstore in which all the employees spoke only Greek. But I just had to see this enchanting bookstore for myself. If you go, don’t forget to climb up and find antique treasures over there too, such as a fireplace and a typewriter!

magical places in athens, par'imin bookstore

Ioannis Kolettis’ Residence

Polignotou 13, Athens 105 55

You’ll find this magnificent rundown house on a side street in Plaka. It’s the residence of Ioannis Kolettis, the former Prime Minister during the 19th century. During my stay at Mona Athens, when I marveled at Athens from the rooftop, I noticed one house in particular. It was the red sculpture inside the blue niche that caught my eye. Even from such a long distance, it was impossible to miss it. So naturally, I ventured out to find it and see it up close. Despite slowly turning into ruin, I found it to be gorgeous. Framed by orange trees, it looked so scenic. There were plans to turn it into a museum but so far, there is no change. Here’s hoping that changes with time!

magical places in athens, ioannis kolettis residence

Little Tree Books and Coffee

Kavalloti 2, Athens 117 42

Last year, after my magical stay at Shila, I spent a few more weeks in Athens. The weather was downright unforgiving and I needed lots of breaks during my chilly walks through the city. Little Tree Books & Coffee was my favorite sanctuary from the cold. This charming café and bookstore felt extra cozy as I settled on the sofa. Billie Holiday started playing through the speakers which reminded me of my favorite café in Brussels. Little Trees Books and Coffee instantly felt like home. Surrounded by bookshelves while tucking into a delicious lemon tart, and listening to my favorite female singer, it’s no wonder it stole my heart. It had the perfect ingredients to become my favorite café in Athens and I would wholeheartedly recommend it!

Mount Lycabettus viewpoint

My last choice isn’t a hidden gem, rather it’s the opposite of that. Mount Lycabettus is one of the most popular viewpoints in Athens and for a good reason! Regardless of the crowds that evening, I was enraptured by the views of the Acropolis. I couldn’t stop marveling at the pastel sunset and Athens lighting up in golden colors. There are many beautiful viewpoints in Athens but this specific evening will forever be one of my favorites.

magical places in athens, mount lycabettus
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