Xenodocheio Milos sits in a near-impossible-to-beat location right in the centre of Athens, on a lacquered square opposite the Old Parliament and steps from Syntagma Square and the National Gardens.
Athens International Airport is a 35-minute drive away. The hotel can arrange taxi transfers. Alternatively, take the M3 metro line: it’s a 37-minute ride direct from the airport to Syntagma metro station, which is less than five minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Athens central railway station is a 10-minute taxi ride from the hotel.
Driving may not be your preferred method of transportation in big, traffic-choked Athens, but it’s achievable to take in the storied capital as part of a longer trip. The hotel doesn’t provide parking, but motorheads will find a private car park within a few minutes’ walk. Road trippers can use the metropolis as a jumping-off point for a street safari taking in Delphi with its 4th-century Temple of Apollo, visiting the ancient port city of Thessaloniki, or tracking Hercules and Helen of Troy through the Peloponnese.
Seafaring Smiths may prefer to approach Athens by boat. Charter a yacht to combine a spot of island hopping with your cultural odyssey of the capital, or take an overnight ferry from Rhodes or Crete. For maximum drama, we recommend riding the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express to Venice and crossing to Athens by ferry.
Worth getting out of bed for
Greece’s glittering ancient capital is a many-layered urban moussaka. The Acropolis on its rocky outcrop overlooks glitzy rooftop cocktail bars, souvlaki-scented taverns, and contemporary galleries housed in gracefully crumbling neoclassical mansions. It’s dominated the Athens skyline for 2,500 years and this cluster of historic buildings, which include the Parthenon, is worth the hike. Visit in the morning or late afternoon to beat the heat (and the crowds). Room for more? The marble Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion offers ocean views worthy of the gods from its cliff-top perch.
It would be a (Greek) tragedy to miss Museum Mile. Spot prehistoric, ancient Greek and Byzantine art at the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, bronze age artefacts at the Museum of Cycladic Art, and religious icons, rare manuscripts and treasures at the Byzantine and Christian Museum.
Beach devotees who prefer a side of sun lounging with their culture-spotting might head to Astir Beach on the Athens Riviera. Back in town, you may choose to explore the Monastiraki neighbourhood, home to the ruins of Hadrian’s Library and the Ancient Agora.
For the best vantage point in Athens, take the funicular railway to the top of Mount Lycabettus, the city’s highest peak, for gods’-eye-view panoramic vistas.
A traditional tavern-slash-deli, and less than ten minutes’ walk from Xenodocheio Milos, Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani is an aromatic pastomageireio where meats, sausages and cheeses hang from around the deli counter like savoury stalactites. The typically Greek menu features classic dishes like meatballs with tomato sauce, eggplant cream and anevato cheese, smoked eel, and spicy sujuk sausage pie baked in the stone oven.
Greek-Japanese fusion eatery Nolan is headed up by Greek Masterchef judge Sotiris Kontizas and is a five-minute walk from the hotel. Its complex dishes such as soba noodles with tahini, smoked salmon and crispy spring onion, and the panko-crusted cod bao burger are worth savouring.
Also within stumbling distance is GB Roof Garden, the rooftop restaurant on the eighth floor of the Hotel Grande Bretagne. This smart, white-table-linen establishment offers cityscape views that take in Syntagma Square and the Acropolis beyond. Book a sunset sitting to watch the ancient citadel light up on the horizon while you feast on beef tartare with aged cheese and winter truffle, or risotto with lemon, calamari and bottarga.
Ten minutes from the hotel is TAF (The Art Foundation), a trendy multi-use cultural space in a 19th-century neoclassical building near Monastiraki flea market. The open-air café and bar is set in a central courtyard (covered during the winter). There’s excellent coffee, an art gallery, exhibitions, and a shop supporting local Greek designers. After dark, expect cocktails, DJs spinning experimental sets, and jazz.
A five-minute walk from Xenodocheio Milos, Heteroclito cave & bar à vin has one of the city’s most extensive wine lists, friendly service, Greek cheeses and charcuterie, and charming pavement seating where you can quaff the good stuff in the shadow of Athens Cathedral. Also within a five-minute stroll is low-lit cocktail joint Baba au Rum. Expect tropical tiki-style concoctions and an impressive collection of rums. The most popular cocktail on the menu is the Spicy Baba (Trinidad and Tobago rum with ginger, berries and lime) and the avant garde list might pair Martini Bitter with vermouth, blackberries, chocolate and Cuban tobacco leaves, or match bergamot with tomato and citrus flowers. Ya mas!