Beat the Heat in Athens: Fill in the Squares

Natural meeting points year round, in the summer, you'll likely end up spending your whole evening in these squares.

Summer nights in Athens are magical. It often feels like the whole city is out on the streets. After dark, the city’s many elegant squares, or plateias, become beacons of life and locals flock to the action, like moths to a flame, to catch up with friends over food and drinks long into the early hours.

Aghia Irini Square in Monastiraki is one of the city’s most picturesque; it’s next to a large Orthodox church from which the square gets its name. Here, you’ll join a young crowd for wine or cocktails at bars that spill out over the square (and along adjacent Aiolou Street). A short walk away, Iroon Square is at the heart of the action in Psyrri, a lively neighborhood bursting with great bars, restaurants and boutique hotels. A local favorite is Nancy’s Sweet Home, which serves up decadent desserts.

On the other side of the city center, at the base of Lycabettus Hill, Dexameni is a popular Athenian haunt: a cool, shaded space between Irakleitou and Xanthippou streets, high up in the Kolonaki neighborhood. The historic Café Dexameni started life as a traditional kafeneio in the early 20th century, when much of the area was still mostly grazing land. Today, it’s one of the city’s best spots for beers, ouzo and meze. It’s also a date destination, with dinner often followed by a film at the adjacent open-air movie theater, also called Dexameni. The theater sits atop the Roman-era cistern that was part of Hadrian’s Aqueduct.

This text was first published as part of “Beat the Heat”, an article published in Greece Is Athens, Summer 2019 Edition.


As you climb up the steps to Dexameni Square at night, turn around to catch a wonderful view of an illuminated Acropolis.

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