I love New York but I’m getting that all too familiar travel itch…
Writer’s Retreat Greece
Welcome to the Writer’s Retreat Greece mini-guide! This will give you an easy to read and organized listing of the best places to write, blog or study. If you’re taking this trip for inspiration or for a bit of quiet time I suggest that you go to Greece during their slow seasons, which are from January to May and November to December. The popular touristy neighborhoods like Syntagma and Plaka actually seem spacious and slow paced; like a European Atlanta, Georgia or because the sea of acid washed jeans, somewhere in the Mid-West. No offense! Acid wash works for some people. My hips are way too narrow.
The islands are colder, but still just as lovely and even more welcoming. They’re happy to see tourists. My friends and I were constantly served complimentary desserts, alcohol and frappes. Several gentleman offered me their last cigarettes and I eventually learned the meaning behind giving someone your last cigarette. Awkward.
I have another Writer’s Retreat guide out for New York City, where I have a section titled Café Etiquette. This was to make sure that I didn’t have an angry mob of business owners showing up at my door or rather commenting on my blog. For this mini-guide it won’t be necessary, especially if you go to Greece during the months that I suggested. The Greek have a “Café Culture” they won’t bat an eyelash if you camp out for a few hours or even if you decide to move into their café; just as long as you pay rent. It’s all about the Euros baby.
No, but really it’s a very relaxed culture. It’s as if there are dopamine particles in the air that enter your system through your skin and you suddenly become extremely content and can sleep a full eight hours. That was the effect my stay had on me; it may also have been all the Souvlaki and Raki that I consumed. But really my writing was prolific while I was there and I can’t wait to return. I will try to curb my envy that you’re heading over there now and will help you out with a list of great places, on the mainland and the islands, which are conducive to your creative and studious mind. They all have comfortable seating, outlets, great food and I will indicate which ones have Wi-Fi. I’ve also included an Inspirational Itineraries section for Athens.
Read, Write and Create.
The Frappe is such a huge part of Greece’s café culture that I had to dedicate a section to it. The Greek version of this frothy beverage is so different from the American version. You can order it bitter, sweet, very sweet or diabetic coma sweet. When the drink is two-thirds gone, you can just add water and the party never stops. This how one can spend hours in a café; if there is table service the servers usually drop off the check with your order and you are left alone to work or stalk your ex on Facebook.
Greece is located in Southern-Eastern Europe, in the Balkans peninsula. Greece has more than 2,000 Greek islands but only 168 are inhabited. The country is surrounded by two big seas, the Aegean and the Ionian seas, which include other smaller seas.
The mainland is divided into:
- Central Greece- Sterea
- East Central -Peloponnese, Thessaly
- North West- Epirus
- North- Macedonia
- North west -Thrace
Athens is the capital of Greece and is located in Prefecture of Attica, the center of the Greek territory.
- Acropolis- a lovely and quiet neighborhood
- Gazi- the new hipster neighborhood with a great nightlife
- Kolonaki- Shopping mecca
- Koukaki/ Makrigianni
- Monastiraki- the famous flea market , souvenir and antique shops
- Piraeus-fun bars by the water
- Psirri- The SoHo of Athens
- Syntagma- The center of everything
- Exarcheia-most interesting neighborhood
- Ambelokipi- hand with the locals and really experience Athens
The Greek Islands:
There are more than 2,000 islands scattered both in the Aegean and the Ionian Seas. The majority is located in the Aegean between the mainland and Turkey. They are Crete, Cyclades, Dodecanese, Ionian, Sporades, Saronic and Eastern Aegean islands. The largest Greek island is Crete and the second largest is Evia.
The cafes will be listed by area to make it easier for you to reference while you’re on the go or print out before your trip.
The best cafes for writers, bloggers & students.
- Balux House- A large café with a swimming pool and a great staff.
- Pure Bliss – A two level café with a lovely selection of work from local artists.
- Filion Café- Great selection of pastries
- Café Boheme- Easier to grab a seat during the day
- Jima’s Ginger-also a music venue
- Flower Café
- Mylos Café
Crete– Is the largest Greek island and is south of the Aegean Sea. It’s divided into four areas: Chania, Heraklion, Lassithi and Rethymno. Here are a few places in Chania and Heraklion.
- Kathodon- A well-equipped internet café with good connection.
- Metropolitan-Has three levels! You could seriously hideout here for an entire afternoon. And evening stay for live music and great food.
- Synagogi-This is an outdoor café. It great for a warmer fall afternoon.
- Fabrica-Right on the seaside in Koutouloufari with breathtaking views.
The Cyclades islands are the most popular and usually heavily populated with tourists. But in the off season you will make you feel like Gilligan. The Cyclades are composed of Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Folegandros, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros and Tinos.
Here is a list of lovely places in Santorini and Paros. I will have more for you later this year when I return to Greece.
- Classico Café- a nice and relaxed atmosphere
- Aegle- Yummy waffles
- Athiri- Has the cheeriest chef on the island
- Ithaki Barbeque Café- The top level offer an interesting street view
- Pezoula Tis Lichoudias-With beautiful mountain views and amazing homemade pastries you’ll never want to leave.
- Cyber Cookies-A cute and cozy internet café.
Inspirational Itinerary- Athens
Greece is so beautiful and filled with such history that a simple walk down the street is inspiring. Here you really could wing just wing it without any assistance from me. But I guess if you don’t want to rely on a regular guide book here are a few spots that you should check out while in Athens.
- Dexipos Art Gallery- Has the most eye- catching pieces
- Greek Children’s Museum
- Aeridhes- This tower, like many landmarks in Greece has so much history and just as many uses. It’s been utilized as a clock, sun dial and compass.
- Herakleidon Experience in Visual Art- has a cute little café and gift shop. Visit their website for events during your stay.
- Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum- Stuff dreams are made of.
- Dionysos Zonar’s Café- amazing view of the Parthenon
- Benaki Museum- Has this amazing children’s toy exhibit and a collection of beautiful textiles.
- War Museum
- Byzantine Museum- This actually used to be someone’s home
- National Library of Greece- Duh
- Galaxy Bar- Ernest Hemingway’s former haunt
- Café Ianos- a bookstore and café- Love this place!
- Amorgos- original pieces of Greek folk art, jewelry and furniture
Vorres Museum- outside of the city in Peania. An archeological collection, antique furniture and beautiful gardens. This is definitely a hidden gem.
Well that’s it for Writer’s Retreat Greece. Don’t look at me like that. I told you this was a mini-guide. But not to worry an actual book will be available by the end of this year so keep in touch. Oh and for more pics check out my Facebook albums.
Next up: Writer’s Retreat Bilbao, Spain.
The idea for Writer’s Retreat New York City came to me while traveling in Europe. I spent a lot of time drinking in cafes and walking around taking in the sights of which ever city I was parked in at the time.
Were you to hand me a pen and paper and request that I list what I accomplished during those weeks abroad you would receive a sheet of paper folded into an amateur origami bird with hearts and stars scribbled on it.
Yup I accomplished nothing, but never in my life have I done so much or been so inspired. I returned to New York with a purpose —to have the same experience in my back yard, or in my case, tiny balcony.
I’m a Type A gal surrounded by Type A friends with a former Type A cat that now lives with my Type C neighbor. But that’s another story.
My point is that while in New York I usually make lists of things to do, then I make a list of friends to tell about the list of things I did at a list of places that we listed to go to.
So when I returned I err made a list. Okay so this doesn’t sound like much progress, but it was a different type of list. A FUN list, of places that reminded me of my time in Europe and that brought on the same feeling of purpose, of inspiration. That list continued to grow, I not only added cafes, but coffee shops and cute little restaurants and interesting neighborhood landmarks; soon it became Writer’s Retreat New York City.
Now that the book is available and I’ve returned to New York from yet another trip. I’m looking through my travel journals and I’m finding that I’ve compiled lists of inspirational places on all my trips. They’re not as extensive as Writer’s Retreat New York City, but they are just as inspiring (and they’re free).
The first up is Writer’s Retreat Greece. I had such a great time in Greece, we went in November during the off season and received extra attention because the country wasn’t mobbed by summer tourists. I posted a short list of my favorite places last month, but I wanted to expand on that so check out Writer’s Retreat Greece- mini guide and photo album!
I know that Americans are more hesitant to go to Europe now because of the exchange rate but Athens was very inexpensive. The average check for an espresso, gyro and a coke was 8 euros! And alcohol was also reasonably priced. Below is a list of my favorite spots. Oh and all of these locations have free WI-fi so you can check in on four square. ; )
1. Jima’s Ginger
9.Del Sol Cafe
Last night my friend and I took the metro past Syntagma for once and discovered a whole new world. Take that Ariel. Gazi seems to be where it’s at here in Athens. We were wondering where everyone was after 10pm. As soon as you step out of the metro station the party begins. The bars are lined up one by on; you bar trip rather than hop to each one. Which we happily did.
We decided to return today to see if there is life before 7pm. And there is. There is also free wi-fi, the best Souvlaki (at Apolo) and frappes.
This should be your first stop when landing in Athens. You can check out Acropolis later. Those ruins aren’t going anywhere.