Athens is an increasingly attractive destination for the growing tribe of digital nomads, travelling the world with laptop in hand. It’s not hard to see why. With a great climate, high-level cultural offering and low living costs, Athens makes sense as a base—for a few days or a few months—while you work remotely.
So, what makes a great café for a digital nomad? Well, you would have to start with: power sockets, big comfortable tables, fast internet, air conditioning in summer and, above all, great coffee. Luckily, Athens has a wealth of options that provide all of the above—and if you’re lucky, great conversation and a lively crowd of fellow workers and time wasters, too.
Whether you’re a fully-fledged digital nomad working from the road, need to catch up on emails as you pass through town, or just hoping to get out of the house to stop procrastinating, here are some of the best Athens cafés to get work done.
Housed in a sweeping Bauhaus building on Pireos, this Athens institution oozes relaxed retro vibes. The enormous Aeroflot illuminated sign bathes the upcycled wooden bar below in a soft blue glow. Pass by in the day and you’ll find plenty of space to work on the vintage chairs and tables. But if you’re looking to play once work is over, stick around because BIOS also hosts gigs, performances and screenings in the evenings, and parties on the roof terrace at weekends.
The enticing neon glow that emanates from Third Place’s exterior is one of many eye-catching pieces of design that make you feel like you’re in a concept store for the coffee shop of the future. Step inside and you have a big table to get work done on the right and tiered seating on the left, which, like so many of the thoughtful and immaculately executed details, have been a huge hit on social media. But Third Place is about far more than style over substance, as their impressive range of coffee goes to show. Borrowing its name from sociologist Ray Oldenburg, who designated the ‘Third Place’ as the community space outside the home and the workplace, the shop more than delivers on this promise. It provides a warm and welcoming environment, whether you’re here to chill out, meet friends or have a to-do list you need to burn through.
Just a few steps away from the pedestrian street that rings the Acropolis, The Underdog is a jam-packed coffee and brunch spot over the weekend. Award-winning baristas and single-estate coffees aren’t the only draw; even when it’s busy, you can usually find a spot on one of the big wooden bench tables or on the terrace out back to pull out your laptop.
At first glance, you could mistake Kinonó for an avant-garde art gallery. With its dramatic high ceiling, light and airy feel, cinematic hanging lighting and its clientele—an artistic and literary crowd—you would be forgiven for thinking you’ve just wandered into a private-view. But a lot gets done amid these stylish surroundings. Kinonó also boasts an inventive snack menu and entices you to stay after dark with eclectic DJ sets and great cocktails.
Rota Art Coffee Bar
If you’re working with sibilance and similes rather than spreadsheets and statistics, Rota is a good place to head for inspiration. This 1890s neoclassical home has become an arts and literary hangout, beloved by students, writers and musicians alike. If you’re tired of the regular ‘third-wave coffee’ offering, Rota is a place to return to simpler times and keep your neurons firing with Greek coffee roasted on a traditional hovoli.
If you can avoid getting distracted by the technicolour murals and enormous works of art that cover the walls of Kain, you will have found a tranquil and relaxing workspace to get things done. If you encounter a brain block, you can also take a rejuvenating stroll in the First Cemetery of Athens, just up the road, where important Greek cultural figures like Melina Mercouri and Demis Roussos are laid to rest. With ample foliage and touches of art-deco, this all-day bar in Mets really is a place where you can spend the whole day. But make sure you complete your to-do list before the creative cocktails start to flow during the evening hours.
Better than any signpost, Booze Cooperativa can usually be located by the figure of its colourful, septuagenarian owner Nikos Louvros holding court out front, smoking, drinking and watching the world go by. Since its founding in 1989, Athens’ original multi-space has provided a rich array of art, music and performance over three floors. With a neoclassical exterior and a mixture of post-industrial, shabby-chic and, perhaps, Tim Burton-esque, inside, Booze’s offering is incredibly diverse. For the laptop-wielding crowd it offers a comfortable but stimulating environment to get your ideas flowing.
You could walk past this small corner bar in Exarchia without noticing it. Jimmy’s Hall does indeed have the feeling of a radical village hall about it, much like the Ken Loach film from which it takes its name. Run by a former publisher and editor, it’s the place to overhear conversations between academics, researchers, activists, journalists and photographers, all discussing life, work and politics over lots of coffee.