Up-and-coming Kypseli is being rediscovered by curious creatives for its fine architecture, lovely squares, and multicultural vibe. Art critic and curator Kiriakos Spirou shows you around.

A mere 100 years ago, Kypseli was nothing but picturesque countryside with vineyards and pastures, only two kilometres away from the Greek capital. A few mansions and farmhouses existed at the time, and the area was delineated by two flowing streams. When urban development began in the 1930s, the streams were built over and the first apartment buildings were erected in the Bauhaus and Art Deco styles popular at the time. By the 1950s, Kypseli was an exclusive upper-class neighbourhood, attracting artists and the intelligentsia. As the city centre became more densely populated, spreading beyond its initial borders, the elite retreated to the suburbs, and Kypseli shared the fate of other nearby areas and slowly degenerated. Drawn by the dropping rents, immigrants from the Balkans, Africa and Asia began to settle in Kypseli from the 1990s. 

Pedion Tou Areos park is the best green space in the neighbourhood.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Kypseli is multicultural, small and inclusive.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

This bar opened in 1958 and is often called the oldest in Athens.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Patission Avenue (28 Oktovriou Street)

Fokionos Negri Street

Fokionos Negri pedestrian street is lined with many cafés, bars and restaurants.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

This old food market is now a local hub for small businesses and events.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Fokionos Negri also keeps the area’s artsy past alive. Blank Wall Gallery focuses mostly on photography. At the Felios Collection traditional painting exhibitions and other art-related events are organised periodically. Contemporary art aficionados should visit the nearby artist-run spaces Bhive and Snehta, though both are open only by appointment and during exhibitions. 

In the summer months, a typically Athenian way to spend your evening is catching a movie at the recently reopened open-air Stella Cinema, which is run by a Kypseli-based distribution company and screens mostly European and art-house films.

For coffee, sit down for a double cappuccino and some leisurely people-watching at Tsibi Tsibi or Phoibos. Meat lovers will appreciate the authentic Greek tastes at Rigani, where they serve quality gyro and all sorts of grilled meat, street-food style. If you like your fresh fish and seafood delicacies, then head to Vlasis, a traditional fishmonger’s and taverna under one roof.

Victoria Station will drop you off in the heart of Kypseli.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

Platia Protomagias

1st of May Square is packed with locals eating, getting coffee and playing backgammon.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

St. George's Square, packed to the gills even late at night.

Photo: Orestis Seferoglou

St. George’s Square