A Non-Tourist’s Guide To Greece From Badass DJ Xenia Ghali
Anyone with an Instagram account has seen envy-worthy pics of your friends or randos you follow posing in front of the beautiful white buildings of Santorini or the perfect beaches of Mykonos.
But the thing is, if you’re actually planning a trip to Greece, there’s a lot more to see (and do, and eat). We talked to DJ Xenia Ghali and she hooked us up with her ultimate guide to having a sick Greek vacay and living the local life.
1. The Temple of Zeus
One of Xenia’s fave hidden treasures is the Temple of Zeus and Cape Sounio, both in Athens, where she shot the music video for her latest single, “Under These Lights.”
“The energy there is absolutely magical,” says Xenia. “It is a well-known area of Athens, but sadly not a destination that has been heavily promoted.”
2. Agia Eirini Square
Greeks are all about meeting friends for coffee. If you’re lucky you’ll get some baklava too.
“My favorite spot to hang out with friends for coffee (a major part of greek culture) and exquisite greek delicacies is in Agia Eirini Square [in] downtown Athens,” says Xenia. “I really love the ambient feeling of bar ‘The Art Foundation’ located just few blocks away.”
The square at Agia Irini used to be home to the flower market of Athens but all but one or two have disappeared as have many of the other shops on the platia and surrounding streets. They have been replaced by cafe-bars that are filled with coffee drinkers by day and wine, beer and cocktails at night when the neighborhood literally buzzes with the sound of voices and music. The cafés also serve food and you can get anything from breakfast to a snack to a whole meal more like a French bistro than what you would expect in Greece. If you stand in the square you will see that you are surrounded by impressive old buildings, some of which were historic hotels. That is because in the mid 19th century Platia Agia Irini was one of the most important squares in Athens, back in the days when the church of Agia Irini was the main cathedral of the city. #agiaeirini #agiairini #agiaeirinisquare #athens #igers #coffee #greekway #happycity #instathens #goodmorning #monastiraki #friends
3. Downtown Monastiraki
Unlike lots of other foreign countries, there are lots of 24/7 options to help with your jet lag.
“What’s great about Athens is that no matter what time it is — 4 a.m., 6 a.m., you name it — there is always a great eatery available with the most incredible local or international cuisine,” says Xenia. “Downtown Monastiraki has numerous options for those late night or early morning birds like me.”
Delicious!!!! 📷: @lucihugogeorge_ #food #breakfast #booking #bookhotel #innAthens #holidays #pleasure #luxury #luxurylife #hotels #hotelsuite #beautifulhotels #vacation #travel #instatravel #urbanhotel #urbandestination #Greece #downtown #Athens #Syntagma #boutiquehotel #relax #innathenshotel #Acropolis #plaka #monastiraki
4. It’s Always Lit
“A lot of times after a set I like going to “after-after parties” in Athens,” explains Xenia. “There are plenty of clubs that actually open up at 9 a.m.”
“My most recent discovery lies in the more underground scene,” she adds. “Secret street parties hosted almost every night around Athens, with the best underground dance music and the most alternative crowds. I try to keep an eye out for the next one…”
5. Romantic Walks For You & Your New Bae
“After midnight strolls are my favorite way to enjoy the city,” says Xenia. “Recently after a photoshoot I found myself walking through the picturesque historical old Athens streets. What is incredible about this is knowing that these are ancient streets. They are preserved and well taken care of. Walking down those streets gives me a sense of mystical energy and inspiration. ”
6. Get Beachy
“I find pleasure in discovering untouched villages and places all over Greece,” says Xenia. “The Peloponnese offers one of the best options for day or weekend trips. There, you can find waterfalls, amazing nightlife, restaurants and an incredible luxury hotel called Costa Navarino. Greece is famous for its beaches, but after I recently visited Kardamyli in Messinia (which is in the Peloponnese) I fell in love. It is absolutely wonderful, featuring golden, sandy beaches with crystal clear water.”
7. Go Extreme
To balance out all the lounging by the pool and munching on spinach pastries, you might wanna get a little active during your trip. Or not.
“I love kite surfing,” says Xenia. “Ornos beach in Mykonos is amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for an adrenaline rush. Everyone knows Mykonos is one of the most famous nightlife destinations in Greece (and in the world), however it also is an island that can be very relaxing. The town in Mykonos is gorgeous and has everything ranging from hand-made pasta restaurants to boutique shops. In addition, there are plenty of small, ‘non organized’ beaches which make you feel like you have a private beach to yourself.”