Let’s head North: Psychiko-Halandri-Kifissia
The North suburbs of Attica stand out for their remarkable history, their natural beauty, their unique architecture and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Starting from the centre of Athens and heading north along Kifissias avenue, we pass across stunning neighbourhoods, each with its own unique characteristics and ambiance.
Our first stop is Paleo Psychiko. It’s no accident that here many streets are named after flowers. It is a dream-like “garden town”, which has always been famous for its greenery and flowers. Wander around the streets of Paleo Psychiko and marvel at some of the most beautiful samples of 20th century urban architecture. A total of 75 buildings have been declared protected in Paleo Psychiko. You will find them at the streets Lymberopoulou, Agiou Dimitriou, Mazaraki, Antheon, Chryssanthemon, V. Pavlou, Vyronos, Yasemion, Dimokratias, Diamantidou, Marathonodromon, Stratigou Kallari.
On the opposite side of Kifissias avenue lies Neo Psychiko, and here the scenery changes: retail stores, taller buildings and many embassies. Featuring a strong ecological outlook and respect to the environment, the city of Neo Psychiko has won the European clean city award, while since 1992 it has been hosting the first Educational Eco Park of the country, which offers environmental learning and activities. At Giorgos Zongolopoulos square we will marvel at the Psychiko Open Air Glyptotheque that hosts six iconic large scale sculptures by the renowned Greek artist Zongolopoulos.
Next stop in the North suburbs of Attica is Halandri. Surrounded by two of the main highways of Athens, Kifissias and Mesogeion avenues, access to Halandri is easy and fast, further enhanced by the city metro – Halandri, D. Plakentias and Nomismatokopeio stations.
In antiquity, the area was one of Attica’s settlements and was called Flya. It was the birthplace of ancient Greek tragedian Euripides and Greek politician and General Themistocles. Today the area features single-family houses with red tile roofs, neat gardens as well as busy spots. The shopping centre and paved streets host the bestknown store chains and small, independent brands with handmade jewellery and unique clothing.
At the… pluralistic Halandri square you will see little children enjoy the playground, musicians and skaters at the bleachers and the water fountain, as well as local residents and visitors of all ages stroll along the opposite side of the square, at Agios Nikolaos church, stopping for coffee or dinner at the area’s cafes and restaurants.
Halandri is a favourite bikers destination, since it boasts a cycle network that is more than 5 kilometres long. The Herakleidon & Olympou Park is ideal for play and walks along its paths, among beautiful trees and seasonal plants. Every year, the Euripides Theatre of Rematia hosts one of the most emblematic summer festivals of Attica, featuring cultural events and extraordinary theatrical and musical performances.
The paved streets of Haimanda, Herakleiou and Thoukididou are the heart of the night entertainment: cafés, wine bars and cocktail bars, as well as “hidden” backyards and small gardens for the summer months. Halandri is also famous for its gastronomic scene, which truly satisfies all preferences. Ethnic cuisine, street food and traditional Greek dishes, alongside the old tavernas that continue to offer authentic Greek food all these years. Pastry shops for delicious, handmade desserts and century-old bakeries complete the long list of choices Halandri has to offer.
Kifissia: luxurious, green, elegant! Without a doubt, one of Attica’s most beautiful destinations, with stunning architecture, well-maintained gardens and picturesque neighbourhoods, elegant restaurants and all-day vibrant cafes, as well as sophisticated stores and one of Attica’s best shopping centres.
This is where the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway ends, the descendent of the famous steam train “Thirio” (beast). Already at the city entrance, at 241 Kifissias avenue, the architecture of the area catches the eye: here we find Villa Kazoulis, one of the most impressive buildings in Attica, associated with Greek history since the beginning of the 20th century. The iconic building at the intersection of Em. Benaki and St. Delta Street was the residence of the famous Greek author Penelope Delta. Don’t miss the stunning “Pallas Athena” building at 59 Diligianni Street in Kefalari square, or the famous Kifissia Tower (Kassaveti & Kyriazi Street), a neoclassical building that dates back to 1830.
One of Kifissia’s benchmarks, Goulandris Natural History Museum, was founded in 1964 and is housed in an exceptional neoclassical building constructed in 1875. Aim of the Museum and the “Gaia” Centre, which is the latest expansion of the Museum’s premises, is to promote natural sciences and raise awareness of wildlife.
A “jewel” of the area is Kifissia Park, a unique space that was created in 1885 and features sky-tall trees, wonderful design, a café and playground. Every year since 1937, at spring, it hosts the famous Kifissia Flower Show that fills the park with astonishing colours and intoxicating aromas.
The pulse of entertainment and good food beats at Kassaveti and Argyropoulou streets, while “Plaka of Kifissia”, the area on Agios Dimitrios hill with the scenic narrow streets, has evolved into the new hot spot of the town.
At the intersection of Kolokotronis and Levidou Street, a surprise awaits us: here is the chariot rank of Kifissia, a tradition that lives on and takes us back in time. We go aboard and take off on an unforgettable ride, a 15-20 minute route that begins at the centre of Kifissia and goes up to the majestic neighbourhood with the old houses and the stunning natural landscape.
Photo: GNTO, Haris Kakarouhas