Segregation – following the model of the expansive American metropolis – is usually understood as the unequal spatial distribution of class and/or ethnic groups, which leads to forming neighbourhoods with different socioeconomic and/or ethnic profiles. In most other parts of the world, however, cities have evolved in much more compact ways and this has considerably affected the ways their space has been appropriated by the various groups which inhabit them. Vertical segregation is one of several possible ways of socially differentiating space in spatial proximity. The discussion of vertical segregation in Athens serves as a showcase of important social divisions and inequalities that are not expressed by important spatial distance. The resulting social mix, however, should not be read as the opposite of neighbourhood segregation, but as a different form and scale of spatial hierarchy translating social distances and, therefore, not as unequivocally positive.