Culture Lover’s Guide to Athens
Athens is well known for its ancient treasures, but it’s also emerging as a center for contemporary art and culture. From classical riches to contemporary art spaces, here are some of Athens’ unmissable cultural experiences.
Explore Ancient History.
Athens has an abundance of historic sites, some of which date back to the Classical, Roman, and Byzantine eras. The pinnacle is the millennia-old Acropolis, which alongside the treasure-packed Acropolis Museum, is a must-see sight. Tours typically cover the mighty Parthenon and the Panathenaic temple, and help you appreciate the significance of the relics.
Visit a Museum or Three.
Athens is jam-packed with museums that showcase Greek culture. The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation hosts modern and contemporary art, while the National Archaeological Museum houses a collection so vast that it would take days to see it all. Vasilissis Sofias Avenue is home to multiple museums—including the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, and the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture—which allows you to tick off several museums in one go.
Take a Street Art Tour.
In recent years, Greece has experienced some political turbulence, which has fueled artistic expression Walking tours of vibrant neighborhoods such as Psirri, Gazi, and Metaxourgeio lead you to colorful street murals and explain the socio-political messages behind them.
Go Gallery-Hopping in Kolonaki.
Sitting at the base of Mt. Lycabettus (Lykavittos), the upmarket and fashionable neighborhood of Kolonaki is peppered with private galleries—you can barely turn a corner without stumbling upon one—as well as boutiques stocked with artisan products.