4 + 1 Places to Get Your Culture Fix in Athens

November 05, 2019
As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western philosophical thought, it should come as no surprise that Athens is home to some of the most extraordinary cultural institutions around the globe. In fact, there are so many different museums, galleries, and culture attractions worth exploring in the Greek capital that it’s hard to limit ourselves to just a few choices. However, we appreciate that your time in Athens may be limited, and that’s why we’ve put together a short bucket list with some of our favorite places for a cultured outing in Athens.

The Acropolis Museum

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Built to house the findings that were discovered at the archaeological site of the Acropolis and its surrounding slopes, the Acropolis Museum is one of the great disseminators of Greek culture. Designed by famous architect Bernard Tschumi, the museum is housed in an elegant building that was carefully built to echo the mathematical and conceptual clarity of ancient Greek architecture. A stunning collection of nearly 4,000 unique artifacts spread over three different levels brings history to life, exposing visitors to the wonders of the ancient Greek world.

Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athens.

The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

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After 25 years of waiting, the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation finally opened its doors to the public on October 1st, 2019, marking the most important cultural event of the year. Housed in a restored 20th century mansion, the walls and halls of this 11-storey museum are graced by some 180 sculptures, paintings, and sketches from the private art collection of the late Basil and Elise Goulandris. Including works by a cornucopia of artists including Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Bonnard, Pollock, Monet, Braque as well as several Greek artisans, the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation offers its visitors the chance to experience some of the most prolific local and international artists of the 19th and 20th century.
Address: Eratosthenous 13, Athens.

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens

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The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is not just Greece’s largest archaeological museum, it is also one of the most important cultural institutions around the globe. Founded in 1829, it was the first museum of the modern Greek state and it was initially intended to house all the items that were unearthed in excavations around Attica and other parts of Greece during the 19th century. Over the years, its inventory grew to include an astounding 11,000 exhibits from all around Greece and dating from prehistory to late antiquity, making this one of the most complete collections of Hellenistic art in the world.

Address: 28th of October str 44, Athens.

The Athens City Museum

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Image by Athens City Museum-Vouros-Eutaxias Foundation

Although not as well known or as expansive as some of Athens’ other great cultural institutions, the Athens City Museum nonetheless offers an interesting perspective of the city’s history, as well as unique insight into the lives of some of its most influential people during the 19th century. The museum is housed inside two of Athens’ oldest neoclassical buildings - one of which was also part of the first residence of Greece’s first royal family. Today, the museum boasts some 40,000 artifacts related to the history of Athens from antiquity until the 21st century, while it also features living rooms and furniture arranged in the typical style of Athenian aristocracy during the 19th century.

Address: 5-7 Paparigopoulou Str, Athens.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC)

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Home to the Greek National Opera, the National Library of Greece, and one of the largest green spaces in Athens, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a multi-purpose complex that offers a range of different activities related to culture, education, athletics, entertainment, and the environment. From fascinating exhibitions and excellent musical concerts to guided tours of the premises and several outdoor activities like cycling and sailing on the canal, the repertoire of the SNFCC is both incredibly varied and constantly evolving.

Address: Syggrou Avenue 364, Athens