Athens is a city where the combination of the rich history, the warm southern mentality and the struggle during the crisis, have shaped a place full of diversity, creativity, and character.
Visiting the Greek capital as a tourist might not always give you the chance to discover the “real Athens”, as many things are hidden in the complexity of the city. However, when you get the opportunity to stay a bit longer and explore this cosmopolitan city, you’ll be amazed.
Known for its Ancient Culture, we sometimes forget about the very lively contemporary culture that exists and constantly expands all over Athens. Today, this modern side is part of the everyday life of the Athenians. Learning about “Athens Today” will enrich your experience while visiting the Greek capital and help you understand Greece better.
To catch a glimpse of the vibrant atmosphere in Athens, have a look at this video:
We hereby give you an introduction to modern life in Athens. Of course, this is only a tip of the iceberg, so let this be a motivation for you to discover even more.
Modern Art & Architecture
Just like most big cities, Athens has several cultural organizations that offer a wide variety of contemporary cultural events.
The Benaki Museum(s)
is well known for its main building, located very close to the Syntagma Square in centre Athens, which provides a historical overview of the Greek world. But what fewer people know is the Pireos Street Annexe of Benaki, where modern exhibitions and interesting architecture are combined. This museum is not restricted to one kind of art: photography, fashion, paintings, video art, and many other contemporary art forms are represented. Even their museum shop is a real treat!
Another example of impressive modern architecture going hand in hand with contemporary art is The Onassis Cultural Centre. Here Greek and foreign artists are bringing performances and exhibitions of all shapes and kinds. Several performances and lectures are also being held in English. Click here for more info.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre
Athens keeps amazing every visitor! Apart from beautiful new museums, concert buildings, artistic metro stations and roof gardens, now Athens also has a new spectacular cultural landmark: the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC). Needless to say, a must-see, during your next Athens visit. Click here for more info.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)
In 2016 the EMST Museum opened its doors in the redesigned Fix building.The museum has eight levels. Three of these are being used to house the permanent collections, while the others will be reserved for the periodical exhibitions. The eighth level has amazing capabilities for outdoor multipurpose use during the summertime. Click here for more info.
When walking in Athens, the big amount of graffiti and street art will quickly draw your attention. The center of Athens, more specifically the area of Psirri and Exarchia, are the perfect places to have a walk and enjoy the Street Art. As is often the case in all kinds of art, the Street Art expresses what is going on in society and in the lives of the artists. Therefore this walk might give you some more understanding of what Athens is going through at the moment. More info
Modern design in Athens is represented in many shapes and places. From small galleries to big museums, from tiny shops to big design markets. Here an example:
The Meet Market
is an organization that, once per month, puts together a market where designers can exhibit and sell their work. This way they help to develop the creativity and modern culture in Athens, along with the local economy. At the Meet Market, you can find all kinds of products, from clothes to furniture. More info
Tip: if you plan to go shopping or dining in Athens, do not forget to obtain the
FREE Athens Spotlighted Card, and get reductions in several shops and restaurants. When arriving in Athens Airport, you can obtain it at the info desk reductions in several shops and taverns. More info
Entertainment and Nightlife
Last but not least, Athens offers incredible possibilities for entertainment and nightlife. Whether it is for a coffee, a cocktail or dancing until the morning, Athens has it all. As usually is the case, the best places are the ones that are hard to find. Here some suggestions you might give a try!
TAF (The Art Foundation)
Somewhere in the chaos of streets around Monasteraki, behind a small wooden door, a beautiful courtyard is hidden. As the name says, TAF found a very nice harmony between bar and art. While the courtyard is an inviting place to relax and have a drink, the first floor has been turned into a space for exhibitions. More info
Another well-hidden pearl is Six Dogs, located only a few minutes’ walk from Monasteraki, but almost impossible to find without specific instructions. Looking like a dodgy place from the outside, the surprise is even more when you enter the beautiful garden. Especially during summer time, this is a great place to relax and escape from the busy city. Concerts are regularly organized here. More info
Bios is a successful mix of a platform for cultural events and a pleasant place for a drink, offering an even bigger variety than the first 2 bars. Opera and DJ sets, festivals and theatre. Tip: have a drink on the roof terrace during a warm summer evening and enjoy the beauty of Athens. More info
Gazitechnopolis – Gazi
Blending nightlife with an almost endless range of events, the neighborhood of Gazi has become one of the most popular places for locals of all ages in Athens.
The square at the metro station Keramikos is surrounded by bars and restaurants, creating a very lively atmosphere during the night. Right next to this square you can find Technopolis, which used to be The Athens Gasworks factory. Today, Technopolis is a Cultural Centre, welcoming (both out and indoors) exhibitions, performances, festivals and many other. A place to discover! More info
During the summer
You might think it is better to avoid Athens in summer because of the high temperatures? Actually, summer is great in Athens with all its festivals and fewer tourists! Check it out!
If you like Greek dancing and Traditional Greek Music, then we definitely recommend you to go to the Dora Stratou Performances, in their outdoor theatre, opposite the Acropolis. (from the end of May till mid-September)
As you can see, Athens is definitely more than just visiting the Plaka neighborhood and the Acropolis.
Students who attend an intensive Omilo course in Athens, are always very enthusiastic and impressed by this lively city, full of surprises.
If you know an interesting suggestion to add to the list above, do not hesitate to tell us! If you would like to explore Athens together with Omilo, while learning Greek, then you are very welcome to join us.