Summer in the city has become a thing ever since the crisis started a decade ago. While it seems that things picking up at an incredibly slow pace, lots of people are still trying to keep things as minimal as possible and stay at home over the summer (with the exception of the occasional weekend trip). We decided to create a survival guide for the days you are stuck in the city that (almost) never sleeps.
Athens is a city with a lot of museums that host both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Summer is one of the best times to visit since there are always interesting exhibitions going on. Here are some of the exhibitions we’ll be visiting over the summer.
Picasso and Antiquity at Cycladic Museum
The Cycladic Museum is holding a Picasso exhibition called Picasso and Antiquity that presents to us several works of the artist that haven’t been shown in Athens before. The exhibition is composed of sixty-eight drawings and ceramics by Picasso and sixty-seven works made in antiquity. Picasso’s work is directly inspired by antiquity in the majority of cases. Lines, shapes and colours are similar to the ancient sculptures, making us question which is which a few times.
The countless aspects of Beauty at the National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is currently hosting an exhibition that explores the aesthetics and the meaning of Beauty from the Neolithic Period up to late Antiquity. The exhibition is large and combines digital media, that allow you a more immersive experience. This exhibition is beautifully curated, following a series of great exhibitions coming from Greece’s biggest and oldest archaeological museum.
Jeff Wall at The George Economou Collection
When an art space has a Jeff Wall exhibition, let alone the first one in Greece, you know you have to go. Jeff Wall is one of the most interesting contemporary photographers of our time. He combines photography with cinema, painting and other art forms, creating larger scale pictures with references to well-known works of art. It might be difficult to pinpoint his references without an Art History book in hand, but his work is still very powerful on its own. This exhibition is a must for hardcore art history lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.
The Reading Spots
Summer in the city can be boring as it is, so why would anyone mention reading in a summer guide? Well, hear me out here! There is a point in the summer where binging-watching on Netflix, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and drinking cocktails with the one friend that’s left in the city just won’t do it anymore. Enjoying life and hanging out will simply stop being enjoyable. Reading might be your salvation. This is where the reading spots come into play. You don’t have to read a heavy book or Charles Dickens’ entire works. You can stick to the latest issue of Vogue; but you will still want to go to a beautiful place because you’re (probably) a kid of the ‘00s. Here are some of our top picks.
The National Library at The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre
You simply can’t go wrong with this one. The new building of the National Library is every reader’s dream. With a great selection of books and magazines and comfy couches, you have a top class reading spot. The Cultural Centre has a beautiful park and a big canal which is ideal for a walk after your reading.
Barrett is one of the most popular bars in Athens lately. It would be weird to feature it on this list. The funny thing is that Barrett is really quiet in the mornings when no Athenian™ drinks. You can take your book with you, climb the stairs and claim your spot on the leather couches that are perfect for a light novel.
Trigono is a well-known coffee place in Pagrati. It is so well known that it just expanded to the shop next door. It would be hard to read at night as Athenians™ will be enjoying their ouzo or a more sophisticated glass of wine. So go to Trigono early in the afternoon to enjoy the summer heat à la française and read a book while you’re at it.
The Walk ‘till You Drop Opportunities
Athens is a huge city with a lot of different spaces fit for walking with friends, with your pet or even alone. Instead of having a drink during the evening, you could try going for a walk somewhere nice. Walking is more important than what most of us realize. After spending hours sitting at work or at home studying during the year, summer is the ideal time to get out of the house and enjoy a few hours being present to your surroundings. It might sound too new-agey but it works.
The Garden of the Athens Concert Hall
The Athens Concert Hall hosts events all year round, both in its building and in the garden during spring and summer when the weather conditions allow it. The garden is so beautiful that it would be a shame not to enjoy it even without a concert. Along with the Park of Freedom right next to the Concert Hall, it becomes the best hangout spot if you want to walk, bask in the sun or lay in the shade under a tree.
Summer is meant to be spent by the sea and Flisvos Marina is the ideal place if you prefer to walk rather than swim. The marina is accessible by public transport and car alike. It’s the perfect place to walk with a view of the sea or take a peek at the beautiful yachts and daydream about owning one someday. If you own a skateboard, you can catch a quick skate session at the pier, just make sure you don’t drop your board in the sea.
The Panathenaic Stadium and Mets
The Panathenaic Stadium and the hill of Ardittos situated in Mets, is another area ideal for exploring. You can enter the Stadium by the back entrance in Archimidous str. and admire the view of the Acropolis and Lycabettus hill. It won’t be hard to find the path to Ardittos hill and climb till you reach the top. Ardittos is the perfect hangout spot if you want to get away from the busyness of Athens without leaving the city centre. We’ll leave you at that for now, hoping that you’ll enjoy the Athenian sunset from one or more of these spots.