Stavros Niarchos Centre
This cultural centre near the Phaliron coast of Athens was completed in 2017. It houses the new National Library of Greece, the National Opera House as well as a 170,000 sq meter park. Aside from booking to see one of many cultural shows or ballets, outdoor activities include yoga, dance classes and children’s activities such as face painting and in the summer, outdoor cinema showings. Bicycles are available to hire to cycle around the grounds; the gardens are covered in lavender and olive trees or you can hire a boat to row around the canal. An oasis from the city, it’s a place where one can spend all day and also marvel at the architectural magnificence of the building. There’s an ever-green roof top green space and floor to ceiling glass inside the building that allows one to see right across to the Aegean sea.
About an hour away from Central Athens by public transport – you can feel your cares and stresses slip away and you gingerly dip into the brackish waters of this natural spa lake located along the Athens Riviera. The lake was created after the roof of a cave fell in because of erosion caused by high temperatures of the running water. The water is continuously replenished both by the sea and the underground thermal springs, offer a natural and unique thermal spa experience. The imposing rock, thermal waters, labyrinthine underwater tunnels and the lush vegetation create a unique geological phenomenon. It’s full of Garru Rufa fish – the tiny black fish you sometimes see in fish spas that exfoliate your skin. It’s truly a unique Athenian experience to swim here.
Let’s not forget the café culture of the city, where you can sit in just about any neighbourhood with a frappe – a ‘coffee milkshake’ of ice cold coffee and condensed milk whisked to a froth and indicative to Greece – and while away the hours after sightseeing. Be sure to place Athens on your ‘To Visit’ list and spend time exploring the other side of this ancient capital.