Peppered with some of the most extraordinary historical sites in the world, Athens' budding modern arts scene is almost enough to rival its archaeological counterparts, making it the perfect spot for both history buffs and art enthusiasts alike who are cruising on a superyacht from Athens to Rhodes.
Where to visit: Yachts up to 70 metres can moor in the Flisvos Marina, which is a mere 20 minute drive from central Athens. Alternatively, yachts up to 130 metres can berth in the nearby Athens Marina.
Situated just seven minutes from the two marinas, the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) is a must-see. Designed by architect Renzo Piano, this monumental and contemporary space is now home to the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera and extraordinary gardens, which feature a playground, outside gym, labyrinth, running track, vegetable plot and a number of walks and gardens. At the top of this architectural masterpiece is a large glass observatory, which hosts the solar panels that power the rest of the building. There are daily tours for visitors in addition to a myriad of music concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings and family events such as kids yoga and canal cruises.
Heading into the centre of Athens, a visit to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon is virtually compulsory. Built using white Pentelic marble, it is the largest Doric temple completed in Greece and took 15 years to finish, just in time for the Great Panathenaic Festival of 438 BC. It served as the Treasury and was built on the site of a number of previous temples, also dedicated to Athena. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Acropolis below is a sprawling relic of the city of Pericles, which was first inhabited during the Neolithic era more than 5,000 years ago.
A myriad of museums and art galleries are scatted across the city. To continue exploring the past, head to the Acropolis Museum and the Benaki Museum, which boasts an incredible collection ranging from the Bronze Age to World War II. Alternatively, head over to the up and coming Metaxourgeio district to explore its contemporary art galleries. The Breeder Gallery, Vamiali's and the Rebecca Camhi Gallery are all worth seeing, as is the Avdi Square, which boasts a number of trendy restaurants.
Where to eat: If you've ventured into Metaxourgeio, opt for one of the tasting menus at Aleria for Mediterranean dishes with a twist, such as feta cheese crème brûlée with watermelon pickle, croaker tartare and pasta with braised oxtail, shiitake and foamy béchamel. When in central Athens, Ama Laxei's traditional Greek dishes are the perfect option after a long day of sightseeing — relax in the stunning starlit courtyard and enjoy a selection of rich local wines.
Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com / milosk50