Athens

From the Parthenon to the Acropolis, the ancient Greek city of Athens is perhaps best-known for its history. However, did you know that it also has a thriving arts and culture scene? Athens is packed full of world-class galleries as well as outdoor sculptures and art boutiques. 

A number of our luxurious ships sail to Athens between May and October in 2020, including our brand new Edge Class ships, Celebrity Apex℠ and Celebrity Edge®. Or, you might choose revolutionised Celebrity Constellation®, which from May 2020 will feature spacious, redesigned staterooms, decadent restaurants plus The Retreat for all Suite class guests. An exclusive area comprised of a private sundeck, lounge and restaurant. 

Here are our top recommendations to help you explore Athens’ artistic side for yourself on your next Greek cruise.

1. Frissaris Museum 

Spend a quiet morning at one of the most undiscovered and immersive spots in the city – the Frissaris Museum. Stroll through airy rooms of local sculptural work as well as international figurative paintings housed within two striking neoclassical mansions. You’ll find the Frissaris Museum in the atmospheric, cobbled area of Plaka, close to the Acropolis, making it the perfect place to escape the crowds.  

2. B&M Theocharakis Foundation for Fine Arts and Music

Situated in one of the oldest standing buildings in central Athens, the B&M Theocharakis Foundation for Arts and Music comprises an exhibition space, café, art shop and concert hall. On the fifth floor, you’ll find a permanent exhibition of work by Greek artist Spyros Papaloukas, whose abstract work draws inspiration from Van Gogh and Matisse as well as distinctive Byzantine elements. 

3. Metamatic:taf

Near the Monastiraki area of the city, an abandoned building has been transformed into a fascinating multi-purpose arts space. Inside metamatic:taf (formally known as The Art Foundation), you’ll find an art gallery hosting exciting contemporary exhibitions and an idyllic café/bar in an outdoor courtyard. After experiencing an art installation, sip a strong coffee in the warm sunshine. 

4. Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas Gallery

This gallery was once the home of 20th century painter and sculptor, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, and is attached to the celebrated Benaki Museum. It now contains some of the most famous examples of his work, as well as temporary exhibitions from Greek and international artists. The building itself is also worthy of a closer look: it once hosted meetings of the Athenian Intelligentsia and is a classic example of interwar architecture in the city.

5. Pirée

Art café Pirée combines art with mouth-watering food and drink, seeking to expand the boundaries of art and design. The large ground floor all day café/bar serves coffee, wine and plenty of beautifully presented finger food to tuck into as you enjoy a live music performance or art installation. Upstairs at Pirée, you’ll find a space for pop-up exhibitions. This characterful industrial building is located in the harbourside Piraeus area of the city.

6. George Zongolopoulos Foundation

You’ll find works by the Greek Sculptor George Zongolopoulos around Europe, for the example, the umbrellas on the waterfront at Thessaloniki and in the Council of the European Union in Brussels.

However, the largest and most impressive collection of the sculptor’s work can be found at the George Zongolopoulos Foundation in Athens. It is located in the home the artist shared with his wife and features a number of exhibitions as well as tools and materials used by Zongolopoulos. Learn more by visiting the sculptor’s workshop.

7. Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre

This prestigious exhibition space opened in 1988 and specialises in contemporary art. Artists on display include Dimitris Andreadis and Manolis Baboussis. At the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, you’ll also find 48 Urban Garden – a wild and botanical setting for a café, complete with a DJ and serving ultra-hip street food from a trailer. Enjoy the electric atmosphere beneath the glowing bulb lights as the sun goes down, and enjoy live music while wandering from one exhibition space to the next. 

8. Acropolis Museum and Zafiro Experience

Explore more of Plaka and discover the new Acropolis Museum on our exclusive Celebrity Discovery shore excursion. You’ll enjoy an immersive guided tour of the Acropolis Museum, which features over 4,000 ancient artefacts, from marble sculptures to tableware. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to lose yourself down the winding streets of the Plaka neighbourhood, with its colourful street art and market filled with bargains. Finally, enjoy an authentic, family-style meal at the Zafiro restaurant – the perfect way to conclude your artistic journey in Athens.

Ignite your imagination by exploring the artistic heritage of Athens. Browse our Greek and Mediterranean cruises now to find your perfect itinerary.