Athens is the new Athens

Nothing beats a holiday in Greece. The abundance of things to do and see, the nightlife, the food and the intangible qualities of Greek life are an immediate draw for anyone looking to spend time blissfully basking under the sun. Naturally the Greek islands garner most of the attention, and rightfully so. However, a quiet revolution has been taking place in the capital; Athens. One that doesn’t involve tear gas and molotow cocktails in protracted street fights, but rather one that has seen the city center explode into an unprecedented kaleidoscope of colors, sounds and smells.

The twin crises have spawned a movement that speaks volumes about the resilience and character of Athenians; a plethora of cafes, gastro bars, funky restaurants, coffee and wine bars and the emergence of new chefs and independent locales have turned Athens into a veritable food and drink haven. Food and agrotourism tours have propelled this movement, with knowledgeable owners and discerning patrons all adding to the mix.

The results are nothing less than pure awesome. And you can find out yourself by hitting up the 2nd Athens Street Food festival in town till the end of May. In there you’ll be able to nibble on tasty treats from several countries, as well as deserts and sweets. The Athens Burger Fest, hosted in the boho-chic Technopolis in Gazi is another one to keep an eye on. For burger aficionados, anyway.

What’s more, the arts scene is taking off faster than a Japanese monorail. And it’s not just taking off, it is literally exploding on to the world stage. The city’s walls have turned Athens into the de-facto street art capital of Europe. The sheer scale and abundance of art on the streets is staggering. All about the center of Athens and its dozen or so districts there are huge murals, clandestine street art and graffiti, all in numbers, and in full color. There is a feeling of change and significant attitude modifications that are turning Athens into a super livable city that is high on social projects and the human aspect of life, but also understands the realities of economics and the relation between price and value. A new way of thinking is energizing the city. So much so, that young artists and curators, gallerists and hipsters have flocked to the capital from all corners of the world to take advantage of its cheap rents, big industrial spaces and sunny climate.

Right now, Athens is buzzing. The much vaunted Documenta 14 landed in Athens with a bang. Across 50 approximately sites all around the city there are artistic events, conceptual art shows, installations and exhibitions by Greek and foreign artists. The venerated old institution has attracted art lovers and artists, lovers of the arts and avid collectors to the town to experience this one in 5 years event.

In addition to such auspicious beginnings, there are a multitude of other events and festivals, such as the Athens & Epidaurus Festival that runs until the end of summer, the Digital Arts festival, and Public Art festival to name but a few. If you’re looking for art, you’re in the right city. Head down to the EMST (Museum of Modern Art) or the Onassis Cultural Center (and its Michelin starred rooftop restaurant), or even the newly Renzo Piano designed Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the Kallithea district overlooking the sea. It is a monument to modern/green sustainability and also really, really pretty. Inside, the Athens Opera and the new Athens Library are to be housed, meaning that the temple to high art is now officially open to all you culture vultures.

This summer Athens is shedding its skin and turning into a butterfly, and you’re invited to witness the metamorphosis!

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