ATHENS, GREECE - 6 26 2016: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is an international philanthropic organization which makes grants in the areas of arts culture education health medicine and social welfare.; Shutterstock ID 524858500; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digital; full: poi

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Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Top choice in Athens

Sitting beneath a man-made slope above Faliron Bay, and shaded by a 'Magic Carpet' roof covered with solar panels, this stunning Renzo Piano building, completed in 2016, is home to the Greek National Opera and the main branch of the National Library. It's surrounded by a beautiful big park and hosts an impressive range of events and exhibitions, several of which are free.

In addition to regular public transport, you can use a free shuttle bus, departing from Syntagma at Ermou. It runs at least eight times a day on weekdays, and every 30 minutes from 9.30am to 9.30pm on weekends. The last shuttle back is 11.30pm Monday to Thursday and midnight Friday to Sunday.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Athens attractions

1. National Library of Greece

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In 2018, the National Library shifted more than 720,000 items from its collection to this stunning new building that is part of the Stavros Niarchos…

2. Stavros Niarchos Park

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Athens is short on green spaces, so this vast seaside park is a blessing. Covering a man-made slope that incorporates the roof of the Stavros Niarchos…

3. Eugenides Foundation

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This educational centre devoted to science and technology includes Athens' planetarium, a 950-sq-metre hemispherical dome on which 3D virtual trips to the…

4. Flisvos Park

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Take the tram to this highly family-friendly park with loads of playground facilities and a summer puppet theatre, plus an open-air cinema. The coast just…

5. Hellenic Cosmos

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To get a sense of how ancient ruins once looked, take a virtual-reality trip at this multimedia centre. The Tholos virtual-reality theatre takes you on an…

6. Filopappou Hill

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Also called the Hill of the Muses, Filopappou Hill – along with the hills of the Pnyx and the Nymphs – is a somewhat wild, pine-shaded spot that's good…

7. National Museum of Contemporary Art

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Set in the former Fix Brewery, this contemporary museum opened in 2015 but was closed for prolonged renovations at the time of research. In the past, it…

8. Shrine of the Muses

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Just below the crest of Filopappou Hill, the ruined shrine to the goddesses of creative inspiration is carved into the bedrock.