A tour of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) opened in 2017 with the aim of redefining public space in Athens and in doing so became, overnight, the Greek capital’s preeminent modern cultural attraction.
Designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, it houses the National Library of Greece and National Opera House in an ultra-modern complex that has won numerous awards for environmental sustainability (including bioclimatic engineering as well as energy and water conservation).
But it is equally well known as a free open space that has become a favourite escape of Athenians and visitors, with a Mediterranean garden and water features, completely revamping the Kallithea and Paleo Faliro districts of wider Athens.
SNFCC events include book readings, movie screenings and outdoor musical and theatrical performances as well as educational and athletic events organised within the grounds. But mostly, people visit for the sense of community and to feel close to nature, where they can just stroll or enjoy a picnic on the grass in one of the most popular parks in Athens.
You can hire a bike and explore the area and exercise in the outdoor gym or running track, and take a tour of the buildings. The views from the top-floor Lighthouse are unforgettable.