With so many museums in Athens telling the ancient history of this great nation, it could be hard to identify where to go and what to expect. Therefore, I teamed up with other travel bloggers to bring you some of the best museums Athens has to offer.
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As the name already suggests, the Acropolis Museum is all about the ancient citadel, making it one of the most important museums in Athens for you to visit. As the Acropolis is the top attraction in Athens, visiting the Acropolis Museum will broaden your knowledge with interesting facts about Greek history through the objects found in the Acropolis area throughout the years.
Boasting over 4,000 items, magnificent artifacts, sculptures, and some parts of the Parthenon, spending at least an hour or two will be the highlight of your day.
Several companies offer guided tours through the museum. This is perfect if you want to get more information during your visit. Being very close to the Acropolis, you can easily combine these two activities.
Besides, you have a gorgeous view of the Acropolis from the museum, making it one of the best photo spots in Athens.
- Opening hours: Winter season (Nov 1- Mar 31): Mon-Thur: 9 am – 5 pm; Fri 9 am – 10 pm; weekend: 9 am – 8 pm; Summer season (Apr 1 – Oct 31): Mon: 8 am – 4 pm; Tue-Sun: 8 am – 8 pm; Fri: 8 am – 10 pm. Click here for more info
- Entrance fee: Winter season – €5; Summer Season – €10
- FREE on March 6 & 25, May 18, October 28
- Additional links: Combined ticket for visiting the museum and the Acropolis; Entrance ticket with phone audio guide tour through the museum
By Dym Abroad
The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture is one of the most exciting museums in Athens. The museum covers almost all Greek history and culture, from the most ancient times to modernity.
It has several floors, and most of the exhibits are in chronological order. So it’s best to start at the ground floor with the ancient world and continue until contemporary times.
The museum’s building itself has a fascinating history because it is the Benakis family mansion. Antonis Benakis donated his family’s house and art collection to the city in the 1930s to be a museum. Many thousands of Greek artifacts have been donated to the museum since then. Some of the most unusual objects in the museum include the ancient Greek pottery collection, the depictions of St. George from the Byzantine period, and the reconstructions of elegant rooms from wealthy Greek homes during the 18th century.
The Benaki encourages photography and has even placed “selfie spots” throughout the museum. Moreover, the ticket price includes a free audio tour. Don’t miss the gift shop, which is a great place to shop for authentically Greek souvenirs. The restaurant in the Benaki Museum is also a fine choice and has a terrace with amazing views of Athens.
- Entrance fee: €12 for regular admission; €8 for any temporary exhibition
- FREE on Thursday evenings after 6 pm
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens hosts one of the most famous and most valuable collections of ancient artifacts dating from prehistory to late antiquity, giving visitors a wealth of historical and cultural context about the country. The museum is home to Neolithic, Cycladic, and Mycenaean finds, including funeral masks, gold cups, marble statues, bronze pitchers, and ancient frescoes.
Visitors could easily spend hours wandering the many halls of the National Archaeological Museum, stepping back further and further in time with the discovery of each collection.
The National Archaeological Museum is a must-see in every Athens itinerary with people of all ages sure to find something fascinating within the museum to intrigue them.
Located in the Exarcheia region of Athens, you can reach the museum by taking a metro to Victoria station or one of the many bus routes from Central Athens. Alternatively, walk around 25 minutes from Monastiraki/Syntagma Square.
- Opening hours: Winter season (Nov 1- Mar 31): Wed-Mon: 8 am – 5 pm; Tue: 1 pm – 8 pm; Summer season (Apr 1 – Oct 31): Wed-Mon: 8 am – 8 pm; Tue 1 pm – 8 pm . Click here for more info
- Entrance fee: Winter season – €6; Summer Season – €12
- FREE on March 6, April 18, May 18, the first Sunday of every winter month
By Athens and Beyond
Kerameikos Archaeological Museum
Kerameikos (or ‘Ceramicus’ in Latin) Archaeological site is one of the most significant Ancient Athens Ruins; a suburb that lies both inside and outside the old city walls. Inside the city walls, there’s the potters’ district, and Kerameikos is where the word ‘ceramics’ comes from.
The Sacred Way runs through the city gate (the Dipylon Gate) that separates the two halves of Kerameikos. Outside the city walls lies the Kerameikos Cemetery. A cemetery has existed on this site for over 5,000 years, and the Kerameikos Archaeological Museum contains Greece’s best collection of burial artifacts.
The museum is inside the archaeological site and was initially used to house artifacts unearthed during the excavations. It is a small museum with only four rooms and a garden of laurel and olive trees.
The museum contains large sculptures and three rooms house the funerary relics found at Kerameikos. These include stellae, grave offerings to victims of the Athens Plague, and ceramics, mostly different vases, and olive oil holders from different centuries found buried in the tombs.
- Opening hours: Winter season (Nov 1- May 31): Tue-Sun 8 am – 3 pm; Summer season (Jun 1 – Oct 31): Tue-Sun 9 am – 4 pm.
- Entrance fee: €10 for adults
- FREE on March 6, May 18, the last weekend of September, October 28, and every first Sunday from Nov 1 to Mar 31.
By Trip Anthropologist
Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments
The Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments or Greek Popular Musical Instruments located in Plaka’s beautiful neighborhood would be an easy stop to include on your sightseeing tour of visiting the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s Library.
It displays about 600 Greek musical devices and has even more that are not on display. From flutes, harps, lutes, and bells, to lyres, drums, bagpipes, tambourines, and perhaps the most well-known Greek instrument, the bouzouki, the collection includes instruments from the 18th to 21st centuries.
The museum also functions as a research center for ethnomusicology. Its enormous collection is the work of Fivos Anoyianakis, a Greek musicologist. The collection is displayed in a beautiful mansion covering three floors and is grouped according to family. Labels in Greek and English provide the name, material, and origin of the instrument. But what really helps you understand the instruments are the headphones that allow you to listen to the sounds they make.
The best part about the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments is that it’s completely free of charge, which means you can spend more money in the several vegan restaurants in Athens or one of the lovely cafés in the quaint neighborhood of Anafiotika.
- Opening hours: every day 9 am – 4 pm; Closed on Tuesdays
- Entrance fee: FREE
By Lemons and Luggage
Museum of Cycladic Art
The Museum of Cycladic Art is home to an impressive collection of artifacts related to the Cyclades Islands culture. Generally, the islands drive thousands of tourists, but if you want to see a less touristy side of Greece, consider visiting Corfu, one of the islands in the Aegean Sea.
While it is not one of the most famous museums in Athens, it provides a glimpse into the history and culture of a historically significant region of Greece.
Opened in 1986, the museum boasts more than 3,000 pieces of art from Ancient Greece, the Cycladic Islands, and even Cyprus that show various cultures presented in the East Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea thousands of years ago.
The extensive collection of artifacts is divided into four floors. The first floor shows the Cycladic culture with various sculptures and figurines made of bronze, clay, and marble. The second and fourth floors are home to a collection of Ancient Greek Art with close to 400 artifacts, some of which date as far back as 2,000 BC. Among the artifacts represented here are ancient jewelry, home goods, and hunting weapons, to name a few.
The third floor offers a look into the culture and development of Cyprus through art. Here, visitors will find more than 500 artifacts made from various materials.
- Opening hours: Mon-Wed-Thur-Fri-Sat: 10 am – 5 pm; Sun: 11 am – 5 pm; Closed on Tuesdays. Click here for more info
- Entrance fee: €7
- Reduced price: on Mondays €3.5
By The Discovery Nut
Numismatic Museum of Athens
There are two reasons why this is one of the must-see museums in Athens. The first is the rich coins collection that is very impressive if you’re interested in history. It is one of the most significant numismatic museums in the world, hosting more than 600,000 items. The exhibits cover a period from the 14th century BC to modern times.
However, the second reason to visit the Numismatic Museum in Athens is the house itself. The German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, the man who discovered ancient Troy, built Iliou Melathron (The Palace of Troy) as a residence for his family. The mansion was one of the most impressive private houses in Athens in 1880.
On the outside, it is a beautiful neoclassical mansion, but the interior was influenced by the discoveries at Pompeii. The rooms have the vibrant colors found in Pompeii and murals and mosaics inspired by the Ancient Roman settlement.
You can get to the Numismatic Museum in Athens on a short walk from Syntagma Square to Panepistimiou Street. There is also a café in the courtyard where you can rest in the shade on a hot day.
- Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 9 am – 4 pm; Closed on Tuesdays. Click here for more info
- Entrance fee: €6
By Travel for a while
Christian and Byzantine Museum
While many are familiar with ancient Athens and the splendor of that tremendous archaic period, very few people know much about Athens’ and Greece’s more recent history.
With over 25 000 exhibits, this incredible museum spans Christianity in Greece, exploring millennia of artistic movements and religious fervor. It includes the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, and post-Byzantine periods.
The Byzantine Empire – also known as the Eastern Roman Empire – was founded in 330 AD and lasted over 1000 years. For much of its early and later feudal history, this empire was the most vital and powerful military, economic, and cultural force in Europe. To explore such a vast museum dedicated to this force is incredible.
You’ll find historic, ornate crowns and bibles, jewels, mosaics, and frescoes. Expect to see many religious artifacts and icons from across the Empire.
Whole rooms present depictions of saints and religious figures through different artistic styles. There’s even a room of frescoes directly lifted from a 17th-century church in Evrytania.
It’s certainly the kind of museum you could spend the whole day exploring.
- Opening hours: Wed-Sun: 8 am – 8 pm; Tue: 1 pm – 8 pm
- Entrance fee: €8 for adults.
By Travel n History
EMST is the National Museum of Contemporary Arts in Athens, showcasing art collections from the postwar period until the present and features 172 artworks created by 78 Greek and International artists.
Awarded contemporary artists like Costas Varotsos, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Stephen Antonakos, Jannis Kounellis, and Kim Sooja are displayed in the permanent exhibition of EMST, among others. All these artists focus on the same following topics: Memories, Political narratives, Limits and passages, and Eterotopias, Mythology of the familiar and New Perspectives.
There are three large floors dedicated to the permanent exhibition and the other two hosting temporary ones. The art pieces are in either periodic presentations with selections of thematic and conceptual nuclei or artistic tendencies.
The building which permanently hosts the EMST collection since 2014 is the artwork itself. Occupying 18.142 sq. meters and located in Syngrou Avenue, the building is a former FIX Brewery built in 1961 and then abandoned in 1982. The high ceilings, the glass windows scattered around the walls, and the spacious rooms all benefit the exhibition allowing each one to have their own place and “privacy.”
The rooftop balcony offers fantastic views of Athens city, Acropolis, and Lycabettus Hill. The closest metro and bus station, Syggrou-Fix stop, is opposite the venue.
- Opening hours: Tue-Wed-Fri-Sat-Sun: 11 am – 7 pm; Thur: 11 am – 10 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Click here for more info
- Entrance fee: €8 for adults
By Travel Greece Travel Europe
Museum of Ancient Greek Technology
Among the museums in Athens, you can visit the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology. It is truly remarkable for families with kids traveling to the Greek capital as children can see and play with all sorts of Greek inventions.
Parents will have fun learning fascinating and interesting facts about Greece and its inventions. For example, the ancient Greeks invented “cinema” with moving pictures and sound; or how they managed to build their impressive ancient monuments almost with no workforce required but using sophisticated cranes.
Items like an ancient barber’s mirror that plays tunes when adjusted for height and burglar alarm operated by pulleys and weights will keep everyone mesmerized, along with a robot automaton to serve wine.
On the basement floor, you can find an impressive collection of musical instruments and a magnificent model of the Syracuse warship designed by Archimedes around the 3rd century BC. It was one of the largest ships ever built decorated with marble statues; it had a gymnasium, temple, and library.
The Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology is within walking distance of the Changing of the Guard in an area full of coffee houses and small restaurants.
- Opening hours: every day 9 am – 5 pm
- Entrance fee: €5 for adults; €3.50 for youngsters aged 6-17 years. Opening hours are 9 am – 5 pm.
By The Travelling Twins
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Greece travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
- Book affordable flights on Skyscanner, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
- Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Greece, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
- Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda
- Pre-book a private transfer from Athens Airport to your hotel
- Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road
- Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here