5 must-visit museums in Athens Greece

Athens is known for its archaeological sites and museums. From the Acropolis to the new museums of Contemporary Art there is something for everyone. Question is, where to start? A visitor will definitely want to see ancient art. Greece is famous for that. But what about the history of Greece in the middle ages? Or after the liberation from the Ottomans. Greek history is rich and so are the findings that you will find in the museums.

In this post, I’ve gathered the top 5 museums in Athens. These museums exhibit artifacts from 3200 BC until the 20th century! I’ve summed up what you are going to see in each of these museums. That way you can pick and choose which ones to visit. So without further ado…

Acropolis Museum

Caryatids Acropolis Museum Athens

The Acropolis museum was designed by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Fotiadis and opened to the public on 20th June 2009. It showcases exhibits excavated in the Acropolis in an area of 14.000 square meters. The museum’s highlight is Parthenon’s original frieze (and some recreated parts). Here you are also going to see the original Caryatids from Erechtheion.

Parthenon frieze Acropolis Museum Athens

Tip: If you have time to visit only one of the museums in Athens, I highly suggest it’s this one!

Location: 15, Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens

Opening Hours: Every day (timings vary)

Visit for free on March 6th, March 25th, May 18th and October 28th.

Check the museum’s website for more information.

National Archaeological Museum

gold mask from Mycenae, Archaeological Museum in Athens mural in Archaeological Museum in Athens

The museum has two levels: the ground floor and a smaller first floor. The ground floor exhibits artifacts from Neolithic settlements, Cycladic islands, and Mycenae. It also houses sculptures mostly from the region of Attica.  On the first floor, there is a vast collection of vases, frescoes, and findings from the archaeological site of Akrotiri in Santorini.

gold crown from Mycenae, Archaeological Museum in Athens

The museum’s highlights are the Antikythera mechanism and the golden artifacts from Mycenae. The former is the world’s first analog computer. The latter are linked to Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, who took part in the Troyan war.

 

Tip: If you are interested in visiting more museums in Athens, buy the combined ticket. It is valid for the Byzantine & Christian Museum, Numismatic Museum and Epigraphic Museum as well. It lasts for 3 days, so no hurry there.

Location: 44, Patision (28th of October) street

Opening Hours: Mondays 1 pm to 8 pm and the rest of the week from 8 am to 8 pm.

Visit for free on March 6th, April 18th, May 18th, the last weekend of September, 28th October

Check the museum’s website for more information.

Benaki Museum

Benaki Museum’s houses exhibits from Greece from the antiquity all the way to the 20th century. The highlight of the collection is the neo-Hellenic secular art. It covers the chronological period from the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 to the end of the 19th century.

wood-panelled room from Kozani, Benaki museum in Athens 19th century loom from Crete, Benaki museum in Athens

The collection is of outstanding quality, number, and variety. You also have the opportunity to see unique reconstructions of wood-panelled rooms from houses in Kozani, Siatista, and Hydra, as well as a 19th -century loom from Crete. You will also see a collection of Greek costumes from different regions of Greece.

Location & Opening Hours: 1 Koumbari street (corner with Vasilissis Sofias avenue) Open on Wednesday  and Friday: 9:00 – 17:00, Thursday and Saturday: 9:00 – 00:00, Sunday: 9:00 – 15:00

Visit for free on Every Thursday

Check the museum’s website for more information.

Byzantine and Christian Museum

icon from the Byzantine and Christian museum in Athens book from the Byzantine and Christian museum in Athens

Byzantine and Christian Museum houses over 30,000 artifacts. They date from the 3rd century AD to the 21st century AD. They include icons, wall paintings, manuscripts, ceramics, textiles, paintings, mosaics, and copies. Those artifacts stem mostly from the Byzantine period (hence the name). There are of course exhibits that date after the fall of the Byzantine empire (1453).

Villa Ilissia, the two-story building on the courtyard, housed the museum originally. It belonged to the Duchess of Plaisance (Piacenza). Now the museum is underground and I must admit that it’s very well laid out.

Location & Opening Hours: Vasilissis Sofias 22, Athens. Open daily from 8 am to 8 pm

Visit for free on March 6th, April 18th, May 18th, the last weekend of September and 28th October

Check the museum’s website for more information.

Museum of Cycladic Art

The Museum of Cycladic Art houses over 400 creations of the Early Cycladic culture. The civilization flourished in the Cycladic islands between 3200 and 2000 BC. These artifacts are made from clay, stone, marble, metal, obsidian and other materials. Artifacts of Ancient Greek Art are on display on the museum’s second floor. Those artifacts also stem from the Aegean islands as well.

Cycladic museum Athens

Museum of Cycladic art, Athens

The Cycladic and Ancient Greek artifacts belong to the collection of Nicholaos and Dolly Goulandris. The latter founded the museum in 1986.  The museum added a large part of Thanos N. Zintilis collection of Cypriot Antiquities to its permanent collection in 2002

Location: 4, Neophytou Douka street, Kolonaki.

Opening Hours: Open on all days (timings vary) except Tuesdays.

Check the museum’s website for more information.

So here you have it! 5 must visit museums in Athens! I will share lesser known museums in Athens in a future post!

Wanderful Wednesday