What’s a cultural trip to Athens without visiting the best of Athens Greece museums? Not a very complete one, I’d say! If you are also a big fan of the Greek culture then make sure to try out this fun quiz about goddesses
Yes, I love Greece for the islands, the food, the wine, the people. But right up there with all my favorite things about Greece list is the absolutely mind-blowing history.
That’s why Athens is just so amazing! There are so many museums to explore that give you an unmatched look at ancient civilization.
It’s simply fascinating. So if you’re planning a trip to Athens, you’ll want to hit up some of these amazing places.
Pssst, heading to Greece? Don’t miss these travel guides to help you plan your trip!
To help you out, I’ve put together this list of top museums to visit in Athens Greece.
8 Athens Greece Museums
If you’re a fan of Ancient Greek and Roman (even Egyptian!) history, then this is the museum to see. Just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes because this place is huge!
The exhibition grounds cover over 86,000 square feet, making it the largest museum in all of Greece.
There’s lots of culture to soak in at the National Archaeological Museum’s five permanent collections, that range from the Collection of Mycenaean Antiquities to the Sculpture Collection—one of the most significant sculpture collections of Greek antiquity in the world.
Between these permanent exhibitions, the range of temporary exhibitions, and the Unseen Museum—which every two months exhibits rare items from its vaults that have never been displayed to the general public—you’ll have plenty to see.
Address: 28 Oktovriou 44, Athens
Price: 12€ (From April 1st until October 31st) and 6€ (From November 1st until March 31st)
At the foot of the famed Acropolis, you’ll find a stunningly modern, stylish building, the new Acropolis Museum, located in the historic Makryianni district only 300 yards away from the Parthenon.
Not only is the museum packed with beautifully-arranged Greek art, relics excavated from the Acropolis archaeological site, and the Parthenon—like a room full of Parthenon marble—but there are cool extras for adults and families to check out.
There are gallery talks, exhibition programs, tours, and fun activities for the kiddos.
I love the art and history part, don’t get me wrong, but they have a lovely cafe and restaurant.
Just imagine enjoying a meal or having a drink on the terrace overlooking the Acropolis. Like, the Acropolis. Talk about amazing.
Whatever you do, make sure you make the Acropolis Museum Athens part of your Greek culture tour in Athens. It’s totally worthwhile!
The caryatids (pictured above) actually moved me to tears. They have the originals from the Acropolis in the museum, and they’re absolutely spectacular. I couldn’t stop thinking about everything these maidens had seen over the centuries!
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens
Price: General admission 10€ (November 1st until March 31st) and 5€ (April 1st until October 31st)
It’s understandable why visitors are surprised by how much this gem of a museum in the heart of Athens offers.
With a permanent collection that includes statues, jewelry, vases, and metal relics on four floors, the Museum of Cycladic Art doesn’t get as much clout as some of Athens’ other major museums.
What’s cool about this one is that it provides a well-presented overview of art and artifacts from the Cycladic islands while also giving an interesting explanation of the artistic techniques and evolution behind it.
The museum’s permanent collection focuses mostly on Cycladic art of the third millennium BC while their temporary exhibitions focus on more contemporary art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Exhibits of Picasso, Dali, Jannis Kounellis, and Ai Weiwei are just some examples of artists the museum has featured.
The museum hosts a variety of other fun activities too, like lectures, workshops, and even some adult courses. And the Cycladic Cafe is pretty special too—it’s like this magic little garden space in the middle of the city.
You know how I feel about a good museum cafe! Thumbs up all around.
Address: Neofitou Douka 4, Athens
Price: General admission 8€, free for kids under 18
Any museum that features designated selfie spots is a good time in my book! But besides that, the Benaki Museum is a real treat with some unique art collections. Benaki is actually more of a “museum organization” than a single museum, as there are several operational museums in the Athens area.
The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture is the oldest organization and is dedicated to Greek history and art from ancient times to the 20th century featuring over 6,000 pieces displayed across four floors.
It was founded by fervent art collector, Anthony Benakis, who donated his collections and family mansion to the Greek State in 1931.
Other Benaki Museums include the Museum of Islamic Art, the Ghika Gallery, the Yannis Pappas Studio, and even a Toy Museum. Told you this place is cool!
Address: The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture is located at 1 Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave in Athens (other locations vary)
Price: For the Museum of Greek Culture Full Admission is €12 and for temporary exhibitions is €8 (prices for the other museums vary by location)
The Byzantine and Christian Museum is an interesting one for art history buffs that are interested in religious relics from various periods, from early Christian to Medieval and beyond. It’s renowned for its many beautiful treasures from the post-Byzantine and Byzantine Empire.
One of the main attractions of the museum is the design and history of the building, the Villa Ilissia. It’s actually a complex of buildings that a French Duchess had constructed as her home from 1848 until her death in 1854 when it became the property of the Greek state.
It was several things before it became the site of the Byzantine and Christian Museum in 1926.
The renovated museum that stands today is actually underground with its permanent exhibitions displayed on multiple levels that sit below the Duchess’ original complex. On the ground floor, you’ll find the visitor reception area, an exhibition on the history of the museum, and temporary exhibitions.
The entire museum’s permanent collection includes over 30,000 artifacts that date as far back as the 3rd century AD to the 21st century. You’ll see a variety of priceless items like paintings, icons, ceramics, manuscripts, mosaics, textiles, and more.
Just as worthwhile as the villa museum itself are the lovely gardens.
Relax by a fountain in one of the seating areas set up under the fruit trees and tour the themed exhibitions that are charmingly presented in the garden.
Oh, and don’t forget the cafe! There’s a lovely spot to grab a coffee or light meal right there in the Ilissia garden cafe.
Address: 22 Vas. Sofias Ave., Athens Athens
Price: General admission 4€
For history enthusiasts—especially from a political and military perspective—the National Historical Museum is a must-visit. It’s a fresh reminder of how Greece evolved as a nation beyond its role in ancient times.
The museum is housed in the Old Parliament building, a beautiful superstructure that’s steeped in the history of its own.
Many parts of their collection are similar to that of a war museum and include fascinating memorabilia and artifacts that document the country’s history starting from Byzantine to the Ottoman occupation through WWII.
Beyond the collections, the National History Museum also features an old photography archive, an archive of important historical documents, a library, and a conservation laboratory.
You can even have a look at the first, original constitution of liberated Greece, which is pretty cool.
The museum is located just a short stroll away from popular attractions, Syntagma Square and the National Garden, so it’s worth taking some time to browse inside and get a dose of Greece’s political history.
Address: Old Parliament, 13 Stadiou St., Athens
Price: General admission 3€
7. The Numismatic Museum
The Numismatic Museum is one of the oldest and most significant museums in Athens—and it’s a fascinating place!
They have 500,000 (yes, half a million!) items on display, including precious stones, medals, Byzantine lead seals, and an impressive coin collection with precious coins that date from Ancient Greece all the way up to the twentieth century.
The building it’s housed in is gorgeous too—a stunning neo-classical mansion from 1880 that was once the private home of German archeologist, Heinrich Schliemann.
After exploring the first and second floors, you’ll learn so many cool facts about how coins were minted in Ancient Greece and throughout history in other parts of the world.
Address: next to Syntagma Square on Panepistimiou Street
Price: General admission 3€
Another interesting museum option that puts a twist on the view of Ancient Greece—meaning you won’t see any artist sculptures or paintings—is the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology.
What’s neat about this one is that it celebrates the lesser-known contributions of ancient Greeks, which are those in the field of technology.
The exhibition highlights around 300 operating models of their ancient inventions, from automatic theaters to several inventions by Archimedes.
Here’s a good one: the automatic servant of Philon! She’s the first human-like robot and was built holding a jug of wine in her right hand.
When a guest placed a cup in her left hand, she would automatically pour wine into the cup followed by water and then mix it. Can’t say I would mind having one of her at home!
You’ll get a lot of information at this museum and learn things I guarantee you’ve never heard of before!
Address: Old Parliament, 13 Stadiou St., Athens
Price: General admission (ages 17 and over) 5€, kids (ages 6-17) 3.5€, free for kids up to 5 years old
So, that’s my list of top Athens Greece museums to visit on your trip!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the museum options this cultural mecca has to offer, but you’ll get a good mix of culture, history, art, fun facts, and entertainment by using this as a guide.
Happy museum hopping!
Heading to Greece? Check out my other Greece travel guides here.
You should visit:
– National Archaeological Museum
– Museum of Illusions
– Benaki Museum
There are over 70 museums in Athens open to the public to explore and learn about their history.
Yes, museums in Athens are open now! Be sure to check any guidelines and hours of operation before visiting.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.