Best museums in Athens that are worth your time

Athens is a cultural wonderland, and its amazing museums work to enhance the story of its ancient art and archaeology. Here are 10 of the best.

As a city steeped in captivating history, mythology, and culture, it’s not surprise Athens boasts an impressive range of museums to suit all tastes. You can stroll through the world-famous Acropolis Museum to learn more about the city’s most iconic landmark. You can also explore Greece's rich cultural heritage at the National Archaeological Museum and delve into the city's Byzantine past at hidden gems like the Byzantine and Christian Museum.

Admire modern masterpieces at amazing art museums like the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art. From ancient to avant-garde, traditional to eccentric, the museums in Athens offer rich journeys through time, art, and different civilizations. So whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a curious traveler, this list of the best museums in Athens has something for you.

Best history museums in Athens

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1. The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum, a contemporary gem located near the foothills of the Acropolis, houses valuable artifacts and sculptures found during excavations of the Acropolis. This museum offers an insight into the ancient history of Athens through various exhibits.

Highlights:

Don't miss the Parthenon Gallery with the reconstructed frieze of the Parthenon

Address and opening hours:

Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Athina 117 42. Open from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday-Thursday, open later Friday-Sunday.

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2. The National Archaeological Museum

Considered one of the greatest museums in the world, the National Archaeological Museum holds the richest collection of Greek antiquities. Each piece tells a unique story, reflecting the profound influence of ancient Greek culture.

Highlights:

Standout exhibits include the gold Mask of Agamemnon and the stunning bronze statue of Poseidon. Get the full experience with an audio tour.

Address and opening hours:

28is Oktovriou 44, Athina 106 82, Greece. Open 1:00 PM-8:00 PM Wednesday to Monday between November 1 and March 31. Open 1:00 PM-8:00 PM on Tuesdays and 8:00 AM-8:00 PM Wednesday to Monday between April 1 and October 31.

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3. Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum displays the history of Greek culture from prehistoric times to the modern era. The museum's diverse collections cover a wide range of periods and geographical areas, providing a panoramic view of Greek history.

Highlights:

Don't miss the impressive Byzantine art collection and the elaborate Ottoman-era ceramics and textiles.

Address and opening hours:

Koumpari 1, Athina 106 74, Greece. Open 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Open 10:00 AM-4:00 PM Sundays. Open 10:00 AM-11:30 PM Thursdays. Closed Tuesdays.

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4. Byzantine and Christian Museum

The Byzantine and Christian Museum, one of the oldest museums in Athens, offers a comprehensive representation of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture. It houses works of art that trace the development of Greek and Christian art from the 3rd to 20th centuries.

Highlights:

Highlights include exquisite icons, frescoes, sculptures, textiles, and manuscripts, which offer a profound view of Byzantine art. Take in this and many other historical wonders with a pre-organised grand tour of Greece.

Address and opening hours:

Leof. Vasilissis Sofias 22, Athina 106 75, Greece. Open 8:00 AM-8:00 PM except Tuesdays when it is open 1:00 PM-8:00 PM.

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5. Museum of the Ancient Agora

Housed in the Stoa of Attalos, the Museum of Ancient Agora displays objects related to the political, social, economic, and religious life of ancient Athens. This place offers a glimpse of how democracy was born and developed in this iconic city.

Highlights:

Be sure to see the notable collection of ostraka (pottery shards used as voting ballots) and a replica of the Athenian democracy inscription, complete with an informative audio tour audio tour.

Address and opening hours:

24 Adrianou Street, Athens 105 55. Open daily 8:00 AM-8:00 PM.

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6. Athens War Museum

The Athens War Museum is a must-see for history and military buffs. It presents the country's martial history in a dynamic and engaging way, from ancient times to the present day, emphasizing the Greek nation's constant struggle for freedom.

Highlights:

Combine your trip to see a comprehensive exhibition on Greece's role in the World Wars with other fascinating stops with a bus tour.

Address and opening hours:

Rizari 2-4, Athina 106 75, Greece. Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM. Hours may differ on Sundays.

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7. National Historical Museum

The National History Museum takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the annals of modern Greek history. Housed in the Old Parliament House, the museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the Byzantine period to the 20th century.

Highlights:

Take this slice of important Greek history from the comfort of a private Athens tour.

Address and opening hours:

13 Stadiou Street, Athens 105 61. Open 9:00 AM-4:00 PM except Mondays.

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8. Delphi Archaeological Museum

Although located in Delphi rather than Athens, the Delphi Archaeological Museum is worth a visit. Artifacts excavated from the ancient ruins of Delphi, often called the "navel of the world" in Greek mythology, are on display.

Highlights:

Take a full-day tour of the archaeological site and discover the wonders of the Delphi complex in full.

Address and opening hours:

Delphi 330 54, Greece. Open daily, 8:00 AM-8:00 PM, except Tuesday, when closing time is 5:00 PM.

Best art museums in Athens

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9. Museum of Cycladic Art

The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of the ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with particular emphasis on Cycladic art from the 3rd millennium BC. This museum offers a unique insight into the ancient cultures that flourished on these sun-drenched islands.

Highlights:

The star of the show at the Museum of Cycladic Art is the collection of Cycladic figurines. These enigmatic, minimalist marble statues have inspired artists such as Picasso.

Address and opening hours:

Neofitou Douka 4, Athina 106 74, Greece. Open 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday-Saturday with the exception of Tuesday when it is closed. Open 11:00 AM-5:00 PM on Sundays.

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10. Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art, part of the Benaki Museum, houses a variety of artifacts illustrating the development and nature of Islamic culture. The collection covers a wide geographical area from Spain to India and the period from the 7th to the 19th centuries.

Highlights:

Key attractions are the intricate Iznik tiles and a remarkable 17th-century wood-carved ceiling from a Damascus house.

Address and opening hours:

Αγ. Ασωμάτων 22 &, Dipilou 12, Athina 105 53, Greece. Open 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Thursday-Sunday.

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11. The Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art

A visit to the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art presents a modern art lover's paradise, housing an extensive collection of Greek and international contemporary and modern art. It bears witness to the development of modern art, all within an impressive architectural setting.

Highlights:

The museum’s collection features work from major artists, such as Picasso, Monet, and Giacometti, as well as prominent Greek artists.

Address and opening hours:

Eratosthenous 13, Athina 116 35, Greece. Open 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Wednesday-Monday.

Best science museums in Athens

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12. Numismatic Museum of Athens

The Numismatic Museum of Athens, one of the oldest of its kind in the world, hosts a vast collection of coins from different cities and eras. Its unique collections provide a fascinating insight into the economic history of the ancient world.

Highlights:

Visit the museum as part of a Athens private group shore excursion.

Address and opening hours:

El. Venizelou 12, Athina 106 71, Greece. Open 8:30 AM-3:30 PM except Tuesdays.

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13. Technopolis: Gazi Industrial Gas Museum

Technopolis, located in the city's former gasworks, is an industrial museum and a major cultural venue. It's a unique testament to Athens' industrial past, now transformed into a hub for cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions.

Insider tip:

Take in the beautiful surroundings from an unparalleled vantage point with an Athens Dinner in the Sky experience.

Address and opening hours:

Pireos 100, Athina 118 54, Greece. Open daily 10:00 AM-10:00 PM.

Alternative museums in Athens

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14. The Museum of Illusions

Step into a world of mind-bending fun at the Museum of Illusions, Athens. This place is not your traditional museum. Instead, it's an interactive experience filled with optical illusions and exhibits designed to challenge your senses and perception.

Highlights:

Don’t miss the Vortex Tunnel and the mind-boggling Infinity Room.

Address and opening hours:

Ermou 119 Entrance from, Astiggos 12, Athina 105 55, Greece. Open daily 10:00 AM-10:00 PM, stays open an hour later on weekends.

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15. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC)

Home to the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, the SNFCC is an architectural masterpiece and a cultural beacon for Athens. More than just a building, it is a vibrant social hub with an infectious energy.

Highlights:

Explore the beautiful park surrounding the center on wheels with a Piraeus seaside tour with electric bike.

Address and opening hours:

Leof. Andrea Siggrou 364, Kallithea 176 74, Greece. Open daily 6:00 AM-12:00 AM.

FAQs

What are the must-visit museums in Athens?

The Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Cycladic Museum, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, and the Benaki Museum are generally considered must-sees for anyone interested in Greek history and art. The Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art is a great option for contemporary art lovers.

Are there any free museums in Athens?

There are several museums in Athens that are free to enter. For example, the Museum of Greek Costume History and the City Museum of Athens do not charge admission. In addition, many museums in Athens offer free admission on certain days of the year, such as International Museum Day (May 18) and the last weekend of September (European Heritage Day).

Are there any museums in Athens that are suitable for children and families?

Athens has many museums aimed at young visitors. The Greek Children's Museum and Museum of Illusions offer hands-on, interactive experiences that children will enjoy. In addition, larger museums, such as the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum, have exhibits and activities for children.

For which museums in Athens are guided tours recommended?

At museums such as the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Byzantine and Christian Museum, take a guided tour to bring the rich history of their exhibits to life. A guided tour is also a great option for the Ancient Agora Museum and the Cycladic Museum. Without a guided tour, the background and significance of the exhibits can be overlooked.

Are there any museum passes or discount cards available for visiting multiple museums in Athens?

Yes, Athens offers several sightseeing pass options. A popular option is the Athens City Pass, which offers free entry to many museums and other top attractions, as well as free use of public transport. There's also the Athens Museum Pass, which includes entry to over 30 museums, galleries, and exhibitions around the city. It's worth considering these options to see which one best suits your travel plans.