Athens is the oldest capital in Europe and it has a great history and it has also some of the best museums of the world that you have to visit! Do you think that I exaggerate? I don’t think so and I will prove it!
On this post the 7 best museums in Athens are gathered, plus a new recent addition, which is not actually a museum but a great cultural attraction!
Top Museums in Athens:
- New Acropolis Museum
- National Archeological museums
- Museum of Cycladic Art
- Benaki Museum
- Numismatic Museum of Athens
- National Museum of Contemporary Art
- War Museum of Athens
Even if you get bored with visiting museums or you are not a big fan of them, you have to go to the New Acropolis Museum! It is included in every list of the best museums in the world and it is absolutely marvellous from architectural, historical and educational aspect! It opened back in 2009 and it changed the appearance and the energy of the whole neighbourhood! It was designed by New York–based architect, Bernard Tschumi, in collaboration with the Greek architect Michael Photiadis and the building itself is very light, modern and airy which makes ideal for a relaxed visit! There is an educative movie inside the museum explaining the history of the Acropolis and how it was built. The New Acropolis Museum can be viewed from 2 to ..the whole day! It depends on your available time and your interest! Also, get o coffee or grab some lunch from the restaurant on the 2nd floor, which has some remarkable views to the Parthenon!
Tip: you can buy ticket online or you can buy a special ticket package for a number of archaeological sites ( which is available only at the ticket office on site) and it costs €30
Valid for 5 days and for the below sites:
Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora, North slope of Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis
Don’t miss: The Caryatids of the Erechtheion (5 of the originals reside in the Acropolis Museum and the other is in the British Museum in London), the votive offerings that the visitors of the ancient temple used to leave, and of course the spectacular “Hall of the Parthenon” looking at the Acropolis itself!
Opening times: Monday: 13:00 – 20:00, Tuesday – Sunday: 09:00 – 16:00
Admission fee: 5 Euro
Location: 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Athens, Underground: Line 2 (Aghios Antonios-Aghios Dimitrios) to Acropolis station (red line)
Even all rooms are now always open, it is considered as the largest museum in the country and one of the most important in the world, as it narrates the history of 7.000 years, starting from the Neolithic culture and reaching 330 AD! The museum is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building on the end of the 19th century, which was designed by L. Lange and remodelled by Ernst Ziller.
Admittedly, it is probably not the most modern museum but it includes sculptures, pottery, metalwork to statues and classic masterpieces. It has five large permanent collections, Collection of Prehistoric Antiquities, the Sculptures Collection, the Vase and Minor Objects Collection, the Bronze Collection and the only Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities Collection in Greece.
- Zeus statuette: The statue shows Zeus to be prepared to strike the lightning and it is really impressive.
- The golden mask of “Agamemnon”: Although nowadays it is believed that probably it is not Agamemnon’s mask, this is still a beautiful exhibit.
- The Artemision Jockey. Check especially the horse’s strained muscles and the face of the jockey.
- The Child of Marathonas. It is believed that it’s a work of Praxiteles or someone from his students (330 B.C.). It’s a statue of a young boy named after Marathon town and it was discovered in 1926.
- The Thera exhibition. Check these beautiful frescos, which were discovered in Thera’s cape (Santorini) and you will understand better about the life in the Aegean during the Bronze Period.
Opening times: Monday: 13:00 – 20:00, Tuesday – Sunday: 09:00 – 16:00
Admission fee: 5 Euro
Location: 44 Patission Street, Athens (10 minutes walk from Omonoia station and 5 from Victoria station)
In this museum, you see the first attempts to depict a human face in world history and you will see various different sculptures of Cycladic At, almost 5.000 old. Personally, I like this museum as it shows the unique history of the Cycladic art, which flourished in islands of the Aegean sea. Very close to the Syntagma Square (5 minutes walk), it is an ideal choice if you are in the area and want to visit something special. The building is beautifully set and it has an attractive museum shop and coffee shop and a two-hour visit should be enough.
Opening times: Monday – Wednesday – Friday – Saturday: 10:00 to 17:00, Thursday: 10:00 to 20:00, Sunday: 11:00 to 17:00, Tuesday: closed
Admission fee: € 7, Monday entrance fee 3,5€
Location: 4 Neophytou Douka street, Athens
Almost next to the Museum of Cycladic Art is Benaki Museum. It is included in the list of “41 incredible museums to visit before you die”, according to Telegraph and I believe that it is totally worth it!
It is quite unique and it presents an amazing variety of art and jewellery, which covers many centuries of Greek traditional history over the three floors of exhibits. Also, it presents the best collection of Greek folk art and costumes, so if you are interested in knowing more about this type of Greek art and its history, then it should be ideal for you. But, it not an interactive museum, so I think that it is not ideal for children. There is a nice cafe on 2nd floor with amazing views across Athens.
Opening times: Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 – 17:00, Thursday, Saturday: 9.00 – 24.00, Sunday: 9:00 – 15:00
Admission fee: € 9
Location: 1 Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave.
For the 5th place on the list of the best museums in Athens, I was between this museum and Numismatic Museum of Athens which I both love! But, I selected the National Museum of Contemporary Art as it is a brand new museum that opened in November 2016 and it is situated at historical former Fix brewery on Syngrou Ave., the reconstruction of which was completed in February 2014. I visited the first temporary exhibition, which was entitled “Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp” in January.
As it is not yet open at its full capacity, you have to check before visiting about its exhibitions. It will have space for its permanent and temporary collections, and conferences, events, educational programs for children and adults, a library, a project room, a media lounge etc. The Museum’s permanent collection is formed around a very important nucleus of works by Greek and foreign artists, such as Stephen Antonakos, Constantin (Dikos) Byzantios, Vlassis Caniaris, Chryssa, Mona Hatoun, Gary Hill, Emily Jacir, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Nikos Kessanlis, Jannis Kounellis, Shirin Neshat, Lucas Samaras, Costas Tsoclis, Bill Viola, a.o, which is constantly enriched.
Before the visit, I didn’t have any real interest in coins, but I really enjoyed the whole experience and I can easily include it in the list as one of the best museums of Athens! You can see a whole variety of ancient coins from the region, which narrates the story of changes in beliefs and power! The exhibits are housed in the former home of archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann and the building has been extremely well preserved!
Another Museum very close to the centre of Athens and Syntagma Square! If you like wars and battles, you will love it! There are many of unique collections, like uniforms, awards
Very well organised exhibition covering all periods of country history and warfare from Alexander the Great to today. Lots of unique exponents, including uniform, awards and decorations, military weapons and equipment etc. You will find halls with animated movies showing the most important events (like the battle of Marathon etc).
And finally, the new amazing attraction in Athens, is
This is a new amazing addition to this city and it is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation largest single grant. It was completed in 2016 and on 23rd February 2017 was transferred to the Greek State and by extension, to Greek society. This incredible building will house the National Library of Greece and the Opera house, which will be equipped with the latest technological advancements. It also has training rooms, practising rooms, bullet rooms, archives, libraries, children play areas, study areas, computer rooms etc.
But equally amazing is the Stavros Niarchos Park, which is a vital green space in a city with the lowest per capita green space in Europe!! Visitors can rest in specially designed seating areas or explore a nearby circular labyrinth! Children can play in creative playgrounds of innovative design!
The whole centre has been named Best International Project of the Year in the 2016 UK Building Awards and has awarded with many more honours since then.
Location: Andrea Siggrou 364, Kallithea 17674
If you looking for an accommodation in Athens, check our list with the best luxurious hotels!
As I am always open to recommendations, feel free to share your thought or add any other museums in Athens, leaving a comment below!