9 +1 museums in Athens that you have to visit!

Athens is the oldest capital in Europe, and it has a great history, and it also has some of the best museums in the world that you have to visit! Do you think that I exaggerate? I don’t think so, and I will prove it!

In this post the seven best museums in Athens are gathered, plus a new recent addition, which is not 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
  • Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation
  • National Gallery

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1. New Acropolis Museum

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 marvellous in architectural, historical and educational aspects.

It opened back in 2009, and it changed the appearance and the energy of the whole neighbourhood. New York-based architect, Bernard Tschumi designed it, in collaboration with the Greek architect Michael Photiadis and the building itself is very light, modern and airy which makes it ideal for a relaxed visit.

There is an educative movie inside the museum explaining the history of the Acropolis and how it was built. You can spend at the New Acropolis Museum from 2 hours to the whole day. It depends on your available time and your interest.

Also, get a coffee or grab some lunch from the restaurant on the 2nd floor, which has some remarkable views of the Parthenon!

Tip: you can buy a ticket online, or you can buy a special ticket package for several archaeological sites (which is available only at the ticket office on-site), and it costs €30

Valid for five days and 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

Acropolis Museum in Athens

Don’t miss it. 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.

Acropolis Museum in Athens

Opening timesMonday: 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)

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on Acropolis’ website!

2. National Archaeological Museum

Even though all rooms are not 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 of the 19th century, and it 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 extensive 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.

Don’t miss:

  • Zeus statuette: The statue shows Zeus being prepared to strike the lightning – see the below photo.
  • 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 life in the Aegean during the Bronze Period.

Best museum in Athens

Opening times: Monday: 13:00 – 20:00, Tuesday – Sunday: 09:00 – 16:00
Admission fee:
 
5 Euro
Location: 44 Patission Street, Athens

How to get to the National Archaeological Museum: 10′ walk from Omonoia station and 5′ from Victoria station (Metro & Electric train)

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on the National Archaeological Museum’s website.

3. Museum of Cycladic Art

In this museum, you see the first attempts to depict a human face in world history, and you will see various sculptures of Cycladic At, almost 5.000 old.

I like this museum as it shows the unique history of the Cycladic art, which flourished on islands of the Aegean sea.

Very close to 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.

Museum Cycladic Art Athens

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

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on the Museum of Cycladic Art’s website.

4. Benaki Museum

Almost next to the Museum of Cycladic Art is the 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 worth it!

It is unique, and it presents a fantastic variety of art and jewellery, which covers many centuries of Greek traditional history over the three floors of exhibits.

Also, Benaki museum 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 lovely cafe on the 2nd floor with fantastic views across Athens.

Mpenaki best museums in 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.

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on Benaki museum’s website.

5. National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)

For the 5th place on the list of the best museums in Athens, I was between this museum and the Numismatic Museum of Athens. I love them both!

But, I selected the National Museum of Contemporary Art as it is a relatively 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.

Unfortunately, it is not fully operational, but it has some exciting exhibition from time to time.

Opening times: Check the website
Location: Kallirois ave. & Am. Frantzi str., 11743 (next to Syngrou Fix Metro station) 

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here at the National Museum of Contemporary Art’s museum.

6. Numismatic Museum of Athens

Before the visit, I didn’t have any real interest in coins. Still, I enjoyed the whole experience, and I can easily include the Numismatic Museum of Athens in the list as one of the best museums in 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 exceptionally well preserved!

It is situated at Panepistimiou Street 12 in Athens, and the nearest underground station is Syntagma – only 5-10′ walking.

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on their website.

best museums in Athens

7. War Museum of Athens

This is another Museum that is very close to the centre of Athens and Syntagma Square! If you like wars and battles, you are going to love War Museum! There are many unique collections, like uniforms, awards etc.

Very well organised exhibition covering all periods of country history and warfare from Alexander the Great to today.

Lots of unique exponents, including uniforms, awards and decorations, military weapons and equipment etc. You will find halls with animated movies showing the most important events (like the battle of the Marathon, etc.).

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on their website.

best museums in Athens

8. Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

Goulandri foundation_musuems athens
Goulandri foundation © SecretGreece

Another new addition to the list of the best museums in Athens, is the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, a 3-min walk from the Panathenaic Stadium.

It opened back in October 2019. and it displays many of the works amassed by shipowner Basil Goulandris and his wife Elise Karadontis, who died in 1994, with an art collection valued at US$3 billion!

I recently visited this fabulous museum of contemporary art and I was really impressed. You will find there many important paintings by Greek painters, such as Theotokopoulos, Bouzianis, Chatzikyriakos-Gikas, Parthenis, Fasianos, Tetsis, Gaitis, Mytaras, Zongolopoulos etc.

But you also find some marvellous pieces by amazing painters like Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Gauguin,  Modigliani, Miro, Pollock,  Rodin, Miro and Lichtenstein.

I spent 2 hours there, but if you like art and you don’t come to Athens so often then you may have to spend a little bit more!

Don’t forget that there is a lovely terrace – a cafe where you can get some rest and try some nibbles.

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on their website and you can buy here online tickets.

Best museums in athens greece
Goulandri Museum © SecretGreece

Tip: I chose to get the personal audio guide device, which is included in the ticket price. By pressing a button on a device that you will get, you can learn much useful and not so useful information about most of the paintings!

Location

13 Eratosthenous str.Athens 116 35, Greece

9. National Gallery 

The National Art Gallery of Athens is the most important museum for the history of art in Greece and it is located within a walking distance of Syntagma Square

After an  8-year of refurbishing and restructuring, the largest collection of Greek modern art and sculpture is welcoming again the visitors to the new modern facilities!

The exhibition of the National Gallery exhibits is designed as an open-air promenade. and it follows the sequence of the painting’s evolution. The interior is designed as a series of transitional spaces for information with wood panelling, and white showrooms with specially designed false ceilings for each exhibition function.

At the National Gallery, you will find important Greek painters like Domenikos Theotokopoulos,, Theodoros Vryzakis, Nikephoros Lytras, Nikolaos Gyzis, Georgios Iakovidis, Nikos Chatzikyriakos-Ghikas, Fotis Kontoglou, Yannis Tsarouchis,  Yannis Moralis, Tassos, and contemporary artists Panayiotis Tetsis and Alekos Fassianos,

But. the National Gallery of Athens also hosts a significant number of foreign painters, like Cecco del Caravaggio, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Jacob Jordaens, Eugène Delacroix etc.

Opening hours
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00 – 18.00. Admission  until 17.00
Tuesday: closed
Shop: 10.00. – 17.30

You can find more information on opening hours, access and ticket pricing here on their website.

And finally, the new fantastic attraction in Athens is

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNF)

It 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 houses now the National Library of Greece and the Opera house, which is 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 the creative playgrounds of innovative design!

The whole centre has been named Best International Project of the Year in the 2016 U.K. Building Awards and was awarded many more honours since then.

Location: Andrea Siggrou 364, Kallithea 17674

Stavros Niarchos best Museums in Athens

If you looking for accommodation in Athens,  check our list with the best hotels!

If you are looking for what to do in Athens, then I gathered all the activities, tours and best things to visit here!

As I am always open to recommendations, feel free to share your thought or add any other museums in Athens, leaving a comment below!

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