Athens is the oldest capital in Europe and it has a great history!
So, I know for sure that you are going to visit Plaka and Acropolis, but don’t forget to visit some of the best museums in Athens! Some of them are pretty unique and special! You will see some of the below museums in various lists among to the best museums in the world! I am not kidding and I will present some evidence!
On this post, I gathered my 7 top museums in Athens that you shouldn’t miss, plus one 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
Plus one extra! I am not saying more!
Even if you are not a fan of museums or you get easily bored when you visit them, you have to go to the New Acropolis Museum! It opened its doors back in 2009 and it changed the appearance and the balance of the whole area! This is almost on every list of the best museums in the world! The building itself is very light, modern and airy which makes ideal for a relaxed visit. There is an educative movie explaining the history of the Acropolis and how it was built. Depending on your interest level, the museum can be viewed in about 2 hours so this is suitable for children (there are special family programs). If you get hungry or thirsty, we cannot recommend highly enough the restaurant on the 2nd floor.
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 votive offerings that the visitors of the ancient temple used to leave, the Caryatids of the Erechtheion, and of course the spectacular “Hall of the Parthenon” gazing from far 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)
This is the largest museum in the country (but take into account that not all rooms are always open to the public), and one of the most important in the world, hosting more than 11,000 findings that tell a 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.
It is not the most modern museum but it contains from 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”: Even nowadays it is believed that probably it is not Agamemnon mask, it is still an amazing exhibit.
- The Artemision Jockey. Check especially the horse’s strained muscles and the face of the jockey.
- The Child of Marathonas. An amazing statue of a young boy named after Marathon town and it was discovered in 1926. It is probably the work of Praxiteles or one of his students (330 B.C.)!
- 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 (from November 1st 2016 until March 31st, 2017): 5 Euro
Location: 44 Patission Street, Athens (10 minutes walk from Omonoia station and 5 from Victoria station)
This quite small museum shows various different amazing sculptures of Cycladic Art, 5000 years old and yet with an unexpected modern look. There, you will see the first attempts to depict a human face in world history! This is highly recommended as you will learn about the exceptional history of the Cycladic art, which flourished in islands of the Aegean sea. It is only 5 minutes from Syntagma Square so it is ideal 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. Personally, I suggest allowing about two hours to take it in, but of course, it depends totally on you!
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 (5 minutes from Syntagma Square and Evagelismos metro station)
Two minutes away from Museum of Cycladic Art is Benaki Museum! This wonderful museum and it is included in the list of “41 incredible museums to visit before you die”, according to Telegraph! The 2nd Greek Museum that is mentioned in that list is of course, Acropolis Museum!
There is 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 folk costumes as I am, this is a must-visit place. It should be also highlighted that this, not an interactive museum, so probably 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.
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!
Don’t miss: It has impressive coins dated from the 14th BC to the present. Also, the building is a work of the architect Ernst Ziller from 1880 and makes worth the visit.
Opening times: Monday closed, Tuesday – Sunday 09:00 – 16:00
Admission fee: € 3 (until 31-3-2017)
Location: 12 Panepistimiou, Athens (2′ from Syntagma Square)
This is a brand new museum that opened in November 2016 at the 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”.
Now, it is closed until April and it will open on its full capacity probably this year! 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.
Opening times: EMST will remain closed from 02-07-2017 till April, as it is setting its next projects
Location: Kallirois ave. & Am. Frantzi str., 11743 (next to Syngrou Fix Metro station)
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).
Opening times: (April – October): 09:00 -19:00
Admission fee: € 4
Location: Rizari 2, Athina 106 75 (Line 3 ( Evaggelismos Station) and Line 2 Syntagma Square Station)
And finally, the new amazing attraction in Athens, is
An amazing new building, which is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation largest single grant and was completed in 2016 and on 23rd February 2017 was transferred to the Greek State and by extension, 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 is expected to be completed by fall 2017). It also has training rooms, practising rooms, bullet rooms, archives, libraries, children play areas, study areas, computer rooms etc.
Another surprise is the Stavros Niarchos Park, which is a vital green space, and an important addition to Athens, 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
Did you think that I should any other in this list about the best museums in Athens?