The Greeks have always been an influential power in the Mediterranean. Learning their history and appreciating their art was part of our school years. A visit in Greece’s capital, Athens, is not complete without visiting at least some of the important museums.
National Archeological Museum
Address: 44 Patission St., Athens
Metro: Omonia (10 min walk)
Admission: adults €7
Summer: Tue- Sun 8 am – 7:30 pm; Mon 12:30 pm – 7 pm;
Winter (from Dec 1) – Mon 1:00 pm – 7:30 pm; Tue – Fri: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm; Sat & Sun: 8:30 am – 3 pm.
It is the largest public museum in Greece and ranks among the top 10 museums in the world. Initially, it was set up to secure all the finds from the 19th century excavations in and around the capital, but gradually it became the most important archeological museum in Greece and was enriched with finds from all over the country.
Currently it contains over 20,000 exhibits, depicting the Greek life from Prehistory until Late Antiquity. The museum houses five permanent collections: the Prehistoric Collection, the Sculptures Collection, the Vase and Minor Objects Collection, the Metallurgy Collection and the Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities Collection.
>>more information on The National Archeological Museum
The New Acropolis Museum
Address: Dionysiou Areopagitou Street (main public entrance)
Admission: €1 all visitors until end of 2009
Opening hours: daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Opened since June 20, 2009 the museum located in a modern building houses over 4,000 ancient works. Visitors can also the excavations still going on under the museum.
The permanent collections include: the Acropolis Slopes, The Acropolis during Archaic Period, The Parthenon as well as items from the other monuments on the Acropolis.
>>more information on The New Acropolis Museum
Museum of Cycladic Art
Main building 4, Neophytou Douka str.
Admission: €7 ; €3,50 on Mondays
Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat: 10 am 5 pm; Thu 10 am – 8 pm; Sun 11 am – 5 pm; Tue – closed.
The museum was founded in 1986 to house the Cycladic and Ancient Greek art collections belonging to Nicholas and Aikaterini Goulandris. A new wing was built in 1991. The permanent collections are housed in the main building and include: Cycladic Culture, Ancient Greek Art, Cypriot Culture and Daily life.
The Cycladic Culture collection is the most complete in the whole world. It comprises about 350 exhibits which depict the civilization which lived in the Cycladic Islands in the 3rd century BC.
The Benaki Museum
Main building: Vassilisis Sofias and 1 Koumbari street
Main building: full price €6 ; temporary exhibitions €3
Free admission every Thursday
Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat 9 am- 5 pm; Thu 9 am – 12 am; Sun 9 am – 3 pm; Tue – closed.
Benaki Museum is the largest independent museums in Greece and was founded in 1930. Exhibitions can be found in 7 buildings. In the main building, there are several important permanent collections: antiquities collection, Byzantine collection, modern times collection, Coptic art collection and Chinese art Collection.
The Benaki Museum also incorporates the Museum of Islamic Art, which is located in another part of the city.
Temporary exhibitions are also present in the museum all the time. Check the website for details.
National Historical Museum
The Old Parliament Building
13 Stadiou street
Admission: Free on Sundays
Opening hours: daily 8:30 am – 3 pm
The National Historical Museum is housed in the Old Parliament Building, located very close to the Syntagma square. Its purpose is to collect, save and present relics related to the modern Greek history. It is the largest museum of its kind, comprising rich exhibitions from the Neo-Hellenism.
The items date from the Byzantine period, Turkish rule , the 1821 Revolution, as well as paintings and documents related to the modern Greek history.
Museum of the Ancient Agora
Address: 24, Adrianou Street
Summer: daily 8:30 am – 3 pm
Winter: daily 8 am – 5 pm
The museum is housed in the restored Stoa of Attalos (which dates back to the 150 BC). The museum was open to house the finds from the excavations in the Ancient Agora. The museum features items directly related to the Greek democracy, emphasizing on the role of the Ancient Agora.
The collections include items such as sculpture, coins, pottery, clay lamps, inscriptions and jewelry. Among the outstanding exhibits we can find: a jewelry case from a Mycenaean tomb (1400 BC), gold earrings (850 BC) and small terracotta animal toys (4th century AD).
Address: 148 Ermou Street
Summer: daily 8 am – 7:30 pm
Winter: daily 8:30 am – 3 pm
The public museum is built near the archeological site of the Kerameikos, part of the ancient Attic Deme of Kerameon. The ancient settlement was formed by potters and vase painters. The area was converted into a burial ground which later became the largest cemetery in Athens. The museum comprises vases and tomb stones, some of the most beautiful being the marble funerary monument dating from the 6th century BC. The archeological site itself can be visited as well.
Museums which can be visited for free
The following museums can be visited for free:
- Museum of Popular Musical Instruments
- Railway Museum
- War Museum
- The Hellenic Children’s Museum
- Municipal Gallery of Athens
>>more information on Free Things to do in Athens , including details about the above mentioned museums.
Free admission in public museums
In all public museums there are several days over the year when the admission is free for all visitors:
- from November 1 to March 31 on every Sunday
- first Sunday of April, May, June and October. If the first Sunday is a holiday than on the second Sunday the admission is free
- March 6 (Melina Mercouri Day)
- April 18 (World Monument Day)
- May 18 (International Museums Day)
- June 5 (Word Environment Day)
- the last weekend of September, each year
All museums are closed on:
- January 1 (New Year’s Day)
- March 25 (Greek National Day)
- Orthodox Good Friday
- Orthodox Easter
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Christmas and the day after Christmas (December 25 & 26)
>>read more about The Neighborhoods of Athens