by Katherine Poseidon
It’s no secret that Athens is a top cultural destination for all kinds of travel, but many of the main Greek tourist attractions focus on Greece’s ancient history. We totally recommend a walk up the Acropolis, but don’t stop there!
The Greek capital is brimming with museums of all kinds, and spending some time exploring them is one of the best things to do in Athens. Whatever your cup of tea, we’re sure that you’ll find something interesting on our list of must see museums in Athens.
#1 For the Ancient Time Traveller – The Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum is truly a gem, and one of Athens’ must-see museums. It was opened in 2009 and still feels brand new. The award-winning building was designed to house the Parthenon Sculptures, with a stunning view of the Acropolis to complete the experience. The museum is breathtaking, with enough incredible artefacts to spend hours admiring, but this is truly one of the best museums in the world and is well worth popping in to look around, if only to get out of the sun. Make sure to visit the restaurant (for more info check out our post on museum cafés!), either for a bite to eat, or at least to enjoy the Acropolis view, one of the most iconic landmarks in Greece!
Where to find it: 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou (Closest Metro Station: Acropolis)
When to visit: Mon 8am - 4pm, Tues-Thurs, Sat, Sun, 8am - 8pm, Fri 8am - 10pm (Summer), Mon-Thurs 9am - 5pm, Fri 9am - 10pm, Sat-Sun 9am - 8pm
Ticket Prices: €5 (standard), €3 (reduced)
#2 For the Indiana Jones - National Archaeological Museum of Athens
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a famous archaeologist, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens is right up your alley, plus it’s among the top Greek tourist attractions. Inside you’ll find a collection of the most impressive artefacts from throughout Greece, including gold discovered at Ancient Mycenae, statues recovered from long-lost shipwrecks, armour and weapons from antiquity’s biggest battles, and intricate everyday tools from ancient life. The sprawling museum is full to the brim with ancient goodies, so lose yourself in its galleries and channel your inner Indiana Jones.
Where to find it: 44 Patission (Closest Metro Station: Omonia)
When to visit: Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm
Ticket Prices: €10 (standard), €5 (reduced)
#3 For the Hellenophile - Benaki Museum
No Athens guide would be complete without the Benaki Museum, which is a stunning private collection that provides an overview of the full spectrum of Greek history. If you only have time for one museum, this one has everything gathered in one place so you can check out ancient artefacts alongside Byzantine relics, and more modern pieces from the Greek Revolution and amazing examples of Greek folk art. A visit here is also one of the best things to do in Athens at night – on Thursday entry is free, and the museum doesn’t close until midnight! Take a break from the museum for a drink or a snack on their roof terrace, relax while watching the sunset, and then continue the sightseeing!
Where to find it: 1 Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave (Closest Metro Station: Syntagma)
When to visit: Wed, Fri 9am - 5pm, Thurs, Sat 9am - Midnight, Sun 9am - 3pm
Ticket Prices: €9 (standard), €7 (reduced)
#4 For the Minimalist - the Museum of Cycladic Art
Yet another one of the top museums in Athens, the Cycladic Art Museum focuses on the prehistoric forms created in the Cycladic Islands. The highly stylised classic figures bear a striking resemblance to some forms of modern art, and it’s a little mind-blowing to think they are between four and five thousand years old. In addition to the main collection, the Museum of Cycladic Art hosts travelling modern exhibits, and includes a space for drawing and studying, as well as a very chic and minimalist café.
Where to find it: Vasilissis Sophias Ave &1 Irodotou (Closest Metro Station: Evangelismos)
When to visit: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am - 5pm, Thurs 10am - 8pm, Sun 11am - 5pm
Ticket Prices: €7 (standard), €3.50 (reduced)
#5 For the Sailor - Battleship Averof Naval Museum
If you’re looking to get out of the centre of the city and to enjoy a little sea air, head down to the seaside suburb of Faliro to the Battleship Averof. This is definitely one of the more adventurous things to do, in terms of museum-going, but a floating museum is something special. The battleship was built in 1909, and had an illustrious career in the Greek navy. The ship is open to explore and includes info on how it ran and its various escapades. In the same complex in Faliro Bay, you can also check out the ancient Trireme ‘Olympias,’ an exact reconstruction of the ships that travelled all around the ancient world more than 2500 years ago.
Where to find it: Flisvos Marina (Closest Tram Stop: Trocadero)
When to visit: Tues - Fri 9am - 2pm, Sat - Sun 10am - 5pm
Ticket Prices: €3 (standard), €1.50 (reduced)
#6 For the Style Icon - Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum
For those travelling in high style (besides checking out our latest blog post on Lux Athens!), the Lalaounis Jewelry Museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Athens . Created by the legendary Greek jewelry designer Ilias Lalaounis, and nestled right under the Acropolis, the museum displays a huge collection of jewelry spanning more than 50 years. The collection is beautiful, of course, and presents the history of art and jewelry making.
Where to find it: 12 Kallisperi Street (Closest Metro Station: Acropolis)
When to visit: Tues - Sat 9am - 3pm, Sun 11am - 4pm
Ticket Prices: €5 (standard), €4 (reduced)
#7 For the Music Nerd - Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments
For one of the more unusual things to do in Athens, take a break from strolling the streets of Plaka and Monastiraki and step inside the Museum of Greek Folk Instruments, right next to the Roman Agora. This little oasis showcases more than 600 instruments, and is housed in a historic mansion. Admission is free, so duck inside and be inspired by the rich musical tradition of Greece. If you’re curious, follow it up with a traditional Greek dancing lesson!
Where to find it: 1-3 Diogenous (Closest Metro Station: Monastiraki)
When to visit: Tues - Sun 8am - 3pm
Ticket Prices: Free!
#8 For the Art Historian - Byzantine & Christian Museum
Another one of the top museums in Athens, the Byzantine & Christian Museum has recently been remodelled, and has entered into a new chapter in its more than 100 year old history. The huge museum exhibits artefacts spanning more than 1000 years of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine cultural heritage, including sculptures, religious icons paintings, architectural pieces and mosaics.
Where to find it: 22 Vas. Sofias Ave (Closest Metro Station: Evangelismos)
When to visit: Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm
Ticket Prices: €8 (standard), €4 (reduced)
#9 For the Collector - Numismatic Museum
In the centre of the city near Syntagma Square, but off the beaten path for museumgoers, lies the Numismatic Museum. Though a coin museum may not seem like the most exciting destination, you have to believe us and prepare to be impressed. The collection is housed inside one of the most incredible buildings in central Athens, the mansion of the archaeologist who discovered ancient Troy, Heinrich Schliemann. Don’t forget that the Numismatic Museum has one of the best museum cafés in Athens, a magical garden that will make you feel far away from the city.
Where to find it: 12 Panepistimiou (Closest Metro Station: Panepistimio)
When to visit: Mon 1pm - 8pm, Tues - Sun 9am - 4pm
Ticket Prices: €6 (standard), €3 (reduced)
#10 For the Foodie - Museum of Greek Gastronomy
Sight-seeing is all well and good, but as someone whose travel itineraries revolve around food, this museum is a favourite stop. Greek cuisine is the key player at this museum, which explores the whole tradition of Greek gastronomy, and incidentally offers one of the best ways to experience food in Athens. Participate in some of the tasting activities, or pair your visit with one of our food tours to really give your tastebuds the full experience! Their gift shop is also a great place to stock up on some of the best souvenirs from Greece!
Where to find it: 13 Agiou Dimitriou (Closest Metro Station: Monastiraki)
When to visit: Tues 11am - 6pm, Wed - Sun 11am-11pm
Ticket Prices: Between €15 and €25
#11 For the Designer - National Museum of Contemporary Art
Athens’ brand new Museum of Contemporary Art is not to be missed for anyone with a leaning toward the modern and unconventional. After a long and dramatic renovation and transformation, the old Fix Brewery has become one of the most interesting museums in Athens. It currently presents its permanent collection in temporary thematic exhibits, and also organises special exhibits and events, so make sure to check out what’s on!
Where to find it: Kallirois Ave.& Amvr. Franzti Street (Closest Metro Station: Syngrou-Fix)
When to visit: Call for hours during museum's opening phase: 210 9242111
Ticket Prices: €3 (standard), €1.50 (reduced)
#12 (+1 Bonus!) For the Young Explorer - Hellenic Children's Museum + Children's Art Museum
If you’re looking for things to do with kids, look no further than Athens’ two best children’s museums (though be sure to check out our article for even more ideas!). The Hellenic Children’s Museum is multi-thematic, and focuses on encouraging creativity and curiosity through hands-on activities and experiences. Similarly, the Museum of Children’s Art exclusively displays children’s art, and invites kids to roll up their sleeves and create masterpieces of their own. Both museums offer a great alternative to conventional sightseeing for families, so check them out if you’re in Athens with the whole family!
Hellenic Children's Museum:
Where to find it: 14 Kythathineon (Closest Metro Station: Syntagma)
When to visit: Tues - Fri 10am - 2pm, Sat - Sun 10am - 3pm
Ticket Prices: Free!
Museum of Children's Art:
Where to find it: 9 Kodrou (Closest Metro Station: Syntagma)
When to visit: Tues - Sat 10am - 2pm, Sun 11am - 2pm
Ticket Prices: €3 (standard)
Ultimately, as you’ve seen, Athens’ top museums have something to offer for every traveller. The list could go on, but these are some of our favourites – check them out and let us know which ones you liked best!
Also, don’t forget to round out your museum adventures with an active bike tour to take in all the top Athens attractions, or a relaxing day at one of Athens best beaches. For more inspiration, don't miss our definitive guide for your 48 hours in Athens and some tips on things to do in Athens this summer (or fall) ! We hope we have given you lots of ideas on how to make the most of your Athens holidays, so enjoy!
Athens tours? More of the acropolis? day trips from Athens? we've got you covered!
Ready to discover some of the best museums in the world? Here's an Athens Map to get you there!
P.S.: As always, everything you just read are purely personal opinions, and not meant for promotion in any way.
P.S.2: Cover pic (by Katia Mavrikou) shows the entrance of the Byzantine & Orthodox Museum in Athens. An earlier version of this article included a photo that was misattributed and it has since been removed. We apologise for the confusion