City Breaks: The Best Museum Cafés in Athens

by Katherine Poseidon

We’ve all been there - an exhilarating day of sightseeing may leave you feeling inspired, but your feet or stomach may feel otherwise. If you’re taking on an ambitious touring schedule, it’s important to be well-nourished, but Athens offers much more than just sustenance in its museum cafes. If you’re a foodie, you're probably looking to try great Greek food (or perhaps would like to check out our guide to Healthy Food in Athens!) but don’t underestimate the choices in the museums you might already be visiting! Some of these stand on their own as cafés or restaurants in Athens well worth a visit.

For unique things to do in Athens, have a look at our recommendations here to relax and refuel while sightseeing:

ATHENS IN 2 DAYS OR A FEW HOURS? YOU NEED OUR ATHENS' ITINERARIES

#1 Benaki Museum - Greek Classics on the Terrace

The Benaki Museum terrace in Kolonaki (Picture by Benaki Museum)

The Benaki Museum is located at the busy corner of Vasilissis Sofias and Koumpari Street in Kolonaki, and offers an incredible museum collection that complements any trip to Greece by presenting the country’s history from ancient Athens to the Greek Revolution and beyond.

The Museum's café is located on a shaded terrace overlooking the National Gardens, a rare glimpse of abundant green space in Athens. The café is cool and tranquil, and you would never realise you’re just a few blocks away from Syntagma Square.

The food choices are equally cool, with simple and delicious Greek staples and many light and fresh choices. The central location, leafy views and consistently high quality food make this a lunch choice for locals as well as tourists, completely independent of the fabulous museum. The museum café opens at 9am along with the museum, and is also a great place for a relaxing coffee before a day of sightseeing.

Tip: On Thursdays, the Museum & café are open until midnight, and entrance to the museum is free, so if you're looking for unique things to do on a date (for example!), make an evening of it with a fabulous meal and a little bit of culture. 

  • Where: 1 Koumpari St. and Vas. Sofias Ave, Kolonaki 
  • Closest Metro Station: Evangelismos
  • When: Wed - Fri: 09:00 - 17:00; Thu & Sat: 09:00 - 24:00; Sun: 09:00 -15:00
  • Other Information: +30 2103671000 / benaki@benaki.gr / http://www.benaki.gr/index.asp?lang=en

#2 Benaki Museum, Pireos Street - The Modern Cousin

In the atrium of the Benaki Museum in Pireos Street (Picture by Tilemahos Efthimiadis @ Flickr)

The Benaki Museum has a second branch on Pireos Street, an ancient thoroughfare connecting Athens to its port town, Piraeus. The Museum houses a more modern collection and visiting exhibitions, and the café has a similar vibe. The food is just as good as the central Benaki Museum cafe, but in a light and airy space that connects to the central atrium of the museum, linking it to the modern city and its thriving art scene.

Tip: The Museum (and café) have unlimited wifi, so you can Instagram both your meal and your favourite museum finds. 

feeling hungry? here's where to eat in athens (and not just greek food!)

#3 Cycladic Café inside Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art - Hip Snacking in Central Athens

Cycladic Cafe on the lower ground floor of the Cycladic Art Museum (Picture by Cycladic Museum)

For architecture, design or history buffs, the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art in Kolonaki is a unique experience, but it has a little café adjoining it that is just as cool. The space is very modern and bright, complete with an atmospheric fountain and a very European vibe. The menu is not extensive, but offers light and fresh choices that fit perfectly with the overall feel of the museum and its space, and offer a welcome respite and a place to rest your feet and zen out during a busy visit to Athens.

Tip: The Museum offers a number of things to do with kids on weekends, and although the café is very trendy, it’s also a great place for a kid-friendly break in the centre of Kolonaki.

  • Where: 4 Neophytou Douka, Kolonaki
  • Nearest Metro Station: Evangelismos
  • When: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat : 10:00 - 17:00; Thu 10:00 - 20:00; Sun: 11:00 -17:00
  • Other Information+30210 7228321-3  / museum@cycladic.gr / website

#4 Numismatic Museum - Garden Café in the Middle of the City

In the garden of the Numismatic Museum of Athens (Picture by Dimitris Kamaras @ Flickr)

This often-overlooked museum of coins is located right around the corner from busy Syntagma Square, and offers a lush escape from the hubbub of the Athenian capital. The museum collection really is worth seeing, even if old coins doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world, and the museum is located in the neoclassical mansion of a classical archaeologist.

The café is located in the garden of the old mansion, and it is one of the few spaces in the centre of modern Athens where you can sit among trees and greenery and enjoy a coffee, totally forgetting about the busy city outside the gates. This is one café where the location is really the main draw - the refreshments and snacks on offer are good, but pretty standard. If you’re around the centre and looking for a quick coffee break or a relaxing drink, it’s worth stopping here, and it’s open till late.

Tip: The Museum periodically organises live jazz in the garden café, so check the internet before you visit for a more unique experience.

  • Where: Panepistimiou 12 , Athens
  • Closest Metro Station: Panepistimio
  • When: Mon.-Sat.: 9:00-23:00, Sun.: 9:00-20:00
  • Other Information+306970062599  / epnom@culture.gr / http://www.enma.gr/anapsiktirio_en.htm

#5 Byzantine & Christian Museum Café ‘Ilissia’ - Open Space in the Middle of the City

Ilissia bistrot-cafe inside the gardens of the Byzantine and Christian Museum (Picture by Ilissia Bistrot-Café)

The Byzantine and Christian Museum is located on busy Vasilissis Sofias in Kolonaki, but once you step inside its courtyard it feels as if you’re a world away. Even in the hottest summer months there is somehow always a breeze, and aside from the recently-renovated museum, it is a lovely space to relax and recharge.

The museum hosts a café-bistro called ‘Ilissia,’ which includes the usual snacks and coffee. The outdoor space is huge, and offers a great spot to not only grab a bite to eat or a snack (or a glass of wine!) but also to meet friends or set up your laptop at a table for a little work in an urban refuge away from the bustle of the main street.

Tip: The bistro offers main dishes inspired by the Constantinopolitan cuisine of the Byzantine Empire.

Athens nightlife like a local! the ultimate bar crawl and athens' rooftop bars you have to visit!

#6 Acropolis Museum Café - Local Ingredients, Out of This World Location!

Stunning view from the museum's top floor (Picture by Giorgos Vitsaropoulos, courtesy of the Acropolis Museum) 

Undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Greece, the Acropolis Museum boasts not only a one-of-a-kind collection but also a unique restaurant and café. Located on the museum’s second floor with a stunning view of the Acropolis from both tables inside and a huge outdoor terrace, the space itself is unbeatable.

As if that weren’t enough, the restaurant is worth visiting for the food alone. The menu changes seasonally and is based on Greek classics made from the highest quality local ingredients. You can find something to suit most tastes, from rich salads to full meat dishes and Greek comfort food, all at reasonable prices. One of the unique offerings of the Museum restaurant is a great children’s menu with the same high quality Greek ingredients, which makes a stop here one of the great things to do with kids in Athens.

Tip: The Museum is open until late, so in the winter when the sun sets earlier you can enjoy both the café and the museum in the dark. Nothing more atmospheric than an up-close view of the floodlit Acropolis!

  • Where15 Dionysiou Areopagitou, Akropoli
  • Nearest Metro Station: Akropoli
  • When: (Summer Season 1st April - 31 Oct ) Mon  08:00 - 16:00; Tue - Thu : 08:00 - 20:00; Fri: 08:00 - 22:00 Sat - Sun: 08:00 - 20:00 . (Winter Season 1st Nov - 31 Mar ) Mon - Thu 09:00 - 17:00 Fri : 09:00 -22:00 Sat - Sun : 09:00 - 20:00
  • Other Information: +30 210900900  / info@theacropolismuseum.gr / http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en

There are so many more things to do and see in Athens besides the Acropolis. Click here to read what we have in mind.

#7 Museum of the City of Athens - A Secret Garden

The Black Duck Garden in central Athens (Picture courtesy of Athens' City Museum Bistrot 'Black Duck Garden)

The Museum of the City of Athens is a little bit off the beaten path, but its café/bar is hugely popular with local Athenians, for obvious reasons. The Athens' City Museum Bistrot 'Black Duck Garden' is located in the patio and back garden of the beautiful 1836 mansion that houses the museum, and has a fantastic vibe from 10am in the morning for coffee, brunch and sweets till late for dinner and cocktails. The café also serves sandwiches and other snacks (till 8pm), as well as salads, cheeses and a selection of main courses with Mediterranean and central European influences, all in a green oasis gently buzzing with life. 

Tip: The spot often hosts live music events in the evenings. Check the website to see what’s on during your trip!

  • Where:  5-7 Ioannou Paparrigopoulou, Plateia Klafthmonos (Klafthmonos Square)
  • Closest Metro Station: Panepistimio
  • When: Mon - Sun: 10:00 - 01:00 (Summer) | 10:00 - 19:00 (Winter)
  • Other Information: +30 210 3252396 / info@blackduckgarden.gr http://blackduckgarden.gr/ 

#8 Lalaounis Jewelry Museum - A Hidden Gem on the Steps of the Acropolis

The Lalaounis' Museum terrace is a hidden gem in the city (Picture courtesy Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum)

Last but not least, the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum situated just below the Acropolis, is a quiet hidden gem off the buzzing Dionysiou Areopagitou street, created by the renowned Greek jewellery designer Ilias Lalaounis and exhibiting thousands of pieces dedicated to the history and art of jewellery making. The chic café on the ground floor and atrium of the neoclassical building is an off-the-beaten-path alternative to the busy Acropolis museum nearby, for coffee and refreshing beverages (not to mention free wifi and a/c!)

Tip: Entrance to the museum is free on Wednesdays and Saturdays (from 3-9pm). On rare occasions the museum's terrace is also available, so don't forget to ask! 

  • Where:  12 Kallisperi & Karyatidon Str , Acropoli
  • Closest Metro Station: Acropoli
  • When: Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat (free): 9:00 - 15:00 | Wed: 9:00-21:00 (free from 15:00-21:00) | Sun: 11:00-16:00
  • Other Information: +30 210 9221044 info@lalaounis-jewelrymuseum.gr /  http://www.lalaounis-jewelrymuseum.gr/gr/default.asp

#9 Benaki Museum of Islamic Art - Unbeatable Views and Colours 

Beautiful views and interiors from the Museum of Islamic Art in Thissio. (Picture by Katia Mavrikou)

Our latest addition (update January 2017) to this beautiful list is the top floor café of the Museum of Islamic Art just off Thissio train station and footsteps away from the Athens Jewish Synagogue . The views of ancient Athens are unbeatable (from Acropolis, all over Kerameikos and Thissio) and the colorful interiors send an old-Athens oriental feel to a morning coffee, light lunch, snack, afternoon tea or late drink (especially on a warm evening in the spacious balcony). 

Tip: The café if fairly new so ask about the closing hours (as some Saturday nights it may stay as late as 11 pm ) - For those planning to 'work' there, as of January 2017 the place has no wifi (yet!) 

  • Where:  22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipilou St., Thissio
  • Closest Metro Station: (rail) Theseion | (metro) Monastiraki
  • When: Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 18:00 | café open during museum hours and till 19:00 on Saturdays
  • Other Information: +30 210 325 1311 islamic_collection@benaki.gr/  website

Find the Best Museum Café Near you With Our Map of Athens

 

Did we miss something? Sharing is caring so we can't wait to hear your suggestions!

Ps: As always, the opinions expressed here are purely, solely & utterly our own!


Here are some fun things to do in Athens 

Modern Muses: A Tour of Athens' Contemporary Art Scene
from 33.00

Contemporary Art in True Athenian Style.

Visiting Places: Zoumboulakis Galleries OR Kalfayan Gallery OR Pulse Art Gallery, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery,  local artist’s workshop
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

Good news! The bigger the group, the lower the price!

*Select Group Size to see how price per person changes. Quantity on checkout must match Group Size category. 

A Treasure Trove of Jewellery: A Unique Tour of Benaki Museum
from 155.00

Discover the timeless beauty of one of Greece's oldest art forms in this unique expert-led tour of the Benaki museum's vast jewellery collection. 

Visiting Places: Benaki museum
Duration:  3.5/4 hours (approx.)

Treasure Hunt in Athens Historical Centre
from 25.00

This “walk through history’ treasure hunt is a great alternative way to explore the sights in the center of Athens.

Visiting Places: Historical center of Athens, pedestrian zones only
Duration: 2/3 hours (approx, depending on pace)