Museums in Athens
In Athens, the capital of Greece, visitors have the chance to see selected museums which represent the wealth of Greek culture in all aspects, from the prehistoric and ancient years to the modern era. The historical town boasts some of the most important museums, like the newly-established Acropolis Museum which opened its doors in 2009 in a great architectural marvel, just opposite the Holy Rock of the Acropolis. The most famous exhibits in the museum are the frieze from the Parthenon Temple and the Kayatides Statues.
Of major interest in Athens is also the National Archaeological Museum, the largest museum in Greece, with an extraordinary collection that includes sculptures, pots and excellent works of art. It is also worth mentioning the Benaki Museum, hosted in the Neoclassical building in the center of Athens, just opposite the Byzantine Museum and the War Museum.
In a walking distance from Syntagma Square lies the Historical Museum, in a beautiful Neoclassical building that used to house the Parliament of Greece till the 1930s. The Cycladic Art Museum carries a fascinating collection from the Cyclades highlighting the ancient Greek Art. In the Ancient Agora is the Stoa of Attalos Museum, a chance to admire dozens of exhibits from the antiquity. In Athens, there is also a great list of art galleries to visit, such as the National Art Gallery, the Museum of Children's Art and other museums in the center of Athens.
Read also: Top 5 museums in Athens
The New Acropolis Museum was inaugurated in June 2009 and it is housed in a modern building right opposite the site of the Acropolis. It is one of the jewels of the city and a sight not to miss. The items displayed in the New Acropolis Museum were all found on excavations on the Acropolis. The most famous display is the frieze of Parthenon Temple. Some pieces of this frieze are missing, as they are housed in the British Museum in London.
The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the largest and most important museum in Greece, and its exhibits are between the finest collections of prehistoric items, sculptures, pottery, and minor art, bronzes and Egyptian art, everything followed by detailed explanations in English. It is located near Omonoia square and it is a sight to not miss.
This museum is located in Ancient Agora, inside the famous Stoa of Attalos. The collection of the museum is very interesting and diverse. It includes findings from the wells, deposits, burials, workshops, and sanctuaries of the area.
(Expected opening June 2021) The National Gallery of Athens is located right next to the Hilton Hotel, within walking distance from Syntagma. It hosts permanent and periodical exhibitions.
This museum was founded in 1914 and it houses an important collection of Greek ecclesiastical art dating from the 4th to the 19th century: Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons, sculpture, manuscripts, wall paintings, mosaics, wood carvings and many objects (cloth, coins, pottery). The Museum is located close to Syntagma Sq.
This museum is a private collection of Cycladic art and Ancient Greek art of great importance, housed in a beautiful house. The Cycladic collection is a marvel of over 350 objects of the central Aegean Area, like marble sculpture and figurines or pottery, all dated between 3200 and 2000 B.C. The Ancient Greek Art Collection includes artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Roman times: pottery, terracotta figurines, sculpture, metal and glassware and jewelry.
This museum houses the private collection of Antonis Benakis, composed by Bronze Age findings, works of El Greco, ecclesiastical furniture and many other collections. It is housed in a wonderful neoclassical house close to Syntagma square.
(Closed to public) The National Museum of Contemporary Arts has opened its gates in the renovated Fix Building in Kallirrois Avenue and welcomes loyal enthusiasts and new visitors alike to dive into the seductive world of contemporary art.
Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation opens to the public on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019.
Goulandris Museum in Athens opened its doors to the public in 2019. It was established by Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation. Its rich collection includes rare creations of the most important artists of the European avant-garde.
The archaeological museum is located right next to the ancient site of Keramikos, the cemetery of ancient Athens. It houses findings from the site, such as funeral columns, vases, and statues.
In Athens, it is the oldest house and the last surviving konaki and it is considered to be one of the few examples of such mansions.
Since October 2010, the Municipal Gallery of Athens is housed in a Neoclassical building in Avdi Square, Metaxourgio. It owns about 3,000 pieces, most of them painted by the 19th and 20th century, Greek artists.
The Historical Museum is housed in a beautiful Neoclassical building that used to be the Parliament House till 1932. This is the oldest museum of its kind and houses collections that date from the 15th century until the Second World War. The museum is found along Stadiou Ave, 10 min walk from Syntagma.
The Museum of Islamic Art is a department of the Benaki Museum and opened in July 2004. It is housed in a Neoclassical building and hosts about 10,000 items that date from the 7th till the 19th century.
This amazing museum houses some 60,000 coins, from the ancient Greek world until modern times as well as weights, lead stamps, medals, and precious stones. There are also ten thousand volumes devoted to the special field of numismatics, to its history, the seals and to archaeology.
The Museum of Illusions, after its international success, has now opened in Athens. It allows visitors to be creative and play.
The Jewish Museum of Greece is located near Syntagma square. It was founded in 1979 and it is dedicated to the life of the vast Jewish community that flourished in Greece along centuries.
The Herakleidon Museum of Visual Arts is a private space that opened in summer 2004. Housed in a Neoclassical building in the heart of Thission, under the Acropolis, the museum hosts exhibitions of artists who have played an important role in the evolution of art. It also frequently organizes seminars and workshops.
The Benaki Toy Museum opened to public in 2017. Its holdings are based on Maria Argyriadi's collection, which is considered to be among the top 10 in Europe.
The Museum of the City of Athens houses the personal collection of the art collector Lambros Eutaxias. It includes sculptors, paintings, drawings, photographs of Athens and even furniture of the 19th-century Athenian aristocracy.
The War Museum of Athens was founded in 1975 and it is dedicated to the army and the Naval Forces of Greece. It is located between the metro stations of Syntagma and Evangelismos.
The Frissiras Museum is the only museum of modern European art in Greece. It was inaugurated in June 2000 and it is housed in two Neoclassical buildings in Plaka. The first building houses a permanent collection with 3,000 pieces of art and the second building hosts periodical exhibitions.
The Museum of Folk Art and Tradition Angeliki Hatzimichali is located today in the house of the great folklorist Angeliki Hatzimichali (1895-1965) on a quiet street in Plaka
The Hellenic Motor Museum hosts the personal collection of Theodoros Haragionis. It is housed in the three last floors of Athenian Capitol in Patission Ave, very close to the National Archaeological Museum. The museum hosts 110 cars permanently, while the rest 190 of the collection are exhibited from time to time.
This museum is dedicated to the Greek folklore music and it has an amazing collection of about 1,200 Greek popular musical instruments dating from the 18th century up to the present day. The museum exhibits traditional Greek instruments like toumberlekia (pottery drums), daoulia (drums), defia (tambourines), laghouta (long-necked lutes), outia (short-necked lutes) and many more.
The Museum of Alex Mylona opened in March 2004 and in 2007 it was donated to the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, which is based in Thessaloniki. It exhibits works from the 50-year career of the sculptor Alex Mylona, including her beautiful works on marble, copper, iron, and bronze.
The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus is located between Zea and Pasalimani, two lovely quarters of Piraeus. It mostly exhibits findings from excavations that date from the Mycenaean till the Roman times.
The Nautical Museum is located in Marina Zeas, Piraeus. It hosts interesting pieces that depict the rich nautical history of Greece. Outside the museum, there is a copy of the historical submarine Papanikolis.
Established in 1994, the Museum of Greek Children's Art aims to promote art expression in young age. For this reason, it regularly organizes seminars and workshops for children, teachers, and parents. Its exhibitions change frequently and include mostly works of children.
The Museum of Traditional Pottery is housed in a Neoclassical building of 1875, next to the archaeological site of Kerameikos. The ceramics that are exhibited date from the prehistoric times till today.
The Archaeological Museum of Brauron is located in the south-eastern region of Attica at the Markopoulo area and was built in the late 1960s in order to host a variety of findings that derived from the excavations.
Karagiozis, the most characteristic figure of the Greek shadow theatre, has a unique museum created by the shadow-player Eugene Spatharis. The museum is housed in a Neoclassical building in Marousi, northern Athens.
Vorres Museum is located in Peania, on the northeastern side of Athens, and has two sections: a section of Contemporary Greek Art and a section of Folk Art. Its large collection presents 2,000 years of Greek history. The museum consists of two buildings and gardens that cover 12,000 sq.m.
The museum is displaying an interesting collection of inscriptions from the region of Attica and from other parts of Greece. It is housed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
Averof is actually a warship that has played a great role in Greek history. Today it has been restored and turned into a naval war museum. It is located in Trocadero Marina, Paleo Faliro.
The Art Collection of the National Bank of Greece was formed in 1841, right after the establishment of the bank itself. The collection includes 1,300 original works of leading 19th and 20th-century artists. It is located on Eolou st, between Omonoia and Panepistimiou metro station.
Inaugurated in 1988, the museum is dedicated to the study of the Greek traditional costume. It is located in Kolonaki, between the metro stations of Panepistimiou and Syntagma.
This interesting museum houses rich collections of objects representing all branches of folk art from 1650 till today. Exhibits include embroidery, weaving, costumes and more.
This private museum is a center for international jewelry studies. It exhibits the beautiful creations of Ilias Lalaounis, a famous Athenian jeweler and goldsmith, elected member to the French Academy des Beaux-Arts.
Established in 1986, this museum hosts various minerals from the region of Lavrion, on the southern side of Attica and close to Sounion. The subsoil of the area was largely exploited for its minerals in the ancient times and its exploitation started again in the 19th century.
It is one of the best planetariums in the world and was established with the testament of Eugene Eugenides, a Greek shipowner, and benefactor, who wanted to create an institution that would educate Greek young people in the sections of technology and science. The Athens Digital Planetarium counts on a large scale cinema projection system, which displays images over an area that is ten times bigger than a regular cinema room.
(Permanently closed)The home and studio of Spyros Vassiliou (1902-1985) are now open to the public as a museum and archive. The Atelier recomposes the artistic progression of one of the most acclaimed, reputed and prolific exponents of contemporary Greek art, displaying a large number of his works in a wonderful setting just across the Herodus Atticus Odeon, under the Acropolis.
The Archaeological Museum of Marathon was built in 1975 and is a small but rather interesting museum that completes the archaeological site of Marathon. It is located nearby the memorial tomb of the battle of Marathon.
The Cartoon Museum operates since 1994 and houses the works of famous Greek cartoonists. There is a large collection of political cartoons, advertising material, and newspaper comics. The museum also includes an archive and a library. It is found in a walking distance from the metro station of Metaxourgio, on Liossion st.
This is one of the 5 tactual museums in the world, specially made for blind people. People can actually touch the exhibits, which are copies of famous works of art.
This is a unique interactive museum that uses various exhibits, toys and fairy tales in order to help children understand the world of emotions. It frequently organizes seminars, workshops and drama performances. It is found in a walking distance from the metro stations of Acropolis and Syggrou-Fix.
Established in 1957, the Municipal Gallery of Piraeus has changed many buildings since then. Τoday it is housed in the building of the old post office of Piraeus. It owns a large collection of artists, among whom Lytras, Axelos, Volanakis, and Christofis.
The Museum of Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos is housed in a Neoclassical built in Plaka. It houses the private collection of the Canellopoulos, with more than 6,000 items and art pieces from the prehistoric until modern times.
The Pierides Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art is dedicated to the presentation of the Cypriot culture and its connection to Greece. It is housed in the Cultural Venue Athinais, between Votanikos and Keramikos.
Giorgos Gounaropoulos (G.Gounaro) was a renowned Greek artist who lived from 1890 to 1977. With international exhibitions and a personal technique, he was among the few artists who formed modern Greek art. His atelier in the area of Ano Ilissia has turned into a museum that hosts a large part of his work.
The Marathon Run Museum is located in the town of Marathon, northeastern Attica. This museum is dedicated to the modern history of the Marathon Race and includes rare exhibits and metals of Greek Marathon runners.
The Museum of Telecommunications, unique of its kind in Greece, opened its doors in 1990. It hosts an impressive collection of telecommunications material from the antiquity till today.
The Children Museum is found in Kolonaki and its aim is to offer an enjoyable and educational experience to our children. Parents and grandparents can accompany the children. There the children will have the opportunity to play and learn together.
The Wine Museum in Pallini, northeastern Athens, opened in 2005 and it was created by a family that occupies with wine for 4 generations. The museum is located under an old vineyard and exhibits old tools and a rich collection of photos.