It’s no secret that Athens is a hub for history, ancient mysteries and archaeological feats. Inhabited for over 3,000 years, Athens laid the groundwork for the development of western civilisation, which is why most, when they visit ‘The Violet Crowned City’ city, can’t wait to explore its ancient history. If you’re trying to figure out which museums to see first, start with these seven best museums in Athens.
Best Museums In Athens
Athens’ National Archaeological Museum is home to some of the most important collections of antiquities in the world. At this mega museum, you’ll find over 11 thousand exhibits that bring ancient Greek history, art and culture to life. Because of its sheer size, we recommend spending an entire day by planning ahead and deciding what all you want to see. Otherwise, you will need around two days to take it all in.
Must see: Zeus, The Antikythera Mechanism, The Mask of Agamemnon, The Kore and Kouros.
If you are going to Athens for ancient history (who isn’t?), the Acropolis Museum is the place to be. Prepare to be blown away by the museum’s collection of everything from the Mycenaean era through Roman and Early Christian times. If you have time, grab a bite at the restaurant on the second floor. Kitschy? Sure. But the views are worth it.
Must see: Caryatid Ladies, Gallery of the Slopes.
Five thousand years of artwork from the Cyclades can be found at the Museum of Cycladic Art. The museum has an impressive collection of sculptures from the early bronze age and an equally remarkable exhibit for ‘daily life’. The daily life exhibit is serious of artefacts that tell a story of how everyday life was for the ancient Greeks. While it’s not the most famous, it’s one of the most interesting and eyeopening museums in Athens.
Must See: Zintillis Collection of Cypriot Antiquities
The Benaki Museum has artefacts dating back to antiquity and the Byzantine period, what’s really interesting are the rooms. Not only is the Benaki Museum home to one of the best private collections in the country, but it’s also home to unique preserved rooms. You can view expertly reconstructed bedrooms from 18th-century mansion that give a glimpse into how life was. Afterwards, head to the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery.
Must See: Head of a Philosopher, Coptic Linen Textiles
Lovers of Picasso, El Greco, Monet and Miro, this is the place for you. Housing the works and pieces collected by Basil Goulandris and his wife Elise Karadontis, you will find a wide array of unique art here. This modern art museum boasts eleven floors of endless artworks perfect for an afternoon of exploring.
Must See: Van Gogh’s ‘The Alyscamps’, Monet’s ‘Cathedral In The Morning’ and Toulouse-Lautrec’s ‘Women in Monsieur Forest’s Garden’
Tucked away in the Kolonaki neighbourhood, you’ll find the Byzantine & Christian Museum. This museum gives the best glimpse into life during the Greek Byzantine and Medieval era. It’s also housed in an old mansion with a lush and spacious courtyard for a nice stroll afterwards. It ticks all the boxes for a pleasant afternoon.
Must See: Mosaic and Textile Collections
You’ll find this museum in what was Greece’s first House of Parliament. It covers all the bases from the Byzantine Empire to Greece’s Independence from the Ottomans. Founded in 1882, the museum has had ample time to curate its collection and bring you some of the very best of Greece’s complicated past.
Must See: The Fall Of Byzantium, Weapons Of The Struggle, Philhellenism