Known as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, Greece attracts culture buffs and history aficionados from all over the world. Millions of tourists travel to Athens every year to admire the ancient Greek sculptures in the city’s prestigious museums and visit the country’s remarkable archeological sites. With exhibitions displaying artworks of different eras and places, choosing the right place to start your journey back in time can feel overwhelming. Follow my guide to the top five museums in Athens and see Greek history from the prehistoric era to the 21st century unfolding before your eyes.

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum should be your first stop in your cultural exploration in the Greek Capital. Since 2007 when the museum opened its doors for the first time millions of tourists have passed by to take a glimpse of the ancient Greek culture. Spanning for 25,000 square meters the modern museum is home to thousands of artifacts from the Mycenaean period to the Early Christian era. The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis, the first collection visitors see once they enter the museum displays items found at the slopes of the Acropolis as well as objects from Athenians’ daily life. The third floor is devoted to the construction and decoration figures of the Parthenon. Parts and statues from the Propylaia, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion comprise the museum’s last gallery. Finally, depictions of philosophers and historical figures from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD fill the north side of the first floor.

Admission fee: €5 (Winter season), €10 (Summer season)

Opening hours:

November 1st – March 31st:

Monday – Thursday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm

April 1st – October 31st:

Monday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Tuesday – Sunday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm


The National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Being the first museum founded in the Greek state after the country was liberated from Ottoman rule, The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is one of the most important museums worldwide. Home to over 11,000 exhibits from all over Greece, the historic museum provides insight into the ancient Greek culture from the prehistory to the late antiquity. In its exhibition rooms, visitors will find among others vases dating from the 11th to the 4th century BC, sculptures from 700 BC to the 5th century AD and one of the world’s richest collections of bronze artworks.

Admission fee: €5

Opening hours:

November 1st – February 28th:

Monday: 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Tuesday – Sunday: 08:30 am – 3:30 pm

March 1st – March 31st:

Tuesday: 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Wednesday – Monday: 08:30 am – 4:00 pm


The Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum displays a number of incredible collections of different eras and styles. From the Prehistoric, Ancient Greek and Roman art collection to exhibits that date to the early Byzantine period and the late 6th and early 7th century, the renowned museum covers a wide chronological range. Benaki’s world-class collection of Islamic art housed in a neo-classical building complex in the heart of the city center presents over 8,000 artworks from India, Persia, Egypt and other countries. The museum’s notable photographic archive of over 25,000 images captured in the 19th and 20th century offers visitors a glimpse into local customs and traditions presenting the Greek society over the years.

Admission fee: €9

Opening hours (main building):

Wednesday – Friday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 – 12:00 am
Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

The Museum of Cycladic art

Figurines, tools and pottery that represent the culture flourished in the central Aegean from the Early Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period comprise the marvellous collection of the Museum of Cycladic Art. Displayed in two interconnected buildings the outstanding exhibitions introduce visitors to the Greek art flourished in antiquity. The museum’s first floor exhibits bronze objects, marble figurines and vases that date to the third millennium BC while the 350 objects on the second floor examine Greek society from 2000 BC to AD 395. In addition, the permanent exhibition on the museum’s 4th-floor presents artifacts of daily life in the Classical και Hellenistic periods. In 2002 a collection of Cypriot Antiquities was added in the museum enriching its already prestigious collection.

Admission fee: €7

Opening hours:

Μonday – Wednesday – Friday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm


The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)

The National Museum of Contemporary Art has been organizing events and exhibitions of modern art already since 2000. But it was only two years ago that EMST found its permanent home in an old brewery building on Sygrou Avenue. Ever since exhibitions of Greek and international artists have been frequently taking place welcoming hundreds of locals and tourists. When in 2017 the Fix Brewery building hosted the main exhibition of documenta 14, The National Museum of Contemporary Art came to the forefront. The museum recently received a €3,000,000 grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and announced the temporary suspension of its exhibition programme in order to renovate the building and install a permanent collection on the three top floors, which will further solidify itself on the list of the best museums in Athens.


The Best Museums in Athens photos courtesy of thanassis 79 / Flickr, mykaul / Flickr, Liz Muir/ Flickr, Tilemahos Efthimiadis / Flickr, EMST Athens/ Wikimedia Commons