Best Museums in Athens
credit to Ioannis Pelegrinis / Content Writer & Editor at TourScanner

With a history spanning over 3000 years, Athens has no shortage of ancient ruins and museums. From the New Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum, to the Ancient Agora Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art, many of them are genuine landmarks of the city.

But there are also many more that fly under the radar, waiting for you to visit and discover their cultural treasures. To help you maximize your time in the Greek capital, you can check out our list of the best museums in Athens.

1 – Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum in Athens

Situated at the historic Acropolis‘ base in Athens, the Acropolis Museum merges ancient glories with modern design, drawing millions annually to its collections from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

Designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, the museum is celebrated for its innovative design that seamlessly integrates ancient and modern design. Its transparent floors offer a glimpse into the archaeological excavation below, providing a literal and metaphorical bridge between the past and the present.

Among the most prized collections are the remnants of the Parthenon friezes, the original Caryatids, and a myriad of artifacts that tell the story of life in ancient Athens. Thanks to the museum’s layout, visitors can walk chronologically through the city’s history, with each floor dedicated to a different era, from the prehistoric settlements to the height of the Athenian empire.

The museum is open daily, with tickets costing €10 in the winter and €15 in the summer. For a deeper understanding, there are multilingual audio guides, or you can book a guided tour of the Acropolis Museum.

2 – Benaki Museum of Greek Culture

Benaki Museum in Athens

Ever since it opened its doors in 1930, the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture has stood as a beacon of Greek culture and history. Located near Syntagma Square, the Hellenic Parliament, and the National Gardens, the Benaki family’s neoclassical mansion houses an exquisite collection that tells the story of the Greek world from antiquity to modern times.

With collections spanning across Greek history, featuring Byzantine art, Greek paintings, sculptures and an extensive array of Islamic art, the Benaki Museum is a unique institution in Greece. The museum’s eclectic mix of artifacts, including costumes, ceramics, and historical heirlooms, provides a panoramic view of Greek civilization.

3 – National Archeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

Just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis, the National Archeological Museum is a gateway to the rich heritage of Greece, with an expansive collection of artifacts that showcases the timeless beauty and intellect of a civilization that has profoundly influenced the world.

As the largest museum in Greece and one of the most important in the world for ancient Greek art, it boasts a collection that spans over 11,000 years, from prehistory to late antiquity. Among the most prized exhibits in the museum’s impressive collection are the famous Mask of Agamemnon, the enigmatic Antikythera Mechanism, and detailed frescoes from Santorini.

Established in the 19th century to house and protect the country’s invaluable archaeological treasures, it has since become a hub of historical research, conservation, and education. National Archeological Museum ticket prices range from €6 to €12, with free admission for children.

4 – Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens
Left: credit to Ioannis Pelegrinis / Content Writer & Editor at TourScanner

The Cyclades are known these days as one of the most exciting island-hopping destinations in Greece, but they are also one of the most historic regions in the country, with a civilization dating back to the Neolithic era. With a mission to foster appreciation for ancient cultures, the Museum of Cycladic Art is a must-visit for anyone interested in the origins of Western civilization.

The Kolonaki-based museum houses an extensive collection of over 3,000 artifacts, emphasizing Cycladic art’s minimalist beauty, which has inspired artists for centuries. The iconic marble figurines, characterized by their abstract simplicity, are among the museum’s highlights.

The museum not only serves as a repository of Greek history but also engages the public with educational programs, temporary exhibitions, and cultural events. General admission tickets are priced at €12, which increases to €15 to add the temporary exhibitions. The museum also offers in-house guided tours.

5 – National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)

National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens

Hosted in the former Fix Brewery in Athens, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) focuses on collecting and exhibiting contemporary Greek and international art. It features a range of multimedia art installations and temporary exhibitions addressing current social and political issues.

The museum’s collection spans a range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, video, and new media, reflecting the evolving nature of contemporary art. EMST not only exhibits established artists but also provides a stage for emerging talent, highlighting the current trends and movements within the global art scene.

With its engaging exhibitions and educational programs, the museum attracts art enthusiasts and professionals alike, fostering an appreciation for contemporary artistic endeavors. Tickets for the EMST cost €8 for adults, with discounts available for children, seniors and group visits.

6 – Byzantine and Christian Museum

Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens

Established in 1914, the Byzantine and Christian Museum serves as a custodian of Greece’s Christian heritage, showcasing the spiritual and artistic evolution through the centuries. Within the tranquil grounds of the neoclassical museum, visitors will find over 25,000 exhibits, including icons, textiles, paintings, and mosaics from the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval and post-Byzantine eras.

The museum’s collections are meticulously organized to narrate the Byzantine Empire’s history and its profound influence on Orthodox Christianity and Greek culture. With tickets priced at €4 to €8, depending on the season, the museum is accessible to history enthusiasts and scholars alike, offering a serene and enlightening experience.

7 – Jewish Museum of Greece

Jewish Museum of Greece, Athens
credit to Jewish Museum of Greece

The Jewish Museum of Greece was founded in 1977 to collect, preserve, research and exhibit the material culture of 2300 years of Jewish heritage in Greece. As a historical and ethnographic museum, its focus is on presenting a dynamic overview of Jewish history and tradition over the centuries.

Its collection, which is constantly being enriched, consists of more than 10,000 original objects, photographs, documents and archives from the daily and religious life and the historical course of the Greek Jews. The museum also features a poignant account of the Holocaust and the enduring spirit of the Jewish people in Greece, making it an essential visit for those seeking to discover the multifaceted tapestry of Greek society.

Tickets for the Jewish Museum of Greece cost €10 for adults, with guided group tours also available for a more comprehensive experience.

8 – Stoa of Attalos – Museum of the Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora in Athens

The Museum of the Ancient Agora is one of the most unique and best museums in Athens, serves as a window into the commercial, political, and social life of Ancient Greece. Housed in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, the museum is focused exclusively on findings from the archaeological excavations at the Ancient Agora.

This two-story structure, with its Doric and Ionic columns, houses a wealth of artifacts that reveal the intricacies of daily life in ancient Athens, from pottery and sculptures to coins and inscriptions. As one of the best museums in Athens, the Stoa of Attalos’ collection offers insights into the democratic processes, religious practices, and economic transactions that took place within the Agora, the focal point of Athenian life.

Open to the public, it invites visitors to stroll through history, amidst the ruins where philosophers once walked. Tickets for the Museum of the Ancient Agora cost €10.

Hot tip: Discover the best ancient ruins in Athens, including the Agora, where philosophers once debated, and democracy took its first steps.

9 – Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
credit to Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation

Head over to the neighborhood of Pagrati, behind the Panathenaic Stadium, to visit the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, one of the most exciting and varied museums of contemporary art, featuring works by international artists such as Picasso, Van Gogh, and Pollock, alongside many prominent Greek artists.

The foundation is the legacy of Basil and Elise Goulandris, passionate art collectors whose vision was to create a space that celebrates creativity and innovation. Spanning several floors, the museum’s layout is designed to take visitors on an immersive journey through the evolution of art from the 20th century to the present.

In addition to its permanent collection, the foundation hosts temporary exhibitions, workshops, and cultural events, enriching Athens’ cultural landscape. Tickets cost €10, with discounts available for seniors and students.

10 – Hellenic Motor Museum

Hellenic Motor Museum in Athens

Petrolheads rejoice! Hellenic Motor Museum celebrates the ingenuity and artistry of the automotive industry. Spanning four floors, this museum showcases a remarkable collection of over 100 classic and antique cars, illustrating the technological advancements and design trends from the late 19th century to the modern era.

Highlights include rare models from iconic manufacturers such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Bugatti, each car meticulously restored to its original splendor. The museum also educates visitors about the history of transportation, from the invention of the wheel to the development of the internal combustion engine.

With interactive exhibits, such as a Formula 1 simulator, and many hands-on experiences, the Hellenic Motor Museum is a thrilling destination for car enthusiasts and families alike. General admission tickets for the museum are priced at €10.

11 – Numismatic Museum of Athens

Numismatic Museum of Athens

Did you know that in ancient Greece, the deceased had to pay to cross over to the Underworld? Or that Greece turned to a counterfeiter to create its currency after gaining independence? To learn more about these stories, along with the evolution of currency in Greece, plan a visit to the Numismatic Museum of Athens.

With over 500,000 pieces, the museum’s collection provides a unique lens through which to view the economic, political, and social currents of bygone eras in Greece. Aside from delving into the science of numismatics, the museum also highlights the artistry and craftsmanship of ancient minting. After touring the exhibitions, relax with a refreshing drink in the museum’s garden. Numismatic Museum of Athens tickets cost €3.

12 – Benaki Museum of Islamic Art

Benaki Museum in Athens

A visit to the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art is not just an educational journey but an inspiration, celebrating the beauty, evolution and complexity of Islamic art. Its mission is to foster understanding and appreciation of Islamic civilization’s contributions to global heritage.

Located in a neoclassical building in the historic Kerameikos district, this museum is part of the larger Benaki Museum network and showcases an impressive collection of over 8,000 artifacts. The exhibits include ceramics, textiles, rugs, glass, metalwork, and manuscripts, highlighting the cultural exchange between the Islamic world and Greece.

Tickets for the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art cost €9.

13 – Athens City Museum

Athens City Museum
credit to Athens City Museum

The Athens City Museum is also known as the “Old Palace”, as it was the first residence of the first royal couple of Greece. These days, the two buildings on Klafthmonos Square are dedicated to the evolution of the Greek capital in the modern era. As two of the oldest buildings in the city, the museum takes visitors on a journey back in time and opens a window into the everyday life of Athenians from the mid-1800s and onward.

The meticulously preserved collection of over 40,000 artifacts includes everything from paintings, engravings, and sculptures to furniture, musical instruments, and photographs that tell the story of Athens. Tickets for the Athens City Museum cost €5, with discounts available for children, students and senior visitors.

14 – National Historical Museum

National Historical Museum in Athens

Step into the heart of Athens and discover the National Historical Museum, the custodian of Greece’s storied past. Located in the old Parliament House, this museum narrates the story of Greece, from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the 20th century.

Marvel at a collection that spans historical documents, traditional costumes, personal items of national heroes, and artifacts that narrate Greece’s journey to independence and beyond. Highlights include the very flag raised during the War of Independence and the personal effects of key figures like Theodoros Kolokotronis.

Don’t miss the chance to connect with the events and personalities that have woven the fabric of Greek identity. Tickets for the National Historical Museum are priced at €10.

15 – Goulandris Natural History Museum

Goulandris Natural History Museum, Athens
credit to Goulandris Natural History Museum

Discover the wonders of the natural world at the Goulandris Natural History Museum in the northern suburbs of Athens, in Kifisia. This fascinating museum is a hub for those keen to explore nature’s diversity and offers visitors an insightful look into the environmental and geological forces that shape our planet.

Take a stroll through the museum’s botanical gardens and learn more about Greece’s rich flora and fauna. The museum also aims to inspire children and adults alike with interactive exhibits, such as dinosaur replicas that bring prehistoric creatures to life. The Goulandris Natural History Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the natural sciences, making it a perfect addition to your Athens itinerary.

16 – War Museum

War Museum, Athens

Book your tickets for the War Museum in Athens for an insightful look into the country’s battles and strategic evolutions from antiquity to modern times. Established in 1975, the museum welcomes visitors of all ages to explore its halls, learn about Greece’s strategic past, and honor those who fought for freedom and peace.

Spanning multiple floors, the museum’s collections include an impressive array of artifacts, including ancient armor, weapons, uniforms, and detailed dioramas covering historic battles. Notable exhibits cover the Greek War of Independence, Balkan Wars, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War, presenting a unique lens through which to view global history.

17 – National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum

National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Athens

The National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum is easily one of the most impressive and best museums in Athens. As a guardian of artistic excellence, the National Gallery showcasing an impressive array of Greek and European art, from the post-Byzantine period to modern times.

After you pass through the door, you can admire works by eminent Greek artists such as Nikolaos Gyzis, Nikiforos Lytras, and Yannis Tsarouchis, alongside masterpieces by European luminaries.

With its recent expansion and renovation, the National Gallery has also transformed into a space for exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events. Tickets for the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum cost €10 for adults, with discounted entry available to children, students and seniors.

18 – Museum of Greek Folk Art

Museum of Greek Folk Art, Athens

To get a real understanding of the cultural fabric of Greece, make sure to check out the Museum of Greek Folk Art in the downtown area of Plaka. Ever since it first opened to the public in 1918, the museum has aimed to chronicle and celebrate the country’s cultural traditions and artisan craftsmanship.

Covering everything from intricate textiles and costumes to detailed ceramics and metalwork, the museum not only presents these artifacts but also narrates the stories behind them, connecting visitors with the enduring spirit of Greek culture. It promises an enlightening experience, revealing the skill, creativity, and community values that have shaped Greek folk art through the ages.

19 – Hellenic Maritime Museum

Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens

Located in the picturesque area of Piraeus, near the Zea Marina, the Hellenic Maritime Museum is a must-visit for anyone intrigued by the tales of maritime adventures, battles, and explorations that shaped Greece and the wider Mediterranean region.

With an extensive collection that includes model ships, ancient maritime artifacts, maps, and navigational instruments, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of Greece’s naval legacy. The museum also highlights Greece’s contributions to global maritime history, including its involvement in significant naval conflicts and the achievements of contemporary Greek shipping.

20 – Athens Olympic Museum

Athens Olympic Museum
credit to Athens Olympic Museum

In the words of Pierre de Coubertin, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part.” The Athens Olympic Museum embodies this spirit, standing proudly within the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens and serving as a comprehensive homage to the Olympic Games, from their ancient roots to the modern spectacle we know today.

Featuring an array of memorabilia, from torches and medals to personal items belonging to Olympic legends, the museum offers an engaging narrative of perseverance, triumph, and global camaraderie. The Athens Olympic Museum is a celebration of human endeavor, sporting excellence, and the unifying power of the Games across time and nations.

Tickets for the Athens Olympic Museum are reasonably priced at €7, with discounts available for families, children and senior visitors.

21 – Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions in Athens

Let your imagination run wild in Athens and prepare yourself for a journey into a world where the boundaries between reality and illusion blur! The Museum of Illusions is conveniently located in Monastiraki and offers an extraordinary experience that challenges perception and defies the laws of physics.

Step inside and find yourself navigating through a world of optical illusions, where floors tilt, perspectives shift, and mirrors reflect endless possibilities. Each room is designed to entertain and perplex, to both reveal the limitation of human senses and the boundless nature of our imagination! General admission is €12, however you will need to book in advance to pick a specific timeslot for your visit.

22 – Epigraphic Museum

Epigraphic Museum, Athens
credit to Epigraphic Museum of Athens

Have you ever wondered what goes into making a sign? Well, if you are visiting Athens, then you are in luck, as the Epigraphic Museum is one of the largest of its kind worldwide, housing an unparalleled collection of over 14,000 inscriptions, from ancient decrees and laws to intimate letters and financial accounts.

Each artifact within the museum’s walls tells a story, whether it be a monumental public declaration carved in stone or a personal note etched onto a small clay tablet. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a student, or simply curious, the Epigraphic Museum offers a fascinating insight into the world of ancient Greeks through the very words they left behind.

Tickets for the Epigraphic Museum cost €2 to €4, while a 3-day ticket that also includes access to the National Archaeological Museum, the Epigraphic Museum, the Numismatic Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum costs €15.

23 – Technopolis City of Athens

Technopolis City of Athens

“Innovation is the calling card of the future.” The Technopolis City of Athens, a dynamic hub for culture, technology, and creativity, exemplifies this spirit. Located in the downtown area of Gazi, this former gasworks has transformed into one of the best museums in Athens that is also a premier destination for events, exhibitions, and educational programs that celebrate the fusion of past, present, and future.

Hosting over a million visitors a year, Technopolis is a focal point for international festivals, cutting-edge art shows, and music concerts, making it a must-visit for anyone keen on experiencing contemporary Greek culture. Its unique industrial architecture, preserved as a nod to its heritage, provides a stunning backdrop for the myriad activities held within its grounds.

24 – Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum

Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, Athens

The Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum in Athens is a unique cultural gem – in the truest sense – that is dedicated to the art of jewelry and decorative crafts. Founded by legendary goldsmith Ilias Lalaounis, the museum showcases an exquisite collection of over 4,000 pieces, each telling a story of ancient civilizations, nature, and art through the ages.

Lalaounis’ creations are celebrated for their blend of ancient techniques with modern aesthetics, making this museum a must-visit for anyone interested in the evolution of jewelry design. Aside from breathtaking jewelry displays, the museum’s workshops and exhibitions reveal the intricacies and secrets of the creative process.

25 – Museum of Ancient Greek Technology Kotsanas

Museum of Ancient Greek Technology Kotsanas in Athens

Have you ever wondered how ancient Greeks shaped the world with their technological innovations? The Museum of Ancient Greek Technology Kotsanas in Athens is here to help, offering a fascinating glimpse into the ingenious minds that paved the way for modern technology.

From the automatic theater of Heron to the Antikythera mechanism, often considered the first known analog computer, the exhibits bring to life the remarkable creativity and intellectual prowess of ancient Greek civilization. With over 100 reconstructions of Greek inventions dating from 2000 BC to the end of the ancient Greek world, the museum reveals the stories of ancient inventors and scientists, while helping you understand how these technologies developed over the centuries.

Visiting Athens museums on a budget?

Maximize your experience in the Greek capital with the Athens Museum Pass, granting access to top museums or the Mythology Pass for a journey through ancient myths. The Athens Ticket Pass is your key to essential sites, while the Athens City Attraction Pass offers discounts on popular attractions. These passes are your affordable gateway to exploring Athens’ rich history and culture without breaking the bank.

Where to go next?

After taking in the art and culture at the best museums in the city, you can shift gears with some fun things to do in Athens. Alternatively, if you are up for some urban exploration, you can join some of the best walking tours in Athens and dive into the city’s lively neighborhoods.

To keep yourself charged though, like a local, you can always indulge in the best food tours in Athens, sampling traditional Greek cuisine. Don’t miss the best tourist attractions in Athens, from the Acropolis to the Plaka district and beyond.

Ioannis (or Yannis, he insists) is a Content Writer and Editor at TourScanner hailing from Athens, Greece, where the fantastical worlds of comics, music and film fueled his dreams and love for travel. While his childhood ambition to claim the moon as his own remains unfulfilled (for now), he channeled his curiosity into a decade-long academic adventure in England. With over ten years of experience as a journalist and wordsmith translator, he aims to craft stories that bridge cultures and perspectives. His passion for narratives isn’t confined to the written word, though, and you’ll often find him rummaging through record shops, showcasing his sweetest dance moves at live gigs, or absorbed in cinematic masterpieces. And yes, he's still keeping an eye on the stars.