Athens has some of the most important museums in the world, such as the brand new Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. As Athens is the capital of Greece, it is fortunate to have a number of unique museums that display the best of Greek culture in all its dimensions from prehistoric times and antiquity until today.
Athens Museum Map
Athens Museums Guide
The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean civilizations, with special emphasis on Cycladic art of the 3rd millennium BC millennium. Founded in 1986, originally it was the home of the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris and it gradually expanded to accommodate other important collections-donations.
The most modern museum in Europe; it opened its doors to the public in June 2009. The Acropolis Museum houses items from the wider temple area of Acropolis and findings that were returned to Greece from museums and private collections abroad. The most convenient way to visit the museum is by metro or, alternatively, by bus. Visitors should avoid going by car, because parking is difficult to find in the historic center.
The oldest museum in Greece, operating as a Foundation under Private Law, and one of the most popular museums in the country. Housed in one of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings in Athens, it indeed has a quite privileged position in the historic city center, just opposite the green lungs of the National Gardens and the garden of the Presidential Palace.
The Numismatic Museum, housed in a monumental building of the 19th-century residence of Heinrich Schliemann, in the heart of Athens, is among the oldest Greek cultural institutions. Its foundation dates back to 1834. The permanent collection, which is housed on the 1st and 2nd floor of the building, consists of coins, medals, lead bullae, gems, weights and talents dated from the 14th century BC until today.
Angelos Goulandris, founder and president of the Museum of Natural History for 32 years, comes from an old naval family of Andros. In 1964, he founded the Natural History Museum, to promote scientific research of the Greek natural environment and environmental education. The Natural History Museum engages in multiple areas: exhibition, education and research.
The collection of the most famous Greek puppeteer, Eugene Spathari, takes us into the magical world of Greek tradition: the world of shadows. Founded in 1991, the museum features workshops, Karagiozi shows, exhibitions and other theatrical activities. The museum also offers courses and specialized programs for students and the general public.
Right across the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, there is the Byzantine and Christian Museum, giving off the impression of the imperial splendor of Byzantium. The museum includes over 30,000 objects dating from the 3rd to the 21st century AD: icons, frescoes, mosaics, incunabula, manuscripts, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, paintings, etc. Everything is sorted chronologically, by material and theme, and digitized by electronic recording systems.
The maritime history of Greece from 3000 BC until today, has much to tell. The Hellenic Maritime Museum is located in the yacht harbor of Zea, where the boat houses of the Athenian navy were situated in ancient times. The exhibits include models of ancient and modern ships, paintings by some of the greatest Greek marine artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, guns, medals and nautical instruments. The museum presents the maritime history of the Greeks from the prehistoric era to ancient years, the Byzantine period, the Balkan wars, the two World Wars, until the present time.
The Hellenic Motor Museum is situated on the top three floors of the Athenian Capitola shopping mall and welcomes both young and old lovers of cars. It is one of the youngest museums in Athens–it opened in March 2011–and certainly made the best of impressions. Based on the architectural standards of the Guggenheim Museum of New York's distinctive spiral ramp, the museum has become a magnet for car and art lovers. Its collection comprises a total of 310 cars (the collection of the Theodore & Gianna Charagionis Foundation).
The Jewish Museum of Greece was established by Nicholas Stavroulakis in 1977 to preserve the material culture of the Greek Jews. In a small, privately owned building, just at the edge of Athen’s old Plaka district, all that is left of Greece’s Jewish heritage is displayed: artifacts that have been collected and restored since the 1970’s by tireless museum curators and volunteers. It is because of their dedication that the Jewish Museum of Greece now ranks among the top Jewish Museums in Europe.
The Frissiras Museum of modern European painting was established in 2000 by the family of Vlassis Frissiras. Its collection consists of sculptures, paintings, drawings and engravings of European artists, through which an attempt is made to record the trends, people and philosophy of anthropocentric European painting after 1940. The Museum is equipped with audiovisual material and, in addition to the exhibition rooms, it includes a Centre of Research and Documentation, a space for Educational Practice and Cultural Events as well as a specialized Library.
The Technopolis is an industrial museum which opened its doors in 2013. It is one of the few and highly remarkable surviving examples of Greek industrial heritage. Located in the area of Technopolis in Gazi, it occupies the spot where the old gas factory, which provided energy and lighting in Athens for about 130 years, once was. The Technopolis is a major cultural venue and one of the most important industrial monuments. It upgrades a historic area of the capital and creates a more positive side to the cultural identity of Athens.
The largest museum in Greece, and one of the most important in the world. The Museum building, the monument itself, was founded in 1866 on the land donated by Tositsa Helen. The rich collections, which list more than 11,000 exhibits, offer visitors a panorama of the ancient Greek civilization from the beginnings of prehistory to late antiquity.
The National Art Gallery–Alexandros Soutzos Museum is an art museum in Athens devoted to Greek and European art from the 14th to the 20th century. In 1896, Alexandros Soutzos, a jurist and art lover, bequeathed his collection and estate to the Greek Government, aspiring to the creation of an art museum. The gallery exhibitions are mainly focused on post-Byzantine Greek art. The gallery is situated on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, opposite the Hilton Athens. It can be reached with the Athens Metro at the Evangelismos station.
The Greek Children's Museum is a non-profit organization and a public good. It is the country’s only multi-thematic and interactive museum designed specially for children. The purpose of this museum is to help preschool children develop their full potential, become citizens who are respectful of their individuality, gain social consciousness and feel the need to contribute to the community.
Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (often referred to as the ILJM) was created by the renowned Greek jewelry designer Ilias Lalaounis. The ILJM is located near the Acropolis. It is comprised of 50 collections of a total of over 4,000 jewels and small ornaments dedicated to the history and art of jewelry making. The permanent exhibition displays more than 3000 pieces designed in the period 1940-1992.
The Center for the Study Neoteris Keramikis is a museum, research and educational organization dedicated to the research, preservation and promotion of Greek pottery of modern times, from the early 19th until today. It has a rich collection of about 5,000 useful objects which are representative samples of the production of almost all pottery centers of the mainland and Greek islands.
The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus contains mainly sculptures, from Bronze Age to Roman times, discovered in Piraeus and in the area of the Attic coast. The museum is accessible with the Athens metro or bus lines. It is 15-minute walk from Piraeus station and a couple minute walk from bus station. Moreover, it is a 5-minute walk from the area for the reception of cruise ships of the Piraeus port.
The Historical Archive of the National Bank of Greece was created to preserve and promote the historic archives of NBG, for which the Bank already showed special care since its inception. The archive material is particularly significant from a historical point of view, as it covers the period from 1841 to 1966, consisting of the records of NBG as well as of other legal entities and individuals that have come into its possession. The Historical Archive files have captured the whole economic history of the modern Greek state and important aspects of political, cultural and social history.
The museum is housed in an old neoclassical building and it is a part of a cultural unit in “Eleftherias Park” of the Municipality of Athens. The Museum “ELEFTHERIOS K. VENIZELOS” is based on the collection of the Cretans Zaharias Makatounis and his son Antonios. The exhibited material is presented on two floors of the museum building and includes personal relics and records of the events that took place during the period between the birth and the death of Eleftherios Venizelos, such as pamphlets, documents, photographs, lithographs, letter cards, portraits and representations of him in various materials.
Museum of Greek Folk Instruments
The Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments-Ethnomusicology Centre was opened on June 6, 1991. It is based on a collection of 1200 popular Greek musical instruments from the 18th century to the present day. This collection of the instruments belonged to Fivos Anogarakis, who donated to the Greek state. Next to every display case that holds an instrument there are headphones, so that visitors can listen to musical parts executed by the instrument in question. In this way they can really appreciate the sound and the ingenuity of these instruments.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) established in October 2000, is the sole national institution focused only on collecting and exhibiting contemporary Greek and international art in Athens. EMST aims for enhancement and enrichment of its permanent collections with works from Greek and international artists. The museum is developing its permanent collections through purchasing works of art as well as soliciting donations. EMST aims at developing, within the next few years, a core collection of works representative of the basic directions of contemporary art.
The one of the fifteen research centers of Athens Academy. The Folklore Archive was founded in 1918 by Nicolaos G. Politis, with Stilpon Kyriakidis as first Director. In 1926, the Folklore Archive and the National Music Collection (founded in 1914), were placed under the aegis of the Academy of Athens. The aims of the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre are to collect all published texts on folk culture, to enrich unpublished material drawn from oral tradition through fieldwork, and to preserve in their original form, or in copy, the texts of the Folklore Collections of the Centre.
The military history of Greece: old aircrafts, uniforms, swords, weapons, armor, etc. The War Museum was opened in July 1975 and it still operates today. Its mission is to collect and preserve war relics as well as to exhibit, study and promote the Greek fight for freedom from antiquity until today, in order to stimulate the national memory and display historical continuity and unity of Hellenism.