Museums In Athens
What are the best museums in Athens to visit? Where are they, and where can I buy tickets online to beat the queues? Over the years, I’ve been asked these same questions many times.
When visiting museums in Athens, almost everyone wants to see the Acropolis Museum. But did you know that Athens has so many more world-class museums?
Whether your plan to visit Athens for a day, a weekend or an extended holiday, my travel guide answers those questions and a lot more for your holiday plans.
There are so many museums that I want to show you, so let’s begin the journey, shall we?
Let’s begin our journey with the most popular museum in Athens; The Acropolis Museum. Completed in 2009, the Acropolis Museum is, without doubt, the most famous museum in Athens, with almost 2 million visitors each year.
The museum is opposite the entrance to the Acropolis of Athens, making it an essential stop for tourists and visitors to Athens. It exhibits all the significant finds from the Parthenon, the Acropolis of Athens and the surrounding area, providing a fascinating insight into daily life in ancient Athens.
Covering 25,000 square metres, this all-glass museum was constructed under three strict conditions:
- To provide breathtaking views of the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the surrounding hills from transparent glass walls.
- To exhibit the Parthenon sculptures.
- Not interfere with the archaeological findings during excavations.
At its base, the museum appears to be floating, as it’s supported by more than 100 concrete pillars, which provide an impressive shelter for the site’s archaeological excavation.
There are so many things to see at the Acropolis Museum, but here’s a short list of ones you should definitely not miss:
- The Parthenon Marbles are one of the most iconic attractions at the Acropolis Museum. These sculptures once adorned the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis.
- The Caryatids are a set of six female statues that once supported the roof of the Erechtheion temple on the Acropolis. These statues are made from marble and are over 2 metres high.
- The “Daily Life in Ancient Athens” exhibit is one of the most popular sections of the Acropolis Museum. This exhibit showcases artefacts from all aspects of Athenian life, from furniture and tools to clothing and jewellery.
- The Children’s Section is excellent for kids who want to learn more about ancient Greece. This museum section has several interactive exhibits, including a play area and a quiz zone.
- The Museum Cafe is a great place to stop for a coffee or a bite to eat after exploring the Acropolis Museum. Walk outside, and you will be enhanced with the breathtaking views of the Acropolis, The Parthenon, and over Athens. The cafe offers a range of snacks and drinks, including sandwiches, salads, cakes, and hot meals.
Next, we move on to the National Archaeological Museum, undoubtedly one of the world’s finest museums. It was opened in 1891, and it took a further 65 years of renovation and reorganization to do justice to its collection.
Along with the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum is a must-see when visiting Athens. The museum has an impressive collection of artefacts from various periods in Greek history, including gold jewellery from the Mycenaean period, sculptures, pottery, and more. The museum is significant, and it may take a few hours to see everything, so be sure to allow enough time when planning your visit.
Some of the most famous exhibits include:
- The Mask of Agamemnon is one of Athens’s most famous exhibits at the National Archaeological Museum. The mask was discovered at Mycenae, and it is made of gold. It is believed that the mask was worn by Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, during his funeral.
- The statue of Poseidon from Cape Artemision is another popular exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The statue is made of bronze, and it was discovered in 1920. It is believed that the statue was part of a group of statues that depicted Poseidon and his children.
Next on my list of some of the best museums in Athens is the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology Athens. Based in a rather unique historic Art Nouveau building, just 150m from Syntagma Square and the National History Museum.
The building once belonged to the family of Queen Aspasia Manou, the wife of Alexander I.
The museum is on several floors and is split into two main themes: Ancient Greek Technology and Ancient Greek Musical Instruments and Games.
There are so many exhibits to see and also get your hands. Some of the best are
- The automatic servant of Philon. This was a human-like robot in the form of a maid that held a jug of wine in her right hand. When the visitor placed a cup in the palm of her left hand, she automatically poured wine and then poured water into the cup, mixing it when desired.
- The inventions of Archimedes
- The elevating mechanisms of the ancient Greeks
- The technology of the ancient Greek theatre
- The hydraulic technology of the ancient Greeks
- Measuring instruments, tools and machines of the ancient Greeks
- Telecommunication of the ancient Greeks
- The astronomical measuring instruments of the ancient Greeks
- The siege technology of the ancient Greeks
- The textile technology of the ancient Greeks
- The agricultural technology of the ancient Greeks
- The medical technology of the ancient Greeks
- The sports technology of the ancient Greeks
- The nautical technology of the ancient Greeks
- The flight machines of the ancient Greeks
- The musical instruments of ancient Greeks
- The toys of the ancient Greeks
Last on my list of top museums in Athens is the Hellenic Motor Museum. Whether you like cars or not, it is a fascinating 300-car exhibit trip from the early 1900s to the present day.
Situated close to the National Archaeological Museum. It is on the three top floors of the Athenian Capitol shopping mall. The museum offers many other facilities such as a Formula 1 simulator, a road safety education programme and an amphitheatre.
As I said, there are over 300 cars, but here’s a list of some of the one’s you really need to see:
- The 1904 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is one of the oldest cars in the museum’s collection and was once owned by King George of Greece.
- The 1929 Cadillac V16 Town Car is one of the oldest cars in the museum’s collection and was once used by Franklin D. Roosevelt as his personal vehicle.
- The 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster is one of the museum’s most beautiful cars. If you’re lucky enough to see it on display, be sure to take a photo beside it.
- The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta is one of only 39 ever made and is a true classic.
- The 1994 McLaren F1 is one of the fastest cars in the world and was once owned by actor Pierce Brosnan. It’s definitely worth taking a look at if you’re a fan of high-performance cars.