Museums and Art Galleries in Athens

Athens is the ideal destination for someone who wants more from a holiday than sun, sea and sand, though these are all a nice added bonus too. History is brought to life, with temples, monuments and the ancient Olympic Stadium still standing in stunning condition around the city, and it’s easy to imagine yourself as an ancient Greek going about your daily business in the sunny capital of Greece. But when temperatures soar and it’s too toasty to look at the architecture from the outside, why not head into some of the fascinating museums and art galleries scattered around the city?

The National Archaeological Museum is considered one of the best in the world. The grand neoclassic building houses an impressive collection of ancient statues, weapons and Greek utensils. One of the highlights is an ancient computer, the Antikithira device. It contains thousands of artworks and artefacts from all over Greece.

The Benaki Museum features pieces from a variety of cultures, and some of the newest elements are two wings dedicated to Islamic and modern art. Its art ranges from the prehistoric ancient Greek and Roman to the Byzantine and Neo-Hellenic, and there are also many Greek heirlooms on display. It is the oldest museum in Athens, and tends to be listed as a must-see for visitors to the city.

The Athens Gallery is situated in the heart of the city, and focuses mainly on modern Greek art. Fusing modern techniques with ancient inspiration and subject matter, there are some fascinating pieces which show off the finest work in the field, and any art buff will find this an enlightening experience and a chance to see some truly memorable artworks.

Of course, no trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the Acropolis Museum, a stunning building showcasing the archaeological excavation of the Acropolis and 50m of the frieze from the Parthenon, the majority of which resides in the British Museum. Along with this, there are some excellent examples of Ionic architecture taken from various temples, along with statues depicting the Greek gods and goddesses. At weekends, it also displays some short 3D films in its virtual reality theatre to give visitors a real taste of the Acropolis in all its former glory.

If you prefer something a little more eclectic, the Folk Musical Instruments Museum offers free entry and displays a fantastic range of traditional musical instruments from across Greece. Each instrument can be heard on headphones, and there’s a brilliant little shop next door to pick up a souvenir.  

Emma Lawson is a travel fanatic who likes to blog about her trips to Europe to provide advice to other travellers