Wonderful private museum housed in a beautiful mansion. What's great about the Benaki is that it offers a brilliant overview of Greek history (not just classical) through its collection of artifacts, art works, costumes and furniture.
Koumbari 1 (cnr Vasilissis Sofias)
Nearest metro: Syntagma
Greece is mainly famous for its ancient glorious past; thus, the museums that are associated with that period are the mostly visited. However, Greece kept on living and evolving and there are many museums that are addressed to every kind of taste.
ANTIQUITY-RELEVANT: This year, the New Museum of Acropolis (www.newacropolismuseum.gr/ ) opened. Its ambition is to house all the finds and statues that were discovered in Acropolis from archaic till Roman times. In the National Archaeological Museum you will have the chance to see a panorama of ancient Greek art, its development and some of the major artworks of that period. You can also experience ancient Athens through a virtual reality time travel in the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre, which is housed in an original industrial complex. Grasp the opportunity of seeing how the Ancient Agora or Ancient Olympia really looked like!
FOR ART/HISTORY LOVERS: The National Art Gallery and the National Museum of Contemporary Art house collections of contemporary Greek painting and art. There is also the National History Museum for those who want to get acquainted with the medieval and modern Greek history.
FOR CHILDREN: In the Hellenic Children’s Museum, children can combine playing with learning, in the Goulandris Museum of Natural History they will come in contact with the elements of the natural environment whereas in the Museum of Touch they will have the chance to touch every single exhibit. There is even a Museum of Children’s Toys.
VARIOUS: The Museum of Islamic Art, the Jewish Museum and the Numismatic Museum are considered to be among the best of their kind in a global level.
So, if you want to scratch the surface of the city in order to reveal its real self, visits to the museums are definitely recommended.
For a list of the museums of Athens, you can check: www.athens-greece.us/athens-museums/
Situated at the foot of the famous Acropolis, this stunning new museum dedicated to the findings and artefacts is now open. At an entrance price of only €1 it is a bargain for visitors. As you move to the upper levels, the full glory of the Parthenon and the Acropolis itself are magically manifest.
In the centre of Athens, a museum in a neoclassical villa with collections covering every period of Greek history.
Lots of interesting exhibit types you don't see in the more popular places; not particularly visited by tourists so good to spend time there.
Good little shop with quality souvenirs; cafe.
Admission worth €6 of anybody's money.
Closed Tuesday, Free Thursday and also if you are a family with more than three children - there is a toys and games collection.
Also other collections in annexes around town: for example, one of the most important collections of Islamic art outside the Islamic world. See the website.
1 Koumbari and Vas Sofias avenue (up side of Houses of Parliament just off Syntagma)
The National Archaeological museum is the largest museum in Greece. It has collections from all the eras of the Greek civilization from the 6th millennium BC until the late Antiquity. Large collections of sculpture and ceramics from the Geometric Period. The most famous items are the bronze statue of Poseidon, the Mycenaean death Mask of Agamenon, the small marble statue of The Harp player from Keros from the prehistoric Cycladic period, the bronze statue of the Young man from Antikythera, the bronze statue - Boy and Horse from Artemision and many others.
Patission Street 44 Athens
Plaka is one of the most popular spots in Athens. Since Melina Mercury cleaned up the area from the noisy bars and night clubs, today Plaka is a quiet small Greek village inside the overcrowded Athens center.
Best time to enjoy Plaka is early spring and late October when the tourist wave has gone. There are many places and museums to visit in Plaka among them the museums of Greek folk art, the Children's Museum, the Frissiras Museum of Greek painting and the Greek music instruments museum. In Plaka you can see also the Roman bath of the Winds and the Lysicrates monument, next to it was the Capuchin Monastery where Lord Byron stayed. Across the Adrianou street and on the steps of Plaka you will find many shops, cafes and restaurants.
One of the most famous historical places in Greece is Delphi. If you stay in Athens you can take a day trip to Delphi. Visit the museum to see the statue of the Charioteer of Delphi, the temple of Apollo and enjoy the mountain view.
Information and more about Greece:
The Byzantine museum has been recently renovated and houses the best collection of Byzantine art in Greece. Although the Byzantine period stretched for over a 1,000 years and influenced modern Greece as much as ancient history, it is often overlooked by visitors. Well worth a visit – and less busy than the archaeological museum.
22 Vasilissis Sofias Ave, next to the Athens Hilton
The Vorres Museum consists of a complex of buildings, gardens and courtyards, covering an area of 80 acres. The museum has been donated, in the form of a cultural and artistic foundation, to the Greek state by the Vorres family.
It is mainly a museum of modern Greek art, which presents important works of art and sculpture created by Greek artists of the second half of the 20th-century. A general survey of the works clearly shows the significant influence of classical, Byzantine and folk tradition.
Good collection of work by artists who will be unfamiliar to most but none the worse for that. Beautiful setting, and can be combined with a visit to the impressive Peania Cave which is within walking distance if you are feeling energetic.
1 Parodos Diad. Konstantinou, 190 02 Paiania, Attica;
tel: 210-6642520, 6644771
Saturday-Sunday 10.00-14.00, Monday-Friday: please contact with the museum
The Acropolis and the museums are free on Sundays all day.
And if you have a European student card you get in for free at other times. I have a rather dodgy looking student card from five years ago for a language school I worked at in Spain, and that was good enough for every place I went to in Greece (Mycenae, Corinth, etc...).
Escape the heat and crowds in the calming oasis of the Goulandris Collection of Cycladic Art. The museum houses a prehistoric collection from the 3rd millennium BC (Early Bronze Age), the most evocative being marble figurines, some of them near lifesize.
4 Neophytou Douka, GR 106 74 Athens; tel: 210 72 28 321; www.cycladic-m.gr
nearest metro: Syntagma or Evangelismos;
Closed Sunday and Tuesday
Athens has a number of important and interesting museums. The Museum of Musical instruments in Plaka may not be on the top of the list, but it is a very pleasant small museum, where you can examine beautifully handcrafted traditional musical instruments, listen to recordings of their sounds and meet the ancestors of the famous bouzouki. The location is tranquil and on the little square next to it (Platanos Square), you will find excellent traditional food (Taverna Platanos), and Rere's cafe, one of the few remaining hangouts for the locals of Plaka, where you can relax over a decent cup of Greek coffee made the way it should be. This is not hip Athens, it is Athens old style.
In Plaka, next to the 'Tower of the Winds' and the ruins of the old Madressa of Athens (one of the few surviving Ottoman landmarks), just of 'Platanos' Square;
Remember that the 12 euro (£8) admission fare for the Acropolis is also valid for the ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus (Olympeion), the Roman Agora, the Theatre of Dionysus (at the foot of the Acropolis) and the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos and its little museum. Visit the Acropolis first to get this multi-ticket, if you go to the other sites first you'll pay individual admissions, which works out more expensive. EU students get everywhere for free, non-EU students get concession tickets, usually half price.
Unbeknown to most, Athens boasts an array of exceptional museums, not least the Museum of Islamic Art, which houses the biggest selection of Islamic art outside the Muslim world and is rightly regarded as one of Europe’s must-see cultural institutions. It opened in 2004 as an annexe to the Benaki Museum, which is also worth visiting along with the Cycladic Museums. Technopolis, a foundry converted into an art gallery in the Gazi area, puts on good shows and concerts.
Museum of Islamic Art, Agion Asomaton 22 (cnr Dipylou), Keramikos; Tel: 210 367 3000; Nearest metro: Thisio/ Monastiraki; Open: 9am-5pm Mon & Wed-Sat, 9am-3pm Sun; www.benaki.gr/
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