Established in 1829, Athens’ National Archaeological Museum houses treasures unearthed from the many archaeological sites scattered throughout Greece, dating from prehistory to the late classical period. The expansive neoclassical building holds sculptures, bronzes, ceramics, and jewelry from Mycenae, Santorini, ancient Egypt, and beyond.The Basics
Trace ancient Greek art through the ages as you walk the permanent collections, encompassing sculpture, metalwork, and antiquities. The National Archaeological Museum is easy to navigate and exhibits are clearly labeled, so many travelers explore independently. But a guided walking tour, especially a private tour, can yield dividends when it comes to navigating more than 11,000 artifacts. Tickets are available for the museum itself, or choose a combo ticket valid for multiple museums.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The National Archaeological Museum is a must for history buffs and art lovers alike.
- The museum houses a cafe and a shop.
- The hop-on hop-off bus stops at the museum.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible, with a ramp at the entrance, elevator access, and accessible bathrooms.
The National Archaeological Museum sits about two miles (three kilometers) north of Athens’ historic center in the Exarchia district. Given the challenges of driving in Athens, most visitors arrive by public transport. Ride the metro to Omonia (Line 2) or Victoria (Line 1), or choose between a wealth of bus and trolley options: bus 5 connects to the Acropolis. The hop-on hop-off bus also stops at the museum.When to Get There
The museum is open daily, with abbreviated hours on Tuesday, and extended hours from April 1 through Oct. 31. The museum is closed for major holidays. To beat the crowds, visit early in the day and avoid weekends and days when admission is free.Know Your Ancient Greek Civilisations
As you’d expect in Athens, classical Athenian culture—which produced democracy, the Parthenon, and the plays of Sophocles—is well represented at the National Archaeological Museum. But other civilizations from ancient Greece feature strongly, including the Minoans, who occupied Crete and spawned the legend of the Minotaur; the Mycenaeans, who fought the famous battle for Troy; and the Ptolemies, the Hellenistic ancient Egyptian dynasty to which Cleopatra belonged.