This list of free museums in Athens has been updated for 2021. Check out which museums and art galleries in Athens have free admission!
If you are into history, art and culture, you might already be planning which museums to see during your next trip to Athens. And while many of the museums and art galleries in my city have an entry fee, there are some that don’t.
Free Museums in Athens
Most people who visit Athens don’t realize that there are well over 70 museums here, most of which cost just a few euros to enter. There are some museums in Athens, however, that are totally free to visit.
Furthermore, if you are into art, you will be glad to know that there are several art museums, art spaces and private art galleries in Athens that you can visit for free. Here’s my list of Art Galleries and Museums with free admission in Athens.
Note: According to the latest official announcements, museums will reopen to the public on 4 May 2021. Watch this space!
Museum of Greek Popular Instruments
One of my favourite museums in Athens is the Museum of Greek Popular Instruments in Plaka. Here, you can see popular folk instruments from all over Greece and beyond.
This is a good place to practice your Greek, as you will come across words like bouzouki, toubeleki, gaida, flogera and lyra. There are all types of instruments, including some rather weird-looking ones.
Although the museum is not too large, there is enough to keep you entertained for at least an hour. Furthermore, using the interactive screens inside the museum, you can listen to many types of music from all around the country.
We find it very strange that this museum only attracts few visitors, and it’s even stranger that it’s free. It’s a little gem, and especially recommended if you are a musician or if you have children with you.
EDIT – As of 1st November 2019, the museum charges a small fee of 2 euro. Although technically it’s not free, I have decided to keep it on the list for now, as it’s truly a little gem in Athens!
Museum of the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways
Did you know that Line 1 of the Athens metro started running in 1869? Probably not! If you want to find out more about transportation at those times, visit the Museum of the Athens-Piraeus electric railways.
This museum is rather easy to miss. It is located right outside the metro station in Piraeus, but unless you know it’s there you will probably walk right past it. It is open from 8.00-14.00 excluding weekends.
Although there was minimal translation in English when I last visited, it’s worth stopping by to check out some of the old carriages and signs. Better still, go with a Greek-speaking friend!
National Historical Museum on Sundays
The National Historical Museum is largely unknown to visitors, but it’s well worth it if you are interested in Greece’s newer history. It is located in a beautiful neoclassical building which housed the Parliament of Greece, from 1875 to 1932. It offers free entry every Sunday.
Exhibits in the museum cover the Ottoman Era (1453 – 1821) and continue to the end of WWII. There are several artefacts relevant to the Greek revolution, in 1821. If you want to find out a little more about Greece’s history, definitely include this museum in your Athens itinerary.
Benaki Museum, Main Building, on Thursdays
Not many people realize, but the main building of the Benaki museum has free entrance on Thursdays. What is the Benaki museum, I hear you ask.
The Benaki museum was founded by Antonis Benakis, a prominent collector and benefactor, and was eventually donated to the Greek state. It is spread out in several buildings all around Athens. The main building is located in Kolonaki, a ten minute walk from Syntagma metro station.
The main Benaki Museum contains some exhibits from pretty much every historical period of Greece, mostly donated by several supporters. It is one of the best museums you can visit in Athens if you want to get an overview of Greece’s long, long history.
Note that temporary exhibitions are not free to visit.
Aggeliki Chatzimichali Museum of Folk Art and Tradition
This early 20th century mansion used to be the home of Aggeliki Chatzimichali. This inspirational lady was a prominent Greek ethnographer and folklorist.
Even though you won’t find much online information in English, by all means visit. The house is really impressive, and it’s been superbly preserved. You can read some information about her life and her ethnographic research.
Sadly, photos are not allowed inside, but you can get an idea of the entrance.
This hidden gem is right in the heart of Plaka. Opening hours are Tuesday – Friday 9.00-19.00, Weekends 9.00-14.00. Find out more in my guide to the museums in Plaka.
Museum of Natural History in Athens
The largely unknown Museum of Natural History is located in the suburb of Maroussi, out of central Athens. Most of the exhibits come from a private collection, and include animals from Greece as well as other parts of the world. They are open 9.00-14.00 on a daily basis. As the website is in Greek, you can get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm.
The museum is open on weekdays only, and is free to visit. There are free shuttle buses that you can use from Maroussi metro station.
Dates of free admission to museums in Athens
On some days of the year, admission is free to public museums in Athens and the whole of Greece.
- 6 March – In memory of the former Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri
- 18 April – International Monuments Day
- 18 May – International Museums Day
- The last weekend of September – European Heritage Days
- 28 October – The “Ochi” public holiday
- Every first Sunday from November to March
On those days some of the museums also host free events, which will generally be promoted on their websites.
Privately run museums in Athens are free on 18 May. Some of them might also be free on the 25th March and the last weekend of September, or possibly other dates, so check their websites for more information.
Children, young people and EU students with a valid student ID, generally have free (or sometimes discounted) access to most of the museums in Athens. Check the museums’ individual websites for more info.
Free art galleries in Athens
While there are plenty of historical museums in Athens, the list of art museums is not nearly as long. That is not to say, however, that Athens is lacking in terms of art spaces and artistic expression – quite the contrary.
The most important ticketed art museums in Athens are the following:
- The newly opened Permanent Collection of Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, which has been the talk of the town in 2019
- The National Gallery, along with the National Glyptotheque
- The Benaki Museum, Pireos Annexe, which holds some of the best temporary art exhibitions in Athens
- The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens hosted a few exhibitions before it closed down. It reopened again in February 2020.
Apart from those art museums though, there are many art galleries in Athens, which are free of charge.
Municipal Gallery of Athens
In the little-visited area of Metaxourgio, you will find the Municipal Gallery of Athens, hosted in a beautiful neoclassical building designed by the Danish architect Christian Hansen. The building operated as a silk factory until 1875, and was later used for other purposes until it was eventually abandoned.
Fortunately, the building was renovated, and it has been hosting the Municipal Gallery of Athens since 2010.
The gallery consists of two buildings. The first one includes the main collection, which is permanent. The other building hosts rotating exhibitions. The permanent collection includes works by several prominent Greek artists, such as Bouzianis, Moralis, Lytras and Zouni. Surprisingly, the gallery is free to visit.
The exact address is right on Avdi Square, on the corner of Leonidou and Myllerou streets. Opening hours seem to vary by season, and accurate online information isn’t always easy to obtain. Roughly speaking, the gallery is closed on Mondays, open from 10.00-22.00 on Tuesdays, 10.00-20.00 on Wednesdays-Saturdays and 10.00-17.00 on Sundays. You should be able to get in touch through their FB page.
Private art galleries in Athens
Athens has an incredible number of private galleries, as well as bars and other establishments that double as alternative art spaces. At the same time, there are numerous collectives, art bars and ongoing art projects.
This is a list of some of the most important privately run galleries and other art spaces in Athens, which is by no means exhaustive. You can check their websites for more information on opening hours, current exhibitions and other information.
- Allouche Benias
- Alma Gallery
- Athens Art Gallery
- Bernier-Eliades Gallery
- Booze Cooperativa
- Breeder Gallery
- CAMP – Contemporary Art Meeting Point
- CAN Gallery
- Crux Gallery
- Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery
- Ekfrasi Art
- Ersi Gallery
- Gallery 7
- Genesis Gallery
- Ikastikos Kiklos
- Ileana Tounta
- Kalfayan Gallery
- Kaplanon 5
- Nitra Gallery
- Peri Technon Karteris
- Rebecca Camhi
- Skoufa Gallery
If you have been to any galleries in Athens that you thought were interesting let me know, and I will make sure I add it to the list.
Street Art in Athens
Athens has tons of street art. Areas like Exarchia, Psyrri and Kerameikos are full of beautiful murals, made by some very talented people. You can discover some of it, and lots more, with one of my Athens walking tours.
Finally, if you aren’t that keen on spending time checking out museums and art, check out some other free things to do in Athens.
Free museums in Athens
Have you been to any other free museums in Athens? Let us know in the comments!
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