This list of free museums in Athens has been updated for 2021 – 2022. Check out which museums and art galleries in Athens have free admission!
Free Museums in Athens
Most people who visit Athens don’t realize that there are well over 70 museums here! The famous Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum are on most visitors to-do list. Yet, there are many more historical museums in Athens.
Most of the museums in the city have an entry fee, which is usually at the range of 6 – 12 euro. A few of them, however, are totally free to visit.
Moreover, if you are into art, you will be glad to know that there are several art spaces and private art galleries in Athens that you can visit for free.
So, here’s my list of Museums with free admission in Athens. Let’s start with a free museum which only opened to the public in May 2021!
Ziller – Loverdos Museum
This brand new museum in Athens is an annex of the Byzantine and Christian Museum. It is hosted in a beautiful neoclassical mansion built in the late 19th century.
The palace was initially the residence of the German architect Ernst Ziller. In 1912, a prominent banker, Dionysios Loverdos, bought it to use it as his residence, and also as an exhibition space for his outstanding Byzantine art collections.
The palace was donated to the Greek State, with the proviso that it will be transformed into a free museum. Yay!
I was very impressed by the architecture of the Ziller – Loverdos mansion. However, what really blew me away were the outstanding Byzantine icons, the manuscripts and the wood carvings.
The Ziller – Loverdos Mansion is located at Mavromichali 6, close to Panepistimio metro station. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk from Syntagma Square.
For 2021, it will be open daily from 08.30 to 15.30 pm, and will remain closed on Tuesdays. Hopefully the official website will operate soon.
Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments
One of my favourite museums in Athens is the Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments near Monastiraki. Here, you can see musical instruments from all over Greece and beyond.
The museum was free when I first wrote this article, but it now charges a small fee of 2 euro. Still, I have kept it on the list, as it’s truly a little gem in Athens!
There are all types of instruments here, including some rather weird-looking ones. You can use the interactive screens inside the museum to listen to different types of music from all around the country.
This is also a fantastic place to practice your Greek. You will come across words like bouzouki, toubeleki, gaida, flogera and lyra.
Although the museum is not too large, there is enough to keep you entertained for at least an hour. I especially recommend it if you are a musician or if you are visiting with children.
Bonus – it only attracts few visitors, which I find really surprising!
For more information, you can visit their official website: Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments
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, this amazing museum in Piraeus is the place to check out.
Photo taken from the official website, with permission
Inside, you will see carriages, uniforms worn by railway employees, photos, tools, tickets, and all sorts of exhibits related to the Athens – Piraeus railway. It’s a place with definitive historical and cultural value.
While most of the signs are in Greek, you will be able to pick up a brochure explaining the museum’s history, or chat with the passionate employees.
This museum is is located right outside the metro station in Piraeus. Unless you know it’s there, you will probably walk right past it! It is open from 9.00-14.00 everyday, including weekends.
For more information, have a look at their official website: Museum of the Athens-Piraeus electric railways.
Benaki Museum: Free admission on Thursdays
One of my favourite museums in Athens is the Benaki Museum. It was founded by Antonis Benakis, a prominent collector and benefactor, and was eventually donated to the Greek state.
With several buildings and annexes in Athens and beyond, this private foundation is ideal if you want to dive right into Greek culture over the millennia. The main building is located on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, a ten minute walk from Syntagma Square.
The main Benaki Museum contains exhibits from pretty much every historical period of Greece, mostly donated by several supporters. It is the best museum in Athens to get a quick overview of Greece’s long, long history.
Among others, you can see ancient Greek artefacts, rare Byzantine icons, a fantastic collection of traditional costumes, and several objects related to the Greek Revolution.
The Benaki is open everyday apart from Tuesdays. It offers free admission to the permanent collection every Thursday, from 18.00 to midnight. Note that temporary exhibitions are not free to visit.
More information: Benaki museum
National Historical Museum: Free admission on Sundays
The National Historical Museum is largely unknown to visitors. It presents Greece’s newer history, focusing on the Greek Independence War.
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.
Anyone with an interest in Greece’s history beyond the ancient times, should definitely include this museum in their Athens itinerary.
The beautiful neoclassical building hosting the National Historical Museum was home to the Greek Parliament from 1875 to 1932. The museum is only a few minutes away from Syntagma Square.
The museum is open from 08.30 to 14.30 from Tuesday to Sunday. It offers free admission every Sunday.
More information here: National Historical Museum
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.
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, so here is the entrance. Better than nothing.
This hidden gem is right in the heart of Plaka. Opening hours are Tuesday – Friday 9.00-19.00, Weekends 9.00-14.00. Closed on Mondays.
Find out more in my guide to the museums in Plaka.
The Greek Parliament
When you visit Athens, you will inevitably pass by Syntagma Square at some point. Here, you will see an impressive 19th century neoclassical building. It was once the Palace of King Otto and is now home to the Greek Parliament.
But did you know that visiting the Parliament building is also possible? Not many visitors realize it, and the best part is that entrance is free. You will just need to pre-book your visit well in advance.
Inside, you can see a mix of photos, costumes, newspaper cuttings, and several personal items which belonged to ministers and other officials. Apart from the collection though, you will be able to explore the impressive building from the inside.
Tip – you will enjoy the exhibition more if you can speak some Greek. If not, just visit with a Greek friend!
Museum of Natural History in Athens
The largely unknown Museum of Natural History is located in the quiet 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. It’s a great place to go if you are visiting with children.
The museum is 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.
There are free shuttle buses that you can use from Maroussi metro station.
More info (in Greek): Museum of Natural History
Dates of free admission to museums in Athens
On certain days of the year, admission is free to public museums and the famous archaeological sites in all of Greece.
Some of the popular attractions that offer free admission on those dates include the following:
- The National Archaeological Museum
- The Byzantine and Christian Museum
- The Athens University Museum
- The Acropolis
- The Ancient Agora
- The Roman Agora
And here are the free admission days:
- 6 March – In memory of the former Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri
- 18 April – World Heritage Day / International Day for Monuments and Sites
- 18 May – International Museums Day, when all museums are free
- The last weekend of September – European Heritage Days
- 28 October – The “Ochi” public holiday
- Every first Sunday of the month, 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, like the Acropolis Museum, 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 each museum’s individual website for more info.
Free art galleries in Athens
As you have seen, there are plenty of historical and cultural museums in Athens. The list of art museums is not nearly as long, but it’s growing fast. The most important ticketed art museums in Athens are the following:
- The newly opened National Gallery, where you can explore hundreds of interesting modern and contemporary works by Greek artists
- The excellent Goulandris Foundation collection, which was the talk of the town in 2019
- The Benaki Museum, Pireos Annexe, which holds some of the best temporary art exhibitions in Athens
- The National Museum of Contemporary Art, which has hosted various exhibitions, featuring Greek and international artists.
Apart from these major art museums, Athens has dozens of smaller art spaces and galleries, which are usually 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, it was renovated, and has been hosting the Municipal Gallery of Athens since 2010.
Surprisingly, the gallery is free to visit. In my experience, it’s never busy.
The gallery consists of two buildings. The first one includes the permanent collection. It includes works by several prominent Greek artists, such as Bouzianis, Moralis, Lytras and Zouni. The other building hosts rotating exhibitions.
The exact address is right on Avdi Square, on the corner of Leonidou and Myllerou streets. It is close to Metaxourgio metro station, but you can also walk from Monastiraki or Kerameikos.
Opening hours may vary by season, and accurate online information isn’t always easy to obtain in English. Usually, 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 can try to get in touch through their FB page.
Private art galleries in Athens with free admission
Athens has an incredible number of private galleries, and also bars and other establishments that double as alternative art spaces. At the same time, there are numerous collectives, art cafes 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 them to the list.
Free things to do in Athens – Street Art
If you are interested in art galleries, you will probably be happy to know that Athens has tons of street art. Anywhere you go in the historic centre, you will be likely to come across a beautiful mural or two.
Some of them have been made by some very talented people. Granted, some others are not too pretty.
If you are one of these visitors who appreciate street art, put on your walking shoes, and explore!
The best areas for street art in the center are Anafiotika and Plaka, but you should also venture out to Psiri, Kerameikos and Metaxourgio for more.
Frequently asked questions about Athens
Budget-conscious visitors to Athens often ask questions like the following:
What can you do for free in Athens?
There are several activities you can do for free in Athens. As an example, you can see the Changing of the Guards, visit the National Gardens, stroll around the different neighbourhoods, discover the street art and listen to all the different buskers.
Are museums free in Greece?
There are many free museums around Greece. Most of the better known museums, like the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the museum in Delphi and the museum in Mycenae are only free on selected days throughout the year.
Can you see the Acropolis for free?
It is is possible to see the Acropolis for free on specific days throughout the year: 6 March, 18 April, 18 May, the last weekend of September, 28 October and every first Sunday of the month, from November to March.
Can you see the Parthenon for free?
The Parthenon is inside the Acropolis complex, and you can see it for free on selected days. It is also possible to see it from a distance – one of the best spots is Areopagus rock.
Is Athens cheap or expensive?
All in all, I wouldn’t say Athens is expensive, especially if you are coming from North Europe or the US. You can find budget rooms for 30-40 euro per night, even in peak season. A meal for two can cost under 20 euro, though 30-35 euro would give you more options.
Free museums in Athens
Have you been to any of these free museums in Athens? Let me know in the comments! And if you aren’t that keen on spending time checking out historic museums and art galleries, here are some more free things to do in Athens.
Hi! I am Vanessa from Athens, and I love helping people discover more about Greece. My city has so many museums for you to explore! I hope the above list has proved useful!