Museums In Plaka Athens: Historical Museums Near The Acropolis

Plaka is a popular neighbourhood in Athens. It is known for its vibe, the neoclassical houses, the quaint cafes and tavernas and the souvenir shops. Few people realize that Plaka is also home to over a dozen museums!

Plaka Athens Museums

Arguably, the museums are not the first reason why someone would visit Plaka. Most visitors are attracted by the tiny alleys, the beautiful neoclassical houses and the cosy cafes.

A beautiful neoclassical house in Plaka Athens

This is understandable, and in all honesty none of the museums in Plaka are very well known. Still, they can help you put the pieces in your Athens puzzle together. Plus, it’s an easy way to see what the interior of a neoclassical house in Plaka looks like.

You could easily visit a few of them in a day, as most of them are quite small. Here is some more information about the museums in Plaka Athens.

Historical Museums in Plaka Athens

Athens has an abundance of important historical museums. There’s lots more than the famous Acropolis Museum – for example, the National Archaeological Museum, or the Benaki Museum.

The Caryatids in the Acropolis Museum in Athens

Apart from those places though, there are a few more historical museums in Plaka.

The Canellopoulos Collection is an impressive private collection of artefacts from Ancient Greek and Byzantine times. The founders were passionate collectors of objects, which are on display in a beautiful neoclassical mansion. This museum is definitely worth a visit if you want to get a quick grasp of Greece’s long history.

The Athens University History Museum was once the residence of the first urban planners of the city of Athens. The established architects Kleanthis and Schaubert lived there from 1831 to 1835. In 1837, the building became home to the first University of Athens.

Today, it hosts several historical items, including objects used during university lectures in the previous century. Doctors and dentists will find this museum particularly interesting!

Jewish museum in Athens

The Jewish Museum of Greece aims to present and explain the Greek Jewish heritage. Its rich collections showcase the life of the Jewish population in Greece over the centuries. It’s a fairly large museum spread on a few floors, so you might want to allow a couple of hours.

Cultural Museums in Plaka Greece

History and culture go hand-in-hand. There are a few museums in Plaka that focus more on the cultural aspect, and Greece’s recent history.

The Museum of Popular Music Instruments is one of my favourite museums in Athens. There are dozens of instruments on display, and visitors have access to several audio files. Children and teenagers generally love this museum. Online information is limited, but don’t let that stop you from visiting!

Museum of Greek popular instruments in Athens

Another museum in Plaka that you should definitely visit, is the Museum of Greek Folk Art.

It consists of three buildings: the Bath House of the Winds, the Museum at 22 Panos Street, and the brand new exhibition halls of the Museum Of Modern Greek Culture, which opened to the public in January 2024.

Museum of Greek Folk Art in Athens

The latter consists of ten buildings, five of which are scheduled to open later in 2024. The sections that are already open include exhibits and information about life in Athens and Greece in the last couple of centuries.

It’s a very modern museum, there are activities for children, and a lovely cafe in the courtyard!

Bath House of the Winds in Athens

The Bath House of the Winds is a public bath, built during the early days of the Ottoman Era. It is the only surviving public bath in Athens. If you have been to a hammam in Turkey, you will probably recognize the structure. Occasionally, art exhibitions are on display here.

Man and Tools museum in Athens

The Museum at 22 Panos Street hosts a permanent exhibition presenting all sorts of tools from past eras. Many of them are obsolete nowadays, and it could be hard to guess the purpose they served.

School Life and Education Museum

The amazing school life and education museum, showcases school life in Greece since the 17th century.

You can see several old school books, desks, uniforms and other school items, as well as many photos – and I can promise you that it’s far more interesting than it sounds.

School books in a museum in Plaka Athens

Greek-speaking people will make the most of the museum, but there are many explanatory signs in English, so you won’t feel lost. The museum employees are very passionate, and you can ask them all the questions you want.

You can find more information on the official website

Historical Houses in Plaka

As you can imagine, not many houses in Plaka have been kept intact. The above buildings are mostly neoclassical houses which have been transformed into museums. You can also visit a couple of important houses in the area.

The Benizelos Mansion is a very impressive house right in the heart of Athens. This restored building is a superb example of an 18th century upper-class family mansion. The building was constructed over two pre-existing houses. If you’ve been to northern Greece or the Balkans, you may have seen similar buildings.

The Katakouzenos House belonged to a couple of intellectual Athenians of the early 20th century, Angelos and Leto Katakouzenos. Similarly to the Patrick Leigh Fermor house in Kardamyli, the residence functioned as a cultural centre. Moreover, the couple were art collectors, and you can see several paintings in their house.

Aggeliki Chatzimichali museum Plaka Athens

Finally, the Aggeliki Chatzimichali Museum of Folk Art and Tradition is an early 20th century mansion. It once belonged to Aggeliki Chatzimichali, the prominent Greek ethnographer and folklore expert.

Unfortunately there’s little official online information in English, and photos are not allowed. Just take it from us – it’s absolutely worth visiting, as it’s a really impressive century-old house that has been superbly preserved.

Museum of Greek Children’s Art in Plaka Athens

Plaka is also home to a really cool art museum, which is great if you want to take a break from all the ancient history. It’s the Museum of Greek Children’s Art, which hosts paintings and other works by children aged 5 to 14. 

A painting in the museum of Greek children's art

This is a fascinating museum, and there are very few similar museums worldwide. If you want to see the early works of the future Picassos or Monets, don’t miss it.

Museum of Illusions in Athens

A stone’s throw from Plaka, just a few metres away from Monastiraki metro, you will find the Museum of Illusions. As the name suggests, this is a museum where reality and illusion blend together.

Hanging from the floor! Museum of Illusions Athens

I had a lot of fun visiting this museum with my family and teenage nephews. I have first-hand experience of children being fed up with historical museums when on holiday, so I totally recommend it for families, and not only. Here’s my experience at the Illusions Museum in Athens.

Museums in Plaka Athens

I hope this article was useful. If you visit any of the museums in Plaka, let me know what you thought! 

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Vanessa from Real Greek Experiences

Hi! I am Vanessa from Athens. I love my vibrant city, with all its pros and cons. Exploring those museums in Plaka has been a lot of fun! For more news and tips about Greece, please follow me on my social media:

There are many museums in Plaka Athens

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