Museum hopping in Athens: An urban tour of art, history and culture

National Historical Museum of Athens

A small but exciting city trip between the museums of Athens in an attempt to "read" it in depth.

Greece is intertwined with world culture, ancient and modern. The tangible and intangible legacies of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, the Byzantine world and the creations of the new Greece compose a mosaic highly attractive to tourists.

The country's capital is also a solid part of this beehive of creation. Through its multitude of museum spaces, Athens constantly reminds us of its many faces, each fitting in a different historical period.

Within them, you will have the opportunity to experience other worlds and their people and discuss them while enjoying a coffee. You can even plan a small but highly interesting city trip between them in an attempt to understand Athens in depth.

We will focus on those in the centre of Athens and cover a route between and through spaces of memory and re-constitution of other places and times.

National Gallery - Alexandros Soutsos Museum

National Gallery - Alexandros Soutsos Museum

Being a museum specifically dedicated to visual arts, the National Gallery - Alexandros Soutsos Museum or simply National Gallery, is housed in two buildings (the second of the National Sculpture Gallery is located in Alsos Stratou), with one of them being its trademark of Athens as far as artistic things are concerned.

From 2021, it became located in a state-of-the-art building of 21,000 sq.m. at Vasileos Konstantinou Avenue 50, representing a true ark of modern Greek art with thousands of works in its permanent collection.

Address: Vasileos Konstantinou 50, www.nationalgallery.gr

Numismatic Museum of Athens

Numismatic Museum of Athens

One of the oldest state museums in Greece, the Numismatic Museum was founded in 1834, with its own history now spanning three centuries. The history of the Museum was directly linked to the history of the modern Greek state and, by extension, to the national cultural heritage.

With 500,000 artifacts in its possession, the Numismatic Museum is proud to cover the history of the economic and social relations of the Greek area from the 14th century BC until today.

It also has a beautiful courtyard, where you can enjoy your coffee.

El. 12 Venizelou, www.nummus.gr

War Museum

War Museum

The War Museum, at the intersection of Vasilissis Sofias and Rizaris streets, is one of the most interesting buildings from its facade alone, which, in terms of design, is clearly influenced by the influence of the German Bauhaus school.

Equally interesting, however, is what is contained within the building, where a rich collection of war equipment covering a spectrum from the Stone Age to the late 20th century is on display.

Weapons made of obsidian and copper, rifles, machine guns, and the clothing that accompanied the soldiers and rank and file are the parts that make up this extraordinary part of our history.

Next to the War Museum, you can enjoy your coffee and snack in the garden of the all-day bar-restaurant Sinema.

Address: 2 Rizari and Vasilissis Sofias, www.warmuseum.gr

Acropolis Museum

Acropolis museum

The Acropolis Museum came to meet a great need that would have all the necessary technical facilities for the housing and maintenance of the great works of Greek art that were in the warehouses of the old Museum, as well as new ones that will come to light in future excavation work.

Today, the new Acropolis Museum is a total of 25,000 sq.m. and hosts thousands of great finds that are divided into three main sections and which you can get to know either on your own or as part of organised tours.

There is also a very beautiful cafe-restaurant.

Address: 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou, www.theacropolismuseum.gr

Benaki Museum

Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum, a multi-faceted building, has graced Athens with its exhibitions for almost 100 years.

With its headquarters in the neoclassical building between Vasilissis Sofia Avenue and Koumpari Street, it opens onto an umbrella of buildings that extend to other parts of the capital, and each of them concerns different cultural projects (Piraeus 138, Museum of Islamic Art, Gika Gallery).

It is, however, worth starting from the first main building, which houses a unique timeless exhibition on the course of Greek culture from prehistory to the 20th century.

On the roof of the Museum, there is also a cafe from which you can enjoy an excellent view of the Parliament and the bustling aspect of the Attica metropolis.

Address: Koumpari 1 and Vasilissis Sofias, www.benaki.org

Athens City Museum

Athens City Museum

Also, don't miss a visit to the Athens City Museum, a museum dedicated to the development of the city of Athens in recent times, housed in what the older Athenians call the "Old Palace", as it was the first residence of the royal couple.

However, the "new" building at 5 I. Paparrigopoulos, which houses the memories of the Dekozi Vourou family and is a sample of the urban lifestyle in Athens in the 19th and early 20th centuries, is also worth your visit.

In the heart of Karytsis Square, the Museum of the City of Athens is adjacent to numerous cafes and restaurants for those who want to combine historical knowledge with a great dining experience.

Address: 5-7 Ioannou Paparrigopoulou, www.athenscitymuseum.gr

National Historical Museum

National Historical Museum of Athens

The emblem of Kolokotroni Square, the National Historical Museum in Stadiou has the privilege of easy accessibility.

Here you will find historical documents, photographic material and a rare collection of objects with a reference point to the political and social history of the wider Greek area from the period of the Turkish and Frankish occupation to the Revolution of 1821 and the creation of an independent state.

You can enjoy a coffee or a snack in one of the coffee bars that surround the museum, some of which are the best in the city.

Address: Stadiou 13, www.nhmuseum.gr

National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum is housed in a neoclassical building of the late 19th century on Patision Street and hosts more than 11,000 exhibits of ancient Greek history.

Its five major permanent collections are: Prehistoric Antiquities, Works of Sculpture, Pottery and Small Crafts, Egyptian and Oriental Antiquities, Works of Metalwork.

For those who wish to relax after visiting the museum, the Museum Cafe is always available, in a flowery atrium, where many cultural events also take place.

Address: Patision (28th of October) 44, www.namuseum.gr

Vaggeli Marinaki is a columnist for Travel

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