The lesser-known museums of Athens are full of incredible artifacts, art and historic relics to discover.
Lesser-Known Museums in Athens
Athens is a haven for museum lovers. It’s home to some of the most famous museums in the world, incredible art museums and galleries as well as “hidden” museums. At these off-the-beaten-track and not-so-famous venues, you can discover another side to Greece. Here’s our list of our favorite lesser-known museums in Athens that are worth a visit.
Benaki Museum of Islamic Art
In the Athens district called Keramikos in a stately 19th-century building, the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art houses a one-of-kind collection of Islamic art across four floors.
In the museum, you can admire ceramics, pottery, metalwork, wood pieces, textiles and armor. The collection ranks among the most important worldwide. The masterpieces on display hail from around the globe including India, Persia, Asia Minor, China, the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe. Also head to the museum cafe which has a pretty terrace with a view of the national gardens and the Acropolis.
Religion influenced the culture of the Greece in so many ways throughout history and continues to do so. The Byzantine Museum opens up this part of the life here by mainly focusing on the religious artifacts of the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine time periods. With more than 25,000 artifacts under its roof, pictures, scriptures, frescoes, pottery, fabrics, manuscripts, the museum is a valuable treasure of Byzantine art and culture.
The museum is housed in a complex which includes the Villa Ilissia, an elegant home of a former 19th-century duchess. The museum’s scenic garden café, which boasts a lovely view of the surrounding districts, is a favorite local spot for a coffee, drink or snack.
The Numismatic Museum of Athens holds the greatest collections of coins. The collections date back to the sixth century BC and offer visitors incredible insight into the economic and art history of Greece. The diverse museum collections include coins from the Greek state and across Europe. There are also medals, gems, weights and stamps to view. Displays are spread across the floors of the late 19th-century neoclassical mansion called the Iliou Melathron which was designed by renowned German architect Ernst Ziller.
Locals also love the hidden garden café behind the museums gates.
Greek art collectors Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos amassed beautiful jewelry, clay art works, numerous types of historic weapons, precious Byzantine icons and other types of art. In 1972, they donated it all to the Greek state. Now, these incredible items are housed under one roof in Athens, in a historic neoclassical mansion in central Athens.
As one of the lesser-known museums in Athens, there usually aren’t any crowds so you can feel like you’re on your own private tour.
This sums up our list of favorite lesser-known museums in Athens that are worth a visit. Which one would you like a tour of first?