Wandering through the museums of Greece and experiencing the scale of achievement on display allows us to immerse ourselves in everything that contributed to the birth to western civilisation. From the grand-scale monuments to simple items of everyday life, the priceless exhibits bring everything great and small about Greek antiquity to life. So before you travel, it’s worth taking a quick tour of the 12 most popular archaeological museums of Greece.
The Acropolis Museum
One of the most important museums in Greece and indeed the world. Impressive and spacious, it houses object from the sacred rock of the Acropolis, from the Mycenaean to Early Christian era, including artefacts found whilst digging the foundations of the museum itself.
National Archaeological Museum
The country’s largest museum, it has one of the most important collections of Greek antiquities in the world, more than 11,000 finds gathered from every place where Greek civilisation flourished.
Archaeological Museum of Delphi
Containing finds from the Oracle, temples and treasuries of one of the most famous and sacred sites of antiquity. The famous bronze Charioteer is the star attraction.
Archaeological Museum of Olympia
Containing priceless finds from the prehistoric to Early Christian era of ancient Olympia. The sculpture collection is unparallelled, with Praxiteles’ Hermes and the frieze from the Temple of Zeus taking pride of place.
Museum of the Royal Tombs at Aigai (Vergina)
A subterranean museum-cemetery, this unique structure houses treasures of the great Macedonian civilisation, among them gold wreaths, ivory statuettes and rare frescoes and the tomb of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.
Museum Of Prehistory, Thera, Santorini
Featuring finds and frescoes from Santorini’s Minoan era settlement at Akrotiri, including rare examples of furniture and the famous wall paintings, Spring with the Swallows and The Blue Monkeys.
Archaeological Museum of Heraklion
One of Europe’s finest, this museum contains objects covering 5,500 years of history, from the Neolithic era to Roman times. The Minoan collection is unsurpassed, with its frescoes from Knossos, superbly crafted pottery and the mysterious Phaistos Disc.
Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
The building is a listed monument, considered an exemplar of modernist design. It contains exhibits from sites throughout Macedonia.
Archaeological Museum of Dion
The entrance contains an astonishing collection of sculptures, while the first floor holds a prize – a rare musical instrument, a water-operated pipe organ or hydrauli.
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
Finds from the Mycenaean era to the Middle Ages, from Rhodes and the surrounding islands.
Palace of the Grand Masters, Rhodes
Perhaps the most important monument left by the Knights of St John, it contains mosaic floors, columns, medieval furniture and other objects from their rule on the island.
Museum Of Byzantine Civilisation, Thessaloniki
An award-winning contemporary building, with a superb collection of early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine art.