Going Beyond the Classroom

As the birthplace of democracy, history and philosophy, Athens has multiple museums that house world treasures from antiquity and the Byzantine era to modern times. Below is a brief selection of museums you may visit during your stay in Athens.

Information on Athens Museums

The Acropolis Museum is next to the Acropolis Metro Station, sits near the base of the Acropolis with a direct view of the Parthenon and is one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in this decade.

The new facility, made up of 226,000 square feet of glass and concrete was designed by the New York-based architect Bernard Tschumi, and replaces the old Acropolis Museum, a small 1874 building tucked into the rock of the Acropolis next to the Parthenon. The museum houses masterpieces of ancient Greek art, parts of the Parthenon, as well as the Caryatids from the Erechtheion.

One of the cultural jewels of Athens, the Museum of Cycladic Art comprises an extensive and unique private collection of prehistoric art from the Cycladic islands, as well as ancient Greek and Byzantine art.

The Cycladic collection is one of the greatest in the world and contains a revelatory grouping of extremely rare life-size figurines of the Classic Cycladic type, the art form that inspired Brancusi, Modigliani and Giacometti to a significant degree, and Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Picasso and Matisse in more subtle ways.

One of the most exciting collections of Greek antiquities in the world, the National Archaeological Museum is a must-do for any travelers to Greece. Its legendary collections are representative of all the cultures that flourished in Greece, from the prehistoric age until the later age of Turkish dominance, including frescoes from prehistoric Thera and statues from the classical period, such as a bronze statue of Poseidon.

An added treat is the neighborhood the museum presides over: Exarchia, a bohemian, free-spirited district that is mentioned in hundreds of Greek folk songs and novels. The area evokes strong feelings in every Athenian for here, in 1973, the students of Athens Polytechnic rose up in protest against Greece's hated military dictatorship.

Restored Gallery [Attalou], monument of the 150 B.C. Its exhibits have direct relation with the operation of democratic regime of Ancient Athens, since the Market was the heart of public life. The gallery (Attalou) was revealed in the excavations of the Archaeological Company between the years 1859-1902. At the period 1953–56 it was restored, and it has been reconstructed in order to accommodate the discoveries of excavations of Market.

The Byzantine Museum houses over 25,000 artifacts organized into collections that date from the 3rd to the 20th century. The artifacts are drawn from the entire Greek world and other territories where the Hellenic spirit flourished. The number of collections and the quality of the exhibits they contain make the museum a veritable treasure trove of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture.

Greece’s flagship art museum it is one of the country’s main art institutions and features paintings and works of art from some of Greece's and Europe's best from the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is given to popular Greek contemporary artists, including Giannis Tsarouchis, Domenikos Theotokopoulos (a.k.a. El Greco), Theodors Vrizakis, Nikolaos Kounelakis, Nikiforos Litras, Konstantinos Parthenis, Maleas, Giannis Moralis and others.

Established in October 2000, the Museum of Contemporary Art is the sole national institution focused on collecting and exhibiting contemporary Greek and international art in Athens. It presents collections of works of contemporary Hellenic and international art and advanced and experimental artistic tendencies.

The Benaki Museum ranks among the major institutions that have enriched the material assets of the Greek state. Its extensive collections cover several different cultural fields. Its permanent collections comprise many distinct categories totaling more than 40,000 items, illustrating the character of the Greek world through a spectacular historical panorama: from antiquity and the age of Roman domination to the medieval Byzantine period; from the fall of Constantinople (1453) and the centuries of Frankish and Ottoman occupation to the struggle for independence in 1821; and from the formation of the modern state of Greece (1830) down to 1922, the year in which the Asia Minor disaster took place. It features many temporary exhibitions.

The stunning collection, one of the world's finest, housed in a 19th-century neoclassical building complex, displays Islamic art (ceramics, carpets, woodcarvings and other objects, plus two excellent reconstructed living rooms from the Ottoman times and a 17th-century reception room from a Cairo mansion) that date from the 14th century to the present.

Learn More about the Benaki Museum

Housed in Greece's first Parliament building and features Greece's evolution since the fall of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in 1453 until the present. Exhibits include weapons, costumes, flags and paintings, as well as Byzantine and medieval exhibits.

Learn More about the National Historical Musiem

Student looking toward one of Athen's historical structures

Virtual Odyssey in Athens

Student looking toward one of Athen's historical structures

As COVID-19 has had a global impact on international education with Study Abroad programs being cancelled due to the pandemic, we’ve addressed these changes and have developed several virtual courses as a “Pre-Study Abroad” stepping stone — not intended to substitute the semester abroad, but to enhance it.

Our virtual courses cover the areas of Modern Greek Culture and Society, and Greek Mythology and Religions, and provides students the opportunity to learn via online classroom lectures, discussions and virtual tours of archaeological sites, museums and educational videos.

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