Benaki museum

About the Benaki museum

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, an Athens cultural gem, showcases an eclectic blend of art and history, celebrating Greece’s rich heritage. Housing an impressive collection, it offers a fascinating journey through the country’s diverse cultural tapestry. Established by Antonis Benakis in the early 20th century, this museum has evolved into a treasure trove of Greek culture and beyond.

Explore the museum’s exquisite Islamic art, a testament to the enduring influence of this civilization. Marvel at intricate artifacts that span centuries, revealing the intricacies of Islamic culture. For a delightful surprise, visit the Toy Museum, where childhood memories come to life through a playful array of toys and games. The Benaki Museum also treasures Byzantine art, an integral part of Greek culture, and displays remarkable El Greco paintings, honoring the artistic genius’s enduring legacy. Don’t miss the Egyptian Palace, a breathtaking architectural gem within the museum, transporting visitors to the grandeur of ancient Egypt.

The Benaki Museum is a captivating window into Greece’s multifaceted identity, celebrating its connection to global cultures and artistic excellence. Whether you’re drawn to Islamic art, El Greco’s masterpieces, or the enchanting Toy Museum, this institution promises a captivating journey through the heart of Greek heritage.

History of the Benaki museum

The Benaki Museum in Athens has a rich and fascinating history that mirrors the cultural evolution of Greece. It was founded by Antonis Benakis, a Greek patriot and art collector, in the late 1920s. He spent his entire life working toward his life’s goal of preserving and showcasing Greece’s cultural history.

The museum’s story started in 1930 when Antonis Benakis donated his extensive collection of historical and artistic treasures to the Greek nation, creating the Benaki Museum. The collection included a wide range of items, from Byzantine and Islamic art to historical documents and traditional Greek costumes.

The museum grew throughout time in terms of its physical presence as well as its collection through donations and acquisitions, covering a wide array of themes, including Greek folk art, Islamic art, Byzantine art, and modern Greek art. The museum’s focus widened to incorporate even more facets of Greek culture, and new wings were built. The museum now consists of many structures spread out over Athens, each devoted to a different subject, including as Byzantine art, Islamic art, Greek history, and more.

Museum Info

Benaki Museum Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday Friday, and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: closed
  • Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Note: The Museum of Greek Culture is closed on 1st May, 25th March, 15th August, 28th October, 25th December, New Year’s Day, Epiphany, Clean Monday, Easter Day, Easter Monday, Holy Spirit Day, and Boxing Day.

Museum Galleries

The Benaki Museum in Athens is renowned for its diverse Greek culture collections, housed in various galleries that offer visitors a rich cultural experience.  Here’s a glimpse into some of its most captivating galleries:

Islamic Art: The wonderful pottery, fabrics, manuscripts, and ornamental items on display in this gallery are all works of Islamic art from all around the Islamic world.

Toy Museum: A nostalgic journey through time, this gallery features a charming display of toys that have delighted generations, offering insights into Greek childhoods.

Byzantine Art: Discover the spiritual and creative world of Byzantium via a spectacular collection of religious artifacts, mosaics, and icons.

El Greco Paintings: El Greco’s unique artistic journey is displayed through this gallery, paying homage to the well-known Greek painter and artist.

Egyptian Palace: Step into the opulent world of the Egyptian Palace exhibit, featuring artifacts and decor from an early 20th-century mansion, transporting visitors to a bygone era.

Benaki Pireos Building: Located in the former Fix Brewery, this building hosts various exhibitions and events, offering a contemporary twist to the museum’s collections.

Benaki Ghika Gallery: This gallery is dedicated to the works of Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, one of Greece’s most celebrated 20th-century artists.

Tips for your visit

  • Plan Ahead: Before your visit be sure to check Benaki Museum hours on the official website for the latest information on all the galleries’ hours of operation.
  • Benaki Museum Ticket: Purchase your Benaki Museum tickets in advance to avoid long lines. Tickets often include access to all the museum’s galleries, including the Islamic Art, Egyptian Palace, Byzantine Art, and El Greco sections.
  • Gallery Prioritization: Given the museum’s diverse collections, plan your visit by prioritizing the galleries that interest you the most, such as Islamic art, Byzantine art, or El Greco paintings.
  • Guided Tours: Join a guided tour if available. Knowledgeable guides can provide valuable insights and context about the museum’s exhibits and Greek culture.
  • Special Exhibitions: Keep an eye out for special exhibitions or temporary displays that may be taking place during your visit.
  • Photography: Check the museum’s policy on photography, as some galleries may have restrictions.
  • Respect and Quiet: Be mindful of other visitors and maintain a respectful atmosphere, especially in galleries featuring religious or culturally significant artifacts.
  • Comfortable Attire: Wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for walking and exploring the museum’s various floors and galleries.
  • Children: If visiting with children, make sure to explore the Toy Museum section, which is sure to delight young visitors.
  • Timing: Consider visiting during less crowded times to enhance your experience and allow for a more leisurely exploration.
  • Gift Shop: Don’t forget to explore the museum’s gift shop for souvenirs and books related to the exhibits.


Explore the wonders of the Benaki Museum in Athens with flexible ticket options. General entrance grants access to the museum’s diverse collections. Full admission is €12, with a reduced rate of €9 for students and individuals over 65. Temporary exhibition tickets are €8, reduced to €6 for eligible groups. Journalists can gain entry for just €1. Free entry is allowed to children, young people under 22, and disabled persons, ensuring that everyone can experience the rich cultural heritage within the museum. Moreover, free admission is for everyone except organised tours and guided groups, on every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., and on International Museum Day (18th May). Book your Benaki Museum tickets now and let the adventure begin!

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How to arrive

The Benaki Museum is located in the heart of Athens, making it easily accessible by various means of transportation. Here’s how to get there:

By Metro: If you prefer to use the metro, you can take METRO lines 2 or 3. Both the SYNTAGMA and EVAGELISMOS metro stations are conveniently located near the museum.

By Buses: You can reach the museum via multiple bus lines, including 022, 060, 203, 204, 204Β, 211, 214, 220, 221, 224, 235, 608, 622, 815, Α5, Ε14, Χ14, and X95.

By Trolley Buses: Trolley bus line 3 is another reliable choice for reaching the museum.

By Car: While it’s possible to reach the museum by car, parking in central Athens can be challenging. If you plan to drive, it’s advisable to park in a nearby parking facility and then walk to the museum.

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