The Iconic Greek City With The Best Museums In The Country, According To Rick Steves

When history buffs travel the globe, sometimes the sights they seek have long since left the world. Yet in a city like Athens, one of the oldest on Earth, you will find ancient history practically everywhere, such as the Acropolis looking down at you from its hilltop perch. It is only fitting that the Greek capital is also home to a host of incredible museums, which travel expert Rick Steves applauds.


Travelers have dozens of museums to choose from in Athens. Some certainly have attracted more attention than others, like the National Archaeological Museum vs. the Industrial Gas Museum. This gritty, iconic city has millennia of history to preserve. From personal experience, you should strongly consider ducking into a museum for a few hours to escape the oppressive heat of July in Athens. Whether or not these hallowed halls of history are worth their salt is squarely up to the curious traveler, though Steves suggests not taking review sites at face value. Even so, the travel expert has made it clear how he feels about the merits of the Athens museums.

Rick Steves thinks Athens has the best museums in Greece

Before you go and add two weeks to your Athens itinerary, consider the destination. Based on firsthand knowledge, you likely won't need more than a few days in the city, an idea Rick Steves seems to agree with. Even the most history-focused travelers can only pack so many museum outings into an itinerary. That said, Steves raved on his blog about incredible museums in Athens.


"Athens, a big ugly city, has obligatory ancient sights (the hilltop temple of the Acropolis, and the ruined forum of the Agora); an extremely touristy old quarter (the Plaka); and fine museums — the best in the country," Steves wrote. "Its four million people sprawl where no tourist ventures, including new immigrant zones with poor yet thriving communities. The joy of Greece is outside of Athens. See it and scram."

If you want to spend two weeks in Greece, Steves suggests starting with Athens. From there, you can continue to marvel at the other ancient areas in the country, such as Olympia, Delphi, and Nafplio. You may also want to consider relaxing on some of the gorgeous Greek islands, like Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete.


Don't miss the Acropolis Museum

"The striking, glassy building gives a postmodern jolt to Athens' otherwise staid, midcentury-concrete cityscape, even as it echoes the ancient history all around it," Rick Steves wrote about the Acropolis Museum on his blog. "It also heralds a new era of innovative museum design — worlds apart from the type of musty, drab museum that long imprisoned the Acropolis' treasures (a type that's unfortunately still the norm across most of Greece). Instead, this is a world-class space, custom-built to showcase a life-size mock-up of the 525-foot marble frieze that once wrapped around the Parthenon."


The museums of Athens may be Greece's crème de la crème, but the Acropolis Museum stands out as one of the best of the best. You'll want to add this magnificent space to your Athens adventure. As Steves mentions, the museum brings some of Athens' ancient history back to life in ways others simply can't match. Whether or not you have a strong interest in history, this museum may still astound you. If you need advice on organizing your trip before diving in, check out Steves' genius tip for planning a successful vacation.