I-Heart-Mykonos-tank-top.jpg
Greek-flag-socks.jpg
Santorini-luggage-tag.jpg
save-water-drink-ouzo-t-shirt.jpg

Athens’ Benaki Museum

Athens’ Benaki Museum is one of the city’s top museums with an outstanding collection, especially of Greek and Egyptian artefacts, in a beautiful mansion.

The Benaki Museum in AthensThe Benaki Museum in Athens
Photo by Dimboukas

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

The Benaki Museum in Athens is housed in a neo-classical mansion built in 1867, but extended and refurbished several times over the years. It contains a remarkable collection of Greek and Egyptian items. The exhibits, and the house in which they are displayed, belonged to an Alexandrian Greek cotton trader, Antonis Benakis (1873–1954).

Gold bracelet showing the owl of Athens from the Benaki Museum in AthensGold Bracelet Showing the Owl of Athens

Over a period of 35 years he amassed a splendid selection of artefacts, which he eventually gave to the Greek state for display in a museum. He continued to help curate the collection, and to ensure the museum’s financial security, until he died.

The mansion was thoroughly renovated in the late 1990s to create a fine backdrop for the collection. Thirty thousand pieces illustrate the daily life in Greece from ancient times to the 20th century.

El Greco's Adoration of the Magi On Display in Athens' Benaki MuseumEl Greco's Adoration of the Magi
On Display in Athens' Benaki Museum

The collection incorporates paintings (including two by El Greco), jewellery from Mycenae, ceramics, icons, clothing and Greek folk art, such as bridal cushions, traditional clothing and decorative items.

Lord Byron's writing desk is one of the many items from the War of Independence, along with other historical objects.

Painting of the Death of Markos Botsaris by Marsigli Fiilippo on display in the Benaki Museum in AthensThe Death of Markos Botsaris in the Greek War of Independence

The Egyptian collection is also fascinating. Early Coptic textiles and jewellery give an impression of the wealth of artistic talent found within this still-thriving community. A major attraction is a highly unusual piece: a complete Egyptian reception room from a palace of the 17th century.

Another showcase item from Egypt, where Benakis grew up in Alexandria and made his great fortune, is a wonderfully sensitive portrait of a man, painted on linen in the 3rd century AD.

Don't miss the café-restaurant at the top, with a terrace that offers fine views and the perfect place to take a break after the time you will no doubt spend walking round this wonderful collection.

More Information

Visit the excellent Benaki Museum website.

Where to Stay in Athens

Some other Athens pages

  • Mount Lykabettos is the highest hill in Athens and provides some of the best views of the city, with a funicular cable car the easiest way to get to the top.

    Mount Lykabettos

    Mount Lykabettos is the highest hill in Athens and provides some of the best views of the city, with a funicular cable car the easiest way to get to the top.

  • The National Archaeological Museum is one of the best things to see in Athens, and the best museum in the world for seeing Greece's archaeological treasures.

    National Archaeological Museum

    The National Archaeological Museum is one of the best things to see in Athens, and the best museum in the world for seeing Greece's archaeological treasures.

  • Athens Food Tours are being introduced by new company The Greek Fork, and will include tours of the Central Market, and the best street food.

    Athens Food Tours

    Athens Food Tours are being introduced by new company The Greek Fork, and will include tours of the Central Market, and the best street food.

  • Athens International Airport is east of Athens city centre with its own Metro train station, buses to Athens and Piraeus, taxis and car rental offices.

    Athens International Airport

    Athens International Airport is east of Athens city centre with its own Metro train station, buses to Athens and Piraeus, taxis and car rental offices.

  • The Athens Agora or ancient market is a must-see site and one of the best things to do in Athens with its restored arcade building, the Stoa, and its museum.

    Athens Agora

    The Athens Agora or ancient market is a must-see site and one of the best things to do in Athens with its restored arcade building, the Stoa, and its museum.

  • There's all kinds of entertainment in Athens whether you're interested in theatre, dance, classical music, jazz, Greek music, rock music, disco, opera or movies.

    Entertainment in Athens

    There's all kinds of entertainment in Athens whether you're interested in theatre, dance, classical music, jazz, Greek music, rock music, disco, opera or movies.

  • A History of Athens from the first people to live on the Acropolis through the Golden Age of Pericles and Alexander the Great to the military junta.

    A History of Athens

    A History of Athens from the first people to live on the Acropolis through the Golden Age of Pericles and Alexander the Great to the military junta.

  • In My Athens on Greece Travel Secrets travel writer Mike Gerrard describes what he loves about Athens including the Acropolis and eating!

    My Athens: a Portrait by Travel Writer Mike Gerrard

    In My Athens on Greece Travel Secrets travel writer Mike Gerrard describes what he loves about Athens including the Acropolis and eating!

  • This drive around Attica offers visitors high hills, beach resorts, small villages and classical sites like Marathon and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.

    A Drive around Attica

    This drive around Attica offers visitors high hills, beach resorts, small villages and classical sites like Marathon and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.

  • Greece Travel Secrets visits the Monastiraki Flea Market, followed by Sunday lunch at Sigalas on Monastiraki Square

    Monastiraki Flea Market

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Monastiraki Flea Market, followed by Sunday lunch at Sigalas on Monastiraki Square

  • Easter in Athens is, like everywhere in Greece, the biggest religious celebration of the year and this page tells you what to expect over the Easter weekend.

    Easter in Athens

    Easter in Athens is, like everywhere in Greece, the biggest religious celebration of the year and this page tells you what to expect over the Easter weekend.

  • Athens is a top vacation destination. The Greece Travel Secrets Athens guide has information on hotels, museums, Athens airport and all the best things to do.

    Athens: Travel Information and Advice about Athens, Greece

    Athens is a top vacation destination. The Greece Travel Secrets Athens guide has information on hotels, museums, Athens airport and all the best things to do.

  • The Greece Travel Secrets guide to the original Athens Olympic Stadium, built for the 1896 Olympic Games and open to the public for jogging and photography.

    Athens Olympic Stadium

    The Greece Travel Secrets guide to the original Athens Olympic Stadium, built for the 1896 Olympic Games and open to the public for jogging and photography.

  • Greece Travel Secrets gives its choice of the best hotels in Athens from budget and moderate options through to 5-star luxury choices.

    The Best Hotels in Athens

    Greece Travel Secrets gives its choice of the best hotels in Athens from budget and moderate options through to 5-star luxury choices.

  • The best views in Athens include views from the Acropolis and of the Acropolis from the top of some of the city’s several hills and from hotels and restaurants.

    Best Views in Athens

    The best views in Athens include views from the Acropolis and of the Acropolis from the top of some of the city’s several hills and from hotels and restaurants.

  • Athens Airport car rentals include Alamo/National Car Rental, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt, all with offices at the airport.

    Athens Airport Car Rental

    Athens Airport car rentals include Alamo/National Car Rental, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt, all with offices at the airport.

  • This beginner's guide to Greek architecture explains how to tell your Ionic from your Doric columns, and what to look for in temples and Byzantine churches.

    Greek Architecture

    This beginner's guide to Greek architecture explains how to tell your Ionic from your Doric columns, and what to look for in temples and Byzantine churches.

  • The Greece Travel Secrets website looks at the Athens weather, the chance of rain, the climate in summer and winter and the best time to visit Athens.

    Athens Weather and the Best Time to Visit

    The Greece Travel Secrets website looks at the Athens weather, the chance of rain, the climate in summer and winter and the best time to visit Athens.

  • The Changing of the Guard in Athens takes place outside the Parliament building at the top of Syntagma Square and is a must-see for visitors.

    Changing of the Guard in Athens

    The Changing of the Guard in Athens takes place outside the Parliament building at the top of Syntagma Square and is a must-see for visitors.

  • Athens walking tours and other experiences like cookery lessons, ceramics workshops, dining with a family, and street art are available from Alternative Athens

    Athens Walking Tours and Other Experiences

    Athens walking tours and other experiences like cookery lessons, ceramics workshops, dining with a family, and street art are available from Alternative Athens

  • Piraeus is the port of Athens from where many ferries to the Greek islands depart, and it also has an Archaeological Museum and the Hellenic Maritime Museum.

    Piraeus

    Piraeus is the port of Athens from where many ferries to the Greek islands depart, and it also has an Archaeological Museum and the Hellenic Maritime Museum.

  • If visiting Athens it helps to know when major events and public holidays take place, as some shops and attractions may be closed, but to be there at times like Easter can make for a magical trip.

    Athens Events and Public Holidays

    If visiting Athens it helps to know when major events and public holidays take place, as some shops and attractions may be closed, but to be there at times like Easter can make for a magical trip.

  • Athens culinary tours are among the food walking tours offered by an unusual company, Culinary Backstreets.

    Athens Culinary Tours

    Athens culinary tours are among the food walking tours offered by an unusual company, Culinary Backstreets.

  • The Athens Acropolis has the city's most iconic building, the Parthenon, along with other historic buildings and is where the Elgin Marbles were taken from.

    Athens Acropolis

    The Athens Acropolis has the city's most iconic building, the Parthenon, along with other historic buildings and is where the Elgin Marbles were taken from.

  • The Athens National Historical Museum is in the former Greek Parliament building and houses an archive of historical artefacts and documents.

    Athens National Historical Museum

    The Athens National Historical Museum is in the former Greek Parliament building and houses an archive of historical artefacts and documents.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Athens Airport: New Curbside Pick-up Rules Take Effect June 7

    In efforts to improve the passenger drop-off and pick-up experience and in view of the expected increase in international traveler arrivals, Athens International Airport (AIA) announced that it would…

    Read More

  2. Study Reveals the Tourist ‘Types’ that Pick Thessaloniki for Holidays

    Art lovers, active types and foodies are among the ‘travel tribes’ that select Thessaloniki, as their holiday destination, found a visitor profile study released this week by the Thessaloniki Hotels A…

    Read More

  3. Greece to Protect Historic Athens Cinemas Ideal and Astor

    The Greek Environment Ministry’s Central Council of Architecture (KESA) has decided to protect Athens’ Astor and Ideal cinemas designating the two historic landmarks as cultural monuments, said the Gr…

    Read More

  4. Thessaloniki Metro Almost Ready, Greek PM on First Test Run

    Thessaloniki’s highly anticipated metro, to serve almost 250,000 commuters a day once completed, is almost ready with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis taking a test ride this week. Mitsota…

    Read More

  5. Thessaloniki Food, Nightlife Winning Over More Tourists

    The nightlife and food are two of Thessaloniki’s strong points attracting more visitors to the northern port city, found a satisfaction study released this week by the Thessaloniki Hotels Association…

    Read More

  6. Air Passenger Traffic to Greece Continues to Mark Sharp Rise

    Passenger arrivals across all airports in Greece marked a sharp increase in the first four months of the year up by 7.4 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019 and by 38.4 percent over the same period in 2…

    Read More

  7. Greece Among Top Choices of British easyJet Flyers this Summer

    British holidaymakers flying on easyJet are picking Greece this year, according to a poll conducted by the budget carrier. More specifically, according to the survey carried out on 2,000 British adult…

    Read More

  8. Uber Launches On-demand Boat Service on Mykonos Island, Greece

    Ride-hailing company Uber recently announced that it will launch a new seasonal private charter boat service on the Greek island of Mykonos. Available from mid-June to October, “Boat” will be an on-de…

    Read More

  9. Mykonos Tops Airbnb’s Most Searched Int’l Destinations by US Travelers in Q1

    The Greek island of Mykonos is the top most searched for international destination by US travelers seeking Airbnb accommodation in the first quarter of the year, according to the Airbnb 2023 Summer re…

    Read More

  10. Greece’s Regional Airports Outdo Pre-Covid 2019 Traffic Levels in April

    Greece’s 14 regional airports exceeded pre-Covid 2019 levels last month handling a total of 1.6 million passengers, said managing company Fraport Greece. More specifically, according to Fraport data…

    Read More