Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Opening hours & free admission days for sites and museums in Greece

Copyrighted image by artist/friend Rip Kastaris

Archaeological sites and museums in Greece typically follow winter hours from November 1 to March 31, and summer hours from April 1 to October 31, though the Ministry of Culture and Tourism can change them and revoke free admission days without advance notice.

For the 2015 tourist season, the 46 most popular sites are open 8:00-20:00 daily from April to October, except holidays listed below in ‘Closures.’ See “Archaeological sites and museums in Greece open late” to learn which ones they were.

More locations may switch to extended hours, if/when announcements are made. There is no longer a mass switch for all tourist sites on April 1 due to austerity and lack of funding/staff.

Visitors should be aware of dates when tourist sites are closed to avoid disappointment and take advantage of the generous number of free admission days.

*Article last updated May 5, 2015.

My tip

Because hours vary by location, I use “sunrise to sunset” year round as a general rule and stay away on Mondays. This has worked fine for me as a traveler for 20 years, without need to memorize schedules, look up information or call anyone. I also prefer to go near closing time to avoid tour groups and schoolchildren in the morning and to shoot photos at sunset when the colors are more intense.

If you decide to follow my lead, skip “Opening Hours” and go directly to sections, “Closures” and “Free Admission Days.”

Opening Hours

In winter, state-run archaeological sites open 8:00:-15:00 and museums 9:00-16:00 and are closed Mondays, unless noted differently below or impacted by “Strikes in Greece.”

Privately run museums keep different hours and are generally unaffected by strikes.

Sites open atypical hours or closed for renovation

  • Acropolis of Athens
    — In spring/summer, 8:00-20:00 daily, except on national holidays when it opens 8:00-15:00.
    Between April 1 to June 16, 8:00-19:00 Monday-Friday and 8:00-15:00 on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays.
    — In winter, 8:00-17:00 daily and 8:00-15:00 on national holidays as of October 28, 2012.
    *The former ministry on May 17, 2011 promised to keep the Acropolis open 8:00-19:00 Monday-Friday year round, but this has been revoked.
  • Acropolis Museum of Athens — From April 1-October 31: Mon 8:00-16:00, Tu/Wed/Th/Sat/Su 8:00-20:00 & Fri 8:00-22:00 (Press Release, Naftemporiki).  From November 1-March 31,  Mon-Thurs 9:00-17:00, Fri 9:00-22:00 and Sa/Su 9:00-20:00. As of January 8, 2013, the museum is no longer open 8:00-20:00 year round. See Summer and Winter opening hours at the official website.
  • Aegina Afaia Archaeological Site — Open 9:30-16:30 daily.
  • Aegina Afaia Collection — Open 10:30-13:30 daily.
  • Ag. Triadas Archaeological Site — Open 10:00-16:30 daily.
  • Ancient Agora/Stoa of Attalos — In winter, open Tuesday-Sunday 8:00-19:00 and Monday 11:00-19:00.
  • Ancient Messinia Archaeological Site — In winter, normal hours. In summer, 8:00-20:00 daily.
  • Ancient Olympia Archaeological Site and Museum — In winter, hours are 10:00-17:00 Monday, 8:00-15:00 Tuesday through Friday — Ta Nea (in Greek). Museum reopened May 10, 2012 on the date of Olympic flame lighting ceremony, after 75 artifacts were stolen in February 2012.
    History of Olympic Games Museum open 8:00-15:00 daily, except Monday when it operates 10:00-17:00.
  • Benaki Museum — Operates different hours at all locations. Hours were reduced in September 2012 for economic reasons. More info in English, “Opening hours.” Free admission every Thursday for one year, as of July 15, 2013. — To Vima
  • Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens — In winter, open 8:30-16:00 daily; closed Mondays. Some sections are closed or keep different hours due to lack of staff. — Byzantine Museum
  • Corfu (Kerkyra) Fortress — In winter, 8:00-16:00 daily.
  • Crete Heraklion Archaeological Museum — In winter, open Monday, 13:00-20:00. In spring and summer from 8-8 daily. The entire museum reopened to the public on May 6, 2014, after partial access on August 14 and November 4, 2012 and August 1, 2013. Admission is 4 euros.
  • Crete Heraklion Gortyna Archaeological Site — In winter, normal hours. In summer, now open usually from July 1, 8:00-20:00 daily and national holidays 8:00-15:00.
  • Crete Knossos Archaeological Site — In winter, 8:00-17:00 daily.
  • Crete Minoan Palace of Zakros in Lassithi — In winter, 8:30-15:00 daily. In summer, 8:00-18:00 daily.
  • Crete Phaistos Archaeological Site – In winter, 8:30-15:00 daily.
  • Crete Spinalonga Island — In winter, closed. In past years, it opened Sa/Su 9:30-16:00 but this is no longer the case.
  • Kerameikos in Athens — In winter, normal hours. In summer, now open 8:00-20:00 daily. 8:00-17:00 weekdays and 8:00-15:00 weekends.
  • Kimolos Archaeological Museum is a seasonal (summer only) museum.
  • Maria Callas MuseumClosed since 2008 and scheduled to reopen in 2015.
  • Messinia’s Temple of Apollo Epikourios, Bassae — Sunrise to sunset, daily
  • National Archaeological Museum of Athens — In winter, 8:30-15:00 daily, except Mondays from 13:30-20:00. Entire halls may be closed to visitors and the museum shop is sometimes closed Sunday/Monday due to understaffing.
  • Pella Archaeological Museum — In winter, 9:00-16:00 daily. In summer, 8:00-20:00 Tuesday-Sunday and 10:00-18:00 on Monday.
  • Psychro/Diktaio Andro Cave in Lassithi, Crete — In winter, open 10:00-17:00 daily.
  • Santorini’s Akrotiri archaeological site reopened on April 11, 2012 and operates 8:00-15:00 in winter.
  • Sounion Temple – In winter, open 9:30 to sunset, daily.
  • Thessaloniki Ancient Agora Museum — Open Tuesday-Sunday 8:00-15:00.
  • Thessaloniki White Tower — In winter, open Tuesday-Sunday 9:00-16:00.
  • Volos Archaeological Museum — In winter, normal hours. In summer, Tuesday-Sunday 8:00-20:00.

Hours may also deviate from the listed schedule as employees can decide to open late, close early or cordon off sections due to weather damage, renovation work, under-staffing and unannounced events. No discounts or refunds are guaranteed.

*Warning: The Greek National Tourist Organization incorrectly reported that the Acropolis Museum is open daily from 8:00-19:00 on Twitter and its website, and has been caught plagiarizing my website on several occasions. Take caution if depending on official websites for accurate information.

Κλειστό/kleisto or λουκετο/louketo mean closed.


All state-run archaeological sites and museums in Greece are closed on legal holidays when businesses and public sector offices across the country shut down and, as friends discovered first hand, on election days.*  Privately run locations, such as the Acropolis Museum sometimes open special hours and offer free admission.

January 1: New Year’s Day
March 25: Evangelismos/Annunciation, Greek Independence Day
April 12
: Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday**
May 1: May Day, commemorating workers’ rights
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Boxing Day

*Election Days are no longer predictable, with snap/early elections.
**Greek Orthodox Easter falls on a different Sunday each year between March to May, and is sometimes different than the date for western, Jewish and Catholic religions. Date shown is for 2015.

Free Admission Days

Free admission or ‘open door’ days for 2013 occur on the dates below, some Sundays and national holidays.

March 5: Benaki Museum in Athens offers free admission every Thursday until March 5, 2016. – Naftemporiki (in Greek)
March 6:
Melina Merkouri, actress and former culture minister. Date of her passing.
April 18: International Monuments Day (revoked at many sites in 2013)
May 18: International Museums Day
May 19: European Night of Museums. Date changes annually, usually a mid-May Saturday evening (select locations only)
June 5
:  World Environment Day
September: European Heritage Days, last weekend in September, which will be  27 and 28.
September 27: International Tourism Day

Sundays: All Sundays from November 1 to March 31; and first Sunday of every month except July, August and September.* If the first Sunday during this period is a national holiday (already free) or legal holiday (closed), then admission is free on the second Sunday of the month.

*Staff at the Acropolis of Athens and other tourist sites say that only the first Sunday of each month between November 1 to March 31 are now free, not every Sunday.

National holidays: See “National Holidays” section to understand when and what they are.

Free admission is also granted year round to:

  • Journalists with an official press pass
  • Greek citizens serving in the Greek military, with military ID
  • Tour guides with a professional license issued by the ministry
  • Archaeologists and archaeology students
  • Members of Greek Parliament and official guests
  • Young persons from EU countries aged 18 or under
  • Children from non-EU countries aged 5 and under
  • Anyone with a free admission card
  • EU and non-EU persons with disabilities and a person assisting them
  • Teachers accompanying primary and secondary school children on educational trip (Withdrawn as of June 15, 2012, but reinstated early September 2012) *Teachers say it hasn’t been done
  • Students from EU countries with an ISIC card.

*In March 2014, the Greek PM said free admission would be granted to the unemployed with an OAED card — less than 175,000 people — but did not say when this change would take effect. I will update when known.

Reduced admission is available year round to:

  • Non-EU students with an ISIC card
  • Young persons from non-EU countries aged 18 and under, with passport
  • Greek and EU citizens aged 65 and over, with current ID (passport or national ID card)

National Holidays

National holidays are different than legal holidays in that tourist sites open to the public during normal or abbreviated hours and, as stated above, admission is free.

January 6: Epiphany
February 23: First Monday of Lent, Kathara Deftera or Clean Monday*
April 10: Holy/Good Friday*, usually 12:00-17:00
April 11: Holy Saturday*, usually 8:00-15:00
April 13: Easter Monday*, usually 8:00-15:00
June 8: Pentecost/Holy Spirit or Trinity Day*, usually 8:00-15:00
August 15: Dormition/Assumption of the Theotokos, usually 8:00-15:00
October 28: Oxi Day

*Dates shown are for 2015 but change each year according to the date of Easter Sunday or Pascha. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism does not make an announcement, which is why I listed operating hours of years past.


Μουσεία και αρχαιολογικοί χώροι με διευρυμένο ωράριο” — To Vima
Θερινό ωράριο για μουσεία και αρχαιολογικούς χώρους” — Naftemporiki
Νέο ωράριο μουσείων και αρχαιολογικών χώρων” — Eleftherotypia
Ωράριο Αρχαιολογικών Χώρων, Μουσείων και Μνημείων του Κράτους, ως την 31η Μαρτίου 2011
Το ωράριο Μουσείων και Μνημείων έως τις 31 Μαρτίου” — SKAI
Μουσείο Ακρόπολης: Ανοικτό μέχρι 10 το βράδυ, από τις 28 Γενάρη” — Kathimerini
Acropolis Museum open ’til 10 p.m. Fridays” — Acropolis Museum in Athens
Διευρύνεται το ωράριο για 21 μουσεία και αρχαιολογικούς χώρους” — Eleftherotypia
Αρχαιολογικοί Χώροι και Μουσεία που λειτουργούν με διευρυμένο ωράριο” — Ministry of Tourism & Culture
Διευρυμένο ωράριο για 29 αρχαιολογικούς χώρους και μουσεία” — SKAI
Αρχαιολογικοί Χώροι και Μουσεία που λειτουργούν με διευρυμένο ωράριο” —
National Archaeological Museum shuts key halls on Sunday” — Kathimerini
Ποια μουσεία λειτουργούν με διευρυμένο ωράριο“– Eleftherotypia
Διευρυμένο ωράριο σε ακόμη 13 μουσεία και αρχαιολογικούς χώρους” — Eleftherotypia
«Ξενύχτι» λόγω καλοκαιριού” — Ta Nea
No fireworks, confetti, candlelight or loud music at sites/monuments” — To Vima
Irakleio Archaeological Museum reopens with two halls” — Ministry of Tourism & Culture
“Admission is free to the Benaki Museum in Athens every Thursday until July 15, 2014″ — To Vima
— All sources linked in the article above
— Friend CO from first-hand experience
— Friend NK, who works for Greek Travel Pages

Related posts

KTEL Buses in Greece
Strikes in Greece


  Titia wrote @ March 30th, 2011 at 18:57

My compliments about your website. Very useful information!

  Vivi wrote @ September 9th, 2011 at 22:16

FYI: The site that is listed twice is the Archeological Museum of Messina.

Kat Reply:

FYI, I’m the one who noticed it was listed twice, so why repeat what I already pointed out in the article? The YPPO and EOT should do a better job by: a) proofreading their press releases before publication; and b) stop plagiarizing my website.

Here’s a question: Why is the GNTO in NY trying to nitpick someone helping tourists with information that you should be providing on a salary funded by taxes I pay?

  William D wrote @ September 28th, 2011 at 21:12

Thanks for all that information – especially about current and coming strikes in Greece – but:

according to the Greek Ministry of Culture website, ‘Odysseus’, (last up-dated 2007!) the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion has been closed since the end of 2006 and according to the Official Greek Tourist Office in London today it remains closed. There is a small temporary exhibition of some important artifacts open nearby.

This information appears to have largely been suppressed – at least it is absent from nearly all the relevant web sites and guide books – but will be a profound disappointment to any visitor seriously interested in Minoan culutre.

Kat Reply:

Thank you for your constructive criticism.

I can only go by what the Ministry of Tourism publishes officially in press releases and cross reference them with a variety of sources listed above, as I do not live or work on Crete. Official websites are unreliable and the GNTO offices abroad are no better, so I don’t use them.

I’ll contact sources on Crete when I have a moment to breathe and see what they say. However, I’m the first only (didn’t realize that a number of people copied me) person who published the above information in English and updated recently. That’s better than the EOT/GNTO, considering my taxes are paying their salaries and I’m paid nothing.

If there were a few disappointed people, I’ll also wager there were hundreds of thousands who benefited from my efforts.

  Chris wrote @ December 27th, 2011 at 17:16

Thank you for this info, it’s been super helpful for planning my trip!

Kat Reply:

Just a note of caution that this page changes as announcements are made, so what applies today may not be true when you’re finally in Greece. If you’re on Twitter, you can add me when you’re here and get real-time info on sites, special events and strikes.

  pardo wrote @ June 10th, 2012 at 16:00

I really like your website.With a wealth of information articles by far my favourite place to visit.keep the good work going.thanks

  George wrote @ June 20th, 2012 at 11:08

I cannot tell you how very useful, indeed indispensable your site has been for me. Not only does it help to plan for visiting, it’s a tremendous way to keep up with historical events in Greece as they unfold. It has been truly a deeply moving saga that continues. The country has such a hard road ahead. Notwithstanding, my money’s on the Greeks. As many have said, they’ve faced worse before. In any case, thank you very, very much. You should be paid because the site is great and the information always important.

Kat Reply:

Hi George,

Thank you so much for your kind words.

People expect information and answers for free, and there aren’t a lot of people willing to pay. The website and Twitter news feed take a lot of my time and I don’t know how long it can continue — especially with lawyers, official and commercial competitors reusing my hard work without permission — but people like you make it worthwhile. I’ll remember to hire you as my publicist in the future ;)

Wishing you all the best

  Marlene wrote @ July 8th, 2012 at 17:28

Hi! Thank you for the useful information. Do you have any idea if Koroni and Methoni Castles close on Mondays too? Thanks

Kat Reply:

This is an excellent question, and I’m unsure of the answer because I’ve never visited either and research didn’t turn up any definitive answers.

Castles of this sort are usually open to the public, not cordoned off with a gate or charging entry fees. If that’s the case, you can visit anytime though it is recommended to go before sundown because most are not lit.

  Vasu wrote @ July 21st, 2012 at 20:56

I came across your site after I had booked my trip to Athens for a third weekend in September ! This would be my first and probably last visit to this great city. Keeping my fingers crossed for Acropolis and NAM on Saturday and Sunday!
Thanks a ton anyways,your information helped me in not pre-booking any guided tour.
Shall definitely browse ur page for current postings.
Thanks again

  Julia wrote @ September 22nd, 2012 at 18:06

I just wanted to thank you so much for the work you put in to give us all this information.

I find it especially useful as I live in Nafplio and when I want to come to Athens I check the site for transport links, and any other strikes and things so that I don’t make the visit in vain.

Also this week with AN not published its invaluable. So thanks a lot. Julia

Kat Reply:

I started the dedicated strike page because English-language newspapers in Greece would publish info on the day it happened or not at all, which wasn’t incredibly useful. Only recently have they given more advance notice in a bid to compete with me.

It’s very easy to assist nice people like you, and thank you for your kind words. All best.

  Rossana wrote @ December 16th, 2012 at 13:30

Hi! Thanks a lot for your very useful and detailed website.

I was wondering if all the archaeological sites and museums, like the Acropolis museum are going to be closed on Christmas? Cheers!

Kat Reply:

See the section ‘Closures.’ It’s also listed at “Strikes in Greece,” which is a dynamic page/calendar.

  Jeep61 wrote @ January 19th, 2013 at 18:34

Are 8am-3pm the correct normal hours for the National Archeological Museum?

Also what are the hours at the NAM on Friday, May 3, which is Orthodox Easter Good Friday?

Kat Reply:

According to the website, it’s 8:00-15:00.

As I state in the article above in section ‘National Holidays’, tourist sites open at 12:00 on Holy Friday and close around 17:00.

  J.C wrote @ February 10th, 2013 at 09:58

What I.D. do we need to get the over 65 reduced ticket to see the Acropolis please

Kat Reply:

A passport or national ID card. Thank you for your question, and all best.

  Jessica wrote @ March 22nd, 2013 at 16:04

We just visited Marathonas Museum on Sunday and had to pay to get in. When I said to him that I thought it was free on Sundays he said only on the first Sunday of the month. Have they changed their policy?

Kat Reply:

There was a delay in answering because I needed a large block of time to read through all of the Ministry of Culture press releases in Greek for 2012-2013, plus scour news for the past year. I found no official announcements on changing their Sunday policy.

However, via on-the-ground comments and conversations with residents and travelers who visited the Acropolis and other sites, many have been told that only the first Sunday of each month excluding July, August and September are now free as of 2013. When I called state-run archaeological sites and museums at random and inquired both in Greek and English on different days, I got a wide variety of answers. This is very common in Greece, which is why I say “results may vary” with regard to everything.

In the ‘Free Admission Days’ section, there is already an *asterisked note for Sundays that has been there since January. With your comment, I will expand it to include tourist sites beyond the Acropolis. Thank you for your question and sharing your experience.

  Teresa wrote @ March 27th, 2013 at 20:14

On Holy/Good Friday, May 3, 2013 you have indicated that the Acropolis admission is free. Normally, a ticket purchased for the Acropolis (12 E) includes the Ancient Agora and a few other places. Will entrance to these places be free also? Thank you.

Kat Reply:

In the section ‘National Holidays’, I have NOT indicated that only Acropolis admission is free. It says, “tourist sites.”

  Monica wrote @ April 5th, 2013 at 00:17

Just to say thank you very much for all this fantastic info!

Kat Reply:

Thousands use this website and hundreds more ask questions but rarely say thank you or give back. Thank you for taking a moment and being one of those rare people.

  Gawie wrote @ May 5th, 2013 at 20:35

Thank you for your contribution in promoting tourism to Greece and thereby stimulating the economy of Greece. Note: Tourists should be aware of taxi-drivers exploiting passengers on days when public transport are affected by strikes. Don’t share taxi’s with other people, and insist on having the meter activated.

Kat Reply:

My intention is to teach people self-reliance and disseminate accurate information, not promote Greece. The latter is the responsibility of EOT/GNTO, which my taxes pay for.
Note: Many tourists are aware of unethical practices by reputation. However, few want to ruin their vacation or appear difficult by fighting with taxi drivers.

  kirk wrote @ May 29th, 2013 at 22:24

Can you provide some information about what tourist sites will be open on August 15, Assumption day? How available will taxis be on that day? Any other suggestions?

Kat Reply:

There’s no way I can give a status on hundreds of individual tourist sites for August 15 or availability of taxis for all of mainland Greece and Greek islands. What I know is stated in section, ‘National Holidays.’ Cab drivers interested in making money will be available. Strike action is announced at “Strikes in Greece.”

  Amanda wrote @ October 6th, 2013 at 19:39


Thanks for the immense amount of information that you have provided here.

I visited the Acropolis Museum today, which is the first Sunday of October 2013. It is was not free. I had to pay 5Euros to enter. Even the Acropolis was not free. The lady at the counter said that it was 12 euros. Did I misinterpret something?

Kat Reply:

Quoted directly from my article in section ‘Free admission days’ under Sundays: “*Staff at the Acropolis of Athens and other tourist sites say that only the first Sunday of each month between November 1 to March 31 are now free, not every Sunday.”

This is the reason all articles on my website combine first-hand experience and are updated on a rolling basis, as “official sources,” newspapers and travel guides are often incorrect, outdated and/or don’t match reality.

  Kyo wrote @ January 10th, 2015 at 14:22

Hello, anyone has a valid information as of now if the visit at Acropolis at Sunday is free? I got confused right now because every information that i read is different.


Kat Reply:

This question is already answered in section ‘Free admission days’ under the bolded entry of Sundays. Quoted directly: “*Staff at the Acropolis of Athens and other tourist sites say that only the first Sunday of each month between November 1 to March 31 are now free, not every Sunday.” This has been in effect since 2013.

I left the old info in place to acknowledge that misinformation is being spread by many sources, as you found. Even “official” sources are unreliable as their websites are rarely updated, and they frequently plagiarize. My info is updated on a regular basis and verified through first-hand experience.

  Ian wrote @ January 26th, 2015 at 23:09

Can’t find the answer to this question…maybe someone can help? I’ve got family out from UK in late February and we want to go over to Spinalonga. From searches, which say that the island is open Saturdays and Sundays through winter, I find that there’s no easy way to get there. I’m told that I “might” find a friendly boat owner to run us, (4), across, but other sources say that it’s totally closed. Anyone got any ideas….please?

Kat Reply:

Hi there, according to the information I was given by three different sources was Spinalonga is closed for winter. In past years, it did open on weekends but this is no longer the case via: a) the culture ministry; b) my source living on Crete; and c) contacting the site personally and speaking to someone in Greek on the phone.

I suspect this is due to austerity and finances, but also the weather.

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