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.
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.”
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former ministry on May 17, 2011 promised to keep the Acropolis open 8:00-19:00 Monday-Friday year round, but this has been revoked.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 Museum — Closed 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 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” — government.gov.gr
“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