Thessaloniki holds a great historical treasure in the form of many museums. It has a great history that dates back a thousand years, and if history had blessed Thessaloniki with something special, it is the great artifacts that are stored in these magnificent museums that each tell a story about this great island. And one of the best parts about these museums is that you do not need a classics or archeological degree to understand or enjoy them, as the artifacts hold a great story with them which the museum guide will tell you all about.
Thessaloniki is also called the land of culture. It has been ruled by a number of civilizations in the past, each leaving it with a variety of relics and artifacts that now rest at the museums around the city. If you have plans to visit Thessaloniki and you are wondering what to do there, then take our advice and book yourself on a museum tour around the city. There are many museums around Thessaloniki, like the Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki, which holds artifacts from the Macedonia reign; then there is the Museum of Byzantine Culture, which is divided into eleven sections where each section stores a great collection of artifacts from different civilizations that once ruled the city in the past. These museums play a significant role in representing Thessaloniki as a city to the people around the world. For example, the museums around Thessaloniki are one of the main attractions of it, so people visit from all over the world to experience them in person. These museums also promote research and preserve the great history of Thessaloniki, and lastly, the museums play a major part in educating people about what Thessaloniki was in the past and how far it has come ever since. The best way to visit these museums is with a car rental. Car rental in Thessaloniki is advised because of the two following reasons. First is to use it as an airport transfer alternative and second to use it as a local taxi alternative. In both cases a visit to Thessaloniki Museums is highly recommended.
So, the top museums in Thessaloniki are listed below:
- Museum of Byzantine Culture
- Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
- State Museum of Contemporary Art
- White Tower Museum
- Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
- Thessaloniki Sciences Center and Technology Museum
- Ataturk Museum Thessaloniki
- Thessaloniki Cinema Museum
1. Museum of Byzantine Culture
The Museum of Byzantine Culture has a collection of artifacts and objects that date back to the 2nd and 20th centuries. Most of these remarkable collections consist of seals, small artifacts, coins, and some icons and sculptures from the old times. The museum is divided into eleven sections, with each room having a different theme according to the artifacts and sculptures present in the room. You have an Early Christian Church, Elysian Field, Early Christian City and Dwelling, Christian Paradise, Macedonian and Komnenian Dynasties. Icocnoclasm, Splendor of the Macedonian, and more.
The museum stores some of the greatest artifacts of all time. The collections represent the history of Thessaloniki and tell us about all the civilizations that once ruled the great land. When you visit the Museum of Byzantine, you will get to see icons from the 6th to 19th century, like the famous Byzantine icon painters, a wide collection of mosaics and frescos, manuscripts, and parchments from the old times, which will provide you a great insight on the historic craftsmanship, history, and literature from the Byzantine era, and lastly, there are ceramics like bowls, glasses, and other from the Byzantine time as well.
So, if you plan on visiting the Museum of Byzantine Culture, then you can visit it anywhere from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm if you are visiting in winter and from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm if you are there during summer. Also, the entrance ticket is only €4 and is valid for 3 days, so you can visit the museum even if you miss a day.
2. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is a historic place which is built in a huge house. The house is designed by Patroklos Karantinos, and the place itself is a great example of modern architecture in Greece. The museum was first built in 1962, it was a single-room museum at that time. Later on, a new wing was added to it in 1980 to display the new findings from Vergina. It was 2004 when the museum was finally renovated and turned into the beautiful house it is today.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki is the only place in Thessaloniki where you will get to see the entire history of Macedonia in one place. Artifacts and objects like Prehistoric Macedonian sculptures, warrior armors, monuments of old times, classical and Hellenistic art, artifacts from Macedonian times that were discovered in the tombs of old royalty and nobles, mosaic and iconic coins from the Byzantine period, and artifacts from the Roman era.
So, if you are in Thessaloniki and plan on paying a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, then you must plan it anywhere between 8:30 am to 8:00 pm during summer and 8:30 am to 3:30 pm during winter. The entrance fee is also low, starting from €4 only. The Museum is generally closed on public holidays like 1st January, 25th March, and 5th May.
3. State Museum of Contemporary Art
State Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as MOMus, is the art hub of Thessaloniki. The museum was built in 1997 and was dedicated to represent contemporary art. It is also the largest museum which was devoted to art in all of Greece. The museum serves a mission to promote art and culture in Greece and to offer a platform to all emerging artists where they can showcase their work to the world. The museum served as a great place when the art movement started in Greece, and it supported all the people that were connected to art at that time and provided them a platform where they could connect to the audience.
The museum possesses a great collection of art, such as paintings, installations, sculptures, and video art by many Greek and international artists. The museum also organizes exhibitions for new flourishing artists where they can showcase their works of contemporary art to the world. Artists from different art forms, themes, and styles join these exhibitions, as Thessaloniki is a great place to show their work to many people from different countries.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, with its timings from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Whereas on Thursday, the museum opens at 12:00 pm and closes at 8:00 pm. The entrance fee for the museum is €4 for adults and €2 for students.
4. White Tower Museum
The White Tower Museum was built in the 15th century on top of a Byzantine blockhouse. It used to be surrounded by defensive walls, and the tower served as a fort to the army of the 15th century to strengthen the coastline defenses and the port. It was first named the Lion Tower to pay respect to the Ottoman military victory. Later on, in the 17th century, the tower was repurposed as a stronghold and then a prison and was called the Tower of Blood. In 1891, the tower was finally given the name the White Tower and was painted all white.
Later on, the defensive walls around the tower were put down. Today, White Tower is one of the main attractions and the symbol of Thessaloniki. It is open to local and foreign visitors. The tower also has a museum that focuses o Thessaloniki’s multicultural lifestyle and rich history. People can also climb to the top and enjoy a beautiful view of the whole city from there. The museum has a permanent collection of old artifacts such as ceramics, coins, and weapons. There are also some photographs and other materials, which are all displayed chronologically. To provide a piece of detailed information to the visitors of the region’s history.
If you would like to visit this historical tower, then you can anywhere between 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The ticket price was €3 till December for everyone, but it has been reduced to €2 for students and senior citizens. Also, the entry is free for people under 18 years.
5. Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki was built in 1997 to explore the heritage and history of Sephardic Jews of the 15th century. It was the only building that survived the frightening fire in 1917. The Jewish community was one of the largely populated communities in Thessaloniki 2,000 years ago, but in the 20th century, they badly suffered during World War II by the Nazis, who occupied the region and deported all of the Jews to concentration camps.
The idea behind building the Jewish Museum was to reflect the greatness of the Jewish community to the people of present times. It was proposed in the 1970s to build this museum, and finally, in 1997, the city donated this historic building for a great purpose. The museum exhibits the history of the Jewish community by displaying the artifacts like documents, photographs, personal belongings of the Jews, and religious objects. The museum is also used to exhibit cultural events and film screenings and to also host lectures ad concerts.
The museum is open for visitors from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm all week. The entrance fee, on the other hand, is €5 for everyone.
6. Thessaloniki Sciences Center and Technology Museum
Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum, also known as NOESIS is a cultural and educational organization that was formed in 1978. The museum plays a vital role in promoting awareness about modern technology and science. At first, the museum started with a small house, but later on, it was realized that the institute needed more space to conduct its activities. The management of the museum built a library, offices, workshops, thematic exhibitions, and a room dedicated to educational experiments.
In 2004, the museum was moved to a building in Sindos. The museum’s collection and exhibits cover a number of technological and scientific displays like astronomy, energy, robotics, environment, and physics. There are many temporary exhibitions as well that cover the educational side of technology and modern science. There are also workshops for visitors so they can understand the place a bit better.
Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum is a popular place for school trips and for science enthusiasts. The museum has also been awarded a number of awards and honors for its exhibits and innovative programs. The museum has a different schedule for each day. On Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, the timings are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For Wednesday and Thursday, the timings are from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and on Sunday, the museum opens at 2:00 pm and closes at 10:00 pm. The ticket price also varies from €8 to €35 depending on the number of people.
7. Ataturk Museum Thessaloniki
Built to honor the life and legacy of the great Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Ataturk Museum Thessaloniki was opened in Ataturk’s house, where he was born in 1881. He was the founder of the modern Turkish state, and he played a major role in helping Thessaloniki survive during the First World War. Due to his heroic action, when the house of Ataturk came under Greek control, the government decided to turn it into a monument for the public and opened it as a museum to honor Ataturk’s great legacy. However, the house dealt with great damage during World War II but was rebuilt and reopened as a museum in the 1950s. The museum was rewarded with Ataturk’s personal belongings and collections in 1981, which are now on display for the public.
The museum’s collection consists of Ataturk’s personal belongings, documents related to his life, and photographs. They also hold exhibitions to showcase the history of the early years of the Turkish Republic and Ottoman Empire. There are many cultural events as well for educational purposes. The museum still stands as a symbol of the historical relationship between Turkey and Greece.
The museum opens in the morning at 10:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm, and the entrance is free for everyone.
8. Thessaloniki Cinema Museum
Thessaloniki Cinema Museum was established in 1997 and was dedicated to preserving the history and art of cinema and filmmaking in Greece. The museum was established in a restored house from the 19th century and has been open to the public ever since. The idea to open the Cinema Museum was first proposed in the 1990s by a group of filmmakers and movie enthusiasts to have a space where they can preserve and celebrate cinema.
The museum holds a wide collection of items that are linked to the history of cinema, such as projectors, costumes, cameras, and film posters of historical movies. The museum also organizes exhibits of Greek cinema history, and the management also displays the work of flourishing filmmakers from around the world. One of the most popular exhibits of the museum is “Cinemas in Greece” which cover Greek cinema history from the silent era to till day filmmaking.
So, if you are a film enthusiast, then you must visit this filmmaking heaven. The museum opens at 9:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm in the evening from Monday to Friday, and the entrance fee is €2 for everyone.
What is the best time to visit the museums in Thessaloniki?
The best time to visit the museums in Thessaloniki would be during the spring and fall seasons, as the weather is mild, and there are generally fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season. However, it ultimately depends on personal preference and the schedule of the museum. It is advisable to check the official websites of the museums before planning a visit to confirm their opening hours and any possible closures or changes.
Additionally, visitors should consider checking if there are any special exhibitions happening during their visit as they showcase unique artifacts and visuals for a limited time. It is recommended to plan the trip accordingly to avoid the rush and to have a pleasant experience.
Should I buy tickets in advance to visit the museums in Thessaloniki?
It is not always necessary to buy tickets in advance to visit the museums in Thessaloniki, but it can be beneficial during peak tourist season or for popular exhibitions. Buying tickets in advance can help you avoid waiting in long queues, save time, and ensure your entry into the museum.
It completely depends on the museum you plan on visiting and the time of the year. If you plan the trip during the peak tourist season, then there is a high chance that the museums will be filled with tourists, which means you have to wait in long queues, so it would be better to buy the tickets in advance and avoid the waiting process. But if the trip is planned during the off-season, then it will not be necessary as there will not be many people visiting the museums. There are some museums that offer advance booking online as well. So, if your trip is anywhere during the peak season, then get the tickets in advance.
Can I drive a rental car to a Thessaloniki Museum?
Yes, anyone car drive a rental car to a Museum in Thessaloniki. Actually, a car rental in Thessaloniki this is the best option to get to the city’s museums. Car rental are a convenient way to explore the city and its surrounding areas at your own pace. It is advisable to check the rental terms and conditions, including insurance coverage and driving license requirements and credit car necessity, before renting a car. Potos Car Rentals ensure that you travel with comfort and style, which is why their car rental fleet consists of clean, well-maintained and modern car models . The stuff is also extremely friendly and cooperative. All you have to do is book the car in advance or at the time of need and provide them with any additional requirements e.g. a child seat, road map or snow chains.
Things to consider while renting a car
Here is a list of things you must consider while renting a car in Thessaloniki:
- Drivers Age. The driver must be over 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license to drive the car. There are some companies as well whose age limit starts from 23 years.
- Insurance. It is necessary that you have a working credit or debit card for Collision Damage Waiver insurance while renting a car to guarantee that the owner will get it back in the same condition. Also, CDW insurance does not cover the glass and mirror destruction, so if it happens, we would suggest that you call for help and stay there.
- Driver’s Gender. Greece does not discriminate between a man and a woman for drivers. Either a man or a woman can drive a car in Thessaloniki and Greece.
- Required Documents. The rental car provider will need your credit or debit card details and driver’s license under the driver’s name to avoid any unnecessary disaster. If the first driver has no valid driving license, the second driver’s license must be needed.
- Recommended Car Type. Before renting a car, you must look at how many people and luggage you have. You can inform the car rental company about it, and then they will offer the best car type which will be suitable for all of you.
How much does a car rental cost in Thessaloniki?
Thessaloniki is a captivating city with various points of interest that can be conveniently explored by with a rental car. Car hire rates in Thessaloniki are influenced by factors such as the number of passengers, planned route, vehicle model, pick-up spot, and the rental period. The typical daily cost of a rental car in Thessaloniki falls between €25 and €35. If you’re considering hiring a car for an entire week, you can expect an average total of around €220. A weekend car hire in Thessaloniki will roughly be €70. The options for car hire in Thessaloniki are diverse, with companies offering a wide range of vehicles to suit varying customer needs.
Is it expensive to visit museums in Thessaloniki?
The cost of visiting museums in Thessaloniki varies depending on several factors such as the museum, time of year, age, and student status. Generally, the entrance fees for most museums in Thessaloniki are affordable and range from €2 to €8, with some museums offering free admission for certain categories of visitors, such as children under the age of 18, students, and senior citizens.
It is worth noting that the prices in Thessaloniki are relatively lower compared to other major European cities. Visitors can explore the city’s rich history and culture without breaking the bank. Additionally, some museums in Thessaloniki offer discounted admission fees for group visits or if you purchase tickets for multiple museums at once. It is advisable to check the official website of the museum or inquire at the ticket counter for any available discounts or special offers.
Can I combine a museum visit with sightseeing in Thessaloniki?
Of course, you can combine your museum visit with sightseeing in Thessaloniki. There are a number of places to visit in Thessaloniki city such as the White Tower, Aristotelous Square, Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Church of Saint Demetrius, and many more.