Museums in Crete

Museums in Crete

History and ancient civilisation lovers will find their paradise in Crete, as they will have the opportunity to visit great archaeological sites, historical monuments scattered throughout the island, and remarkable museums that cover the whole range of its longstanding history. The island is host to rare finds from the prehistoric Minoan times until the recent years and will ignite your thirst for history and mythology.

The museums in Crete guard treasures found in the more than two dozen archaeological sites around the island, from Minoan Palaces to villas and shrines or temples of spiritual significance. Whether you head to the museums or the archaeological sites is up to you, but a combination is definitely recommended. Most of the archaeological sites and ancient towns are easily reachable by car, but there are others still that require you hike to get there on foot. The E4 European path that crosses the island, travels through a lot of historical ruins and places of archaeological significance. Head to the E4 section of the website for more information.

There are more than half a dozen archaeological museums on the island in Agios Nikolaos, Chania, Heraklion, Ancient Eleutherna, Rethymno and Sitia. In addition to archaeological museums, you will find Maritime, Cultural and Folklore museums in most of the bigger cities and some of the smaller villages.

Opening Hours for Museums in Crete

Please note that this information is subject to change so make sure to check beforehand just in case.

Most museums operate on a winter and summer schedule:

Winter: 1 November – 31 March

Morning to Noon – 8:30 – 16:00

Summer: 1 April – 31 October

Morning to Later Evening – 8:30 – 20:00

Days when most museums are closed:

  • 1 January:
  • 25 March:
  • Good Friday: maybe 12:00 – 18:00
  • Holy Saturday: maybe 08:00 – 17:00
  • 1 May
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday: maybe 08:00 – 20:00
  • 25 December
  • 26 December

Free admission days for museums in Crete

*These can be revoked by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism without advance notice.

  • 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
  • 18 April (International Monuments Day)
  • 18 May (International Museums Day)
  • The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
  • 28 October
  • Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
Labyrinth music workshop

Labyrinth music workshop

The Labyrinth Music Workshop was founded in 1982 by Ross Daly. The main object is to introduce young people to a creative approach to musical traditions from all over the world. Since 2002, the Labyrinth Music Workshop in collaboration with the Municipality of “Nikos Kazantzakis”, houses its activities in an old building, tastefully designed, in the village of Houdetsi (20 km from Heraklion) under the artistic direction of Ross Daly.

Archaeological Collection of Ierapetra

Archaeological Collection of Ierapetra

The Archaeological Collection of Ierapetra has been operating in the city of Ierapetra since 1986, which includes finds not only from the city but also from the entire province and dates from the Minoan era to the Roman years. It is housed in an 1899 building in the city centre, known as the Commercial Ottoman School. 

Archaeological and folklore Collection of Myrtos

Archaeological and folklore Collection of Myrtos

The Archeological and Folklore Collection of Myrtos is housed in a building donated by the Holy Diocese of Ieraptina and Sitia and has been operating since 2001.

Historical & Folklore Museum of Therissos – Chania

Historical & Folklore Museum of Therissos – Chania

The Historical and Folklore Museum of Therissos in the prefecture of Chania, was founded in 1985 and is housed in the former headquarters of Eleftherios Venizelos. The village of Therissos, is known for the role it played during the movement for the unification of Crete with Greece in 1908.

Historical & Folklore Museum of Gavalochori – Chania

Historical & Folklore Museum of Gavalochori – Chania

The Historical and Folklore Museum of Gavalochori was founded in 1967 but was inaugurated in September 1993. It is housed in a building typical of the local traditional house architecture and occupies two levels. It has a modern design, which helps to exhibit and highlight the existing displays and items in a way that guides the visitor through the rooms. There are seven main exhibit rooms in the museum. Each one is focused in a different area of life, starting…

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Historical Museum Of Crete

Historical Museum Of Crete

The Historical Museum of Crete offers a complete and comprehensive view of the history of the island and is found in the centre of Heraklion.

Top Museums in Rethymno

Top Museums in Rethymno

There are many museums one can visit in the Rethymnon prefecture that cover a wide range of interests and areas, from archaeological museums to folk art and ecclesiastical collections, to contemporary art exhibitions.

Ecclesiastical Museum of Tzagarolon Monastery

Ecclesiastical Museum of Tzagarolon Monastery

The Monastery of Agia Triada (Tzagarolon) is one of the most impressive monasteries you will see in Crete. It stands out for its façade with Doric style columns, but also the elements of Renaissance architecture. It was built by the Cretan monks Jeremiah and Lawrence by the Venetian Orthodox family of the Tzagarolon in the early 17th century. The museum is housed in three rooms and the exhibits, in addition to icons, a collection of vestments and samples of small…

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Chemistry Museum of Chania

Chemistry Museum of Chania

The museum has been open to the public since 1996, on the second floor of the regional office of the General Chemical State Laboratory.

Folklore Museum of Chania

Folklore Museum of Chania

The Folklore Museum of Chania is a private museum created on the initiative of Aspasia Bikaki and Irini Koumandaraki. It is housed in a hall of the Public Library, the entrance to which is located in the yard of the Catholic Church of Chania. It is a quiet and welcoming space, tucked away from the busy main street and often missed by visitors. The founders, passionate about preserving the Cretan art of embroidery and textiles, traveled to many villages themselves,…

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Nautical Museum of Chania

Nautical Museum of Chania

The Maritime Museum of Crete is located at the entrance of the historic Fortress Firkas. It is a beautiful location, that most visitors stumble across on their promenade around the waterfront and worth exploring in full to become acquainted with the rich maritime history of Crete.

Natural History Museum of Heraklion

Natural History Museum of Heraklion

The Natural History Museum of Crete functions as part of the School of Sciences of the University of Crete and is located in the centre of the Heraklion. Despite what the title suggests, it does not only present the natural wealth of the island but also of the rest of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. It has been awarded for its “diverse educational, research, writing and publishing work, its exemplary organization and its promotion of scientific research and training” with…

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Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos

Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos

The Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos was founded in 1970 to exhibit the numerous findings from eastern Crete that until then were displayed at the Museum of Heraklion. The exhibition covers the period from the Neolithic years until the end of the Greco-Roman period. It is divided into five rooms and the visitor can follow the evolution of art in the area through representative samples of different techniques and eras.

Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon

Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon

The Archaeological Museum of Rethymno is located in the centre of the Old Town of Rethymno and at a close distance to other historical and cultural areas for visitors to explore. The earliest collection of artefacts and exhibits of artistic and historical importance were gathered in 1888, on the initiative of the Greek Educational Association of Rethymno. Until 1990 the museum was accommodated in the Loggia, the most important meeting place at the time. In 1991 it was moved into…

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Archaeological Museum of Chania

Archaeological Museum of Chania

The Archaeological Museum of Chania is located in the centre of the Old Town, on Halidon Street. The archaeological collection was initially moved here in 1963 and temporarily housed in the Venetian church of Saint Francis. The church used to be part of a former monastery of the Franciscan Order and is considered nowadays an important monument of the city.

Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

Archaeological Museum of Heraklion

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion is located in the center of the city and is one of the most important archaeological museums in the world. It houses an unrivaled collection of artifacts from the Bronze-age Minoan culture – the first of note on what is now European soil and is one of the most important collections of history in Europe and Crete. The exhibits cover a period of ten millennia, from the Neolithic era until late Roman times.