The museum contains the most celebrated collection of Minoan art and cultural antiquities anywhere in the world, bringing together over 15,000 historical artifacts, large and small, from all over Crete. Curated both chronologically and thematically across nearly 30 rooms, together it tells the story of cultural, social, and economic life on the island during ancient times.
Along with everyday items like household utensils, pottery, and jewelry; the museum also showcases an impressive range of sculptures, as well as famous pieces like the golden bee pendant, golden ring of King Minos, Hagia Triada sarcophagus, and famous Linear B tablets from Knossos. The museum building was constructed in the 1930s on the original site of the Friary of St. Francis, which was destroyed by a 19th-century earthquake. Wander the gardens to glimpse some of the former friary ruins.
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Things to know before you go
- Entry to the museum is via paid ticket and combined tickets are available for entry to the museum and the Palace of Knossos.
- The museum is wheelchair-accessible and has some wheelchairs available for use.
- There’s lots to see, so it’s advisable to allocate a few hours for your visit.
How to get there
The museum is situated in the center of Heraklion and so easily accessible on foot, by taxi, or public transport (the main bus station is opposite the museum). For the full historical experience, book a guided day tour that takes in the old town and Archeological Museum, followed by the Palace of Knossos.
When to get there
Museum opening times differ throughout the year, so check before you visit. The museum is closed on public holidays.
Visit the Palace of Knossos
Follow up a trip to the Archeological Museum with a visit to the Palace of Knossos, situated approximately 3 miles (5 kilometers) south of Heraklion. The site dates back as far as 7000 BC, and the palace itself some 4,000 years (c. 2000 BC). It’s considered the heart of ancient Minoan civilization. In classical Greek mythology, Knossos Palace was home to King Minos and the famous legends of the Minotaur.