Sparta’s Museum of Olive and Olive Oil

This beautifully designed museum located in Sparta invites visitors to discover the rich culture and history surrounding Greece’s famed olive and olive oil production – from prehistoric times to the early 20th century. 

Housed in a two-storey, industrial stone building the Museum of Olive and Olive Oil is a place where you will also learn about olive oil’s many uses as this area is one of the main olive-producing locations of Greece. 

Insights Greece - Sparta’s Museum of Olive and Olive Oil
Learn all about Greece’s famous olive

For each historical period, guests are able to learn about the contribution olives and olive oil have made to Greece’s economy and the way in which Greeks use it in their everyday life- from its health and beauty benefits to its influence on Greek mythology, religion, art, and technology.

On the lower floor, you will find post-byzantine technology of the olive mills and a section about domestic and industrial soap-making. In the open-air exhibition, visitors can get up close to the three different oil press machines, one prehistoric, one Hellenistic, and one from the Byzantine era.

The upper floor highlights the first testimonials of the olive as well as its contribution to Greece’s economy and shows written testimonies dating back to the 14th century, on Linear B inscribed tablets, while there are also exhibits of rare fossilized olive leaves approximately 50.000-60.000 years old, that were found in Santorini. 

Insights Greece - Sparta’s Museum of Olive and Olive Oil
View different oil press machines

Throughout the space, you will also see an impressive wooden double press with a winch from the neighbouring village of Xirokambi, and an olive press from the island of Lefkada, which documents the survival of animal power in the 20th century, as well as models representing the functioning of engine-powered olive presses. And at the end of the visit, you will be given details of archaeological sites to olive oil production in the Peloponnese if you wish to continue your journey of olive and olive oil discovery. 


Hours: 10  am to 6 pm (March 1st – October 15th)

10 am to 5 pm (October 16th – February 28th)

Admission Fee: 2€

Address: Othonos-Amalias 129, 23100 Sparta

Free Entry to Greece’s Museums and Archaeological Sites this Weekend

Entrance to state-run archeological sites, museums, and monuments will be free of charge this weekend September 25-26, to help celebrate European Heritage Days 2021. 

This year’s shared theme of festivities across Europe is “Heritage: All-Inclusive.” And in Greece, there will also be special events highlighting “Train Journey” which is part of the framework of the 2021 European Railway Year, as well as a special focus on Ioannis Kapodistrias- honouring Greece’s first governor after independence from the Ottomans, which is part of a series of events commemorating the bicentennial of the 1821 Greek War of Independence.

Some of the events will be broadcast live this weekend via the social media pages of European Heritage Days Greece on both their Facebook and Instagram.

The European Heritage Days are co-organised by the European Union and the Council of Europe, which launched the action in 1985. It is among the most widely celebrated participatory cultural events in Europe.

During the European Heritage Days each September, thousands of monuments and sites open their doors, some of them normally closed to the public for the rest of the year. This allows people to enjoy free visits, learn about their shared cultural heritage, and become part of safeguarding Europe’s heritage for present and future generations.

Bring Greek Summer Into Your Life in a Few Easy Steps!

Like Greek sunshine, Greek-style makes life brighter. There’s nothing like the elegance and summery joyousness of designs inspired by traditional and classical Greek symbols, colours, shapes, and textures to enrich your home and personal style. 

Here, IN+SIGHTS GREECE has made an expert selection of the best accessories, items, and homewares that spell Greek Summer like nothing else and can be bought online with one click.

Home Décor

The use of ceramics for practical and decorative purposes dates back to antiquity, and a trip to the Archaeological Museum will travel your mind to designs regaling elaborate stories or featuring incredible creative designs. presents a wonderful variety of ceramics to use, decorate and even wear. 

The Cycladic Art Museum shop features numerous ceramic objects that can be used for serving food or decoration. For ceramics, we especially like the bold Greek blue and white summer colours of designs by Paola Navone. 

 At the Benaki Museum shop you’ll find elegant candle holders inspired by ancient Athenian columns created by WAKS, ceramic sous verre by Eleni Kanellopoulou and several items celebrating the Bicentennary of the Greek War of Independence of 1821 by Elena Votsi, who designed the Olympic medals in 2004, including ceramic plates, cups and other items. Also by Elena Votsi are cushions with the Greek flags and the evil eye. 


Maybe dressing Greek-style from head to toe is a little extreme but adding playful and stylish Greek accessories for the beach can be fun. 

We Design have used the fishmonger’s paper, traditionally for wrapping fish, to make an apron, bag and pareo. They have also made several Greek-themed items that one can construct, like the 3D Olive Tree.

Postfolk have taken a traditional ‘kendima’ design and turned it into an original beach towel named Eudaimonia through digital embroidery and hand-finished stitching. 

Ancient Kallos have designed a one-piece and a bikini swimsuit featuring the traditional Akrokeramo design. 

Cyclades have designed several beautiful cashmere and silk-blend scarves that can be worn day or night, featuring Greek-style colours and designs.

At Musitsa you’ll find a range of straw bags, including ones to ward away the evil eye.


Greek sandals have always been a la mode – from ancient times to the 60s when they had a fashion renaissance the likes of Aristotle Onassis, The Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor wore them to today, when designers like Pantelis Melissinos, whose father Stavros immortalized them with his craftsmanship, continues today to hand-craft a grand variety of styles. We like both the classic designs and his playful and artsy ones. 

Insights Greece - Bring Greek Summer Into Your Life in a Few Easy Steps!Vibi Venezia For Aigion’s shoes made with vintage material designed by Yiannis Tsarouchis can be found at the Cycladic Art Museum shop.

Ancient Greek Sandals offer an incredible selection, but we can’t go to the beach without their Ikaria design in Jelly. 

Ergon Mykonos’ espadrilles are a VIP favourite, and we can’t choose which design we like the most! Espadrilles and more espadrilles that are 100% cotton, hand-crafted, and uniquely Greek. 


TWY – Contemporary Sculptural Jewelry is wearable art that is hand-crafted 99.9% silver and guarantees you’ll shine in the sun with modern, Greek-themed necklaces, rings, and bracelets. 

These handmade bracelets by B612 at the Benaki Museum are completely unique, combining hand-woven fabrics with silver and gold.

Shop Greek Museum Stores Online for the Perfect Gift

Online shopping offers endless possibilities, but if you’re seeking a truly original gift that can’t be found in the thousands on Amazon, visit these fantastic Greek museum shops and discover a whole other level of ideas.

National Archaeological Museum

Beautiful replicas of jewellery, busts, statues and statuettes, objects like vessels and coffee table books are sold at the store of Greece’s largest archaeological museum. There is no online catalogue but you can get in touch directly with the museum shop via email or phone to enquire whether any specific item you are interested in finding is available. The museum presents antiquities from all over Greece, in the categories of Prehistoric Antiquities, Sculpture, Metalwork, Vases and Minor Arts, Egyptian Antiquities, and Cypriot Antiquities. It also features permanent and temporary exhibitions that centre on particular areas of time and cultural, political, and social history. For more information, visit the museum shop’s page.

Insights Greece - Shop Greek Museum Stores Online for the Perfect Gift

Benaki Museums

There are four Benaki Museums in Athens – the Museum of Greek Culture, the Pireos Annex, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the Toy Museum. At the Museum of Greek Culture, one can find permanent exhibitions featuring ancient Greek and Roman art, Byzantine, post-Byzantine and Hellenic art, historic heirlooms, a vast collection of drawings, paintings and prints, Chinese and Korean art, and more. At the Pireos 138 Annex, the museum presents modern Greek architecture and photography and temporary events and exhibitions – currently, it is hosting the Athens Photo Festival 2020 (until 15/11/2020). The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of the world’s most important collections of art from India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain. Finally, the Toy Museum presents the lifetime collection of Maria Argyriadi which is among the most important in Europe and includes toys, books, clothing, and other items associated with childhood from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The online shop, the first of its kind in Greece, features museum replicas and inspired items from all the museums. You’ll find exclusive items like limited edition silkscreen prints by Greek artists, corporate gifts, contemporary and replica jewellery and an endless variety of unique art items created by Greek designers who were inspired by the breadth and depth of Greece’s and the world’s culture and art.

Museum of Cycladic Art

This impressive museum presents the most complete permanent collection of Cycladic art worldwide, as well as temporary exhibitions (currently one titled ‘Antiquarianism and Philhellenism: The Thanassis and Marina Martinos Collection’ which will go on until 05/04/2021). Cycladic art, ancient Greek culture and Cypriot culture are represented here in daily and utilitarian items, artworks, jewellery and sculpture. At the museum’s shop you’ll find replicas and modern creations by Greek designers inspired by the exhibitions, from household and décor items such as glasses, bowls and plates to jewellery and books. Explore the shop’s lucky charms for 2021 for upcoming Christmas pressies too.

Goulandris Museum of Natural History

The one-of-a-kind museum is known for its impressively massive replica of a dinosaur skeleton as well as its incredible variety of botanical, entomological, marine biology, paleontology, herpetology, mammal, mineral and other collections related to natural history collections. At the museum’s store you’ll find original presents for children, such as minerals and rocks, handmade ceramic, wood or stone figures of sea and land animals, and lovely books, puzzles and games related to the natural environment. There are plenty of gift options for adults too: Greek flora is portrayed on fabulous lithographies, silk scarves and porcelains designed by Niki Goulandris.

The Acropolis Museum

Greece’s most important museum, featuring spectacular beauties such as the Parthenon Frieze and a meticulously maintained, expansive and stunning collection of the most important finds from the Acropolis and Athens in antiquity, has just turned 10! The Acropolis Museum shop has created a special selection of festive, Christmas season gifts that includes lucky charms for 2021, decorative items and ornaments. The museum is also presenting a special selection of silk scarves, cups and other items themed on Cranes in Flight to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

Greek Girl in a Museum

Growing up in a home filled with antiques and collectibles and spending her childhood getting lost at archaeological sites, it’s no surprise Mariza Karidi has become a History and Philosophy student at the Kapodistrian University of Athens, and creator of “The Girl in the Museum,” a popular Greek blog informing and inspiring people to visit museums.

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with Mariza about her love of history and culture, her favourite galleries, and her desire to open up her own museum.
Insights Greece - Greek Girl in a Museum

Tell us about your studies. 

Capturing the moment was my passion from an early age. I have a Photography degree from Middlesex University, and I’m also finishing my second degree in History and Philosophy of Science at the Kapodistrian University of Athens. I couldn’t be happier with my choices as I had a blast doing art and museology courses at both universities. Presently, I’m spending days freelancing, self-managing my properties, writing about museums, and being a student. Also, I take environmental activism pretty seriously, so I would add that to my profession.

How did your passion for museums and history begin?

My father loved to learn and share his knowledge. Because of him, I spent my childhood getting lost in museums, attending lectures for grown-ups, and discussing deep topics with his intellectual friends. He also loved to collect rare maritime antiques and wanted to build a museum for them. So, my house looks like a museum because it’s full of his collectibles until this day. Sadly, he passed away nine years ago but, happily, he managed to pass his passions on to me. Whenever I’m in a museum, I feel at home, and I aspire to start my own museum one day.

What was the idea behind your blog ‘The Girl in the Museum’? 

It’s a pity there are so many blogs about travel, beauty, cooking, but only a few about museums and none of them are in Greek. People – especially Greeks – need to know that museums are not boring institutions that our school teachers force us to visit. They are inspiring, mindful, liberal places, and everyone would have a favourite one if they gave it a chance. In fact, the experience of being in a gallery could be life-changing, and that’s why doctors prescribe museum visits as a treatment. Some doctors are even convinced that in the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century. Therefore, I make sure to take my museum-pill daily, and then I blog about it, so more people will benefit from it.

How many museums (roughly)  have you visited?

Insights Greece - Greek Girl in a Museum

More than most people, but less than I would like to. I advise you not to count stars, summer swims, and museum visits. All should be uncountable.

Do you have a Top 3 list of museums- worldwide and in Greece?

It’s a tricky one. Housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is breathtaking, and it has to be on my list. Next, the Science Museum in London because if you are a science lover like me, you’ll feel the unique energy at the very moment you enter the building. Plus, if you’re also a coffee lover, you’ll be able to hold a good cup of coffee while wandering around the exhibits, and no one will blame you. And, of course, I can’t stop talking about Forte di Belvedere in Florence ever since I visited, because of its magnificent views. Interesting fact, that’s where Kanye West and Kim Kardashian got married. As for Greece, the Acropolis Museum deserves its fame. I also adore the Museum of Asian Art in Corfu- the only museum in Greece dedicated to Asia’s art. Lastly, the Herakleidon Museum in Athens explores the intersection between maths, science, and art. Believe me when I say it is one-of-a-kind.


Do you have a preference for modern or classical museums?

I appreciate both, but classical museums housed in buildings full of history, wooden floors, and natural light, like the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, have my heart.

What do you enjoy most when visiting a museum?

Insights Greece - Greek Girl in a Museum

Museums are not only institutions that care for a collection of artifacts. They are great places to get inspired, have a first date, work remotely, read a book, relax, and share a cup of coffee with friends. Therefore, I could revisit a cultural organisation every week. My favourite thing to say is that there are a thousand and one ways of visiting a museum, and none is better than the other.

Do you spend hours walking through a gallery?

It doesn’t take me long to see an entire exhibition, but, oh, how I could enjoy the ambiance of a museum cafe all day long. What makes me come back is the unique interiors, the friendly museum guards, and the attention to small details. Furthermore, all museums should be free; thus, everyone, rich or poor, has access to such significant cultural resources. Considering that, free admission is much appreciated.

Is there a certain period of Greek history or archaeology that you feel most drawn towards?

I have been studying Ancient Greek Philosophy for years. I’ve always been fascinated by
images of a bunch of bearded men, wearing himations, strolling around Athens, and trying to answer deep questions while flirting with each other. It is tragicomical and genius at the same time.

What museums and archaeological sites- famous and not so well known- would you highly recommend?

For the ones who like large and famous museums, the British Museum in London has it all. For folklore enthusiasts, the not so known Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Cologne will be a surprise. For some vintage aesthetic vibes, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford was founded in 1683. For the lovers of Greek history, the National Historical Museum in Athens, and Poseidon’s temple at Cape Sounion. And for the real museum geeks, the Criminology Museum, which functions on the grounds of the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Due to the nature of its exhibits, the Criminology Museum is open to the public only by appointment. If you’re feeling lucky, go there and try to find a professor who will be kind enough to let you in. And remember you have to promise not to photograph the collection of the human remains.

Is there a region in Greece that you think is particularly wonderful for museum lovers?

Of course, museums are thriving in Athens and Thessaloniki. Still, I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of culture in sparsely populated regions. The Peloponnese is full of museum-gems, and the same goes for the Aegean Islands, especially Andros and Syros. The thing about museums is there is always one that you find by accident and it was the best one of your life. 

What museum will you be exploring next?

I’ve spent all my life in Athens, but only recently I’ve heard about the Vorres Museum, which lies in the shadow of Mount Ymittos. It looks lovely in pictures, and I can’t wait to visit. As for the future, Paris is always a good idea.