Oh no, it’s raining in a city that’s renowned for sunshine, with half of the most popular tourist attractions being outdoors. Might we throw in that it’s also Monday, meaning half of the museums are closed? What now?
Touring in the Rain
The best solution to seeing a city in spite of bad weather is to hire a driver. Booking a private tour with a taxi, minibus, leaves the dirty work to seasoned professionals with their own sets of tricks and secrets, some well outside of walking distance. They’ll get you as close as possible to the sites to avoid you walking in the rain. The good ones are even are able to offer some general history while you’re safe and dry in the vehicle. Prices vary from company to company with different prices for half day or full day and whether you’re two, four, six… A good ballpark is to expect around 100-200 Euros for a half day (four hours) and 200-250 for a full eight hours. Double that if you have more than four people in your group as you’ll need a limo or minibus.
If it’s out of your price range or you haven’t done any forward research on who to use, you can catch a ride on one of the tourist trains like the Sunshine Express or the Hop On, Hop Off buses that are circuiting the city. You’ll get a good view of all of the most important things Athens has to offer without getting a wet head.
Museums that are open on Mondays:
Housed the neoclassical mansion of the prominent Benaki family. This is modern art, modern history, and ancient history pulled together in a way that suits a museum-goer in need of variety. A beautiful gift and book shop is on the bottom floor while the upper level is reserved for sipping tea or coffee and gazing at the Acropolis through the rain.
Open 9-5, admission 6 euros
Unexpectedly modern art from a civilization that was around 7,000 years ago. The artifacts are all related to the antiquities of the Cycladic islands and connected to the beautiful Stathatos mansion off of Vassilis Sofias Avenue. Very close to the Benaki Museum if you’d like to combine the two together.
Open 10am-4pm, admission 3.50 (Monday’s price)
An outstanding collection of antiquities from all around Greece including things rescued from shipwrecks and excavated from deep, dark caves. You could easily spend four hours here. It’s recommended to book a tour guide who can provide all of the nitty-gritty details.
Open 1pm-5pm, 7 euros admission
Famous works of art donated by prominent Greek collectors as well as artwork from Greek artists in the last two centuries. Oftentimes there are wonderful temporary exhibitions that feature sketches, costumes, or photographs pertaining to Greek culture.
Open 9am-3pm in Summer (April 1- October 31) and 1pm-5:30pm in Winter (November 1-March 31st) admission 6.50
Up in the Northern suburb of Kifissia, this elegant, old fashioned museum offers everything with regard to flora, fauna, rocks and waves. A great place to take children.
Open 9-2, entry fee 2.40
Another one for the kiddoes, this center offers learning through super multi-media presentations. Get a virtual trip through the Ancient Agora or learn how to take care of the earth through the eyes of a Polar Bear. See their schedule of events listed on their official website.
Open 9-2, entry fee 6 euros (reduced for children)
Once inside this discreet museum, you’ll find it hard to leave. It’s warm and well organized, and provides you with everything you never knew about the history of the Jewish people of Greece from as far back as 2,300 years ago.
Open from 9-2:30, entry fee 5 euros
The former home of royalty preserves aristocratic life in 19th century Athens. Good for appreciators of decorative history and curious objects.
9am-4pm, entry fee 3 euros
More Inside Fun
A department store with all of the usual name brands and niceties, but a distinctly “Athenian” attitude. Combine it with lunch or a pristine pastry at distinguished Cafe Zonar’s, just next door, for an upper crust sort of day to ride out the inclement weather.
Who doesn’t love to spend a rainy day in a bookstore? And what a bookstore. Eleftherodakis is seven floors of book-lover heaven with a peaceful cafe on the sixth level offering light meals and beverages. Tea, books, the rare Athens rain.. it’s a poetic formula.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Catch a film at the historic Attikon Theater. There is almost always at least one movie featured in English with Greek subtitles and it’s quite the experience, if only to see how people rush out for a cigarette during the intermission leaving the concession stand line-free.
Go to hear some music that suits the weather at the jazz and blues bar, the Half Note. It’s one of the most popular venues in town so call early in the day to reserve tickets which can be anywhere from 20-30 euros depending on the night, section and artist. Shows usually start after 10:00 pm so you’re sure to have time to fit in all of these other wonderful rainy Monday activities while in Athens.