It is true that Greece is the land of sunshine! Once in a while though there are a few days of rain. So, you are in Athens and it’s raining! Don’t despair. There’s plenty to do in Greece’s capital city. Here are some ideas of how to make the best out of a rainy/stormy day, or weekend in Athens.
It’s coffee time!
There is a lot of cafes downtown, where you can sit back, relax and watch the rain fall down. Many of them have book corners and free Wi-Fi. Taste Greek sweet treats that will brighten up your day next to a cup of Greek coffee or a cup of organic herbal tea – it is most definitely worth a try! If you prefer a museum coffee shop, stop by the charming skylight cafe at the Museum of Cycladic Art, where you can actually listen to the sound of rain falling on the roof or alternatively head for the south suburbs of Athens to get a view of the sea during and after the rain!
Shopping in Athens is always a pleasure but on a rainy day it can become really a relish! If you don’t feel like strolling about the most famous and picturesque shopping districts of the city, the “new kid on the block” are the colourful and impressive department stores that have won the hearts of Athenians and visitors who shop there.
Some of the most modern boutiques in town known for products such as haute couture clothes of Greek and foreign designers, shoes and leather apparels, accessories, toys, antique furniture, jewellery, items for the house etc are situated downtown Athens. Nestled in the heart of Athens, Ermou Street is the most famous shopping promenade and one of the best choices in Athens for clothing, accessories and quality souvenir shopping. If you are looking for shoes, go nowhere else as you will find a great number of shoe shops there! In Voukourestiou St. and other streets around Syntagma Square you will find Greek jewellery shops of worldwide reputation and bookstores that specialise in foreign publications.
Get some Culture
Besides sitting in a cafe or shopping, you might also want to do something more intellectual. Athens is full of art galleries and museums and many of them are within walking distance (maybe 5-10 min apart). If you are around Syntagma Square you can visit the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, the War Museum and the Numismatic Museum. If art is your thing then you might also be interested in dropping by remarkable art galleries which host art works of Greek painters and sculptures or visit the National Gallery of Art and the Theocharakis Foundation as there are great exhibitions all year round.
Discover hidden treasures
If you need to duck in for a while, the Athenian arcades are what you will be looking for. Thanks to their innovative interior design and unique character, it’s only natural that these arcades are among the favourite choices of visitors as well as Athenians! Some decades ago, when imposing, grand buildings were constructed in Athens, no one could imagine that the indoor passages to those buildings would later be a part of Athens’ most striking modern sights!
How about a walk with an umbrella, through the National Gardens? It’s peaceful; especially so on a rainy day, when there are few people out and the gardens hold many secret areas where you can escape the rain. There is a cafe at one end or you can continue out of the gardens and reach Zappeion, where you may visit the magnificent Zappeion Hall and admire the architecture!
Hang out at Athens Metro
If it’s raining cats and dogs and it’s Monday so museums are closed, don’t panic. There is an archaeological and a contemporary art museum all in one, where exhibits can be admired from very early in the morning till midnight. Where? Underground, at the Athens Metro. It is one of the most modern & best undergrounds in Europe but what makes the Athens metro so different from others is that most of the stations display archaeological finds and modern art. In fact, when the metro was under construction, thousands of ancient objects were found – pottery, statues, even graves! The best places to see these are Syntagma, Monastiraki, Acropolis and Evangelismos stations. In Monastiraki Station there is a small stream flowing through it, you can see it under your feet as well as some ancient buildings from inside the station.
Just wanna hang out somewhere dry? Visit the National library, part of the so-called “Neoclassical Trilogy” of the City of Athens: Academy -University – Library. The library offers comfortable reading corners and a vast selection of valuable books, magazines, scripts, documents and maps from the most important periods of Greek literature. So this is a good option to chill out in a dry place where you can have a look at the collection of Lord Byron’s personal items (a golden watch, his laurel chaplet, his stamps etc), Heinrich Schliemann’s diaries, notebooks, and letters; impressionistic watercolours of Greece by Edward Lear; and the first edition printed in Greek of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
Opening Hours: central Reading Room Mon- Thu 09:00 – 20:00 pm, Fri-Sat 09:00 – 14:00
Manuscripts Reading room: Mon-Fri: 09:00 – 14:00, Sat: closed.