People often ask me, besides historical sites, lovely cafes and restaurants, what else is good about Athens? My answer is to go shopping, which is sure to be enjoyed by tourists. In the previous article we suggested 13 best things to buy in Greece as meaningful souvenirs or gifts. So, what to buy in Athens, where to go shopping in Athens, where to shop in Athens — the Greece’s ancient city capital? Let’s check it out our Athens shopping guide with 15 best shopping areas in Athens, best shopping places in Athens and best shopping malls in Athens as well as best things to buy in Athens to find out the answer!
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Athens shopping guide: Overview of shopping in Athens
Due to the impact of the economic crisis, the sales seasons are often very good, and even during the normal periods, sellers are already very willing to give you discounts. My impression is that Athens is not flashy with too many commercial centers or shopping malls and crowded, bustling shopping streets like other cities of Europe, but Athens is still a shopping paradise in its own style, very local.
In addition to shopping districts such as Plaka and Monastiraki that are so familiar to tourists, in the center of Athens is intertwined with lovely and colorful shops that ensure to satisfy all shopaholics’s needs and budgets, especially when it is even more attractive when neighborhoods that used to be honking are now reserved for pedestrians to roam freely in search of their favorite items, souvenirs or gifts. Not to mention, if you have time to go further to neighboring areas or suburbs like Kifisia and Glyfada, you can also find many small shops in a very nice and lovely space.
Not advertising for Greece, but the friendly, laid back sellers and the diversity in goods, products are too big of an attraction compared to Western European countries (not to mention the beautiful scenery or the good discount deal). However, before going into details, remember to pay attention to the opening hours of the shopping malls, shops because Athens is not open as often as other European countries, but mostly according to the time frame below:
- Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 9am – 3pm
- Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9am – 2.30pm and 5pm – 8.30pm
- Sunday & Public Holiday: Mostly closed, except for convenience stores such as pharmacies, liquor stores, flowers shops…
And remember that Greece has many holidays.
Where to go shopping in Athens? Below are the best shopping areas in Athens, best shopping places in Athens and best shopping malls in Athens.
Best shopping places in Athens: Ermou Street
Let’s start with Athens’ most familiar shopping spot: Ermou Street. Right at the foot of the central square Syntagma stretches out a brilliant pedestrian street filled with shops of all kinds. Here, you will find familiar brands like H&M, Zara or Accessorize, Sephora cosmetics, even Flying Tiger with all other small items standing alongside cute little private shops.
Right at the beginning of the street is Fokas Department Store, featured in a unique semi-classical architectural building that to me, even if I don’t shop, I must also visit and admire the interior architecture to see if it is as attractive as its outside appearance. Next is the center specializing in cosmetics Hondos Center. The ladies are sure to love it because who doesn’t love looking at such beautiful things, free makeup tests or other great deals on offer. If you’re interested in apparel, head up to Kaliviotis, north of Ermou, close to Syntagma Square, and you’ll find a wide range of specialty fabrics and accessories.
At the end of Ermou street, there is a leather shoe shop that no customer enters without buying large bags and small bags because there are so many designs to choose from and the prices are so good as well. Another good thing is that there are often artists and dancers performing on the street to welcome visitors to Athens.
Best shopping areas in Athens: A little nostalgia in Monastiraki
Going a little further you will see Monastiraki market, which can be considered as a dream destination for any tourist because there are many souvenirs with typical Greek shapes for you to choose, especially there is no place can beat Monastiraki for bohemian souvenirs, leather goods and accessories. The advantage of this area is that it is open all sunday while other markets in Greece are closed.
The interesting point is that in the Monastiraki market, visitors can find thousands of antiques in Avissinias square with really antique items at very good prices. The goods at this market are extremely rich and diverse, from jewelry, records to furniture, decoration, in short, everything from expensive 19th century items to some worthless items, all jostled together in an arranged mess, very interesting and eye-catching too. Sundays will more lively when gypsies and villagers gather all kinds of things to sell. My Greek friend told me that during the Second World War, there were many wealthy middle-class families in Athens who had to sell many of their valuable possessions to the villagers in exchange for food, from heirlooms, expensive furniture, jewelry, paintings, vases, sculptures… This period is considered to be the largest transfer of wealth from the city to the countryside in history and now these items are beginning to gradually reappear through the market sessions in Monastiraki.
Where to go shopping in Athens — Plaka: All in one
Plaka is located in the heart of Athens and is home to the prettiest houses in the most serene setting of the city. The shops here are always packed with cool things, making sure you’ll find all sorts of interesting gifts for your loved ones back home. Not to mention, wandering in Plaka brings an extremely peaceful and nostalgic feeling, small cobblestone streets, small yellow painted houses lined with bougainvillea. Restaurants and eateries in this area often have both indoor and outdoor areas, just imagine enjoying a cup of fragrant coffee under the cool shade of a tree for your feet to rest after shopping hard is nothing better.
Where to shop in Athens — Upscale shopping: Kolonaki
If you want to experience luxury shopping with high-end brands, the Kolonaki district in central Athens and the famous Voukourestiou street are sure to exceed your expectations. Along Voukourestiou street are a series of world-famous names such as Prada, Gucci, Cartier, etc., and also small but equally luxurious and trendy boutiques. Not to mention, is the richest area in Athens, so stepping into Kolonaki you will surely be satisfied with the art, style and display here, naturally creating a shopping impulse for you. The day I went, I also discovered a PRELOVED shop (Address: Asklipiou 37-31, Athina 106 80, Greece) with second-hand brand fashion from Hermes, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Prada… and it all looked very likenew.
Vintage shopping: Heading to Exarcheia
If you love vintage items, no need to go further, let go to Exarcheia, Athens’s artistic district. There are both new vintage shops and second hand shops here, sure to satisfy your compulsive shopping (and be a bit light on the pocket). One store I recommend is Yesterday’s Bread Second Hand (Address: 106 83, Kallidromiou 87, Athina 106 83, Greece). It sounds like a no-fashion store at all but this is the most famous store in Athens. In such a tiny space, you will be flooded with countless goods, from bags, accessories, shoes, clothes from Europe at super bargain prices (ranging from 2-90 €). It’s no strange if you’re stuck in the shop for a few hours and you definitely won’t be able to walk out with empty-hands.
Where to shop in Athens: Best shopping malls in Athens
After wandering the nooks and crannies of Athens, you can go to the shopping malls and centers if you want. A special feature is that, in Athens, the shopping centers are quite new, because Athens does not have the old centers like other European countries. The first and largest shopping center is The Mall Athens (Address: Andrea Papandreou 35, Marousi 151 22, Greece) located on Maroussi Street, followed by Athens Heart Mall (Address: Taurus Hamosterna junction, Pireos 180, Tavros 177 78, Greece), Athens Metro Mall (Address: Par. Leof. Vouliagmenis 276, Ag. Dimitrios 173 43, Greece) and Attica Department Store (Address: The Mall Athens, Andrea Papandreou 35, Marousi 151 22, Greece). Going to malls is convenient and comfortable, avoiding the hot summer heat outside, and can stop to enjoy a cup of fragrant coffee if you want.
You should also take advantage of going a few kilometers further north to Chalandri urban area, where there are the most beautiful markets in the suburbs and where you can wander around and shop all day without boredom in the beautiful countryside space. One of the stores that I really likes here is the Evripidis bookstore (Adress: 11, Andrea Papandreou, 152 34, Chalandri, GR Greece). This place is a paradise for bookworms, not only books but also small stationery items, with a blend of modern space and the cozy and friendly feeling of small bookstores. The plus point is that they have both indoor and outdoor sitting areas to read books and enjoy coffee, which is extremely relaxing.
Best shopping places in Athens: Outlets
If you want to dive in the outlets in Greece, you can go to one of these two places: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet and Factory. McArthurGlen was so famous, this place is the first and very popular outlet in Greece. Its outlet is an outdoor space, with separate stores next to each other so that your experience is no different from shopping on the street at a much lower cost. Personally, I find the price here is not much cheaper than the outlets in some countries such as Germany and Eastern Europe, but it is still a good shopping place when you shopping in Greece. The second is Factory Outlet with 2 locations in Faliro and Athens airport. This outlet is more tend towards popular goods than high-end brands. If you are tired of waiting for your flight to come back and visit here, you will find that time goes by very quickly.
Greek specialties: Olives and Ouzo
Ignore the story of olive oils sold in supermarkets, here I’m talking about olive oils that are produced by family companies, only sold in small quantities but with premium quality, so they do not mass-produce for export but only sold to local people in the area or packaged for retail customers to buy and use. And just like that, tourists whisper to each other, olive oil products, olives and olive products such as soap, shampoo, body lotion… have become famous and sold in many shops in Plaka and Monastiraki. I would recommend Evonon in Adrianou (Address: Adrianou 124, Athina 105 58, Greece) because the owner is super cute and has a lot of small olive packs to buy as gifts, very convenient to bring back.
Another specialty that if you come to Greece you can’t help but try is ouzo, an anise-flavored liquor produced from grape must (the remnants of wine-making), a typical Greek brandy that is very popular with the people. Wander into some general wine or ouzo shops, you will be overwhelmed by the variety of ouzo here. Buying a small bottle as a gift for dad is also a good idea, right?
Above are the shopping nooks and crannies that I went through in Athens, hope that anyone with the same interests like me will find something satisfactory after the journey of diving in Greece.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from Athens you can refer to
- Shared Athens International Airport Transfers (ATH) for Athens
- Delphi Day Tour from Athens
- Athens Acropolis and Cape Sounio One Day Tour with Lunch
- Athens Half Day Sightseeing Tour
- Meteora Day Tour from Athens with Train
- Delphi and Meteora 2-Day Tour from Athens
- Athens, Acropolis and Acropolis Museum Half Day Tour with Ticket
- Athens and Acropolis Walking Day Tour
- Cape Sounion & Temple of Poseidon Half Day Guided Tour From Athens
- Athens Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Athens Acropolis Museum Discovery Tour