What to do in Athens? Let’s go shopping!
Did you manage to catch a glimpse of Athens from above in the airplane? Can you imagine the shopping walhalla that is waiting for you? You certainly won’t have to wonder what to do in Athens! Athens is home to many trendy concept stores and expensive designer boutiques, but also has many small local stores, high-street favorites and …. Let’s go shopping in Athens and find the unexpected!
In Athens’ main shopping street you find all the well-known chains such as Zara, H&M and even M&S, but do pay attention to all the smaller, Greek stores that line this pedestrian street. In these local stores you discover clothes, jewelry and other items that no-one else at home has. In wintertime, street vendors sell ‘salep’, a warm, milky beverage that is a tasty souvenir from the days that Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire. If you are lucky, you cross paths with one of the few street piano artist that Athens still has. Don’t you love the atmosphere here? It is almost festive, isn’t it?
One of the most popular streets in Plaka, Adrianou Street, has some very interesting shops. At Forget Me Not you find trendy souvenirs and must-haves, made by Greek designers. For kitchen utensils and other useful items made of olive wood from Corfu, head to the Olive Tree Store.
If you have some money burning a hole in your pockets or if you are in the mood for some window-shopping, go to Kolonaki district, close to Syntagma Square. This upscale neighborhood shows you what is ‘hot’ and ‘fashionable’, with fancy boutiques and exclusive designer stores drawing your attention. (Make sure though, to have lunch at one of the many trendy restaurants while you are there.)
Psyri (are you still wondering what to do in Athens?)
This neighborhood has gems for everybody: vintage stores, antiques, artisan shops and… Convert Art! Marina is the designer and creator of the fancy bags made out of ‘upcycled’ tyres. Her creations are definitely unique, eye-catching and durable. She makes handy bags for city people who want to wear their bag in different (and secure) ways, depending on whether they are on foot, using their bicycle, or the metro. She has managed to apply the same technique to the traditional clutch and with such a bag you will definitely make an entrance at the next party you are invited!
You may not want to do your daily grocery shopping in Athens, but it is certainly worth making a walk around the Varvakios central market. Athenians shop here for their daily meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. However, the stores surrounding the market sell delicious dried fruits, olives, herbs and spices. It is money well spent if you decide to take home some Greek oregano or mountain tea!
Of course you can’t leave Athens without visiting the flea market in Monstiraki. You can find the usual tourist ‘tat’ here, but also some exclusive galleries, jaw-dropping antiques and second hand bookstores. One day is not enough for your shopping in Athens; you have understood this by now, right?
And last but not least…
You must visit Stavros and Yannis! If you weren’t planning on taking any food home, you will after meeting these two easy-going, bon vivants. At Pantopolion, they sell every possible Greek delicacy and they bring their products from every corner in Greece. This so-called ‘bakalotaverna’ is a traditional store, but Stavros and Yannis make it extra special because they will create a delicious ‘meze’ for you in no time, with pure ingredients, personally selected by these good-humored guys. And once you’ve met these two friends for life, you know that you can let them take care of your taste buds.
As you can see, shopping in Athens is very diverse and the city offers plenty of opportunities that cater for every taste. Do you already know what to do in Athens after you have visited the Acropolis?