The temptation to shop in Athens lurks everywhere, so it’s worth dedicating a day to walking around the well-known shopping areas and checking out the bazaars, second-hand shops, street vendors and kiosks.
Athens has got shopping spots for all tastes, from colourful bazaars right up to modern shopping malls.
Amongst the great high streets of the city, pedestrianised Ermou Street is the one that stands out with an abundance of shops belonging to well-known clothes franchises, as well as historic Greek businesses.
At the bottom end of Ermou is Monastiraki Square, with its famous flea market. There you will find clothes, shoes, accessories, leather goods and the world-famous Greek leather sandals. On Sundays, there’s a bazaar with collector’s items such as books, old coins, vinyl records and antique furniture. Also, take the opportunity to walk around the gorgeous picturesque antique shops of the street.
From there, move on to the colourful Central Market of Athinas Street, as well as the alleys along Evripidou, Apollonos and Praxitelous streets, full of the aromas of spices and cured meat products. Athenians choose to buy produce for their everyday needs there. Besides the famed Varvakeios meat market there is a market for fish, vegetables and other Greek products in a large variety and at excellent prices.
In the opposite direction from Ermou, you’ll find Kolonaki, one of the most salubrious neighbourhoods of Athens. No wonder the biggest fashion designer studios have gravitated there, specifically on Voukourestiou Street.
Second only to Ermou are the shopping areas of the northern and southern suburbs of Athens. Kifisia, in the north, is another neighbourhood with luxurious shops. All the famous commercial brands are there, together with small, elegant boutiques. Not to be outdone, the Athenian Riviera boasts the shopping area of Glyfada, also among the best-known shopping destinations. It is gorgeous and combines a shopping centre and the opportunity to get to the sea within a few minutes.
As far as shopping centres go, the Athens Mall and Golden Hall in Maroussi, Athens Metro Mall in Agios Dimitrios, Athens Heart in Pireos street, Mc Arthur Glen Designer Outlet Discount Village in Spata and Avenue Shopping Centre on Kifisias Avenue stand out.
It is also worth keeping in mind that Athens has a lot of second-hand clothes and furniture shops. Protogenous Street in the area of Psirri is full of such little shops stuffed with little treasures. You will find stores with a window into decades past in Athinas and Ermou streets, on Agias Irinis Street, and in Exarhia and Mavili Square.
Shopping spots in Athens are not restricted to the high streets. Don’t forget the flea markets which often turn into open-air bazaars. One of the best-known in the centre is the one on Kallidromiou Street in Exarhia where, besides fresh produce, you will find clothes at outrageously low prices. Also in streets adjacent to the historic centre, such as Aiolou and Agiou Markou, are street vendors selling a large variety of products. But perhaps the most characteristically Greek of all is the ubiquitous kiosk (periptero). Who could possibly imagine that in so small a space such an abundance and variety of things is stored. The kiosks of Panepistimiou and Athinas street are also jam-packed with handbags, wallets, sunglasses, hair bandanas, fancy jewellery, even CDs and, on occasion, that increasingly rare find the audio cassette.