Shopping in Athens can easily become a highlight of any trip to the Greek capital, even if retail therapy wasn’t high on your list of priorities, to begin with!
Best Places to go Shopping in Athens
Ermou Street is essentially Athens’ answer to the high street. This main pedestrianized promenade runs all the way from Syntagma Square in the south, through to Monastiraki, Thissio, and Gazi/Kerameikos in the north.
You will find all manner of Greek and international high street stores here. For instance, Zara, H&M, Sephora, Massimo Dutti, etc.
The street is usually crowded with people, whatever time of day that you happen to stop by. However, Ermou is far more than “just another” soulless city high street. There is a lot of Greek culture to be found here too if you are willing to look for it.
This is a good place to sample Athens street food. In the mornings, you will see a number of pushcarts here selling koulouri.
This is a savory, circle-shaped sesame-seeded bread. It is essentially the Greek answer to the New York pretzel and is enjoyed warm, with coffee as a mid-morning snack.
Keep your eyes peeled for the old pappous (Greek grandfathers) wheeling old, traditional wind-up music boxes along Ermou. Give them a couple of cents and they will play you a tune. Sadly, these music boxes are a dying aspect of Greek traditions and you will only see one or two of these men ambling around the city now.
Ermou street has existed for as long as Athens has been the capital of Greece. It was little more than a dirt trail prior to 1834.
However, when King Otto became the newly-appointed King of Greece, it was built as a luxury place for nobles to shop. Horse-drawn carriages would transport noble ladies along its length so that they could shop for dresses and headwear.
Evripidou Street is one of the quirkiest places to go shopping in Athens. It is worth stopping by to window shop, even if you don’t plan on making a purchase.
The eccentric lilliputian stores here are a photographer’s dream. A lot of the stores here sell deli and agro produce and provide great photo opportunities.
Envisage pastourma and cured meats hanging from ceilings, etc. These items also make great souvenirs from your time in Athens, or as unapologetically Greek gifts for the Grecophiles in your life back at home.
In particular, you should be sure to stop by Miran (45 Evripidou). This is a beloved local delicatessen that has been in operation since 1922.
You can stop by and have the owners rustle you up a bespoke charcuterie board so that you can taste a range of different cured meats and cheeses. These are, of course, best enjoyed accompanied by local wine.
You will also find a lot of spice stores here, with shelves filled with jars of colorful powders stacked up to the ceiling. In many ways, these are more reminiscent of meandering through a souk in the Middle East than being in central Athens.
Indeed, many of the vendors that opened up stores on Evripidou street hail from Central Asia, the Middle East, and Armenia. This gives the area a very international vibe that sets it apart from much of the city.
Varvakios Agora, Athens Central Market
Varvakios Agora (Βαρβάκειος Αγορά) is Athens’s largest and oldest indoor market. It first opened its doors back in 1886 and was named after Athenian businessman Ioannis Varvakeios.
Today, more than 100 years later, the market still attracts more than 3,000 shoppers every day! The market mostly sells fish, meat, and vegetable products.
If you are staying in self-catered accommodation, this can be a fun way to purchase ingredients to cook in your Greek home away from home. If not, you should still stop by to people-watch and experience a marketplace that is essentially one of Athens’ most important landmarks.
The fish and meat markets are arguably not for the squeamish. Lamb carcasses hang on hooks at every angle, and the butchers wield giant cleavers and narrowly miss their fingers as they prepare bespoke cuts of meat for their customers.
Just outside the covered market, there are stalls selling beautifully polished fruits and vegetables. You will also find stores selling cheeses, olives, olive oil, halva, tahini, and other condiments.
Apostolou Pavlou Street, Thissio
Apostolou Pavlou street is the cobbled, pedestrianized promenade that runs through Thissio. It takes you close to notable historic sites such as The Temple of Hephaestus and the Ancient Agora, Areopagus Hill, and the Pnyx.
You will always see a lot of street vendors, musicians, and performers here. They set up their stalls every morning and while they specifically sell souvenirs to tourists, you can find some interesting things here.
Think of these street vendors as artisans, more than vendors selling fridge magnets and other tourist tats. You can find some beautiful handmade jewelry, cute crocheted toys and blankets, homemade soaps, and all manner of interesting things.
You will also find a lot of street food on sale, particularly assorted dried fruit and nuts, and grilled corn on the cob. If you see street vendors pulling carts with large copper cauldrons attached, you want to stop by.
This is salep – a warm drink made from hot milk, sugar, and flour made from orchid tubers. A hearty sprinkling of cinnamon is then added to the top.
The result is an intensely creamy drink that is in some ways similar to Indian Chai. You will see more of these vendors during winter in Athens.
The independent boutiques of Koukaki
Quirky Koukaki is Athens’ eclectic bohemian neighborhood. The leafy streets here are lined with adorable coffee shops, independent art galleries, and boutique stores.
This neighborhood sits right in the shadow of the Acropolis in the heart of central Athens and yet, it has not been over-gentrified or become too touristic. In the 1980s, locals gave Koukaki the nickname “Little Paris” as the area started emerging as a cultural hub. This reputation has only strengthened as time has gone on.
There is not an abundance of stores here. But the ones that do exist are very worthy of your attention. Besides, you absolutely ought to spend an afternoon in Koukaki when spending one or two days in Athens.
Stop by Lovecuts (Veikou 2, Athina), a boutique store that makes handmade clothes, mostly in retro designs. This is a great place to shop if you want to know that you have clothing pieces that nobody else has!
MO Vintage Athens (Veikou 9, Athina ) is well worth a look inside. So too, is Ku.Ku. by Thiros (Dimitrakopoulou 97).
When you need a break, indulge in Greece’s favorite pastime: going out for coffee! There are many cute coffee stores in Koukaki.
In particular, add Little Tree Books and Coffee (Kavalloti 2) to your radar. This is a combined bookshop and coffee house where you can enjoy sinking down into the plush, oversized armchairs with a slice of cake and a Freddo cappuccino.
Monastiraki Flea Market
Monastiraki is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens. It is named after a small monastery that occupied the square during the Ottoman era.
Today, this district, like much of Athens, boasts a higgledy-piggledy layout and is made up of different Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Greek structures. A right turn at the Tzistarakis Mosque brings you to the Monastiraki market.
The market is open daily and sells all manner of tourist items and souvenirs. On Sundays, a flea market is hosted here.
The flea market is the perfect embodiment of the idea that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. On Sundays, you will usually find Athenians setting up stalls or laying down rugs here so they can shift whatever items have been cluttering up their houses.
There are some interesting things to be found – antiques, old furnishings, vinyl records, second-hand books, as well as plenty of bric-a-brac. Generally, throughout the week, this is where you can come to buy fridge magnets, “I heart Greece” t-shirts, small figurines of the Acropolis, and other tourist items.
A lot of the stalls here do overcharge so it is important to try and haggle down the first price that you are quoted. Among the chaos, you can often find some interesting items. Komboloi beads (the Greek answer to catholic rosaries), and Karagiozis puppets are great gifts.
Kolonaki is to Athens what Beverly Hills is to Los Angeles or what Chelsea is to London. This is one of the most upscale parts of town.
You will see that reflected in both the well-heeled crowd that chooses to hang out here and the stylish high-end designer stores that line the streets. If you are looking for designer stores, you will be pleased with the selection here. Outside of Mykonos, Kolonaki has the greatest concentration of designer label stores anywhere in Greece.
Gucci, Audemars Piguet, Balenciaga, and Armani all have branches here. There are also several upscale Greek department stores that curate collections selected from various Designers.
Luisa World (15 Skoufa Street) curates pieces from the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Givenchy, and various others. Meanwhile, Linea Piu almost exclusively stocks Chanel.
A lot of independent Greek designers have their flagship stores in Kolonaki too. Among them, you should look out for Bettina at 29 Anagnostopoulou Street, Yiorgos Eleftheriades at 29 Tsakalof Street, and Free Shop at 17 Skoufa Street.
Vintage stores of Pagrati
The neighborhoods of Pagrati and the Mets sit in the southern part of Central Athens, just behind the Panathenaic Stadium. They are both great places to embark on a self-guided walking tour if you want to escape the tourists and discover authentic, Greek residential neighborhoods.
The Pagrati artisanal food store Oliver (Empedokleous 20) serves some wonderful Greek hampers, olive oils, teas, and deli products that make great gifts. You will find a range of products here, but they specialize in nuts and gourmet coffee. For instance, beans from Colombia, Mexican Chiapas coffee beans, etc.
There are a few vintage/thrift stores close to Evangelismos metro station on the streets of Rizari and Spirou Merkouri. It is worth ducking inside them to see what is on sale as they often sell second-hand designer items at excellent prices.
Meanwhile, the streets of Hremonidou and Filolau are home to the stores of many independent designers. If you are looking for one-of-a-kind items that no one else will have, this is a good place to look.
Various Athenian shopping malls
If you are looking for a big day out shopping in Athens, you may want to head to one of the several malls in the city. The likes of Ermou street and Kolonaki are great, but obviously, you have a lot more selection if you head to a mall.
Golden Hall (Leof. Kifisias 37A, Marousi) is the most high-end of Athens malls and is home to a range of Greek and international designer labels, as well as some of the more upscale high street stores. The Mall Athens is one of the largest shopping malls in Southern Europe and it is located relatively near to Golden Hall in Marousi at Andrea Papandreou 35.
Independent laiki agora
The Varvakios Agora may be the largest farmers’ market in Athens but it is far from being the only one. Each district in the city has its own local market that operates on certain days of the week.
Specific opening times vary from place to place but you will usually find that these markets open from around 7 or 8 in the morning, and start winding down by around 2-3 pm. When you have spent any amount of time in Greece, you will start to note that most locals prefer to shop at independent farmers’ markets rather than supermarkets.
This is a great way to support local farmers and independent business owners directly. It also generally helps you to guarantee that you buy products that are both of the best quality and the most reasonable price.
You may be interested to ask your hotel concierge or Airbnb host about where your closest laiki agora is. For reference, some of the most central/interesting ones are hosted as per the below.
- Kypseli – Tuesdays on Sikinou Street
- Pagrati – Tuesdays on Laertou & Timotheos Street
- Glyfada – Thursdays at Agiou Gerasimou Street
- Kolonaki – Fridays at Ksenokratous Street
- Vouliagmeni – Saturdays at Thiseos Street
Kifissia is one of the most elegant and exclusive neighborhoods in the Greek capital. It is often overlooked by visitors to the city, perhaps because it sits some 24km north of downtown Athens and requires a little effort to get to.
Today, Kifissia is known for its leafy promenades and grand neoclassical mansions, many of which have been converted into restaurants, cafes, and art galleries. This has always been a relatively exclusive part of town.
In ancient times, Kifissia was a settlement known as Cephissia. During the Roman occupation, Roman Emperors and affluent Greek nobles, scholars, and investors would come to Kifissia to escape city life.
Today, it is a great place for shopping in Athens. Stylish white-washed facades house the products of both globally renowned designer brands (Valentino, Louis Vuitton, etc), and local brands.
There are a few stores, in particular, to look out for, which sell curated collections of pieces by various designers. Look out for (Kiriazi 23), Luisa World (Kolokotroni 11), and Soho Soho (Papadiamanti 6a). Brands such as Pucci, Alexander Wang, and Chloe are stocked here.
The glamorous seaside town of Glyfada sits on the Athens Riviera. This pine-covered peninsula is an area of pristine natural beauty.
Several beach towns can be found here. Namely: Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Vari.
The Athenian Riviera is often referred to as being Greece’s very own Cote d’Azur. In the 1950s and 1960s, the likes of Frank Sinatra and Brigette Bardot would vacation here.
While these towns are generally best known for their exclusive beach clubs and pristine stretches of coastline, Glyfada is also a bustling town and a great place to go shopping in Athens or stop for brunch.
Most of the stylish boutiques here can be found on Kyprou and Laodikis Streets, while Metaxa is the main shopping strip for high street brands. Soho-Soho (70 Kyprou) is the place to go for resort wear that you can wear while meandering through the cobbled old town of Mykonos or Paxos.
A La Mode (22 Grigoriou Lambraki & 47 Kyprou) is the definitive choice for designer eyewear and jewelry. Meanwhile, at Jet Black (74 Kyprou), you will find apparel items created by Greek designers.
Exarchia is arguably Athens’s most alternative neighborhood. A less than stellar reputation precedes this part of town which, once upon a time, was associated with anarchist groups.
Today, Exarchia is fairly safe, especially if you explore during the day. Some of the best street art in the city can be found here. So too can some of the best rock bars.
Reset Thrift shop (Stournari 15) is a good place to shop for a second-hand bargain. Meanwhile, Trepekli Spyridoula The Little Shop Of Exarchia (Tsamadou 27) sells all manner of weird and wonderful homemade goods.
Ramshackle shops selling old vinyl records, collectible figures, and second-hand books line Themistokleous street. Akadimias and Ippokratous are lined with book stores, with some selling English literature.
Have you been shopping in Athens Greece? Which were your favorite places to shop? Did you make any interesting purchases?
Have a wonderful time exploring the Greek capital! Geia sou! Xo