Shopping in Athens, Greece: The Best Neighborhoods for Retail Therapy

Shopping in Athens: Miran traditional delicatessan
Shopping in Athens: Miran traditional delicatessan

Shopping in Athens is perhaps not the main priority on your travel itinerary, however if you want to pick up some quintessentially Greek souvenirs, or invest in some beautiful clothes to take with you to the islands, it’s important to know where to go.

You might assume that the city centre is the best place for shopping in Athens; however the best boutique shops and independent designer stores are to be found in neighborhoods a little farther out. You would probably never think of venturing to these areas unless you knew specifically what was in them.

Shopping in Athens, Greece:
Where to Shop

After two years of living in Athens, I know this city pretty well. A run through of some of the best neighborhoods for shopping in Athens, and the types of products you can find there, is detailed below.

#1 Syntagma and Surroundings

I’m starting this guide with the first locations that probably springs to your mind at the mention of shopping in Athens: Monastiraki and Syntagma. These two metro stations can be considered as being the most central point of Athens. They resemble the typical “high street” that you can expect to find in most large cities.

From Syntagma central square, follow Ermou street – the large pedestrianised boulevard that runs between the McDonalds and the Public book store and leads all the way down to Monastiraki square. Here, you can find plenty of well-known international stores that suit a mid-range budget. Think Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, and other similar brands.

The little streets that lead off from Ermou house a lot of independent Greek stores which are typically relatively inexpensive. Think privately owned versions of stores like H&M. The quality is not all that great, but this is the place to come if you want to grab a cheap pair of sandals or something.

#2 Monastiraki

There is something charming about the cobbled central plaza of Monastiraki, even though this is one of the most crowded and chaotic places in the city. A lot of the structures that encompass the square date back hundreds of years. Look out for the Tzistarakis Mosque which dates back to the 17th century and adds an exotic feel to the area.

The Monastiraki flea market that veers off from the main plaza is perpetually crowded with tourists and locals alike. You can pick up everything here from fresh fruits and vegetables, to souvenirs, clothes, antiques, old vinyl records, jewelry – practically everything that you can imagine. It is usual to haggle here, so be prepared to contest the first price that you are quoted.

The market at Monastiraki is a little touristic, but there are gems to be found among the tat. 

One place to add to your radar is the Melissinos store – a traditional shoe store that produces bespoke, handmade leather sandals. Countless notable celebrities have visited the cobbler to have a pair of shoes crafted for them – including the likes of Sophia Loren, John Lennon, and Sarah Jessica Parker. 

#3 Evripidou Street, Central Athens

If you want to purchase more unique souvenirs than the typical fridge magnets and “I heart Greece” t-shirts then Evripidou Street is the place to venture to. This is especially the case if you consider yourself a foodie or a gourmand.

Many of the quaint little stores that line Evripidou Street are as much a cultural experience as they are a shopping opportunity. While the first part of the street is filled with standard retail stores, once you pass the section that crosses with Athinas and Menadrou Streets, you will enter an area filled with shops that specialise in spice shops, preserved meat stores, ironmongers, and Lilliputian shops selling flower seeds, plants, homeopathy bath products, and spices. 

Foodie adventurers should be sure to check out Miran and Karamanlidika – two specialty food stores that sell cheeses, cold cuts, and homemade products from Thessaly and Kerkini regions of Greece. You won’t miss these stores – look out for all of the pastourma sausages hanging from the ceiling.

Evripidou is also packed full of spice stores which sell virtually every herb and spice product imaginable and at good value. Elixirion is perhaps the most well known, and the staff inside the store are able to offer expert advice on the healing properties of each ingredient.

#4 Kifissia

Most travelers will miss Kifissia off their Athens itineraries which is a shame because this neighbourhood, with its neoclassical mansions, upscale shopping, and leafy tree-lined promenades is one of the most charming in the Greek capital. Peaceful Kifissia provides a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of central Athens.

The stores that line the streets of Kifissia are mostly exclusive high-end designer stores and boutiques. While this is not a place for shopping in Athens on a budget, it’s a great spot to pick up unique one-of-a-kind fashion pieces and accessories that no-one else will have.

Once you have given your debit card a sufficient workout, consider spending some time in Kifissia to see more of what this chic area has to offer. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and brunch spots here which attract a well-dressed crowd. Artisanal and Dalliance House are among the most locally beloved spots. When the sun goes down, these establishments also transform into sophisticated cocktail bars.

#5 Koukaki

Tucked away beneath the shadow of the Acropolis, Athens’ Koukaki neighbourhood is perhaps one of the quirkiest and most underrated areas of the city. The highlight of Koukaki is found in its eccentric themed bars and coffee shops, in addition to its emerging art scene. That said, there are several worthwhile shops to browse here, most of which sell vintage clothes or second hand items. 

Lovecuts is a vintage fashion inspired store that sells beautiful handmade dresses, skirts, and fashion pieces reminiscent of the 1950’s and ‘60s. The best part of this boutique store is that everything is reasonably priced to suit a mid-range budget. It is also worth having a rummage through some of the smaller thrift shops here to see what you can find among the rubble.

#6 Pagrati

Of course, I had to mention my beloved Pagrati neighbourhood here. The quirky neighbourhood is home to a number of boutique shops that suit those shopping on a tight or mid-range budget, there are also several second hand designer stores that can offer some good finds. 

The main streets in Pagrati are Filolau and Immitou which run parallel to each other. Admittedly these are not all that scenic. The best shops and boutiques are to be found hidden away down the narrow streets and passages that veer off from these two main promenades.

Chremonidou is one street to be sure to venture down. Stores like Too Cute Boutique, and Pink Angel sell beautiful dresses and feminine style fashion items that utilise stunning, colourful fabrics. For vintage fashions, and wonderful second hand stores, check out the shops that encompass Platia Evaggelou Martaki, and the small scattering of stores close to Evangelismos metro station on Rizari Street. 

When you are finished shopping, be sure to duck inside one of the many quaint coffee places that give Pagrati its charm, and order up a freddo cappuccino as local patrons play backgammon. 

#7 Thiseio and Plaka

Anafiotika Plaka, Athens
Anafiotika Plaka, Athens

For traditional Greek handicrafts and beautiful souvenirs, head to the markets that fill the streets of Thiseio and Plaka. This area is heaving with tourists, sure, but this is one of the most picturesque places in Athens. This is especially the case if you follow the winding passageways and narrow staircases that lead up towards Anafiotika village.

Aside from your typical souvenirs (fridge magnets, Greek flags, little statuettes, etc), you can find some beautiful handicrafts and artisanal products here. If you like ouzo, head to Angelo’s shop on 120 Adrianou street. The guy has become something of a local celebrity, and this is arguably the best place to come if you want to purchase some traditional Greek alcohol for yourself or a loved one back at home. 

The shelves of Angelo’s store are stacked with countless different kinds of ouzo, from various parts of Greece,  which all follow different production processes. If the anise taste is not for you, there are other options too, such as tsipouro, or raki. 

#8 Marousi

Marousi is a stylish residential neighbourhood in the northern suburbs of Athens. Bordering Kifissia, Marousi is not at all touristy, and has a much calmer atmosphere than the majority of Athens. 

The pedestrianised streets of Marousi are home to numerous local shops selling clothing, jewelry, beauty products, and home decor items at good prices. The main reason that most Athenians come to Marousi though is for the malls. Athens’ three largest and most popular malls can be found here: Golden Hall, The Mall Athens, and Avenue Mall. 

If you decide to go shopping in Athens’ malls, expect to see a blend of high street and designer label stores. From Zara to Roberto Cavalli. 

#9 Glyfada

The beautiful coastal town of Glyfada is the perfect place for a scenic day trip from Athens. This region is often referred to as being the “Hellenic Hamptons” and indeed, here you can combine a little retail therapy with time spent relaxing by the sea in one of Glyfada’s exclusive beach clubs, or indulging in international cuisine at one of the neighborhood’s chic eateries.

Numerous well-known designer brands have branches in Glyfada, as do several independent Greek designers. Those interested in the latter should add Tea’s Fashion Boutique, Zerteo, and Lelis to their Glyfada shopping bucket list. Each of these stores attract a glamorous clientele, and are a favourite haunt of the Athenian elite.

#10 Kolonaki

Often referred to as the “Beverly Hills of Athens”, Kolonaki is the place to go for high end designer shopping in central Athens. Kolonaki is situated just a short walk away from Syntagma square, and is widely regarded as the place to see and be seen in the Greek capital.

All of the big name designers have branches here – Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, et al. 

From Platia Kolonakiou, venture down the streets of Skoufa and Tsakalof. Many local designers showcase their works in the boutique stores of Kolonaki, particularly on Voukourestiou street, though keep in mind that this is one of the priciest places to shop in the city. 

Shopping in Athens:
Things to Know Before You Go

There are few things to keep in mind before you go shopping in Athens, mostly related to store opening times. Opening times in Greece may be relatively different to what you are accustomed to elsewhere. The most important consideration here being the fact that many stores still close for “siesta”.

The majority of shops in Athens are open between 9am to 3pm on Mondays to Saturdays, then open again from 5.30pm until 9pm. This varies depending on the specific store – some close earlier, and others do not close for siesta. Almost everywhere is closed on Sundays, with the exception of some of the larger stores in the Monastiraki and Syntagma area. 

Generally I’d recommend you to try and do any shopping in Athens on a weekday. This way you make the most of the longer opening hours and avoid the massive crowds of people who venture into the city centre on their days off at the weekends.

Have any further questions about shopping in Athens or visiting the Greek capital in general? I’ve lived here for the past two years and would be happy to answer any queries that you may have. Feel free to ping me an email, or drop me a comment below. Safe travels! Melissa xo

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this guide to shopping in Athens are those of High Heels and a Backpack. None of the mentions here are affiliated or promotional.  

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

error: Content is protected !!