Shopping in Athens: Lost and Found in Different Sides of the City
Athens is so much more than meets the eye; a city to fall in love with. It’s one of those places that has history written all over it and offers experiences for every taste; even for the shopaholic. Apart from its multiculturality and vividness, Athens is a big shopping center, where you can find everything you’ve ever wished for. Exploring history, culture and architecture of Athens is a must during your vacation, we know that. Nevertheless, exploring the local market has a lot more to offer than usually expected: walking down narrow streets with summer clothes, shoes, sandals, and accessories of all kind scattered around you, checking out an endless souvenir collection in each small souvenir shop that emerges on every street corner, making your visit a quite memorable one.
In any case, time is of the essence considering that your trip to Athens is going to last only a few days and you have already scheduled everything around your visits to museums, galleries, and other local attractions. This is why we wanted to make your life easier by giving you a few options for those seeking to enjoy a lil’ bit of shopping in the city. So, let us guide you through the perfect spots for you to do some ‘real’ shopping when in Athens.
1. Monastiraki: a walk down the flea market lane
Monastiraki is the area featured in every tourist guide, where you can find, well, everything: history, culture, people, and, of course, shops. Souvenirs, footwear and summer clothes, these are only a few things spotted among the shops located in this area. What will definitely take you aback is the flea market of Monastiraki. Here you will interact with the vendors of every shop you’ll lay your eye on, regardless of whether you want to buy anything at all or not, just because they want to be friendly and chitchat. The options here are endless: souvenirs, shoes and clothes of every style and for every taste, second-hand books, antiques, CDs, sports equipment, and many, many more you couldn’t even fathom. In particular, if you consider yourself an experienced shopper, who has had their fair share of bargaining in their life, then this is the time to make the most of it. All you have to do is get down to Monastiraki’s flea market, check every antique shop, keep your eyes open for opportunities and don’t hesitate to bargain for a lower price. This is, after all, what makes this place ideal to immerse yourself in the true local shopping experience.
How to get there: Metro or train (Monastiraki Station), bus
2. Syntagma: stepping into the metropolitan style
Now, this is the place to get lost in. On every street around Syntagma Square you will find all sorts of shops. Boutiques, clothes stores, bookstores, department stores, where you can browse anything from electronics and games to music and books, can be detected for those who would like to combine sightseeing with a quick shopping spree. One of the busiest streets, Ermou street -the street leading to Monastiraki and all neighboring areas (like Psyrri, Thission, or Keramikos)-, has a plethora to choose from: famous brand stores, like Zara, Bershka, H&M, and brands in stores like Public, Plaisio, or other local smaller stores. Wandering about the streets branching off of Ermou you can also spot even smaller shops for shoes and clothes that you won’t find in malls and bigger brand stores, shoemakers and shoe repairers, tailoring equipment and many more. On the upper side of Syntagma Square you may also visit the big department store on Panepistimiou street, Attica, or head to Voukourestiou street, if you want to perhaps overcharge your budget, since there you will find brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada, among others (check below).
How to get there: Metro (Syntagma Station), bus, trolley, tram
3. Kolonaki: because overspending is in the eye of the beholder
If you do move north from Syntagma Square and reach Voukourestiou street, then you should pay a visit to the picturesque and sophisticated neighborhood of Kolonaki. Once you get there, you’ll realize one thing for sure: the shops in Kolonaki are not as common as you’d expect. On the contrary, sophistication and modernity meet and come together to create the ultimate shopping experience, which is not for everyone’s wallet. Unique designs of high quality, following the latest fashion trends, are all the rage in quite high prices and this can be witnessed easily if you take a look at the locals simply passing by, dressed in the clothes and accessories found in shops all over Kolonaki.
How to get there: Metro (within walking distance from Syntagma Station or Evangelismos Station), bus
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4. Kifissia: experiencing the suburban lifestyle and fashion
We know that your visit to Athens usually means that you stick to the main local attractions, located in or near the city center. This, nevertheless, entails that you miss out on a great chance to move to the northern suburbs of Athens, where you will find the classy and peaceful neighborhood of Kifissia. There you can look for anything you might wish for, whether that’s clothes or jewelry, international or local brands, in boutiques and designer shops for every taste. This is the place to have a walk around the beautiful and scenic streets and pathways stretching out from the central square of Kifissia, where you’ll see that each street has a different shop and various things to showcase, so that you don’t get bored easily.
How to get there: Train (Kifissia Station), bus (from nearby areas like Maroussi, Iraklion, Nea Ionia, etc.)
5. Glyfada: high fashion by the sea
Another region that you shouldn’t leave out of your trip to Athens is Glyfada, the region of Athens’ southern suburbs. Just like Kifissia, Glyfada has a unique style to demonstrate and is characterized by unparalleled elegance and variety. If you are a shopping addict, then this is the place not to miss. And if you want to enjoy your shopping by the sea, then you must not leave without setting your foot to Glyfada. Here you will find designers’ clothes, international brands and less-known, yet original, designs for any budget. Once you’ve done your shopping, don’t leave so soon. Hit a local bar and have a drink before you return to the city center.
How to get there: Tram, metro (up to Elliniko) and then bus
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Which are your favorite shopping spots in Athens? Did you buy something unique during your last visit to the Greek capital? Let us know by commenting below!
Words: Spyros Balesias