Greece travel guide




Athens Travel Guide

Shopping in Athens

There are a lot of attractions for shopping addicts, from wonderful handicrafts, designer clothes and exquisite shoes and jewellery, to inexpensive ancient design souvenirs and tacky Acropolis lamps. With high disposable incomes and an almost corrupt consumer enthusiasm, the brand-conscious Greeks shop with a passion. The fullest shopping street of Athens is the Ermou Street, off Syntagma Square, where shoppers can take on the season's newest souvenirs, clothing and accessories. The most up market shopping district in Athens is nearby Kolonaki, a elegant Central, where designer boutiques (such as the Italian Versace and the newest Greek talent Eleftheriades) is close to the coffee shops and fashionable restaurants. Turn right off Ermou at the MAC makeup shop and you'll find yourself on Aghiou Markou and other small streets which are home to incredibly cheap shoes, bags, jewellery, gifts, homewares, and so on.

When you want to buy a few gifts for friends and family at home or a souvenir for yourself, Plaka and Monastiraki are the locales recommended. You will find a lot of shops that sell the equal things and you can compare prices but you will find they do not differ much. There are a lot of vases, statues, plates, etc you can buy and you will find that the price of exact copies of the first are more costly. Prayer beads, worry beads or fidget toy; at that moment, komboloi fulfills all three purposes. Wherever you first notice them, they are bound to be strangely compelling. Like most Greek folk art, the history of komboloi is confused. Probably komboloi are derived from the knotted prayer strands (komboskini) used by Greek Orthodox monks. As the word komboloi means "group of knots", this may be the true source.

There is a extended custom of silver and gold craftsmanship in Athens and jewelry made here can be of a particularly high quality. Jewelers are concentrated in chic Kolonaki, with the expensive international outlets, such as Bulgari, lining Voukourestiou, whereas up-and-coming Greek designers, such as Elean Votsi, have shops in the surrounding side streets. Other good-value items include spirits, ceramics and leather goods. Typical Greek gifts include hand-woven rugs, known as flokati, copper coffee pots, virgin olive oil and honey, all of which can be found in the souvenir shops in Plaka. In Athens, there is a big market in reproductions of museum pieces and religious icons. The best places for visitors to buy these are at the shops in the museums themselves. Shops generally open Monday and Wednesday 09:00 to 14:30, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 09:00 to 13:30 and 17:30 to 20:30 and Saturday 09:00 to 15:00. Small, family-run shops may stay open as late as 22:00, for the sale of food, drinks and newspapers. Bargains can be snapped up at the sales in August and January. Haggling is standard practice in the tourist areas of Athens and is fundamental in order to avoid paying exorbitant prices.

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