Greece — Shopping and Leisure
Wherever you’re based in Greece, there’s a variety of shopping treats, from culinary delicacies, local arts, and crafts, to souvenirs, house wares, and fashion to tempt the pocketbooks. Of course, downtown Athens, mostly pedestrianized, is a shopaholic’s dream. Along Ermou, Athinas, and Aeolu streets you’ll find up-to-the-minute clothes at great prices, with shoes the best deal of all.
Plaka and Monastiraki both have a rash of souvenir outlets, but it’s perhaps best to buy your reminders of a wonderful vacation in less touristy areas. Agiou Marou’s atmosphere resembles that of a bustling market, with street stalls, as well as little shops which stay open until at least 9:00 p.m.. Favorite souvenirs include ouzo, the fabulous Greek olive oil, honey, and huge packets of Greek oregano and basil, the strongest and best you can buy anywhere.
Byzantine-style gold and silver jewelry makes another perfect gift from Greece, the most authentic found at jewelers who design and craft it themselves. Hand-painted religious icons are found at Zazanis in Monastiraki, and are originals crafted by genuine artists rather than the more usually-sold fakes. If you love Greek music, the traditional bouzouki makes a great memory of your holiday, especially if you learn to play it once you get home!
The fluffy Flokati rugs, woven from sheep’s wool, are the quintessential home ware souvenir for many visitors. They look great, are machine-washable, and almost never wear out. Greek pottery comes in all shapes and sizes, as well as styles from traditional to contemporary. It’s also possible to buy genuine antiquities, but if they’re anything of importance, you’ll need a permit to get them home, and there are many convincing reproductions on sale. In most places in Greece, bargaining is ineffective and not appreciated.
On the Greek islands and in the seaside resorts along the coast of the mainland, there are plenty of places where you can buy handicrafts and other souvenirs of your visit. Many of Greece’s museums have shops where finely-crafted copies of the great works can be purchased, with the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, offering gold reproductions of the stunning Mycenaean bracelets, earrings, and necklaces housed within.