Athens, a Shopping Mecca for all:
Athens is a shopping mecca which caters for all types of shoppers. From the souvenir collectors to the bargain hunters and to the more serious buyers of artwork, jewellery or sculptures, there is an abundance of choice here.
When Athens was awarded the 2004 Olympic Games, the city centre was spruced up immeasurably in preparation for the Games. Ermou Street, for example, was converted into a pedestrian walkway and a bigger range of more upmarket shops sprung up. Both sides of the street are lined with stores selling brand named clothing, shoes, cosmetic, etc. getting ready for the big tourist spend.
If you wear comfortable walking shoes, it’s easy to cover the shopping triangle marked by Syntagma, Monastiraki and Omonoia. Then there is the Plaka area with shops selling herbs and spices, icons, candlesticks, books, etc. Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, it’s interesting to just stroll around and check out the variety of shops and see what each one of them is selling.
Ladies looking for jewellery will want to head for Mitropoleos Street which has a great variety of fabulous shops offering copies of ancient Greek designs to more modern and elegant creations.
For the chicest place to shop in Athens, make your way to Kolonaki, the fashionable neighborhood at the foot of Lykavittos Hill. This is where you’ll find the big names like Bulgari, Gucci, Vuitton, Lanvin and Lancel. Tsakalof Street is Kolonaki’s most famous thoroughfare with a reputation of being the sixth most expensive street in the world. When you need a bit of rejuvenation, there are plenty of trendy coffee shops and restaurants around Kolonaki Square.
At the opposite end of the scale, if you like checking out flea markets, then you’re in luck here. Athens is noted for its flea markets and at Monastiraki, you’ll find a huge one. Dealers set out their wares very early on Sunday mornings along Adrianou and nearby streets and you’ll find all kinds of bric-a-brac here. As in many European cities, you’ll also find African vendors selling their fake designer goods. The police frequently come around to chase them away, but one wonders how these guys manage to bring their fake goods into the country in the first place.
The commercial tourist shops and antique sellers of Pandrosou and Ifaistou streets also regard themselves as part of the Monastiraki Flea Market. These shops open everyday however weekend mornings are the best times to visit.
In front of the Monastiraki station there are stalls selling fruit and food as well. Its always enjoyable walking around market places as it gives you an idea of what’s in season and the types of food that locals buy. There is a Central Market each Friday at Xenokratous in Kolonaki, so if you decide to pay a visit to ‘chic city‘, you’ll be able to call in at the market as well.
And if you’re in the market for some genuine, hand-crafted sandals, the renowned Melissinos Sandal Shop is nearby at 2 Aghias Theklas Street.