From flea markets in Monastiraki to high-end boutique browsing, Athens has something for every shopper. For designer boutiques, go glam in fancier parts of town like Kolonaki. If bargaining for hours to get the best price on a rug is more your shopping style, it’s the many, many Athenian markets that are calling your name.
To go away with something fancier than your standard magnet sourced from the souvenir shops around the Acropolis, head to the well-heeled neighbourhood of Kolonaki. Wander down Skoufas St and the surrounding area, lined with bitter-orange trees. This part of town has an enormous selection of boutiques featuring clothing and jewellery from Greek designers.
You might stumble upon iD Concept Store, in which you’ll find cotton and linen kaftans designed and made in Greece, jewellery from emerging Greek designers and even a gallery from which you can purchase works from local artists. 12 Kanari & Sekeri St
Previously based in the bright coastal suburb of Paleo Faliro, this streetwear label has made a move into central Athens, nestled in amongst the jewellery stores and bookshops of Akadimias. Blink and you’ll miss it, because this place is tiny – but that’s not to say that it isn’t worth stopping by to pick up a super soft cotton tee that reflects the laid-back living of those on the sea-splashed side of the city.
Mohxa touts itself as a ‘surf label’, thought up by Athenians George Papachatzopoulos and (half-Brazilian) Jason Pachos. If you’re likely to align yourself with the surfers catching waves in Vouliagmeni or the skaters hanging out at Latraac skate cafe, the this place is definitely worth a visit. You’ll find Hawaiian shirts, good quality cotton T-shirts and dead stock given the kiss of life with retro patterns. Everything is designed and made in Greece, with some of the limited collections even cut by the owner’s mother. Panepistimiou 44
3. Yesterday's Bread
Another spot you might well walk past if you don't know about it, this little vintage store is tucked away on in the Exarcheia neighbourhood. You’re likely to come across dead stock clothing that hasn’t ever been worn, along with colour-injected second-hand vintage wear.
Sourcing the pieces from stores that have long been closed down across the southern Mediterranean, the Athenians behind this gem look for bold statement pieces from the '80s and '90s. You'll also find staples like hardy denims and easy-breezy button-downs – perfect for your island wanderings. Kallidromiou St
4. Lito Cabinet de Curiosites
Lito began designing for the likes of Kenzo and Jean-Paul Gaultier before setting up her eponymous brand of handmade jewellery in central Athens. Bold and directional jewellery with strong references to Greek and Ottoman culture feature predominantly. Bracelets and necklaces set with the region’s ubiquitous evil eye motif are perfect souvenirs to take home.
The store, designed by Lito’s sister, is a fairy-tale cave of wonders filled with delicate pieces just waiting to be tried on. This place is at the pricey end of the spectrum – no bargaining or bartering to be had here, unfortunately! Irodotou 25
5. Flea markets
If you’re forever on the lookout for a bargain, the Monastiraki Flea Market is a leisurely and essential way to start any Athenian shopping trip. It’s wonderful chaos but here you’ll discover a variety of stalls and shops selling clothes, furniture and bric-à-brac. Look to Monastiraki to pick up anything from a briki (a traditional pot for brewing coffee) to kitsch crockery.
For the hardened flea market connoisseur looking for a unique experience, Eleonas Flea Market, open only on Sunday mornings, is a few stops away from Monastiraki on the metro. Known to Athenians simply as ‘the gypsy market’, Eleonas Market is a place where you can come away with vintage crochet blankets (no doubt knitted by a Greek grandma), Persian rugs and original mid-century light fittings – and at a fraction of the price as in the centre of town.
If food is more your thing, head to the municipal market on Athinas St to source spices, herbs and tea leaves. Saffron and dried roses can be found here at prices that will have you buying in bulk. The mountain tea you might enjoy at a typical Greek kafeneio (cafe) can also be sourced here.
Far from the cramped and chaotic scenes you might come across in Monastiraki or at Eleonas Market, Paraphernalia is the store to go to for homewares set out in a bright, light-flooded space – almost like in an art gallery. Here the owners curate second-hand furniture as well as other odd bits and bobs, from magazines to ceramics and potted plants. ‘Paraphernalia’ is what you’re going to find here but each piece is chosen for its style and purpose, taking the dirty work out of the flea-market rummage. Ioannou Paparrigopoulou 15
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