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Shopping in Greece
 
 
 

Athens

In Athens, there is a great selection of shops and places to go where you can enjoy shopping all day long. Quite a lot of products in Greece are cheaper than other places in Europe and are also high in quality.

For men and women's clothing, probably the best place would be along Ermou Street, which can be found just off Syntagma Square, in the centre of Athens. Here there are many shops and boutiques where you can find both local tailored clothing as well as internationally known brands.

If you are looking for souvenirs or gifts for friends or loved ones, the best place would be in Monastiraki, in the Plaka area of Central Athensm, where you can find marble statues, jewellery, T-Shirts, keyrings, posters, as well as a whole range of other unique and charming objects.

Around the Plaka district, there are also many cafes and small tavernas where you can take a break from the days shopping and enjoy a drink or meal. During the weekends, there is also the flea market in Monastiraki where you can find a whole host of good and products, as well as old books and antiques. There is also a huge flea market on Sunday in Pireaus.

For cigarettes, newspapers and magazines, you will find all of these items available in the hundreds of kiosks (Peripteros) that you will find scattered on every street corner. Some of these kiosks are open 24 hours a day, so if you need an emergency drink or telephone card in the middle of the night, you will most probably be able to find them, as well as a whole lot more at these kiosks.

The Kolonaki district in Athens is also a very popular place for shopping, with a wide range of various shops all over the area. There are also cafe bars here as well, where you can enjoy a drink. The district of Kolonaki is located right at the foot of Lycabitus Hill, so be prepared for some steep streets and roads during your shopping trips.

Most shops are closed on Sundays, but those around Plaka and Monastiraki are mostly always open. In the summer season and also around Christmas, some of the shops may change hours accordingly.

Thessaloniki

Greece's second-largest city offers a wide variety of shops, and since the city centre is quite compact, it's easy to explore the major shopping districts. As in Athens, most chic boutiques stock imported goods from Europe and the States, usually with a hefty import duty that is passed on to the customer. If you shop the winter (Jan) and summer (late July and Aug) sales, you may find some bargains.

If you want to see where Thessalonians shop, take a stroll along Tsimiski, Mitropoleos and Proxenou Koromila streets between Pavlou Mela (the diagonal street connecting the church of Ayia Sofia with the White Tower) and the north-south vertical of Venizelou. In this area, the city's few department stores compete with the many boutiques selling the latest in expensive haute couture, shops selling jeans and casual clothing, lots of shoe stores, jewellery and antiques stores, record shops selling both Greek and foreign items, the best English- and French-language book-and-magazine store in town, and a number of confectioneries. There are also several Hondos Centre mini-malls.

Some Thessaloniki shops still sell crafts by local artists such as coppersmiths and jewellers. You're likely to find something tempting here, sometimes at what constitutes a bargain price for a foreigner. Not surprisingly, most of the shops are near the church of Panagia Chalkeon (Virgin of the Copper Makers) in Dikasterion Square.

What you won't find in Thessaloniki is anything remotely equivalent to the streets of shops packed with souvenirs – many made in the Far East – that have proliferated in Athens and on many islands. If you get a souvenir here, it's likely to be just that: a reminder of your visit, rather than a mass-produced memento. If you're after something more contemporary, there's now a branch of IKEA near the Thessaloniki International Airport. It's become very popular with visitors from central and eastern Europe who fly in on charter flights for a day of shopping.

In Thessaloniki, old-style, pre-European Community shopping hours, unfathomable to foreigners, still predominate. Stores open at about 9am and close around 1:30 or 2pm for the afternoon siesta. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, some (but not all) reopen from about 5:30 to 8:30pm. In July, however, almost all shops close for the evening. The best time to shop is morning. Note that some of these stores will take major credit cards, but almost all, especially the smaller ones, prefer not to.

 

 
 


 



 


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