Located next to Monastiraki metro station, the Monastiraki flea market, though technically not a flea market, is a common attraction in Athens. The area is a collection of shops, selling almost everything, from cheap souvenirs to leather goods, vinyl, icons, musical instruments and jewellery, postcards and local traditional products. The meander of streets is also dotted with cafés, bars and small tavernas where you can stop for refreshments and food.
Held every Sunday, from early morning until late afternoon, the Piraeus flea market offers an authentic market experience. With a resolute oriental flair, the market, which you will find right behind the metro station, spreads out along the train tracks and offers all kinds of things. Creating a chaotic yet interesting assortment, the stalls sell everything you could think of, from knock-off designer bags, clothing and shoes as well as frying pans, spoons, pots and even bedspreads and blankets. Bargaining is welcome, and don’t be put off if you need to elbow your way through the crowds. Even if you do not buy anything, this gritty market is definitely a memorable experience.
Right on the busy Athinas street, the central market, also known as Varvakeios, is a hectic and vibrant market place. Split between meat and seafood and fish products on one side of the street, and fruits and vegetables on the other side, the Varvakeios offers a sensory experience. Shop for fresh olives and feta cheese, sun-kissed fruits and vegetables and even spices. The meat area may not be for all, as it is not surprising to see meat carcasses hanging up, while the fish section may require more than just a pair of flip flops due to the amount of water on the floor. Open from Monday to Saturday, the central market operates from early morning until late afternoon.
If you are in the southern suburbs but would rather not visit the Central Market on Athinas street, don’t worry, Piraeus has its own version, located behind the port on Gounari street. Buy the freshest fish and seafood, fruits, vegetables, cheese and cured meats. Small stalls and narrow shops also sell spices, herbs, olive oil, wine, liquors and a whole variety of legumes. If being surrounded by food helps you work up an appetite, you can satiate your hunger at the nearby cafés and tavernas with local fare.
A small square off Ifestou street, the Avissynias square welcomes a small bazaar every Saturday and Sunday. Shop for antiques, records, old books, ceramics and other antique finds. The bazaar expands beyond the square unto Ermou street all the way to Thisseio metro station. Don’t hesitate to bargain if you’ve found something you like or simply wander around. If you need a break, the area is filled with cafés and tavernas where you can rest and recuperate.
Laiki agora (or street markets), where you can shop fruits and veg, household goods, herbs and dried nuts, are held every day of the week in different areas of the city. So why not stop by the vibrant laiki on Kallidromiou street in Exarcheia, where food stalls stand in front of colourful street art background? On market days, the “anarchist” neighbourhood looks like any other district. Feel a bit hungry? Pop by one of the several welcoming bars for a snack. If you are staying near the Acropolis, Koukaki also has a laiki on Fridays on Tsami Karatassou street.