Paraphernalia is a design concept store selling many items made from recycled or upcycled materials | Courtesy of Paraphernalia
Known for its rich history and abundant archaeological sites, Athens is also full of opportunities for retail therapy. From vintage fashion and books to authentic souvenirs, the Greek capital does not disappoint when it comes to shopping.
After an action-packed trip to Athens taking in the city’s nightlife, cuisine and cultural heritage, finding the ideal memento is a top priority. The Greek capital has shopping options to suit all tastes and budgets, including antiques at the Avissinias Square market, Greek art at Tsantilis Antiques and Fine Art, and books from Free Thinking Zone.
Located in the city centre, running from Monastiraki to Plaka, Adrianou is considered the oldest commercial street in Athens. Today, the many stores lining this bustling street offer high-quality traditional Greek products, including olive oil and handmade soaps. One shop particularly worth mentioning for finding unusual souvenirs is Forget Me Not; it sells a variety of products, from handbags to jewellery, by Greek designers.
Pandrossou is located in the heart of the city, just off Monastiraki Square. Though inevitably crowded, this bustling thoroughfare is a must-visit for picking up authentic souvenirs from Athens. The street’s over 100 stores are a veritable treasure trove of keepsakes, including magnets, jewellery and handmade leather sandals.
Whether you spend time discovering Bronze Age Cycladic culture at the Museum of Cycladic Art or not, the museum’s shop is worth a visit for souvenir shopping. Here, you will find elegant jewellery, decorative objects and books, many of which are inspired by the collections in the museum. The shop also offers many great ideas for children’s gifts.
Spread across eight floors, Attica is a department store that showcases a wide range of designer brands and items, including clothes, jewellery, cosmetics and luggage. For a little guidance, make use of the store’s personal shopper service, before relaxing at the café-restaurant on the top floor, complete with beautiful views.
This elegant street, which connects Syntagma and the Kolonaki district, is home to luxury boutiques, high-end jewellery shops and many international designer brands. For those wanting to shop local, Greek jewellery brands Lalaounis and Kessaris offer cutting-edge Greek designs.
Paraphernalia is a design concept store located on Ioannou Paparigopoulou, close to the Museum of the City of Athens. Since 2014, it has offered an ever-changing (but unwaveringly cool) selection of furniture, lighting, jewellery, and home and office ware designed by local and international designers. Ideal for anyone interested in the intersection of design and environmentalism, Paraphernalia sells many items made from recycled and upcycled materials. Why not pair a visit here with a drink at the renowned cocktail bar The Clumsies, which is just around the corner?
Avissinias Square is nothing less than heaven for antique lovers; expect silverware, vintage books, musical instruments and furniture, to name just a few. The area is particularly buzzing on Sundays when sellers set up their wares all around the square, but you can most likely find a unique treasure on any day of the week.
Martinos dates back to 1895 and has been at its current location since 1926 | Courtesy of Martinos Pandrossou
Established in 1895 in Monastiraki, Martinos Antique and Fine Art Gallery is one of the oldest antique stores in Athens. In 1926, it relocated to a historic building – complete with a facade redesigned in the early 1960s by the renowned Greek architect Takis Zenetos – on Pandrossou where it remains today. The selection here spans antique ceramics, carpets, crewelwork (embroidery) and silverware, both from Greece and further afield.
Tsantilis Antiques and Fine Art sells a range of Greek and international art and furniture | Courtesy of Tsantilis Antiques and Fine Art
Located on Omirou, just north of Syntagma Square, Tsantilis Antiques and Fine Art specialises in Greek art, particularly paintings from the 15th to 21st centuries. The gallery also sells a range of antiques, such as silverware, furniture and sculptures. Beyond Greece, Tsantilis often has pieces of Ottoman, Arabian and Chinese art in its collection.
At Agias Eirinis 3, time has stood still. Retrosexual Culture’s collection comprises vintage furniture, electrical appliances and decorative items from the 1920s to the 1990s. On its website, the owner, Joe Petropoulos, described the store as a “whole world view. A movement with a view to re-establish quality and aesthetics both to objects and our daily interactions and relationships. A society made up of nostalgia lovers.”
On Protogenous Street, in the lively neighbourhood of Psyrri, there are two vintage fashion shops not to be missed. In Treasure House and Guadeloupe, you will find a wide variety of vintage jeans, dresses, bags and accessories at affordable prices.
Politeia is one of Athens’s most beloved bookshops. Located steps away from the National Library of Greece and the Panepistimio (University) metro station, the somewhat labyrinthine Politeia has a cornucopia of new and used books in Greek and other languages. Visit the store’s cosy basement to find the literature section.
The Public department store on Syntagma Square – set within an elegant Neoclassical building – boasts an entire floor full of books for every age and taste, including a wide selection in English. Don’t forget to check out the top storey, where there is a café with great views of the square and the Greek Parliament.
Free Thinking Zone is an activist bookshop located in Exarcheia – a neighbourhood known as a hub of counterculture | Courtesy of Free Thinking Zone
Located at the crossroads of Skoufa and Griveon, between the neighbourhoods of Exarcheia and Kolonaki, this activist bookshop is unlike any other in the city. Its mission is to enhance activism for the protection of human rights and liberties and is a place for brainstorming, discussions and the sharing of ideas. Here, you’ll find a multitude of fascinating books, which you can sit back with and enjoy a coffee. At this bookshop and café, you can also attend (or even take part in) a diverse programme of discussion events.
The Monastiraki Flea Market is the most famous one in Athens. Structured a little differently from a typical flea market, Monastiraki is more like a huge collection of small shops selling everything from souvenirs and clothes to vinyl records and antiques. On Sundays, it has a real flea market vibe, when vendors lay out antiques all the way down to Avissinias Square.
A 1.5-kilometre (0.9-mile) shopping stretch, including two expansive pedestrian sections, Ermou Street runs from the Kerameikos archaeological site to Syntagma Square. In its main pedestrian area – between Syntagma Square and Monastiraki – you can find both international and Greek brands in fashion, cosmetics and accessories. On the stretch through the Thissio district, big brands make way for antique and vintage shops, and the surrounding streets are home to a variety of charming cafés.