Shopping in Athens is a favorite pastime for tourists and Athenians and one of the best places to buy just about anything is the Flea Market at Monastiraki. Resembling more İstanbul’s Grand Bazaar than an ordinary flea market most of the time, it will certainly stimulate your curiosity. There are good jewelry store with handmade gold and silver pieces and fake jewelry stores with “handmade” gems as realistic as it can be.
1What to buy? What should one pay attention to?
You will find everything you want here from jewelry to trinkets, from original designs to mass produced T-shirts advertising not only Greece but popular brands like Nike, Adidas, Coca-cola or your favorite band. You may find antiques both authentic and artificial, vintage vinyls and music CDs. Rare first edition books on paperback in all languages can be your company for airport intervals & travels. There are also plastic worry beads and locally renowned folk instrument bouzoukia besides handcraft instruments that will catch your audience’s attention. You will find flexible sandals which can comfort you during long walks in pedestrian streets.
As noted before, Sunday is the best day to be here because the market will be most active. However, on regular shopping days the tiny shops also contain everything from worry beads, furs, backgammon sets, toy soldier collections, ancient Greek bottle openers and cigarette lighters, Byzantine Icons, paintings, statues, postcards, casual fashion such as T-shirts, handbags with pictures of the Parthenon and so on. Coins, trinkets and antiques can be offered by to good to be true deals, so beware the fakes if you’re sensitive about that. Also, there are lots of collectibles like old telephone cards and prints.
2How about discovering the neighbouring area for alternative activities?
Neighbouring Hadrian’s Library and the Roman agora host many street venders. Restaurants like Meandros at 47 Adrianou Street has live Greek folk music, and there are lots of cafés and ouzeries that serve bistro-style food, mezedes, ouzo and tsipuro. The best souvlakis you may in find in Greece are also in Monastiraki, at the end of Metropolis street.
Furthermore, Ifaistos Street has some of the best record and CD stores you can find in Greece, perhaps in all Europe. If you are an actual musician rather than a collector, go Mousika Organa at Hfaistos 36 to check out guitars, bouzoukia, baglamas, santouris, aouds, and many more instruments.
3Monastiraki Metro Station is a central hub on Athens transport line
This famous station in Monastiraki Square is right on the spot where Ermou Street and Athinas Street meet. You can also reach the airport (blue line) & Piraeus port (green line) from here. Watch your back for pickpockets as usual.