On Ermou, the main high-street for shopping in Athens, you will find brands you already know like Zara, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Mango, Replay, American Eagle Outfitters, Accessorize and others. Close by, you will also find the Attica Mall, the biggest mall in the centre, which stocks known brands at good prices, and has a lovely roof garden café, as well as the grand store Public for all your technology and gaming needs.
Around Ermou and its side streets, you will also find high quality Greek retail shops that boast a wide variety of fashion products: Shopping in Athens just got more interesting if you give the local high-street shops a chance. Greek producers of leather goods especially realize the competition they are up against, and strive to bring the best value possible to the consumer, and the quality will not hide behind the name of the brand. This is especially poignant at a time when small to medium size business in Greece are generally closing, due to consumers preferring the big conglomerates as opposed to trusting business that are run with ‘μεράκι’ – meraki (no single word can translate the meaning of this, but it means something between artistry, passion, love and taste). Tsakiris Mallas shoes for example, are Greek made shoes that are both comfortable, sophisticated and … Greek! Although visitors will tend to shop from brands they recognize, we strongly suggest you have a look at what the non-chain stores have to offer; you’ll be surprised that local made products are actually better quality in most cases and at about similar prices with the known brands or less.
Check out our guide to spending 4 days in Athens
High-end shopping in Athens starts at Voukourestiou Street. If the high-street shopping in Athens is of little interest to you or if you are more of a fashion house enthusiast, then Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Tod’s and Prada may perhaps be a better fit.
This street is absolutely iconic and it is no wonder since these designer houses have been established a long time ago. Heading up from Voukourestiou Street you will reach the Kolonaki district which is considered one of the poshest residential areas in Athens. There you will find more designer boutiques.
The area dates back to the period of the 1960’2 and 1970’s and has since been regarded as the crème de la crème location for high class Athenians. It has an undisputed reputation for being an upper class area for coffee, lunch or dinner and drinks since then!
The more touristic locations of the Athens city centre (typically the areas immediately surrounding the Acropolis, so Monastiraki, Plaka, Psirri, Thiseio) are buzzing with stores and shops trying to engage the potential customer. Here you can get to experience the local side of shopping in Athens.
You can find stores ranging from textiles and footwear, leather goods, decorative items, souvenirs, natural products such as honey and sponges, replicas of the Ancient times, jewelers, vintage shops, galleries, bicycle shops… anything you can fathom! The diversity in the cobblestone streets of Monastiraki is ample, and the shops are so nicely set up that you may find yourself stopping and staring as you walk past. It is recommended not to shop at first impulse, rather than take your time to walk around the pedestrian streets, doing your … market research first. Haggling is not a thing in Greece, so prices are fixed, but especially in Monastiraki’s Flea Market, you may find a shop further down carries the same item at a slightly better price. So shop around, and enjoy yourself! Amidst all this commercial frenzy are bars, tavernas, restaurants and coffee shops where you can sit (we recommend a table outside, where you can soak on the sun rays) while you re-energise with a beverage. For staying somewhere that allows you to get a proper feel of the city’s vibe, Psirri is the home to a stunning, small boutique hotel in Athens city. From Thiseio, walking up the perimeter of the Acropolis will reveal a street market where each vendor sells their wares in small stalls along a paved little street. Jewelry, crafts, accessories and more make up the colourful tapestry of the Thiseion walkway, coupled with an immaculate view of the city’s most impressive landmark.
A most scenic walk is to do this route backwards (and without having to carry your shopping bags for a long time). Begin at Dionysiou Areopagitou, where one of the design hotels in Athens is located, round the Acropolis and down to Thiseio, then through Monastiraki and Plaka until you reach Ermou Street.
Shops and stores are usually open Monday & Wednesday from 09.00 to 17.00 and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 09.00 to 14.00 and then again from 17.00 to 21.00 although the larger stores and conglomerates often keep a 12 hour opening on weekdays, that is 09.00 to 21.00. On Saturdays its is usually from 09.00 to 18.00 in most cases.