Guest Post by Tanmayee on 8 Best Souvenirs in Athens Marketplace – A Shoppers Guide.
For the culturally inclined, apart from visiting the Acropolis and the Panathenaic stadium, shopping in Athens is an experience on its own. Boasting of being one of the oldest cities in Europe and a centrepiece of Greek Mythology and History, Athens is an astounding place for shopping. You can find everything from age-old antiques that have been well-preserved and passed on through generations, to mimics or impressions of art and culture that has long passed by.
If you are returning from a vacation to Greece, and are looking to bring back home some one-of-a-kind souvenirs for your loved ones or to redecorate your home with a bit of Greek art, well we have got you covered. Please find below a list of the top souvenirs in Athens marketplace to bring back to your living room, that we have curated just for you.
Greek Pottery and Ceramics
Nothing shouts Greek like classic Greek pottery. Be it a vase, or bowl with ancient Greek paintings on them of an era gone by, or depicting some of the Greek gods, now that is a living room conversation starter. You can definitely find many shops in Plaka and Adrianou street that sell Greek pottery and ceramics. It is one of the best souvenirs in Athens for crazy shoppers.
Olive Oil-based Products
While olive oil and olive oil-based products are available throughout the world. The ones originating and manufactured in Greece are known to be the truest to the artform. The products are one of the preferred souvenirs in Athens to buy and carry with you. Whether it is purchasing olive oil for cooking or buying olive oil-based conditioners or soaps; you have it all in Athens. Head out to Monastiraki district where you can find a ton of stores to pick and choose from.
‘Mati’ – Evil Eye
If you have been running into a lot of bad luck lately; ‘Mati’ or commonly known as the Evil Eye is probably your answer. Ancient Greeks believed in Mati which was believed to be a charm; that protected the wearer from envy and bad luck. With a strong presence in the Mediterranean especially in Greece and Turkey; Mati is a must-buy on your trip to Greece. They come in all shapes and sizes, as pendants, bracelets, dream catchers, keychains and what-not. It is quite difficult to miss them on a walk to Monastiraki district on any given day. Mati is one of the fascinating souvenirs in Athens marketplace.
Not everyone’s alcohol, Ouza, is considered as Greek’s national drink. It is a sweet liquorice based alcohol that you will either love or hate. What we recommend is to try some on your trip to Greece. And if you love it bring back home a bottle or two that you can line your home bar. Open it up for a special night with your friends and family back home.
Komboloi or Worry Beads
The fidget spinner of ancient Greeks, Komboli were widely used back in the day. Made out of wood, ceramics or glass, these were made in the form of bracelets. They were held by Greeks in their pockets or in their hands; and were either played with or passed on to cope with stress or to focus their attention. We preferred the Komboli as they were made out of ceramics. They felt better in our hands compared to the plastic that we have been used to of late.
If you are planning to buy something that you can use on a day-to-day basis, then Greek footwear is probably your best bet. It is quite easy to stumble across shops that sell Greek sandals when walking through Plaka or Monastiraki street. They are comfortable and easy to wear. They also come in all shapes and sizes and are usually of good quality. The set is great for summer and tropical occasions; especially if you are from a relatively warm place wherein you can see yourself sporting sandals on a regular basis. And did you know that most of them are handmade?
A Tavli Set
If you are a fan of board games, or if you have kids at home who love board games; then a Tavli set is something that we will highly recommend. During your strolls through the streets of Athens, you might have come across small groups of men, playing a very competitive board game. Tavli is the Greek version of Backgammon and is crazy popular in Greece. Get yourself a set from one of the stores for your kids and family back home.
Olive Wood Products
The Olive tree and Greek culture are synonymous with one another. From ancient mythology to Greek customs they form a dyad of sorts. Given the prominence of the Olive, Greeks have used it in all forms in their day to day lives from cooking to pottery and cutlery. Known for their beautiful saturated wood, olive wood products have great durability and have a smoothness that feels different and great in your hands.
With Greece’s 3000-year-old history it is difficult to capture every possible souvenir in the list; but we feel these are some of the must-buys on your trip to Greece. If you still have queries on where to buy them, you can reach out to expert planners like Pickyourtrail; who specialize in curating Greece tour packages based on your preferences, and also take care of end-to-end vacation support.