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Shopping in Athens: Monastiraki Flea Market, Plaka & Malls

Shopping in Athens: Monastiraki Flea Market, Plaka & Malls

Hi girls and guys who like to shop!

I have been doing my shopping spree in Athens, tried out various shopping malls and already assembled my winter collection.

I also came across a very sweet flea market in Monastiraki, some very horrible souvenirs in Plaka and I wondered about the stressful life of minorities who are strongly linked to Athenian recycling at the trash containers.

All of which I am going to share in this post.

So let’s start with the most interesting shopping sight, the flea market in Monastiraki.

 

THE FLEA MARKET (on Avissinias Square) 

The so labelled ‘Athens flea market’ mainly just sells regular some cheap, some original clothing and footwear. Convenience stores sell unusual cannabis drinks –  something I have not seen since my student trips to Amsterdam.

flea market Monateraki Athens Cannabis drink

 

Bear in mind that the flea market is only on Sunday and you have to walk further down from Monastiraki Station towards Avissinias Square. If you visit on another day there will be just an agglomeration of regular souvenir shops with a lot of mass-produced merchandise.

Monastiraki flea market Athens Monastiraki flea market Athens

 

We found various kinds of antiques, old trunks, lamps, books, electrical equipment, decoupaged icons and an abundance of decorative vintage items. Much of the kind of precious junk I love.

Flea market Monastiraki Athens Flea market Monastiraki Athens

 

You will also find the lemon man, who will gladly demonstrate his fantastic lemon squeeze device. By smoothly and easily drilling a plastic tube into the lemon, lemon man generates lemon juice. We are compulsive lemon tea drinkers, so of course I bought more than one. Turned out that this works a lot better when lemon man demonstrates than when doing it yourself at home. I then vowed to avoid hawkers.

lemon man Athens lemon squeezer Athens

 

The further you proceed from the square, the messier and bigger the piles of well, junk? I actually liked those white retro looking sun glasses.

pile of sun glasses Monastiraki flea market Athens

 

Even streets away from the square, the flea market is continued by some of the less fortunate of the city.

Monastiraki flea market Athens

 

You will see many sellers, actually refugees from the former Soviet Union, Romania, Albania and many gypsies, selling second hand clothes and all kinds of trinkets tha just have been fished out of the trash and are displayed with little consideration for simple marketing strategies.

piles of clothes gypsies Monastiraki flea market Athens

 

MONASTIRAKI

The main shopping streets are Adrinou, Pandrosou, Ifaistou, Thiseiou, Ayiou Filippou, Astigos and Ermou.

Monastiraki means little monastery which stands at its centre. High street shop variety leading towards the sweet monastery in the back.

shopping street Monastiraki Athens Greece

 

Here is a close up. The 10th century Saint Mary Pantanassa Monastery.

Church of Saint Mary Pantanassa Monastiraki Athens Greece

 

Apart from that picturesque church, the Monastiraki shopping area is lacking attractiveness.

Monastiraki Shops Athens

 

A lot of cheap unoriginal merchandise, clothing shops for teens and hawkers trying to lure you into restaurants or show you stuff you don’t need. Ditto lemon man.

Monastiraki Shops Athens

 

Outlet and balloon shopping at Monastiraki square.

outlet store balloon man Monastiraki Athens Greece

 

You can take the metro down here – straight to Monastiraki Station, which is the EU renovated neoclassic building from 1895 (right behind me) – and be right in the hub of souvenir shops.

Monastriaki Athens

 

This fruit stand reminds me of my hands-on experience at a real Greek market.

fruit stand Monastiraki Athens Greece

 

Plenty of refreshments can be found at Monastiraki.

coconut fountain stand Athens

 

You can find an abundance of jewellery stands around the station reaching as far up as to the Acropolis. I saw some very cool bracelets in classy ancient Greek design, hand-made by local craftsmen who own their own workshops and supply the souvenir stores of Athen’s museums. The cheap alternative are these stands.

jewellery stands Monastiraki Athens

 

In general, you will be surprised at the bargains you can find in Athens. Some give the impression to be symptoms of the crippling Greek economy.

1 Euro stand Athens

 

PLAKA

The main shopping streets are Kydatheneon and Adrianou. Plaka connects to Monastiraki and with many touristy restaurants, as well as souvenir shops, the whole area makes for a most popular tourist place in Athens.

My guidebook describes Plaka as “beautiful neoclassical in style and colour, with enchanting beauty an atmosphere, where the air you breathe is lighter, cleaner and fragrant, like a gift from the Gods“.

Plaka Athens

 

This might be exaggerated travel writing but, from Adrianou street, you can definitely enjoy a unique view on the ancient Agora and Acropolis, while sipping a drink at one of numerous cafés, closer to the gods.

view from ancient agrora Athes

 

Here is the view onto the ancient Agora with the long columned Stoa and the sacred rock of Athens, the Acropolis to the right.

View of ancient Agora and Acropolis

 

In Plaka, you will also find the Lysikrates Monument. It was erected by Lysikrates, a Greek patron of the musical arts, to commemorate the success of his sponsored dramatic-dance-chorus in 334BC. During the course of history the monument was incorporated into a monastery, where monks cultivated the first tomato plants in Greece. British poet Lord Byron stayed at the monastery for a while infatuated by a very young Athenian maid. Today, the monument looks like this.

Lysikrates Monument Athens

 

There are a lot of touristy tavernas which I haven’t tried as enthusiastic hawkers with their waving menus usually scare me off.

Monastiraki Athens Greece

 

Plaka is the place for Greek folk art, handicrafts and traditional products. You will find a lot of reproductions of ancient Greek ceramic art and pottery. Souvenir t-shirts, mugs and bags with depictions of the Parthenon and Greek warriors, as well as pretty horrible reproductions of Greek statues.

Greek statues and vases souvenirs Athens

 

Athens is not exactly known for its harsh winters, yet the numerous fur stores are a sad symbol of pointless animal slaughter. We were frequently mistaken for typical Russian customers and approached by Russian speaking Greeks with their brochures. As if Russian tourists didn’t have enough of their own furry nightmares.

horrible fur shop Monastiraki Athens Greece

 

A unique souvenir are sandals made in Greece. Once covering the athletic feet of Spartacus and exposing the beautiful toes of Aphrodite. Hand-made by Greek shoe makers.

Greek sandal shop Athens

 

There are also a lot of stressed African merchants who sell reproductions of designer bags, fake brand sneakers and good luck charms, often spread on white bed sheets, which can be pulled together in seconds. They are always looking out for police in a constant game of hide and seek.

African man selling handbags Athens

 

In the meantime Greek middle and upper class are shopping at KOLONAKI (walk Voukourestiou, Skoufa, Tsakalof Street) and the malls of Athens.

For sophisticated Greek fashion, these are two great places I found.

 

GOLDEN HALL

The Golden Hall on Kifissias Avenue is a huge shopping mall that stands out from the rest with all the national and international fashion brands.

The Golden Hall Mall Athens

 

Invented in 1820 by Hungarian engineer Peter Bodor, the trend of musical fountains enjoys a revival.

fountain The Golden Hall Mall Athens

 

Although a Spanish fashion chain, I came across Stradivarius right here. A fashion store I have not known so far, is a reason to get all excited.  Stradivarius has very feminine, trendy but very affordable fashion.

The Golden Hall Mall Athens The Golden Hall Mall Athens

 

 

ATHENS METRO MALL

Located on Leofoldos Vouliagmenis Avenue 276 this is a small mall in comparison to the previously mentioned shopping temple.

The Metro Mall Athens Greece

 

Maybe aware of the need to compete otherwise, Metro Mall had great sales and deals going on.

shopping at The Metro Mall Athens Greece

 

THE MALL

The Mall is a bit further out, located near to the Athens Olympic Stadium on Andrea Papandreou Street 35. There is easy access from the platform of Neratziotissa Station to the entrance of The Mall.

The modern building has four levels where you can shop or visit the cinema on the top floor.

The Mall shopping center Athens Greece

 

You can see the stadium from the huge mall platform.

The Mall shopping center Athens Greece

 

More centrally located, ATTICA DEPARTMENT STORE stands close to Syntagma Square and although it is a very popular shopping centre in a historical building with pretty 20s architecture, I haven’t paid a visit yet. Partly because it closes way earlier than the malls, especially on Saturdays, when most malls keep their doors open till 8pm.

There is still so much on my to do list in Athens – I better get going…

 

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One Comment

  1. thank you. Very nicely explained.
    I was wondering what do so many African people trying to sell. They just had the wrist band with them.

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