While preparing for your trip to Athens, be sure to leave plenty of room in your suitcase for souvenirs! The city’s many markets and shops offer ample shopping opportunities for you to take home some of the best Greek products around. Use this this little shopping guide to help you know which things to buy in Athens when you visit.
1. Mati/evil eye
The evil eye, or mati, in Greek, is a symbol of protection that is important in Greek culture. Greeks believe that wearing an evil eye will protect the wearer from negative energy and bring good vibes their way. You’ll find the evil eye on key chains, magnets, jewelry, and home decorations. Pick one up to bring positivity to your life and to remember your trip to Greece!
2. Worry beads
Worry beads make for a great souvenir from Athens. The locals carry these beads as a way to relax or get through hard times, as many cultures or religions have strings of beads for similar purposes. They are also popular because many see them as a fashionable accessory. Available in many colors and materials, a great option would be worry beads that are hand-carved from Greek olive wood.
3. Ouzo and Mastiha liqueurs
Ouzo is Greece’s national drink, made from grapes or grains which is then distilled with aniseed. No trip to Athens is complete without trying a glass or two of ouzo! It’s the perfect drink to enjoy to remind you of your trip to Greece. Mestiha is another classic drink that’s made with mastic, a resin from a Mediterranean evergreen tree. It’s a sweet dessert liqueur that’s the perfect end to any meal.
Walking down the streets of Plaka or in the Athens Flea Market, you’ll notice the abundance of jewelry shops that line the streets. Popular items to buy include pieces made with Greek opals, especially blue opal, and silver. An interesting item to buy is a piece of jewelry featuring the Phaistos Disc, an ancient Greek symbol seen on necklaces, rings, earrings, and more.
5. Natural sponges
If you’re into natural beauty products, one of the best things to buy in Athens is a natural sponge. Plucked straight from the Aegean, the Greek have been using sea sponges for hygiene and home cleaning since ancient times. They last longer than synthetic sponges, are much gentler on skin, and better for the planet. You’ll see these at markets and beauty kiosks all over town.
6. Homemade soaps
Many kiosks and shops in Athens carry homemade soaps in a variety of scents, made from different materials. Olive oil soap is wildly popular, since it’s a natural beauty product made from high-quality Greek olives. You can also find handmade soaps with different blends of essential oils, charcoal, and even donkey milk!
7. Greek olive oil
Greek olive oil is among the best in the world and is a key ingredient in Greek cuisine. Many shops carry a plethora of brands and varieties of oil in different quantities. Olive oil is one of the best things to buy in Athens for your favorite foodie or simply to bring a taste of Greece back home.
8. Olive oil beauty products
In addition to soaps, you’ll find no shortage of other beauty products using olive oil as the base, as it’s natural, hydrating, and of good quality. Some of the best things to pick up include, hand lotion, nail and cuticle oil, body creams, and hair oils. Use the power of Greek olive oil to give yourself a natural glow!
9. Handmade leather sandals
Many artisans in Athens specialize in making leather sandals by hand, using quality, local leather. You can find some of these shops around Monastiraki where leather workers proudly display their unique, handcrafted designs. You’ll be the envy of all your friends who ask you where you got your sandals when you casually reply that they are from Athens!
Greek cuisine is simply irresistible, in part due to the variety of spices that are incorporated into every dish. Look around and you’ll find many vendors and kiosks that sell spice blends so that you can try your hand at Greek cooking when you get home. Popular mixes include Greek salad topping, meatball seasoning, souvlaki seasoning, and tzatziki mix. Yum!
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Packing your bags for Athens? Choose Olala Homes as your place to call home during your stay!