When visiting Athens, souvenir shopping is part of the enjoyment of exploring the city and a great opportunity to bring souvenirs back home that will remind you of your Greek holiday. Souvenir shops are all around the historic center of Athens and you can find both beautiful and also tacky things to bring back home: from Acropolis miniatures to contemporary jewelry, artistic creations inspired by Greek folk art, leather shoes, bags, belts and anything that you can imagine. Here is a list of the top 7 souvenirs to bring back from Greece.
1. Buy stylish handmade leather sandals from MonastirakiMaybe the most iconic and best thing to buy from Greece is the handmade leather sandals. Those sandals that are reminiscent of personalities from Ancient Greece are really cool and comfortable. While roaming around the historic center of Athens, especially in the tourist areas of Plaka and Monastiraki, you will pass by loads of shops. Find unique styles, colors and patterns that will accompany you during summertime. Visit Melissinos Sandal Shop located on Agias Theklas 2 in Monastiraki. It is very easy to find it, just off Ermou Street in Monastiraki Square. It is a nice little shop selling leather sandals, belts and bags since 1920. You can have a look at their website (see below) and check the wide variety of leather products that they offer.
2. Be protected wearing jewelry with the blue eye
3. Learn to play a komboloi and then buy oneWorry beads, komboloi, is a number of beads bound together on a string. Traditionally, Greek men used to have komboloi in their pockets to keep their hands busy. To play komboloi, you move the beads between your fingers, making noises as the beads turn around and hit together. Today, it is mostly used for decoration and as a souvenir reminiscent of the old times. There are various types of komboloi depending on the material and the size of beads. Usually, beads are made of amber or coral as these materials are better to handle than others such as metal or plastic. It is a really nice remnant of the Greek culture; you may see some old men in the villages still playing them. In the touristic area of Athens, mostly in Plaka, you will find shops selling various types of komboloi. Walk along Kydathinaion in Plaka, find Greko souvenir at number 16 and Nakas at number 31 and many more along your way. Admire the great variety of different types of komboloi and if you want a piece of the Greek tradition at your home, then definitely this is it!
4. Beauty products based on Greek olive oil and herbsOrganic products made by pure Greek herbs are a must when you visit Greece. You can find face creams, hand creams, shampoos, body lotions, lip balms and more cosmetics in big department stores and pharmacies in Athens. Search for the famous, great quality Greek brands Korres and Apivita. Visit Apivita Experience Store on Solonos street in Kolonaki. You will find a four floors where you can see, smell and try the company’s products. You can also find organic products at Forget Me Not shop located in the Plaka neighborhood, on 100 Adriannou.
5. Exquisite art at Benaki Museum and Cycladic Art Museum
In almost all souvenir shops in Greece, you will notice a lot of hand painted ceramic plates and cups. These are among the most loved products by tourists because of the intricate designs that are showcased. Have you ever seen a Greek myth come to life by means of drawings and paintings? Artists can recreate such stories by hand painting them in these ceramic plates. It’s the type of souvenir that will surely make you miss your time in Greece because some are created as replicas of famous museum art pieces. The best part is that they are hand painted so this means that no two products are exactly alike. Talk about a unique souvenir, right? These can either be used as decorative pieces or buy a whole set to use for special occasions at home. Depending on the designs, prices can vary so make sure to bring out your haggling skills in souvenir shops!
What’s a Greek vacation without sampling their local wine? Aside from the unique flavors of their cuisine, one of the things that you should not forget to try is their stock of local wine. Each island most likely has its own take on it, but one thing you can expect is a rich flavor that will take you back to Greece every time you take a sip. On the cooler islands, expect the white wines to be the best – crisp and dry flavor with high acidity. This is the result of vineyards are almost constantly exposed to strong winds and cold temperatures at night. If you are looking for reds, go to the north western area. Visitors can be assured of flavorful red wines that are great to pair with food. Whether you bring home some wine or give them out as souvenirs, one thing is for sure, it will be one of those memorable drinks!
Souvenir shopping can keep memories alive
Buying a souvenir from a place you visit is a must! But when in Athens, you can buy more than a postcard or a magnet for your fridge. Greek history and culture are reflected in the Athenian souvenirs that make them unique and also useful. The areas of Monastiraki and Plaka are a heaven for tourist shopping and you can find famous leather sandals, the world-known protective blue eye, oil products, komboloi and much more. If you have a more modern taste, then you can find contemporary and luxurious art from famous artists at Benaki Museum shop and Goulandris Cycladic Museum shop.
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