Top Greek Souvenirs: What to Buy in Athens
Wondering what to buy in Athens? If you want to take home something unique, read on about the top Greek souvenirs you’ll find in the Greek capital.
What to Buy in Athens: Top Greek Souvenirs
**This post was updated March 2017.
Like any popular touristic destination, you’ll find lots of touristy items. There is no shortage of lighters, magnets, caps, T-shirts, dish towels, mugs, shot glasses and key chains.
You’ll also find many statuettes and creative items representing ancient Greece. Be prepared to find lots of items adorned with pomegranates, boats, olive trees and blue eyes. I’ll explain the eye thing later on in the post. 🙂
I personally love the owl trinkets and statues. The owl represented Athens since ancient times as it represented the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
Here are some Greek souvenir ideas that tend to be more authentic.
Greek Handmade Leather Goods
Greeks are great leather artisans. Many of the small shops in the center of Athens have all types of handmade leather products on display. The sandals are particularly lovely.
You can also find quality leather belts. Also, there are a large array of beautiful purses, backpacks and bags in so many colors and styles. You can bargain, of course, but overall for an authentic Made in Greece product — you’ll get a bargain compared to other places in Europe.
Where to find Greek leather goods in Athens: Plaka and Monastiraki. You’ll find a lot of mom and pop shops selling them.
Evil Eye Trinkets and Jewelry
You’ll notice fast that a round, blue eye that will be staring at you in every tourist shop.
According to Greek folklore, an eyeball charm or mati can ward off bad luck. You’ll see key chains trinkets, home decor and all types of jewelry with a form of the evil eye.
I personally think some of the jewelry is creative and fantastic. In reality, many Greek women love wearing an evil eye. Since I moved here, I have a growing collection of evil eye jewelry.
So, if you’re thinking of what to buy in Athens when it comes to jewelry, an evil eye piece is not only meaningful but useful!
Where to buy evil eye jewelry and trinkets in Athens: I love this shop called Pagani. It is located on Pandrossou 59 in Monastiraki. Beautiful art too.
Greek Worry Beads
The Greek worry beads are called komboloi.
You may even notice Greek men subtly flipping or flicking them in their hands. Handling these worry beads has evolved into a sort of soothing, calm down method or habit, really. These colorful beads, which look like rosaries, are one of most typical symbols of the Greek easy-going mentality.
There are plastic ones but quality versions are the best and you can beautiful versions in amber, amber resin and coral. Greeks often display large versions in their homes, either hanging on a wall or on a table.
For more on what the komboloi stands for check out this interesting article by the Greek Reporter.
Where to buy Greek worry beads in Athens: There are many specialized shops in Plaka and Monastiraki that sell these. Perfect Greek souvenirs.
Greek Food Products
Greece is famous for its cuisine and its food so when you think of what to buy in Athens, be sure to stock up on some local treats.
Many Greek products come packaged perfectly for the plane ride back home. Choose from Greek sweets, small bottles of ouzo, olive, nuts, honey, Greek extra virgin olive oil and Greek teas and herbs. If you love wine, you must take home a bottle or two.
Where to buy Greek food products in Athens: There are many specialty shops to choose from in touristic districts like Monastiraki, Plaka and around Ermou street in Syntagma. You won’t have a problem finding Greek souvenirs relating to food.
As you browse the shops of Athens, you’ll find many beautiful pieces of art. You may want to add a notable Greek artist to your collection. I love the prints collection from Fassianos and Kechagioglou.
Where to buy Greek art in Athens: I love the handmade art at Pagani (mentioned above and shown above). For a piece you really want to invest in, I’ve always been impressed by the Zoumboulakis Gallery. The shop has a selection of small pieces of modern art that “express” Greece.
If you are looking to buy a sculpture that is totally unique to Greece, consider Cycladic art. These beautiful pieces of art have distinct features: folded arms, exact proportions, white pureness and simplicity.
Where to buy Cycladic sculptures in Athens: Cycladic Art Museum in Kolonaki.
Greek Natural Beauty Products
You can buy something Greek companies are excelling in these days — all natural beauty products. Apivita and Korres are two popular brands that infuse all natural ingredients from the country’s diverse landscape into their shampoos, soaps and makeup. Many shops also sell all-natural olive oil soap for a euro or two.
Where to buy Greek natural beauty products in Athens: There are several shops in Monastiraki, Syntagma and Plaka. Also, check out the Apivita Experience shop in Kolonaki, the Korres shop in Syntagma or the Attica Mall in Syntagma for a wider selection of other Greek beauty products.
Beautiful Coffee Table Books
Beautiful hardcover coffee table books are always a great addition to my library. There are many gorgeous photography books on display at local book stores.
If you can take the weight in your luggage and love beautifully done coffee table books, I think it is a great souvenir to take home to remember the idyllic scenes and colors from your time in Greece.
Where to buy beautiful coffee table books in Athens: Check out Public in Syntagma. This electronics/media retail shop has a wide selection of bilingual photography books in the travel books section.
Tip: There’s also a nice rooftop cafe with a view of Syntagma Square at Public. The balcony is fantastic in warm weather. Check out my earlier post: Scenic and Smoke Free Cafes in Athens.
Playing tavli is a like a national pastime in Greece. During your travels around the country you will likely find some young and older men playing backgammon in the sunny weather at a park or in front of a cafe. There are some beautiful backgammon boards to buy as Greek souvenirs.
Where to buy a backgammon board in Athens: Head to Chesstavli on Ifestou street. This shop has quality backgammon boards worth taking home as one of your Greek souvenirs.
Boutique Items from Greece
I recently visited the Graffito boutique in Kolonaki and loved it. If you love boutique shopping, head to this shop which is the first concept store in Athens. Lots of Greek products from handmade soaps to jewelry and hip clothes and accessories. There’s also a cute cafe bar with healthy snacks.
Plan Your Trip to Athens
How to Get to Athens
To get to the Athens, many international travelers arrive by air in Athens or another major city. There are some direct seasonal flights too. You can find the best flight deals here.
What to Do in Athens
Athens is my adopted hometown and much of this blog is about that very topic. Check out more posts from nightlife to gastronomy on this blog here. It’s a wonderful city break you should plan at least two to three days for — even up to a week — depending on how much time you have and what you’d love to do.
If you want to hop to the islands or spend time at one of the many Greek island destinations – you should! Also, check out my Greek islands category for the best places to stay, eat and best things to do. I only recommend places and experiences that I have tried and tested myself.
Where to Eat in Athens
Check out my post, 17 Awesome Greek Food Experiences which also lists where to find these delicious experiences in Athens.
Where to Stay in Athens
A full rundown of places I recommend coming soon. Bes sure to sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter here for more tips and insights from my travels around beautiful Greece and amazing Europe.
That rounds out my list of top Greek souvenirs and what to buy in Athens. Would you add anything to this list of top Greek souvenirs?