The Plaka was my favorite section in Athens (aside from the various ruins). It reminded me a little of the East Village in NYC. It has a lot of cute little restaurants with outside seating, and many cafes. There was also a lot of opportunity to shop here and you can get some good deals on leather items such as purses, jackets and wallets and art work.
What to buy: I was told that when in Greece, you should shop for leather. Not sure if that's true or not, but I ended up buying a couple of purses, and my husband bought a wallet (to fit the EU bills in because they don't really fit in American wallets). Jewelry stores abound in Athens, as well as the other places we visted, so I'd say that jewelry is also a hot item to purchase. I got a necklace and matching earrings made from authentic Santorini lava - pretty cool ;)
What to pay: Prices vary for everything, and you should try to haggle at the stores in the plaka.
Plaka is full of all kinds of stores, but the best deals I got were on gold jewelry. You can find great prices, just make sure to bargain and shop around. Other stores sell souvenirs and lots of crap.
What to buy: Jewelry
There are plenty of shops in Plaka which are crammed full of stuff for the pretty price. But there are some that are more eclectic than others that sell antiques, hand painted icons, wood carvings and paintings.
I recommend you to find amazing postcards that you can send home and make all your friends jealous.
There are lots of jewelry stores. Most of them buy from factories and have the same stuff for about the same price. But there are a couple that are artist-owned which have hand-made original pieces and also copies of ancient museum pieces.
The Plaka District in Athens is the oldest part of the city. The streets are narrow, and to the north they take you to the Acropolis, and to the west the Ancient Agorra. You will find many small shops and boutiques selling Greek souvenirs, and restaurants where you can eat Greek food.
In the boutiques, the owners will almost always automatically speak English. Most of them are fluent in French and Spanish, and then you will meet the odd storeowner who understands only Greek. (And then you'll be communicating with your hands.)
What to buy: **JEWELLARY
In the souvenir shops that sell jewellary, you will notice a lot of silver necklaces, bracelets and rings with a turquoise stone in them. they aren't cheap (I got my necklace for 35 € - it was originally 40 € but I bargained) but they are beautiful, and a special souvenir you'll keep forever. I still wear my necklace.
I also got a bracelet and ring without the turquoise in them... they have the Parthenon symbol in them and are much cheaper. You can find them all over Greece.
I brought back lots of honey, olive oil, and Ozzo that were made in Greece. These are good gifts that are useful to anyone.
**T-shirts with Greek writing on them
I've never seen someone wearing a T-shirt with Greek writing on it, I'm pretty sure Greece is the only place where you can get one. n Athens I was very picky... I wouldn't buy a T-shirt if it said "Athens" on it. It had to be written in Greek, or I wasn't going to buy it.
The average T-shirt, buy the way costed only 6 €
What to pay: It depends..;in the Plaka there are so many different kinds of souvenirs you can get, but mostly they're cheap and a lot of them are just little trinkity things.
My advice about shopping in Athens is that you avoid doing it if at all possible. Everything we saw for sale on the Plaka was considerably more expensive than we saw anywhere else in Greece, including very touristy Santorini. You'd think all the competition would drive prices down a bit, especially with all the jewelry stores on the Plaka, but we found that not to be the case at all. Save your money until you can buy things cheaper on the islands.
What to buy: None.
What to pay: A lot more than you'll spend on the islands.
I love Plaka. I know its touristy. I know its dirty. I know its crazy. Thats why I love it! There isn't anything that you can't buy here. And I love walking around listening to tourists try and bargain for a good deal, and have the locals yell back at them. The place has a certain energy that cn only be found in the heart of Athens, which for me IS Plaka. There are many flea markets and little stores, along with food stalls and restaurants. Its a great place to be at any time of the day, but I prefer it right in the middle of the morning, when everyone still has their energy for argument!
Plaka is a big touristic and historic place. There's a lot of shops selling anything any tourists would love to bring back home.
Like you saw, I put the Plaka district in the tourists trap. Altought the price are generally higher than in other place, Plaka still is a must for everybody visiting athens.
What to buy: Remember that almost every store in athens will have the same things to sell.
What to pay: Only one word can explain this : BARGAIN
The old quarter of Athens offers to the visitor a variety of things to do.
Combine sightseeing with shopping (especially souvenis), lunch or dinner and coffee or drink.
The old neoclassical houses, most of them renovated, will bring you back to the old Athens. when the noise and the traffic jams didn't exist.
Just about anything uniquely Greek you could expect tourists to buy is sold under the shadow of the Acropolis. Special thanks to ORLANDOBR for the photo which is in place of the one I attempted, but foolishly covered the lens with my big fat American thumb.
What to buy: Because I didn't have but so much room in my black carry-on bag for but so many whatnots. The main thing I bought was 33 postcards (I got the other 33 in Naxos).
One of a couple of alleys parallel to Ermou Street in the Pláka district, this is the most well known for souvenir shops.
What to buy: Ouzo (Greek drink), bouzouki (Greek guitar), natural sponges, amphoras (fake ancient Greek vases), olympic memorabilia...
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