Athens Shopping . Photos and tips , categorized by purchasing power of shoppers.

 

Athens Shopping


Most tourists visit the ancient remnants, museums, picture galleries but people like me prefer just walking and discover the less promoted but no less interesting places. The historical centre o every town is important but the commercial centre is not inferior too.


The shopping in downtown Athens is separated in three main areas relative to purchasing power of shoppers. This page is about streets that Athenian do their shopping and it is worth for a foreign to visit. Even if they are in the centre of Athens they are neglected by the majority of tourist since they are not proposed by guides. Despite that they offer a true image of the real Athens.  The merchandises that are sold are mainly clothes , shoes , jewellery, household goods.


  The low budget area around Aiolou street, Agiou Markou and Evagelistrias street.

The High street area is around the Ermou street.

Finally the luxury shopping area is  crossed by Voukourestiou street, Kanari street and Patriarxou Ioakim street.



The luxury shopping area.


Greece used to be a kingdom. The king’s palace is converted to the greek parliament. Like in most european countries the area around king’s palace is upgraded. That still stands in Athens today.

Luxury shopping area starts from Voukourestiou Street near Syntagma square. Voukourestiou is pedestrianized up to Akadimias Street. Only expensive limousines for VIP visitors are permitted occasionally. Until the preparation for Olympic games the street was a little run down. With the intervention of Athens municipality, various ministries and private investors it became the most luxurious street in Greece. Elegant coffee shops, expensive jewellery shops and the most expensive fashion brands are situated there.  Stoa Spiromiliou at the right is an very modern well designed arcade. Sometimes art exhibitions take place there. After Panepistimiou street, Voukourestiou goes upwards to the Lycabetus hill. Stop at the junction of Valaoritou street.

Valaoritou street is hidden from tourists. Is full of elegant coffee shops . The quality of beverages is top , the service is excellent and the prices similar to the tourist areas. During daytime is full of white collar customer who are doing their brake from their nearby offices. No cars, no motorbikes there. Due to the exclusive shopping and rich clients there is constant police surveillance.

At Akadimias street turn right walk a little and turn left at Kanari street. You are now at Kolonaki area. For a foreigner is nothing special but has the largest concentration of luxury shops , major corporations headquarters and embassies. It took its name from an ancient greek little pillar ( Kolonaki in greek ) in Kolonaki square. Old athenian waggishly named the square  Binte  ( bidet in english )because of its relevant shape. Kolonaki doesn’t have an ancient history. During the transfer of greek capital from Nafplio to Athens, king Othon of Greece was searching for a place for his palace. So Kolonaki was upgraded and became a must for the greek aristocracy. Kolonaki was the first area where the apartment buildings appeared in Greece. Now they have completely destroy the face of Athens, but pre-war apartment buildings was built with high standards and good taste for upper class residents. Still today these apartments cost a lot and they are used as offices.

By the way don’t forget, Kolonaki is the Mecca for coffee lovers. The greek jet set is taking its coffee there. Odd for the first time visitors but its true. During midday you’ll certainly find celebrities from theatre,TV, journalism, athleticism. Don’t expect cheap coffee shops. The rents are the highest in Greece. The view, what view there isn’t any view. Just concrete buildings and the awfully designed Kolonaki square which used to be the only nice spot. Its a hub that vigorously persists the development of rich northern suburbs. The concentration of lucrative enterprises , expensive doctors, well connected  law offices, best fashion designers and not only, gives an air of elitism. During decades of wars and economic depression and general decadence  Kolonaki didn’t lost its well hidden elegance. Best streets for coffee ? Everywhere around kolonaki square and of course the wonderful pedestrianized Milioni street. The perfect place to see and to be seeing. You won’t find beggars or passing motorbikes . Coffee-shop employees defend effectively their exclusive zone. Tourists are welcomed and nobody outside coffee-shops will try to lure you.

Tsakalof and Patriarxou Ioakim are full of exclusive fashion shops. They are very clean, safe and well lighted streets during night. You will meet old locals immaculately dressed  during their daily stroll. Kolonaki is considered safe at all hours.



Continue reading to the middle budget shopping area.






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