The vibrant island nation of Greece is famous for its colourful bazaars, which are also known as souks. Shopping in souks is a popular pastime among people who regularly book getaways to Greece and these traditional markets often cover so large an area that some of them have become an attraction by themselves.
Here’s a helpful guide to a few of the traditional Greek shopping experiences that should not be missed.
The Laiki Experience
The word Laiki in Greek means street market and most villages, towns and cities in Greece feature their own street markets on certain days of the week. Unlike many of the markets in Greece, Laikis are not aimed at tourists and on market days merchants from many miles around gather to sell their wares. These vibrant markets are rich with sights, sounds and smells, making them a real feast for the senses.
Some of the largest Laikis in Greece that should not be missed include the Monday market at Kaminia, the Tuesday market at Alikarnassos, the Wednesday market at Mastabas and the Friday market at Therissos. Large street markets are also held on Thursdays and Saturdays at Patelles. A day alloted to hunting for myriad souvenirs and bargain finds awaiting the intrepid wanderer among these popular laikis are often part of the to-do lists of tourists out enjoying their Greece holidays.
What to Buy
There are so many things on offer at these markets that it can be difficult to know where to start. Some of the products that Greece is famous for include brightly coloured carpets and cloth, clothes and shoes. These items tend to be slightly cheaper than in shops, while they are still of very high quality.
Try Before You Buy
Sampling fresh produce at a Greek market is an experience that should not be missed. Most merchants encourage visitors to sample their produce, which includes gorgeous green and black olives, feta cheese, fruit and freshly baked bread. Most markets also feature a number of stalls that serve light meals and snacks, and these are great places to sample authentic Greek cuisine without breaking the bank.
Monastiraki Flea Market
People who are planning to spend time in the city of Athens should take the time to check out this vibrant flea market. This market is held on Sunday mornings at Avissynias Square and offers a wide range of goods including antiques, paintings, clothes and other curios. However, this market attracts large numbers of tourists, and the goods are not always as authentic as they appear at first glance.
Food lovers should make their way to the pretty port city of Volos. A large street market sets up every Friday here, attracting producers from all over the Thessalay region of Greece. This is the perfect place to truly sample Greek food, and the dozens of stalls that can be found here each week sell everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to wine, beer and a wide range of regional specialties.
Greece has a long tradition of using herbal remedies to cure illnesses, which may be part of the reason that the nation’s people tend to be so strong and healthy. Visitors can learn all about fresh herbs and folk remedies at the special market that sets up in Meidani Square.