Top Greek Souvenirs
So you just got back from a wonderful, week-long trip to the Greek islands. The kids had a blast snorkelling and playing with the local kids, and you and your partner got some peace and quiet, and lots of sunshine. And this time, you actually remembered to take pictures! Here’s another great way to remember your vacation: souvenirs. We’re not talking about the cheesy stuff from the hotel gift shop. Here’s the Kids Love Greece guide to the Best Greek Souvenirs.
What to buy in Greece?
The first thing on your list is food. Get the very best virgin olive oil you can find. Crete and Peloponnese are known for their premium olive oil, so don’t miss out if you’re in the area. If you meet a Greek family, ask them where they buy theirs – chances are they have cousins or friends out in the countryside who grow olive trees and press their own oil. If not, ask around at the tavernas you visit. You can usually find pretty good olive oil at the local supermarkets too. And it’ll be a lot cheaper than the high-end products back home! If you completely forget, you can pick some up from the duty-free section at the airport. Good olive oil makes the dish; whether you’re making a salad, frying up some veggies, or boiling up a pot of pasta, a drizzle of golden, fruity olive oil will turn any dish into a gourmet plate.
If you spent your vacation on an island – especially somewhere in the Dodecanese – then pick up a box or two of amygdalota (almond pastries). Every island has its own specialty: some versions contain rosewater, others have icing or honey. We also recommend buying some baklava to take home, too. Both baklavas and amygdalota make great presents for your loved ones at home.
Every region of Greece has a distinctive delicacy. Greek olives are everywhere but if you’re in Kalamata, you must try the famous Kalamata olives. You can usually buy them in sealed packages, which makes them perfect for the plane ride home. Olive oil soap is another favourite product. Just as herbs and spices, such a dried Greek oregano or basil.
The regions of Greece also produce their own local ceramics. You will find handmade pottery in most of the islands, like in Paros, Rhodes or Milos. The island of Sifnos is very well-known for its ceramics and has a very long history in the art of pottery making. Ask for special wrapping to bring home without breaking or have your ceramics sent to your home address.
Honey is another great option. Our favourite around here is thyme honey – other people like fir (elato) or heather (reiki), which are both good, too. One thing’s for sure: there are limitless options for you to take home.
For adults, Greek wine, ouzo, raki (from Crete) Mastiha liqueurs (from the island of Chios) and Kumquat liqueurs (from Corfu) are favourite Greek souvenirs. Combine these with a nice cooking book or coffee table book with beautiful pictures of Greece and you have created the perfect gift set!
On the islands and in the historic center of Athens, check out the hand made leather sandals. These sandals are comfortable, stylish, and cheap! We like stocking up on a few pairs to get us through the hot summers.
The airy, goddess-style summer dresses are perfect for trips to the beach, and they can even be dressed up for parties and fancy dinners. Get them in a bunch of different colours, and you’ll be all set! You can find them in boutiques everywhere in Greece.
Stores and markets with spices and traditional products often also sell sponges. These sponges are often hand-caught by divers, and they are a speciality of the island Kalymnos.
Finally, there are all the little knick-knacks and figurines. From fridge magnets to little statues of the Greek gods, from gag gifts to serious pieces of art, there is something for everyone here. Cheap and easy to take home in your luggage! Kids will love the wooden Karagiozis shadow puppets. You can buy them mostly in the area of Plaka in Athens. We also like buying items we can use as Christmas tree ornaments. Greeks traditionally decorate model sailboats – kaikia – instead of trees for Christmas. If you visit in the late autumn, you’ll certainly find a wide selection of unique Christmas decorations. Picture frames and mugs are also good choices. You may have noticed a pattern here: we like our souvenirs to be functional! Our picks not only remind you of your special vacation in Greece, but they’ll also come in handy around the house.
Where to buy in Greece?
Best places for souvenir shopping in Greece? In Athens, head over to the area of the central public Varvakeios Market for food and handicrafts. Very close to Monastiraki and Omonia metro stations, this particular area offers thousands of colours, aromas and memories. The public market is open daily except for Sunday.
For fashion and gifts, Plaka and the Monasteraki flea market are the best places for shopping. For high end fashion shopping, head over to Kolonaki with a nice selection of Greek designer stores and Attica Department store on Panepistimiou street near Syntagma.
The museum shops in Athens have an excellent choice of high quality souvenirs and Greek design items. Have a look at the Acropolis Museum shop, the Benaki Museum store or the MCA shop at the Museum of Cycladic Art.
In Athens, you will also find a wide selection of great souvenirs for kids such as (colouring) books and games about mythology. Many toy stores sell ancient Greek Playmobil figurines.
On the islands, head over the local markets for delicious food products. In the islands main towns you can explore the alleys with colourful boutiques and souvenir stalls. The cities of Heraklion and Chania in Crete island both have large public markets where you can buy olive oil, sweets, herbs, spices and teas.
Online Greek souvenir shopping
Forgot to buy something before leaving Greece? Athens airport has a great selection of contemporary stores with trendy souvenirs, high quality Greek delicacies and Greek design.
You can also buy your Greek souvenirs online! The Museum of Cycladic Art and the Benaki museum both have an e-store with ancient Greece inspired gifts. Colour Greece sells beautiful colouring travel guides for children. At Thiki Greek you will find contemporary Greek design and trendy home design, beach bags and stationary. Mastiha liqueur and other mastiha delicacies can also be purchased online in the Mastiha e-shop. In the Apivita on-line store you can find natural cosmetics, holistic body care products and other gifts made by this Greek success brand.
Best season to visit