The various types of Greek souvenir shops
This is not a Greek souvenir guide. You will find plenty of such articles online. The majority of these articles are the "What to buy in Greece" kind of articles and some of them can be useful. This is more a "What do they sell in Greece?" guide.
We think that it is better to do your own research while visiting Greece so you don't get misinformed from blogs that try to sell products, or are quickly written by people suggesting pure stereotypes of Greek souvenirs in the style "this is a must have", you get the point.
There is no perfect answer in "what to buy in Greece" since each individual has it's own taste, motives and budget. Luckily there is a plethora of gifts and souvenirs options to choose from Greece, for every taste and style.
Since we are in the souvenir and Greek gift business ourselves, we thought that a guide that informs about the categories of souvenir shops a visitor will find in Greece will be really helpful.
The goal is to give you an idea of the type of the shop before you enter it, just by browsing the display window.
Especially someone who has a tight schedule when visiting Greece will find this point really helpful. It is always good to know what kind of shops you will face and the according types of souvenirs and gifts. So, you will not waste time searching in the wrong places for something you have in mind.
These souvenir shops can be found in every shopping district in Greece, in areas with a lot of foreign visitors, travelers and tourists.
So let us show you what types of souvenir stores, we and our colleagues have in Greece, by answering the question:
What do they sell in Greece?
1) The usual souvenir shops you expect to find
Fridge magnets, mugs, t-shirts, key rings you know what we mean. Cheap products with even cheaper production (you know where) that you can find everywhere in the world.
They are a huge part of the experience since they are fun and easy to buy. Colorful, usually with large amounts of kitsch or humor, they can be a great quick gift for anyone who appreciates this concept.
2) Greek natural products - food, drinks and Greek delicatessen stores
You will find olives, olive oil, honey, spices and herbs. Also alcoholic beverages like ouzo, wine, raki, rakomelo and sweets like baklava, loukoumi (a special sweet based on a gel of starch and sugar), various nuts and more Greek delicacies.
3) Greek cosmetics shops
Greece has a flora of over 6500 plant varieties, 1300 of which are endemic. Since the times of Hippocrates (~5th c. BC) there is great knowledge and tradition in plant-based cosmetology.
Today's scientific expertise gives extra value to the traditional remedies and many Greek brands produce high quality products under strict European Union regulations.
Great range of facial, body and hair care products. Everything for cleansing, hydration, "anti-aging" and more.
The king of these products, is of course the Greek olive oil soap.
4) Greek traditional creations - traditional arts and crafts - Greek folklore stores
Olive wood, marble, leather, textile and ceramics. Mainly handmade products each with its unique character.
Leather sandals, backpacks, belts, wallets etc. Olive wood kitchen ware, chess or backgammon boards, spoons, cutting boards, pestle and mortar, Christmas ornaments.
Also search for woven carpets or rugs ("kilimi"), the "tagari bag" (a kind of Greek shepherds tote), Greek instruments like bouzouki or Lyra and more.
5) Ancient Greek art and collectibles stores
You will find replicas and art inspired mainly by ancient Greek culture such as exact replicas of bronze of marble statues, Greek warriors helmets and other ancient Greek objects.
Also Byzantine icons of great value can be found in such stores and artistic products not based, but inspired and made in ancient Greek style.
6) Jewellery stores
Find unique items made of gold, silver or other materials.
Golden Greek artifacts have been found that date back to the bronze age (~5000 years ago). So yes, there is a great tradition and knowledge in Greece in the production of jewellery and various valuable items with exceptional craftsmanship.
You will find a huge range of products with prices that can go up to the thousands of dollars price range.
7) Modern Greek brands - alternative souvenirs - Museum shops
These concept stores are well curated and feature contemporary Greek brands. Actually you are now in the site of such a shop, our "KUKUVAYA".
In the last 10 years modern Greek creators, usually designers and architects, jumped in the train of "alternative souvenirs" and created unique brands that add enormous value to the souvenir concept and the traveling experience over all.
The financial crisis in Greece had this "side effect" - talented Greeks found new and sustainable ways to create, express themselves and stride in these difficult times.
Find unusual souvenirs and gifts, also clothes and accessories. All modern, sleek and designed in Greece. The majority of these products are also made in Greece and many are handmade.
The products are inspired by Greece: the history, mythology, philosophy, arts, nature, gastronomy, tradition and everyday life. All themes are viewed from a new angle with a different and modern perceptive, so the can find a place in a modern home for example.
The materials used for these products can be recycled, biodegradable, sustainable, up-cycled, vegan. Generally the limits are the creators fantasy.
If you are interested in design, architecture, arts, urban living and want to know the modern Greeks through their work or in person, visit these places.