When you move to Greece, you will soon realize that the country has a lot to offer in terms of good quality products. Expats shopping in Greece for the first time are usually impressed by the variety of locally-made and imported products.
Unlike in the US and the UK, people don’t have the tendency to go to a mall or a supermarket for shopping; neighborhood markets, stores and boutiques are a lot more popular in Greece. You will find hundreds of stores selling clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, toiletries, souvenirs, accessories, shoes and household items at most shopping districts.The most popular shopping areas in Greece include the Plaka, Kolonaki, Ermou and Pattinson Street. Smaller shopping districts like Glyfada, Kypseli, Kifisia and Metz are also worth at least one visit.
Of course, some of the department stores like Attica, The Mall, Notos Galleries and Hondos Center are right at par with countries like the US and the UK. Since the Greeks are quite big on designer clothes and accessories, most leading international brands are easily available in this country.
The trend of online shopping has been gaining popularity in Greece in the last few months. Many expats are purchasing clothes, accessories, books and even electronic items through various websites. The products are shipped within a stipulated time frame and are delivered to you at no additional cost.
Given below are a few points to keep in mind before you go shopping in Greece:
It is important to make a note of the approximate opening and closing hours of the stores and market districts before you decide to go out shopping. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays shops are generally open from 9:00AM to 3:00PM. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, shops remain open from 9:00AM to 2:30PM and then again from 5:00PM to 8:30PM. Souvenirs stores usually remain open a bit longer, till about 11:00PM every night.
Most establishments remain closed on Sundays, except pastry shops, liquor stores and pharmacies. Of course, if you are in the mood to spend your Sunday shopping, you can always head to the nearest flea market. However, do not plan a shopping trip on a national holiday, because most of the stores and markets will be closed.
Looking for Sales
You can get some great deals on most products if you shop at establishments at are offering a sale. Twice a year, from January to February and again from August to September, almost everything in this country is on sale. During these months, people often travel to Greece from nearby countries to replace their wardrobes and still manage to save a bundle. However, these sales don’t last very long (five weeks or less) and therefore, you should make the most of them while they are going on.
Apart from these two country-wide sales, do scan the local papers regularly, to know about clearance and season-end sales offered by local stores.
Getting the Best Deals
It is true that most non-branded products are cheaper in Greece as compared to some of the other European countries. However, it is still important that you bargain, before making a purchase. Shopkeepers in Greece may quote higher prices, because they often expect people to haggle for a while, even if they really like something. The more you purchase, the bigger a discount you can ask for.
Some of the standard phrases you will hear from the Greeks who go shopping include Enee Polla (that’s a lot), Eparhee Ftinotero Modelo (is there a cheaper model), Den Eimei Plousios (I’m not that rich), Fentee Akrivo (It is overpriced) and To Edha Ftinotero Pio Kato (I saw the same thing for less back there). Many of the vendors also understand English so don’t fret, if you cannot learn the Greek phrases.
Using Credit Cards
The Greek have the tendency to pay for their shopping with plastic money. Therefore, the large stores and boutiques in Greek accept all the major credit and debit cards, even the international ones. However, it is best to carry some cash too, as you cannot make a card payment at some of the smaller establishments.
Some of the local shops may even offer you a further discount if you are paying by cash. Also keep in mind that if you are using an international credit card, you may be charged an additional foreign exchange fee by your card provider.