Your hotel room may have a copy of the monthly magazines Athens Today or Now in Athens, both of which have a shopping section.
You're in luck shopping in Athens, because much of what tourists want can be found in the central city, bounded by Omonia, Syntagma, and Monastiraki squares. You'll also find most of the shops frequented by Athenians, including a number of large department stores and malls.
Monastiraki has a flea market, which is especially lively on Sunday. Although there's a vast amount of tacky stuff, you can uncover real finds, including retro clothes and old copper. Many Athenians furnishing homes head here to pick up old treasures.
The Plaka has cornered the market on souvenir shops, with T-shirts, reproductions of antiquities (including antique imagery reproduced on obscene playing cards, drink coasters, bottle openers, and more), fishermen's sweaters (increasingly made in the Far East), and jewelry (often not real gold) -- enough souvenirs to encircle the globe.
In the Plaka-Monastiraki area, shops worth seeking amid the endlessly repetitive souvenir shops include Stavros Melissinos, "the Poet-Sandalmaker of Athens," relocated after 50 years to his new location at 2 Agias Theklas (tel. 210/321-9247; www.melissinos-poet.com), where his son Pantelis has taken over; Iphanta, a weaving workshop, 6 Selleu (tel. 210/322-3628); the Center of Hellenic Tradition, 59 Mitropoleos and 36 Pandrossou (tel. 210/321-3023), which sells arts and crafts; and the National Welfare Organization, 6 Ipatias and Apollonos, Plaka (tel. 210/325-0524), where a portion of the proceeds from everything sold (including handsome woven and embroidered carpets) goes to the National Welfare Organization, which encourages traditional crafts. Amorgos, 3 Kodrou (tel. 210/324-3836; www.amorgosart.gr), has authentic Greek folk art, ceramics, embroideries, wood-carved furniture, and all sorts of collectibles; Greece Is For Lovers, 13a Kariatidon (tel. 210/924-5064; www.greeceisforlovers.com), as kitsch as it might sound, has some fun stuff and Koukos, 21 Navarhou Nikodimou (tel. 210/322-2740), has a great collection of antique ceramics, jewelry and all sorts of goodies. For more personalized gifts visit www.kokicreations.gr, an extremely successful online store that has taken Greece by storm. Even Oprah is a fan.
Kolonaki, on the slopes of Mount Likavitos, is boutique heaven. However, it's a better place to window-shop than to buy, since much of what you see here is imported and heavily taxed. During the January and August sales, you may discover bargains. If not, it's still fun to work your way up pedestrian Voukourestiou and along Tsakalof, Skoufa and Anagnostopoulou (with some of the most expensive boutiques in Athens) before you collapse at a cafe on one of the pedestrian streets in Kolonaki Square -- perhaps fashionable Milioni. Then you can engage in the other serious business of Kolonaki: people-watching. Give yourself about 15 minutes to figure out the season's must-have accessory.
Pedestrianized Ermou Street is the prime shopping district in the city, with more stores than you will ever have the time to visit, but if you want to do all your shopping in one take, check our listings under "Department Stores".
Insider Shopping -- Serious shoppers should look for the "Best of Athens" issue of the English-language magazine Odyssey. Published in July or August and available at bookstores and kiosks, the issue is filled with shopping tips -- and scoops on what's "in" in Athens.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.