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The Greek Islands - a Shopper's Paradise

When one thinks of the Greek islands, pale, sandy beaches and blue skies spring to mind rather than bustling streets and tempting shop fronts. But the Greek islands offer more than just sun, sea and mezzes, you can also top up on some retail therapy as you top up your tan.


Mykonos located off mainland Greece, south east of Athens - offers something different for shoppers who tire of the larger cities and their familiar famous name stores, which can be found the world over. The best thing about Mykonos is that you are not restricted to the island because you can hop and shop to other islands and make the most of their stay in Greece. Mykonos however is probably the best island for general shopping. The choice of items is diverse from high fashion names and trendy accessories to traditional Greek souvenirs. Prices are a little less than mainland cities and you will not pay the high premiums of Athens's expensively located boutiques. Leather goods abound and some great bargains can be had if you do not succumb to hard sells and barter for what you think is a fair price


Crete is the home of many Greek handicrafts as well as some of the country's finest food.  Olive oil is a must have and will be an essential ingredient of many of your holiday dishes.  About 70% of Greek olive oil is extra virgin and a good quality bottle will be a fine buy if you want to recreate any memorable Greek meals back home. Like fine Greek wines, there is a huge choice of olive oils here and plenty of opportunity to sample them. Buy a very high quality oil if you intend to recreate some of those special Greek salads and you won't go wrong. To pamper you newly acquired sun tan, try some local olive oil soap and make sure you buy some to use after your holiday. If you have a bigger budget, head to Agios Nikolas for some high quality, locally made jewellery and marvel at its exclusive antique galleries.


Often considered a great shopping alternative to Mykonos, Santorini offers a more intimate shopping experience as well as some very nice up-market shops in which to browse. Fira is home to the Hondos Centre, a department store selling all the big names from luxury cosmetics and up-market accessories, perfect for forgotten toiletries and those items you always wanted to buy but could never justify. This store is flanked by many similar boutiques, which will appeal to the fashion conscious tourist.  

To the north of the island is Oia, where exclusive galleries sit side by side with traditional craft shops. As the tourist season develops, shops stay open later into the evening and shopping suddenly becomes a much more relaxed affair. Don't be put off by some of the store's high prices, you will also find bargain priced items if you are persistent.


A true shopper's paradise can be found on Paros. Many of the most fascinating shops proffering locally made goods can be found in the old quarter, right at the heart of Paros.  Jewellery shops compete with one another to dazzle tourists looking for a souvenir of their stay. There is a huge choice of sparkling treats on offer, but what about something more local and typical of the things you see in everyday Grecian life?  

A stroll down Parikia's streets will reveal a wealth of specialist craft shops and galleries offering works of art from artisans both local and international. Whilst the prices are likely to be high, local artists’ masterpieces may capture your memories of Greece in their works.  Gallery owners are both knowledgeable and hospitable, so make sure you can get as much information about your chosen work and its creator. If the art is high priced, then keep a lookout for the locally produced art pottery sold in the same streets.

Shop ‘til you Drop

With these larger shopping islands it is important to remember that their main income will be from tourists in high season, therefore it is important not to succumb to high pressured sales tactics and over inflated 'tourist prices'. A sure fire shopping tip is to buy at the end of the season. Designer goods are marked down considerably as tourists dwindle. Whatever your expectations, shopping on the Greek Islands will often give you more than you bargained for!