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A Guide to Shopping in Greece
Greece enjoys a place of importance as a result of its prime location in the Mediterranean. Greece is also known for having one of the richest cultures of the world. Owing to these factors, shopping in Greece can be a very interesting activity.

A guide to shopping in Greece is as much about where to find the best bargains and what to by as it is about understanding the currency and exchange rate. Popular gift items and souvenirs that travellers tend to purchase while on vacation in Greece include jewellery, lace, pottery, metalwork, rugs, knitted garments, furs, and no doubt a bottle or two of the local wines.

However, take some time to understand the conversion rates and local prices in Greece before you shop. If you do not understand how to deal with your currency you will not have nearly as much fun bargaining with the local vendors, since what you spend is as important as what you buy.

Naturally when you are in Greece you will be spending the infamous Euro. However, do keep in mind that exchange rates can fluctuate from bank to bank and from day to day.

When it comes to tourists and shopping, the Greek city of Athens is the focal point of any shopping adventure. In particular, the Sunday morning flea market in Monastiraki which is conveniently located below the Acropolis and is the shopping place to be during the summer months. Here you can find such diverse gift items as silver (from Ioannina), embroidery and lace (from Crete), ceramics (from Sifnos and Skopelos,) and even handmade flokati rugs from the Epirus region. Most of the smaller markets get their merchandise from Monastiraki and sell them at higher prices so it is best to go straight to the source for the best bargains and variety.

As a visitor pay attention to the quality of the goods you are purchasing. Many gift items that look like antiques are simply not so do be careful what you purchase. Keep in mind that real items of antiquity are illegal for export without a special permit from the Export Department of the Ministry of Culture.

Shopping hours at these venues vary and a good rule of thumb is to arrive early and beat the crowds. Generally the markets operate on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 09:00 to 14:30, and on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 to 1430 and 17:30 to 20:30. Most tourist resort shops and boutiques tend to stay open until late in the evening to accommodate visitors. Keep those hours in mind when shopping in Greece.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Athens holiday rentals and Greece vacation rentals.
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