You did it! You finally took a trip to Greece and we bet you had the time of your life. But a visit to Greece isn’t complete unless you leave with a variety of Greek souvenirs for you and your loved ones. Now all that's left is for you to know about the best Greek souvenirs to buy!
If you stroll the Monastiraki square or the busy streets of the Plaka neighborhood in Athens, you will meet plenty of small shops, with everything you can think of, from fridge magnets and key accessories to mags and t-shirts with witty logos.
However, in case you are looking for something more special, that will impress your friends and will be a great memento of everything you saw and learned about Greek culture and history during your journey, check our list of the top souvenirs from Greece.
Mati (Evil Eye)
Evil eye Greek souvenirs - credits: Mehmet Cetin/Shutterstock.com
While strolling through the Greek capital, you will most likely notice some deep blue jewelry staring (literally) back at you!
That eye-shaped talisman is the Greek icon, ‘Evil Eye’ or ‘Mati’ in Greek, and it is said to protect the one who wears it from being cursed (the so-called ‘Matiasma’).
A stare from someone with malicious intent, usually due to envy, is believed to cause bad luck or even physical illness, such as headaches. So, not only does it look very pretty and elegant, the small talisman will protect you as well… What a deal!
Greek Delights 'Loukoumia'
Well, you may know them as ‘Turkish delights’ too, or ‘loukoumia’ (lou-kou-mee-ah) as we call them in Greek. Though their exact origin is unclear, it is a sweet that has a distinctive flavor that will bring back memories of Greece.
Syros is a Greek island famous for its loukoumia, but you can also find them easily at most tourist shops in downtown Athens.
Grab a gift set of Greek delights in various flavors -including rose, mastic, cinnamon, lemon, and more- to offer your loved ones a gift equally as sweet as your time in Greece!
Greek Spices, herbs, and the most popular Greek tea
Herbs and spices, Greek souvenirs - credits: www.thegreekfood.com
Oregano, thyme, cumin, and rosemary are some of the most popular Greek herbs and spices that you can buy as a souvenir, used in abundance in Greek cuisine.
They are available in plenty of shops across the country, such as 'Bahar' in Sofokleous Street in Athens, where you can find a vast variety to choose from.
It is a practical and useful souvenir that will help you keep the Greek magic alive a little longer, by sharing with you the secrets to the flavorful Greek cuisine.
Along with the herbs and spices, in those shops, you will find all kinds of Greek tea, such as the popular Greek mountain tea, which are worth trying and are a significant part of the Greek lifestyle and some of the best souvenirs you can buy in Greece.
Kalamata Olives and Olive oil
Greek olives and olive oil, Greek souvenirs - credits: Lydia Vero/Shutterstock.com
Kalamata is a region of the Peloponnese and is widely known for its olive and olive oil production. The dark brown olives from the olive tree are packed in wine vinegar and olive oil and they are a treat, especially when served on a traditional Greek salad!
Some authentic Kalamata olives will up your salad game, bringing the freshness of the Mediterranean cuisine right to your table.
Olive oil has long been an essential food source for many Greek families, making it the best souvenir you can buy in Greece. You can purchase olive oil in any Greek food shop.
Prepare for a wide selection, since the Greek olives produce several varieties of olive oil with different shades including green, red and black.
An interesting fact to know is that olive tree branches symbolize peace and are a sign of truce in many cultures. It began when the Greek army used them to declare war against the enemy. In ancient Olympics, winners were decorated with wreaths created from olive tree branches. In Greece, olive trees symbolize good times and abundance.
Deck of cards with scenes from Greek mythology
The statue of Eros and Psyche - credits: peacefoo/Shutterstock.com
The most interesting and unique element of Greek tradition and culture is arguably the mythology. As a result, one of the best Greek souvenirs you can buy in Greece is a deck containing scenes inspired by ancient Greeks and Greek legends.
They typically feature the 12 Olympian gods and other famous figures you can see on pottery. You will see these card decks all over Monasteratiraki or Plaka, so if you fancy buying some, this is where you need to go.
Feta cheese - credits: Pronina Marina/Shutterstock.com
Feta is by far the most popular and delicious among the Greek cheeses, having earned a protected designation of origin. Its soft texture and distinctive flavor are favored by Greeks and visitors to the country from all over the world.
Feta cheese preserved in olive oil is available at all grocery stores across Greece. You may also pick up sealed packages in airports before going home. If you find the opportunity to buy in Greece some feta cheese and take it with you home, do it! You won't regret it!
Along with Greek olive oil, Greek honey is regarded as an important superfood.
It has been used in medicine and in food countless times because it contains antimicrobial properties. In the country, Greek honey is produced in many different varieties, with thyme honey being the most popular.
Athens has excellent honey shops, however, you can get local honey readily available in any place in Greece. Make sure your homeland allows for food products to pass the boards and take with you as many vases of Greek honey as possible!
The Wise Owl; an integral part of Greek culture
The wise owl, Greek souvenirs - credits: shop.getty.edu
The Greek wise owl is the symbol of the ancient Greek goddess Athena and can be the perfect gift for your children.
Use the owl figurine crafted from olive wood and other materials as an opportunity to recount to them the story of Athena and the rest of the all-time favorite characters of Greek Mythology; kids always love listening to myths and fables!
What's more, it's a tasteful piece of decor that will impress your guests and will remind you of your fun times in Greece!
Komboloi (Worry Beads)
Greek Komboloi, probably known to you as worry beads, has been a part of Greek culture for centuries, a remnant of the Turkish occupation.
Traditionally consisting of between 23 and 33 beads, it is said that the sound produced from the dangling worry beads or komboloi, as well as the fidgeting motions one demonstrates while holding it, acts the same way as a stress ball, relieving one's anxiety and build-up tension.
If you feel like bringing back to your country the Greek stress-reliever, you can do so for under 10 euros in most of the tourist shops around the country.
Depending on the materials used to make the worry beads, the prices can climb up to much more steep prices than that, with some of the most well-made komboloi costing hundreds of euros.
If you want to pick a Greek komboloi from a wide selection of offerings, a visit to Kombologadiko in Syntagma is exactly what you need! There, you can find unique Greek creations for all tastes and budgets!
Greek Coffee and Coffee Pot
Traditional Greek coffee isn't just a beverage, it's a whole experience; one you can recreate at home if you buy in Greece a traditional copper pot for Greek coffee, or briki as we call it in Greek. In Greece, it is believed that making your food and drinks in copper pots, makes them taste better, and Greek coffee is no exception.
You can test this theory yourself by buying copper pots all around Monastiraki and Psirri neighborhoods, either in vintage stores or in the few copper workshops still surviving.
Just make sure there is no 'made in China' label at the bottom of your pot and you're good to go! You will enjoy the best cup of Greek coffee you've ever experienced before!
Tavli (Greek Backgammon)
Greek backgammon, Greek souvenirs - credits: iphotoclick/Pixabay.com
Greeks can’t possibly fathom Greek summer without a game of ‘Tavli’. Found in every traditional kafeneio and ouzo bar, Tavli is the Greek version of the western backgammon.
Tavli means “board” in Greek and Portes, Fevga and Plakoto are some of the most popular versions of the game.
Besides the checkers and the dice, a glass of Frappe coffee is almost mandatory while you play!
You need to play the game fast and smart and don’t be shy to get passionate about it, as it usually gets hectic and noisy pretty fast. Yelling or teasing the opponent is usually a must and all in good fun!
You can find Greek backgammon boards made of all kinds of materials, like olive wood, with the prices fluctuating greatly. A Greek tavli is a unique Greek souvenir, especially if you like board games!
Replicas of Greek artifacts from ancient Greece
While visiting the Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon in Athens, you can’t help but be in awe of all the beautiful artifacts. Marble statues, ceramic vases, and bronze tools, all surviving through hundreds of years for you to admire now.
But did you know you can carry a small sample of the Greek culture and history with you, by buying a replica as a souvenir?
Statues of all sizes, recreating some of the most iconic figures of Greek mythology, theater, and history, and vases, whose red and black figures are narrating stories of heroes, gods, and monsters, will add sophistication and elegance to your home.
They may not be ancient, like the originals, but this is your chance to buy in Greece something that will help you write your own history.
Greek ceramics - credits: marcelkessler/Pixabay.com
Besides their sandy coasts and bright blue seas, the Greek islands are also known for their Greek ceramic and pottery workshops.
All handmade, with traditional styles and designs, you will find a wide variety for you to choose just the right one for you.
Whether you opt for plates, coffee, tea sets, vases, or ashtray, you will add a small touch of the Greek island beauty inside your home.
Greek Orthodox Icons
Greek orthodox icons - credits: analogicus/Pixabay.com
Whether you are religious or not, the beauty of Byzantine-style religious icons is undeniable. The Greek orthodox icons carry a part of Greek culture and soul, so they certainly make a fine choice to bring back as a souvenir.
You can find icons pretty much everywhere, made from olive wood and other materials, especially in the center of Athens, but if you visit Meteora and their monasteries be sure to choose an icon from the wide variety of Byzantine icons, silver icons, and serigraphs, along with an elegant prayer rope, in Greek known as Komboskini.
Modern and Traditional Jewelry
The shops at Monastiraki square will take your breath away when it comes to their stunning variety of jewelry.
Whether you like your jewelry modern or more traditional, you will feel like an ancient Athenian yourself, when trying necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and arm bracelets, in silver, gold, or other metals.
If you want to truly look like an ancient god/goddess, opt for jewelry with the Minoan snake, the archaic spirals, or the ‘meander’, a geometric ornament that ancient Greeks used to decorate their homes, floors, clothes, and pots.
Handmade leather sandals and accessories
Greek handmade leather sandals - credits: Hans/Pixabay.com
Of course, if you need to finish the ancient Greek look and take it to another level, you need to purchase a pair of handmade leather sandals. Leather sandals in ancient Greece featured many straps that securely fastened on the foot.
Both women and men wore leather sandals, but the ones called ‘kothornos’, a type of boot sandals that rose above the middle of the leg were worn by men of rank and authority, such as tragic actors, soldiers, and hunters.
Both in Athens and the Greek islands, you will find plenty of shops with a wide variety of handmade leather sandals.
All in different sizes, styles, and colors, you will easily find the right one for you to rock in the warm climate of Greece. Pair them with an elegant leather handbag, backpack, or even belt and you are good to go!
A Karagiozis figurine
Karagiozis is the main character in stories narrated in shadow puppet theater and Greek folklore, which came to the Greek mainland, during the Ottoman rule and was Hellenized in Patra, by Dimitri Sardouni.
Karagiozis is a poor hunchbacked Greek, during the times of the Ottoman Empire, who lives in a small cottage with his wife and three sons.
He is portrayed in rugs and barefoot, due to his poverty, and he’s always plotting mischievously in order to find money and support his family.
The storyline is fun and comedic, as Karagiozis gets in trouble, yet manages to outsmart the Ottoman lords.
Kids interact with the puppet, making the show even more special. By bringing a Karagiozis figurine home, you and your children can recreate the -or create your very own- storyline, starring the favorite folklore character.
Bouzouki and other Greek Instruments
The Bouzouki is the most iconic Greek Instrument, directly associated with Greek music, folk dance, and tradition.
If you have the chance to visit a musical restaurant or ‘bouzoukia’, then you will definitely feel the significance of the instrument to Greek entertainment and cheery energy. But why stop there?
With an authentic Greek bouzouki or its miniature brother baglamas, you can sing, dance, and have fun all the way home!
Greek ouzo and other Greek Spirits
The Greeks sure know how to drink, but if you’ve visited Greece, then you probably have already caught that! Greek meze made with luscious extra virgin olive oil is always accompanied by one of the most favorite Greek Spirits, whether that is Ouzo or Tsipouro.
A bottle of a Greek spirit as a souvenir will be the perfect reminder of the carefree times by the sea when the sun was shining - or setting- and the traditional dishes of the Greek cuisine offered you a brand new culinary experience.
Plus, I’m sure all your friends and loved ones will want to see if they can handle the spark of a traditional Greek drink!
The traditional Greek sweet ‘Halvas’ is popular among Greek Orthodox as a fasting food, for fasting periods when Greek cooking cannot include meat. However, you can enjoy it all year round, as many taverns even serve it as a sweet treat after lunch.
There is a wide variety of types of Halva, with the most popular ones being the traditional Tahini-based Halvas, which comes in many flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, honey and almond, Semolina-based Halvas, and ‘Farsalon’, a version of the desert with a jelly texture.
Whatever your preferences are, Halvas will satisfy the foodie inside of you, enough that you will need to grab some on the way home.
Mastiha -or mastic- is the most iconic product of the Greek island of Chios. Made exclusively on the island, mastic has a very distinguished flowery aroma with a subtle, yet somehow powerful, taste.
The best part is it comes in many forms and products. You can choose from a variety of liqueurs, mastiha ouzo, mastiha drops, chewing gum, cosmetics, perfume, supplements, and more.
There are plenty more souvenirs you can discover with just one walk through Athens center. From olive oil, Greek sweets, and traditional Greek pasta to religious icons and figurines of the Greek gods, you will find everything you've ever wanted to buy in Greece.
Explore Adrianou Street, where most shops with the best souvenirs from Greece are located, through our best of Athens in a day tour.
This 7-hour tour of Athens includes the highlights of the city, such as the Athenian neighborhoods of Syntagma, Plaka, Anafiotika, Monastiraki, and Psyrri, giving you the opportunity to get to know the city like the back of your hand!