The best things to buy in Greece include food, drink, decorations, instruments, games, clothing items and lots more! Here’s everything you need to know about the best souvenirs from Greece, written by a local.
The best Greek souvenirs
Most people fall in love with Greece! Our unique ancient sites, pristine beaches, delicious Greek food and relaxed pace of life are some of the reasons why people visit Greece again and again.
A question I often get from visitors is what to buy in Greece. People look for unique gifts from Greece to take back home for their friends, or as souvenirs from their trip.
In this article, I have included 26 of the things I’d bring back from Greece if I was a tourist myself. Includes fantastic food gifts, memorable objects and a couple of tacky souvenirs, just for fun. Enjoy!
1. Feta cheese
Feta is the most best known cheese of Greece. Its soft, crumbly texture and its unique taste make it very popular for Greeks and visitors alike.
If your country’s regulations allow it, I totally suggest bringing back a packet of real Greek feta. Yes, it’s possible that you can get some type of feta in your country, but it just won’t be the same!
Feta is available in every single supermarket in Greece. You can also get sealed packets at the airport, on your way home.
2. Greek honey
Honey is considered to be one of the best superfoods. It’s been used for thousands of years not only as a food, but also in traditional medicine, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Greece produces several types of honey. A few examples are thyme honey, Greek pine / fir oney, wild oak honey, chestnut honey, arbutus honey and heather honey.
Just make sure you are allowed to take it back home. As an example, you can’t bring honey to Australia.
3. Olives and olive oil
Olives and olive oil have been a huge part of Greek culture and Greek tradition since the ancient years.
You may have heard the story about goddess Athena who offered an olive tree to the city of Athens, and became the city’s patron goddess. If not, here’s how Athens took its name.
Olive oil is widely used in Greek cooking, and is liberally added in salads and dips.
Extra virgin olive oil is a very important ingredient in the famous Mediterranean diet. It is rich in antioxidants, and is linked to a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Olive oil is produced from olives, which grow on olive trees. The olives are picked from the trees and then crushed, resulting in the precious oil.
Olives can also be eaten, however pay attention – you can’t eat them straight from the tree, as they are very bitter! They are first cured in brine for a few weeks, and they are then ready to eat. The best known variation are the black Kalamata olives.
You can easily find Greek olive oil and all sorts of green and black olives in food markets and supermarkets all around Greece. Also, check out for olive paste, a tasty spread made out of olives.
4. Raisins, sultanas and currants
Another popular Greek superfood are raisins, sultanas and currants. Sold in Greece under one name, “stafides“, those tiny dried grapes are rich in antioxidants, fibre, iron and potassium.
It’s easy to find stafides everywhere, including open-air markets, supermarkets, the central market and small shops.
5. Greek coffee
Coffee is a very popular beverage in Greece, and a huge part of the Greek lifestyle.
While cold and iced coffee are very common, especially in summer, there is another type that you need to taste: Greek coffee. It is very typical in Greece, Turkey and a few other nearby countries.
The ground coffee beans are boiled with water in a special pot, called briki. The drink is then poured into a small cup. You need to be careful not to drink the thick sediment at the bottom of the cup 🙂
Bags of Greek coffee along with demitasse cup sets are among the best souvenirs from Greece.
Side note: If you are going to both Greece and Turkey, I would suggest that you get your coffee and cups in Turkey. Note that, while the coffee is called “Greek coffee” in Greece, it’s obviously called “Turkish coffee” in Turkey.
Here’s some more information on coffee in Greece and the Greek coffee culture.
6. Greek ouzo and raki
Ask anyone who has been to Greece, and they are likely to remember one drink: ouzo. A bottle of the iconic anise flavoured aperitif is one of the best gifts from Greece.
Another popular alcoholic beverage in Greece is raki, or tsipouro, which is somewhat similar to Italian grappa. It has a high alcohol content, and can also be simmered with honey and cinammon to produce a warm drink, rakomelo.
You can easily get ouzo and raki everywhere, including airports. I recommend an ouzo brand called Plomari, produced in a family owned distillery.
Here is some more information on Greek drinks.
7. Mastiha products
Another Greek superfood is mastiha. People have been using it for medicinal purposes since the times of Ancient Greece. It’s a natural way to treat digestive issues and other conditions of the gastrointestinal system.
Mastiha is a natural resinous substance with a distinctive flavour, somehow similar to vanilla. It is collected from the mastiha shrubs, which grow exclusively in Chios island. You can see what they look like in this video.
The most common products containing this precious ingredient are mastiha chewing gums and mastiha liqueur. You can also find mastiha-flavoured coffee, chocolate, halva, and many more treats.
Among all Greek souvenirs, this is one of the most unique ones. You can find mastiha products in dedicated shops, including a signature store at the Athens International Airport.
8. Greek herbs and mountain tea
Hundreds of different herbs grow in Greece. Even on the driest of islands, like the Cyclades, you can see several types of shrubs and bushes.
Thyme, oregano and rosemary are among the most common herbs in Greece. Most of them are collected, dried, and are then ready to be used in the preparation of Greek food.
Apart from the herbs, you can find several types of herbal teas, like linden, sage, chamomile or verbena. These are available either in the form of loose leaves, or in sachets.
The most popular Greek tea is what we call “tsai tou vounou“, which translates to “mountain tea”. The actual plant is called Sideritis (ironwort). You will easily find bags including the stems, leaves and flowers of the plant.
For a special treat, look out for krokos, or saffron, from the area of Kozani.
My favourite place to get herbs and herbal teas is the Varvakios food market. I warmly recommend a store called 1,001 Gefsis, on Athinas street.
9. Greek sweets and sweet treats
Any of your friends with a sweet tooth will definitely appreciate a box of Greek sweets.
Some of the best known desserts you can take with you include baklava and halva. Baklava is made out of filo pastry, nuts and a thick syrup, while the main ingredients in halva are tahini and sugar.
Another popular snack is pasteli, made out of sesame seeds and honey or sugar. There is a crunchy and a soft version, and they are often seasoned with cinnamon, cloves or even mastiha.
Spoon sweets, or glyko tou koutaliou, are also fairly popular. They are produced after boiling pieces of fruit in a thick, sugary syrup and sold in jars.
Apart from these, you can buy cakes, cookies and many other sweet treats at most bakeries in Greece.
10. Handmade leather sandals
Leather sandals are among the best Greek souvenirs. They are flat, light sandals made out of leather and a rubber sole. They come in various designs and colors, though they are more common in light brown.
Watch any movie inspired by ancient Greek mythology, and you will notice that ancient Greeks wore similar sandals. (In reality, there were more types of shoes, similar to today’s closed shoes or boots).
You can also buy leather sandals in tourist shops on most Greek islands, like Mykonos or Santorini.
Or you can opt for those traditional Greek pom-pom shoes. They are kind of similar to what the Guards are wearing during the Changing of the Guards.
Note: Contrary to popular belief, these shoes are not the best shoes to wear in Greece, as their soles are rather thin and your feet will hurt on our cobblestone streets. Check out my article with tips on what to pack for Greece, including footwear.
11. Greek backgammon board
Backgammon might be the oldest board game in the world. It was originally invented in Mesopotamia, in the 2nd or 3d millennium BC.
The game and its variations were popular all over the ancient world, including Egypt, Persia, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
Today, backgammon, or tavli as we call it, remains popular not only in Greece, but also in many nearby countries. It’s a rather addictive game, and requires skill combined with some luck.
Backgammon boards are easily available around Monastiraki market in Athens. The standard size is rather bulky, but could even fit in your hand luggage.
Depending on quality, a backgammon board price ranges widely. You can spend anywhere from about 10-15 euro, to several hundreds of euro for backgammon boards made out of olive wood or leather.
12. Worry beads
Worry beads, or komboloi, is made out of an odd number of beads around a piece of string. It is a small Greek souvenir, which makes it easy to bring back home.
Even 100, or 50 years ago, it was rather common for older men to play with a komboloi. Today, you will rarely see people holding on to them – they are used mainly as decoration in Greek houses.
Worry beads can be made out of bakelite, resin, amber, ebony, bone, coral, olive wood, and many more natural materials.
13. Greek jewelry
A great souvenir from Greece is jewelry, and you will find a fantastic selection. From inexpensive wristbands, to silver rings and pendants to top quality gold jewellery, Greece has got you covered.
If you are interested in buying affordable, original designs in Athens, wander around Plaka, Thisseio and Monastiraki flea market. You will find dozens of stalls where local artists display their creations.
For more luxurious jewelry, check out some of the long-established brands, like Zolotas, Lalaounis and Vildiridi. I also warmly recommend Skaras Jewels, for their lovely designs and incredible professionalism!
14. A charm to keep away the evil eye in Greek culture
The evil eye is a superstitious belief in curse. It is supposed to be caused by someone looking at the affected person, and can be given inadvertently.
The concept of the evil eye has been around for thousands of years. You may have seen drawings of eyes on Ancient Greek pottery, a symbol of apotropaic magic.
Today, the evil eye is common around countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well as in Africa and Asia, and it is similar to the Egyptian Eye of Horus. Even the Greek Orthodox church accepts the existence of this type of curse.
To protect someone from the evil spirits and bad luck, it is customary to give them a special talisman. We call it “matohantro“, which comes from the words we use in Greece for eye (mati) and bead (hantra).
These lucky charms resemble the shape of an eye, and they are usually blue. These days, there are many objects with this pattern, including tea towels, cushions, bags and cups.
You can find them in most souvenir stores all around Greece. For something slightly more subtle, you can also buy jewelry with eye-shaped beads.
Here is some exciting information about the evil eye and its origins.
15. Handmade ceramics
Pottery has always been a big thing in Greece. Ancient Greek ceramics are exhibited in many historical museums in Greece and all around the world.
Anywhere you go in Greece, you will find ceramics. Apart from mass-produced, colorful bowls and cups, you will also find beautiful hand painted ceramics created by local artists.
Some of the islands, like Sifnos, have a long-standing pottery tradition. Alternatively, you can get ceramics in the flea markets in Athens and in some museum gift shops. They are great – though slightly tricky to travel with – souvenirs of Greece.
16. Deck of cards with scenes from Greek mythology
A really fun and unique Greek souvenir is a deck of cards with scenes influenced by our mythology.
They are typically decorated with some of the 12 Olympian gods, prominent heroes like Heracles or Prometheus, and other popular figures that you’d normally see on pottery items.
Now before you buy those for your young nephews or grandma’s friends, check them carefully. The cards often depict erotic scenes, which are probably not what you want to gift to everyone.
You will find these decks of cards everywhere around Monastiraki and Plaka.
17. A phallically shaped bottle-opener
If the decks of cards are not funny enough for your close friends, there’s another naughty Greek souvenir you can get for them. And this is none other than a wooden bottle opener with a phallic shape.
Whether these are popular souvenirs or not, I am not sure. But you can easily find them at the flea markets and tourist shops. Now, whether you want to keep them in your hand luggage when you are flying home, is another matter 🙂
Fun fact: They come in various colours and sizes, so you can choose the one that you like best.
18. A Greek bouzouki or other musical instrument
If you have musician friends, a great idea for a gift is a Greek musical instrument. The most famous is the bouzouki, a string instrument that looks like a lute or a mandolin.
The Greek bouzouki hails from Asia Minor. It became popular in Greece during the rise of the forbidden rebetika music, in the first half of the 20th century.
Counting the neck, a normal bouzouki measures around one metre long. If it’s hard to carry, you can look out for other traditional instruments. A tzouras or a baglamas look like a small-scale bouzouki and will be easier to bring back home.
Or you can talk to these guys, who are a lot more than just a bouzouki shop.
19. CDs with Greek music
Some people would argue that CDs are almost useless in the days of YouTube and Spotify. However, you can’t always find the songs you are looking for, and a CD is always a great gift for every music lover out there.
You will easily find CDs of some of our most prominent musicians and composers in all music stores in Athens.
Just a few examples you could research before your trip: Hatzidakis, Theodorakis, Savvopoulos, Agelakas, Delivorias, Dalaras, Mitsias, Tournas, Tsitsanis, Farantouri, Galani, Protopsalti, Arvanitaki, Vissi, Alexiou.
Let me know if you have any other favourites in the comments!
20. Natural soaps and cosmetics
Remember how olive oil, honey and mastiha have been used for medicinal purposes since forever? It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are also used in natural soaps and cosmetics.
If you are familiar with argan oil, you could say that olive oil is its Greek version. When in Greece, you will find plenty of olive oil beauty products, such as hand creams, facial moisturizers and hair conditioners.
Other widely used ingredients include yoghurt, chestnut, propolis, pine and saffron.
Two brands you can look out for are Korres and Apivita. You will find many more brands in most tourist stores, cosmetics stores and most pharmacies.
21. Football or basketball T-shirts
Football and basketball T-shirts are always a great gift for children and teenagers (and not only). If his popularity in Greece is anything to go by, a shirt with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name is all the rage right now.
22. Religious icons
Religious icons will definitely appeal to any Greek Orthodox friends and family. Iconography is still a pretty popular profession over here.
What I find unique is that this form of art goes back to the Byzantine years. The figures, which are carved on a wooden frame, are austere and colorful. Bright colours like red, green silver and gold are widely used.
23. Greek carpets and rugs
Noone can deny that synthetic materials have taken over our world. Today, it’s a lot easier to buy a carpet made out of polyester, than look for a woolen or silk one.
If, however, you are looking for traditional carpets and rugs, you will find many different types in Greece. The traditional, heavy woolen flokati rugs, or the thick, woolen kilimia will add character to your living room or bedroom.
The Loom, on Adrianou street Plaka, is a good place to start your search for Greek and international rugs and other homeware.
24. A replica of an ancient Greek statue
A replica of an ancient Greek statue is a gift that will appeal to many people. You can find statuettes made out of different materials, including clay, resin, alabaster or bronze.
Popular figures include Aphrodite of Milos, Nike of Samothrace, goddess Athina and god Apollo. I also find the Cycladic figurines very pretty, and these colourful versions I saw in Naxos were quite cool.
While you can find replicas in most souvenir shops, I also suggest you check out the museum gift shops.
25. Ancient Greek helmet and full body armour
If the statue replicas don’t quite cut it, no worries. Hardcore Ancient Greece fans can find a lot more than that.
As an example, you could consider bringing back an ancient Greek helmet. While they probably wouldn’t be effective in case of battle, they would suit a living room with an Ancient Greece theme.
And if the helmet still isn’t enough, why not go for the ultimate souvenir from Greece, a full body armour!
26. An ancient Greek Playmobil!
I would have never thought that an ancient Greek Playmobil exists, until I saw it somewhere in Plaka. This is probably one of the best souvenirs in Greece for kids.
Playmobil figures of Ancient Greeks are part of the “Playmobil History” series. You will find gods and heroes like Zeus, Hercules, Achilles, Patroclus, Ulysses, Hera, Athena, Artemis and many more.
There’s even the Palace on Mt Olympus!
Frequently asked questions about Greece souvenirs
Here are a few questions people often ask:
What is Greece famous for souvenirs?
Some of the most famous Greek souvenirs are ouzo, leather sandals, worry beads, and anything related to olive trees.
What should I buy while in Greece?
It depends on what you like. If you can bring food items back, I recommend buying some Greek honey and feta cheese. You could also consider getting some leather sandals, Greek statue replicas, or traditional ceramics.
What are the most popular souvenirs?
I have often seen visitors buy olives, jewelry, backgammon sets, leather sandals and the Greek charm to protect you from bad luck.
What type of jewelry is Greece known for?
Silver jewelry is very popular in Greece, and you can easily find very intricate designs. These days, you can also buy Greek jewelry made out of many different materials – metals, gemstones, wood, glass, cardboard, and different types of resins.
What Greece souvenirs to buy for kids?
My favourite souvenir for kids would be either Playmobil figurines, or books based on mythology. You can also find games with a Greek theme – just avoid the funky decks of cards.
More information about shopping in Greece
For more information about souvenir shopping in Athens, check out my article on what to do in Athens on a Sunday. I have included information on a few non-touristy flea markets in Athens. Exploring them is always great fun!
If you only have a day or two in Athens, you can take a walking tour of the Acropolis and Plaka, where you will have the opportunity to ask directly for the best souvenir shops.
Hi! I’m Vanessa from Athens. I hope that this article has given you a good introduction on souvenirs you can buy in Greece. I’d be very curious to know what are your favourite presents from Greece. Feel free to leave a comment down below!