From the awe-inspiring Acropolis to the blue-domed cliff-hugging churches of Santorini, Greece is a fascinating country to visit. How can you keep memories of the wonderful places you have just visited unless you get a memorable souvenir from Greece? Forget gimmicky key chains, cheesy T-shirts, postcards and replicas of the ancient Parthenon, you need truly unique Greek souvenirs.
When it comes to souvenirs, Greece is not only a popular tourist destination but a shopper's paradise. Looking for the best souvenirs in Greece can be as much fun as visiting the iconic Acropolis or any other popular site. Why do we say that? Because this country is rich in history and culture which are all reflected in the rich variety of her varied souvenirs and we are sure you will get one or two Greek souvenirs that captivate you.
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Your Greek Souvenirs Options
A souvenir carries a special significance; it reminds you of a location you have visited and evokes personal memories. And guess what? A souvenir can also have practical use when you get back home. Greece is a souvenir hunter’s paradise. From mystical items like the Matia “Blue Eye” to gift items at Athens Airport to the Greek island of Chios, shopping for souvenirs in Greece can be exhilarating.
Confused about what to take back home? A good suggestion would be to look for souvenirs that exemplify the Greek way of life. It always works for us as they help us experience a bit of where we have visited once we are back home.
We have some ideas that you can explore as you look for the best souvenirs from Greece.
Get Protection from Matia-Charm (Blue Eye)
The evil eye is a common belief that a person can be affected by another person because of envy through a simple envious glance. According to Greek tradition, the Mati-charm or Blue Eye protects you from any bad glares. And guess what? It will send those evil thoughts “back to the sender”, yes, the onlooker.
When we first heard about Blue Eye, we were intrigued and decided to read more about it. We found an article entitled The Color Blue for Repelling Evil by Theresa Mitsopoulou very interesting. You can check it out here.
In Greece, you can find many different versions of Matia, particularly in jewellery pieces. You will find these at nearly every tourist shop in Athens and other parts of Greece.
Carry Home Santo Wines Dessert Wine
If you are visiting Santorini, make sure you bring home a bottle or two of the Dessert Wine by the Santo Wines. Why are we recommending these dessert wines? The Santorini vineyards use moisture as their only source of water in making these unique dessert wines! We were pretty surprised to hear that and couldn’t wait to sip to Santorini wine.
We found it so refreshing, clean on the palate. You will not want to leave for home without a bottle of Santo Wines Dessert Wine.
Try Greek Alcoholic Drinks and Wines
In Greece, alcohol is part of the daily lifestyle. There are many types of alcoholic drinks but distilled spirits are the most popular. You have a broad range to choose from including Ouzo (anise-flavoured aperitif), Mastika (mastic-seasoned liquor), Metaxa (blend of wine and brandy), Tsipouro (made using wine press residue), and Raki (distilled fermented fruit – typically grapes).
Depending on which part of Greece your travels take you, there is always a great wine to bring home. This can be the Santorini sweet Vinsanto, the Assyrtiko classic white or local wines from the islands of Rhodes, Lesvos, Limnos, or Kefalonia.
Imagine bringing home a bottle of wine shaped like the iconic Parthenon or the Goddess Athena? This will be an excellent conversation starter when you get back home and reminisce about your Greek travels with family and friends. The decorative bottle makes an excellent keepsake to be displayed at home.
Thought of Trying Donkey Products?
You might ask donkey products? Yes, if Santorini happens to be part of your Greek itinerary, you will be amazed to find that the most common tourist item here revolves around the Donkey. The Santorini Donkey is on ornaments, T-Shirts, kid’s stuffed animals, the name of local wine, and these items are found literally everywhere.
And if wine from Santo vineyards is not your idea of a great souvenir, why not take back donkey milk? Yes, you got that right, donkey milk! The town Santorini attaches great significance to the beauty benefits associated with drinking Donkey Milk. So, as you head home, we suggest you pick a product made using donkey milk. Talk of unique Greek souvenirs!
Take Home Spatholado, the Healing Remedy
Want to try something truly unique? Also known as Saint John's Wort Healing Oil, Spathola is an ancient remedy known for its healing properties. Highly regarded by the Greeks and the Crusaders, Spatholado can be translated as sword-oil because they used it to heal sword wounds during war times. It also effective on surgical scars, burns and is particularly effective if you have deep wounds.
If you want to take a bottle of Spatholado home, you can get from the island of Kea although it’s also available in several herbs shops. If in Athens, look for one shop that goes by the name Elixer on Evripidou Street.
Greek Coffee (or Tea) is a Must
Perhaps you want something very practical and cheap? Don’t lose hope for Greece has something to take care of that scenario. If you love coffee and want to bring home something that family and friends will cherish, then Greek coffee is it.
Greek coffee is finely ground and prepared using a specially designed coffee pot, a briki. Why not try it first at a café or learn how it’s made? Then, when you get home you can surprise everybody by your Greek coffee brewing skills?
Well, what if coffee is not your thing? Greek tea is a good alternative and it also makes cheap Greek souvenirs to remind you of Greece. If coffee and tea don’t make the best of souvenirs from Greece, at least they are great beverages to remind you of the country.
You Can’t Leave Without the Medicinal Chios Mastiha
And it’s not just Spatholado that has unique medicinal properties. Mastiha or mastic is an assortment of products made using a natural ingredient sourced from the Greek island of Chios. It’s renowned for its distinctive and medicinal properties. It is said that the father of medicine, Hippocrates suggested using mastic for treating digestive problems, common colds, and for cleaning teeth.
Depending on your preferences, there are many mastic flavoured products such as chewing gum, liqueurs, and Greek loukoúmia (Turkish delight).
Try Greek Musical Instruments
Love traditional music? If yes, then consider taking home a traditional music item. We recommend the bouzouki. Whether you know how to play this instrument or not it makes an awesome souvenir or gift. Today, the bouzouki is largely used for decorative purposes or as a souvenir reminiscent of earlier times.
Of course, if after touring Greece you are short of funds and don’t feel like splurging, you can still get other traditional instruments at more modest prices such as the Pandura or Laouto. Nevertheless, you should visit different stores in Greece that specialize in handmade traditional instruments, as they are truly remarkable.
Bring Home the Versatile Olive Oil Products
What about picking up a bottle of a fancy Greek olive oil product? Greek olive oil is considered among the best by many users. The list of olive oil products is long and includes hand cream, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel that contain this precious ‘elixir’ of life.
Olive oil forms the basis of the Mediterranean diet and research has revealed that continual use of olive oil increases longevity! If you are in Athens, you can get Olive oil products in the Monastiraki district as well as in several major department stores like Attica near Syntagma Square and Notis Gallery in the Omonia district of Athens.
Buy Exotic Hand-Carved Olive Wood Products
According to Greek mythology, it was Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war who introduced Olive trees to Athens. Today the Greeks use olive wood to make all manner of practical items and tools. You can get beautiful artwork, sculptures, and kitchenware.
You will be spoilt for choice as we also found other items such as wine stands, chopping boards, lemon squeezers, honey spoons, bottle openers, salad serves, egg cups, letter racks, and so much more. Take memories of Greece with these hand-carved products from old environmentally harvested olive trees.
Try on Greek Handmade Leather Sandals
How can you go home without a pair of stylish Greek handmade leather sandals? We were surprised at how affordable they were. They are good for your travels in Greece and they make cost-effect Souvenirs from Greece. One of the best ways of carrying your travel experience with you, quite literally, is to bring home a pair of sandals.
One shop we cannot forget is Melissinos, the Poet Sandal Maker. The multi-generational family business in Athens has been operating for years producing its signature leather products. You will be joining the ranks of their celebrity clients.
The Unique Honey from Crete is a Must
One of the most remarkable Greek souvenirs from Crete is honey. The natural landscape of the island makes it a rich haven for bees. Thyme honey is the most traditional type of honey and common in many cuisines. You will, however, also find other delicious varieties such as pine honey, chestnut, and heather.
After tasting Cretan honey you certainly will want to bring the sweetness home as a treat for family and friends. A small jar of Cretan honey snugly packed will fit easily into your suitcase as you head home.
Adorn Your Home with Greek Tapestries
Greek stores are known for stocking beautiful traditional tapestries. So why not leave with one to adorn the walls of your house? Tapestry stores are found in the mainland as well as all over the islands. And the design of tapestries is not random; they represent local customs and colours.
What we liked most about these unique art pieces is that transferring them home as part of the luggage is easy. What if you like a large one? Great news for you; the shops will arrange all the shipment details on your behalf. Back home, each time you look at this piece of art on your wall, we are sure beautiful Greece will flood your mind.
Enjoy Tavli, the Greek Version of Backgammon
Enjoy a game of Backgammon? The Greeks have their version, Tavli. It’s insanely popular in this country. Whenever you walk by local cafes, you are likely to see groups of young men enjoying this highly competitive game, day or night.
Tavli is not just a great souvenir from Greece to take home but a great gift item for your kids. And mastering the game is easy, so why not learn something to teach your children when you get back home? Tavli will be a great way of passing time back home as you reminiscence about your time in Greece.
Relax with Komboloi Charm Beads
During your time in Greece, you will certainly come across locals fiddling with a strand of beads. They tend to spin them in one direction and then the other. If not fiddling with them, you will see the beads hanging out of men’s pockets. These are the Komboloi charm beads. Depending on the size and material used, there are numerous types of komboloi.
The use of Komboloi in Greece can be traced to the Turkish occupation. They form an integral part of Greek tradition as a way of reducing stress, relaxation, and a companion in solitude. Also known as ‘worry beads’ they evolved from komboskini, the Greek prayer rope.
This is among the best Greek souvenirs that are not only beautiful but affordable. You might want them as they make great decorative or gift items.
The Varied Souvenirs at Athens Airport
If you forgot to buy a great souvenir during your busy tour of Greece, worry not. We recommend you visit Artpoint Store as you wait for your flight at Athens International Airport. This boutique souvenir shop located inside the Airport is highly rated by reviewers. It offers fabulous souvenirs including innovative items like high-quality museum replicas and gifts for family members that will remind you of Greece.
So don’t leave for home without one or two souvenirs from Greece. We are sure they will remind you of your time in Greece in more than one way.