Guide to Greece – Shopping in Greece

The country is not famous for its shopping, but travelers to Greece can buy distinctive and high quality local products. Local handicrafts and wines and spirits can be unique purchases. Greece also offers good jewelry, metalwork, pottery, rugs, lace, knitwear and leather goods.

Nearly all Greek cities have large international-style shopping malls with well recognized brands and retailers. But prices are similar to those in other parts of Europe, so you will not find any real bargains without sales are underway.

Tourist souvenir shops and some family-owned arts and crafts stores tolerate haggling, but otherwise it is frowned upon. In places where bargaining is accepted, you can reduce the price by at least 10-20%, and being able to speak some Greek can help you get price as low as possible.

The official currency is the Euro, and other currencies will not be accepted, but you can easily exchange money in the larger cities and in any tourist destination. Banks usually offer the most favorable exchange rates and automated currency exchange machines to offer the worst rates; specialist shops are somewhere in between. When changing money, try to get mostly smaller notes – nothing over a EUR50 – as many businesses are averse to accepting larger denominations.

ATM machines are ubiquitous. Visa, Mastercard and Eurocard are generally accepted in hotels, retail outlets and travel agencies, but some restaurants and local souvenir shops will not accept them.

Most items incur Value Added Tax (VAT) and this is generally but not always included in price tags. However, some shops do provide tax-free shopping for non-European Union residents. Under this system, people who do not live in the EU can seek a VAT refund when departing the EU. To do this, ask for a VAT voucher when buying an item and show a customs officer all such vouchers and the related items upon leaving the EU.