Thursday, July 19, 2007

Some shopping tips for Athens

Soldes, Sales, Εκπτοσεις!!!
Yes its that time of year again, sale time! And sales here in Athens are quite good, ok it may not be Milan sales, but things are so overpriced here anyway that sales are a good time to shop and buy things at a decent price. Yes you heard me right, things are very overpriced here in Athens, making it one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

In an effort to save money, many people travel to nearby Bulgaria or Turkey to do their shopping. There they can buy Greek olive oil a third cheaper than they can here, and thats not taking into account the exchange rate! In an effort to cut back on excessive price gauging the Ministry of Development i believe has set the price of certain goods.

Water is a public right here in Greece, when sitting down at cafe waiters will automatically bring you water. Tap water here in Athens is rated as amongst the cleanest in the world, but if you have to buy a water at a periptero - Do not pay more than 50 cents, if they charge more - they are ripping you off. And bottles sell even cheaper at supermarkets.
As a result many do not stock half a litre bottles and stock the 750ml bottles whose price is not capped and you can pay anything up to 2 euros!
Another scam is the humble ham and cheese toast. Don't ask me why this is so popular here but the price for this has been set at 1.50 euros. As a result ferries - where this is most popularly bought - only stock a small supply, and if you are hungry the only thing left is a ham, cheese AND tomato toasted sandwhich which can cost anything upwards of 3 euros!
A Tiropita - a cheese pie is also capped at 1.50 euros
Kaseropita - or any other cheese pie is not capped and they can charge any exhorbitant price they want!

My advice is buy a loaf of fresh bread from the bakers for 60 cents, some ham and cheese from any market and make your own sandwhich at home at pack it with you if you are REALLY desperate for something so basic, otherwise spend your money on some real food thats really worth the money. Oh and avoid the Greek salad, but more on that tommorow.

the forests of Vrylissia have also been set alight along with the forests of Corinth. I think the count was 30 fires in 24 hours. The Mayor of Vrilissia blamed the fires on arsonists and mentioned the illegal builders his municipality is fighting over land ownership, ownership which is muddled as a result of Ottoman land registry titles, something which has never been cleared up here in Greece, but more on that another time.
More incendiary fires were found at the sites of these forest fires. The latest media craze is looking at the fires in the rest of Europe and Turkey, trying to shift the focus from local events to 'See its not only Greece, it happens elsewhere'.


Unknown said...

vassili, the times that I am in Greece, mainly Thessaloniki, I find the prices in general. Fuel is half the price compare with Turkey and 1/3 compared with the Netherlands. I went several times to a super market (I stay most of the times with friends) only in Athens in hotels, and supermarkets are cheap. Only clothing is more expensive, even with West European standards.
Turkey, especially Istanbul, became so expensive that you pay up to 10 euro for an ordinairy glas of whiskey, and 4 euro for a beer. AA simpel toast which you mentioned is is Istanbul in general 23 euros'. I think the Euro didnt do that much good to Greece since wages are too low.
Kindest from a Dutch in Istanbul

Unknown said...

Come on Vassili, things aren't so bad. In other countries you even pay for water (and you pay it expensive!) plus food and drinks have reasonable prices (except summer period of course!). I believe that if you are careful during that period you can easily "survive" here in Athens!!!

Mezzodrama said...

I have just read this morning about the fires in Greece and do not understand why there isn't more being reported internationally about the apparent practice of developers illegally burning forests and then turning around and being allowed to build on the land. If the world knew what was happening there is a slim chance that the government would be forced to stop this.

dorin said...

I have visited Greece twice and I was surprise that some prices are lower than in my country, Romania. For exemple in Romania( a country with huge reserves of gas, and with huge modern rafineryes) the gas is more expensive than in Greece.

P.S.: Greece is my favorite country and I have a lot of friends in Athens. I'm reading with interest your posts since I have discovered your blog.

Anonymous said...


Whilst I love Greece and its people I cannot say the same thing in respect of food served in its restaurants.

I absolutely despair. I have tried a number of restaurants recommended by greek friends in Athens and probably all do not match my lowered expectations whether it be greek or international food, e.g. the restaurant in the old hat factory.

If I want a holiday with fantastic food I go to Italy - their slow food movement is an example to all. Amazing food at good prices.

You go to a greek restaurant - be it the Peion, Messina or the Islands - and ask for "fresh" fish. You end up with the usual suspects - all frozen. Whereas you go say to Siracusa and get fresh urchins, anchovies, octopus etc etc...