For serious retail therapy, most Athenians head to the shopping streets that branch off central Syntagma and Kolonaki Squares. Syntagma is the starting point for popular Ermou, a pedestrian zone where large, international chains like Zara, Sephora, H&M, Massimo Dutti, Mothercare, Replay, Nike, Accessorize, and Marks & Spencer have edged out small, independent retailers. You'll find local shops on streets parallel and perpendicular to Ermou: Mitropoleos, Voulis, Nikis, Perikleous, and Praxitelous among them. Poke around here for real bargains, like strings of freshwater pearls, loose semiprecious stones, or made-to-fit hats. Much ritzier is the Kolonaki quarter, with boutiques and designer shops on fashionable streets like Anagnostopoulou, Tsakalof, Skoufa, Solonos, and Kanari. Voukourestiou, the pedestrianized link between Kolonaki and Syntagma, is where you'll find luxury boutiques: Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Polo Ralph Lauren, and similar brands. In Monastiraki Flea Market on Pandrossou (which also operates on Sundays) there's a mishmash of tourist trinkets, clothing, footwear, jewelry, and rugs; in Psirri you'll find coppersmiths selling wine jugs, candlesticks, cookware, and more for next to nothing. Athinas Street is loaded with stores selling everything from homewear to DIY tools, leather goods, plastic flowers, incense, and foods, and if you walk down "the spice street" of Evripidou and turn into Menandrou, you'll discover an area where migrants mainly from India and Pakistan have set up a whole different style of stores, barbershops, and restaurants (only venture there by day). Meanwhile, to get a feel of the local shopping lifestyle of Athens it's well worth getting lost in the mazelike backstreets of Monastiraki (start from Aiolou and turn anywhere). This area has flourished over recent years and is packed with quirky stores, eateries, bars, and yoga studios.

Many stores in Athens are open from 9 am to 3 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, while on Tuesday shops on Ermou Street remain open until 5 pm. On Thursday and Friday, shops operate from 9 to 2 and then again from 5:30 to 9.

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