Exploring the vibrant open-air shopping arcade that is downtown Athens—glimpsing the Parthenon or a slice of street art as you turn a corner—is one of the city’s year-round pleasures. But there are times when only a fully-equipped shopping mall with cinemas and food courts will fly. So if you want to escape the heat or the rain (it does happen!), or you have a moody teen or toddler to divert, read on for our expert breakdown on Athens’ most popular shopping malls.
Where is it? In front of the Olympic stadium on Kifisias Avenue, about 20 minutes by car from the city centre.
Best features: Athens’ most Dubai-esque of malls, all high ceilings, glass and mirrors, is where the city’s high-rollers come for designer shopping sprees.
Caffeine hit: We’re nuts about Carpo’s addictive range of dried fruits, coffee beans—and yes, nuts. Nibble on a free piece of chocolate while you wait for your cappuccino.
Keep it Greek: Invest in Greece’s red-hot contemporary art scene at Kapapoulos Fine Arts where you’ll find paintings and sculptures. Or pick up an heirloom from iconic Greek jeweller Ilias Lalaounis, whose high-impact yellow gold creations have adorned Elizabeth Taylor and Scarlett Johansson. For a more wallet-friendly souvenir, Ianos Art Shop stocks beautiful cards and candles, especially during Greek Easter.
Family fun: Plenty of chi-chi boutiques for designer kids, but this ritzy retail destination falls a little short on the fun factor. Bribe the kids with a Ben & Jerry’s and time on the Lego play station outside the Lego store. Or check the children into I-Play on the second floor, where they can paint and create while you shop in peace.
For a good meal: Spice things up with pan-Asian curries, Thai salads, ramen, and sushi at Wagamama on the top floor.
Top tip? You can borrow strollers for free at the information desk on the ground floor.
How to get there? Take a cab. Or hop onto any of these buses (Α7, Ε14, Χ14, 550) and get off at the 'Olympic Stadium' stop. There’s an underpass to cross the busy thoroughfare.
Opening times: All Athens malls are open Monday to Friday from 10 am-9 pm; Saturday from 10 am-8 pm. On Sunday, only the cafes, cinemas and restaurants are open—except on designated extended trading weekends which fall on about seven Sundays of the year.
The Mall Athens
Where is it? In the northern suburb of Marousi.
Best features: The Mall is a sprawling leisure hub with ten movie theatres (including Gold Class cinema), an enormous food court, a dizzying roll call of European and American brands, a bowling alley and games arcade. There’s even a post office, should you feel inspired to send an old-fashioned postcard home.
Caffeine hit: An iced coffee in one of the top-floor cafés overlooking the Olympic stadium.
Keep it Greek: Folli Follie for pretty rose-gold-plated baubles or Terkenlis bakery to taste the traditional Greek tsoureki (a buttery brioche loaf best when coated with gooey white chocolate icing). As well as upscale brands like Balmain and Missoni, Simple Caracters stocks more affordable fashion by Greek designers.
Family fun: Throw a strike at the bowling alley, let the kids battle it out in a car race at the arcade, grab some local fast food, then catch a movie. There’s also a Lego Play Factory and Athens’ only Confuzio toy emporium. On weekends, fun activities like obstacle courses or maxi puzzles appear.
For a good meal: Gourmet Burger Kitchen, founded by three burger addicts from New Zealand, on the third floor. Not just mean burgers but healthy options like pear and cranberry salad too.
Top tip? If you don’t like crowds, avoid Saturdays. It’s when Greeks flock to the stores because shops are closed most Sundays.
How to get there? There’s an overground train stop—Neratziotissa—right at its entrance on the Piraeus to Kifissia line.
"A leisure hub with ten movie theatres, an enormous food court, a dizzying roll call of brands, a bowling alley and games arcade."
McArthur Glen & Smart Park
Where is it? In Spata, about a half-hour drive from the city-centre, near the Athens Zoo.
Best features: This meandering outdoor mall in rural surroundings is a popular family day out for Athenians once the beach season wraps. It’s actually two big retail parks joined together (McArthur Glen is the designer outlet, where you’ll find discounted brands like Nike, Guess and Versace). Adults love the open-air village design and kids love all the exciting activities.
Caffeine hit: Unwind to vintage jazz vinyl over an Arabica coffee at perky Petite Fleur or try their signature Valrhona chocolate drinks.
Keep it Greek: Sample one of the more native species of souvlaki—the delicious kontosouvli (marinated, spit-roasted meat skewers)—at It’s all Greek, a cut above your usual food court experience.
Family fun: Ten trampolines, bungee bouncing, cinemas, go karts, games arcades, adventure playgrounds and kiddie train rides. Shall we go on?
For a good meal: Il Baretto on the top floor of McArthur Glen. Their pizza is fantastic and their selection of Italian wines impressive for a mall.
Top tip? Bargains are the name of the game here, but look out especially for American Vintage at great discounts.
How to get there? There’s a taxi service provided by the outlet. Otherwise you can take the metro and a bus.
Athens Metro Mall
Where is it? Right next to Agios Dimitrios metro station.
Best features: Its ‘Goldilocks’ size (not too big, not too small) is just right for those who suffer sensory overload in massive malls. There’s a great distillation of high-street brands (like Zara Home, Oysho, Public and Toi et Moi), and some good family drawcards—plus it’s super simple to get to by car or on public transport.
Caffeine hit: Flocafe Expresso Room on the roof garden may not win gold medals for its brews, but the panoramic view—especially around sunset—rivals some of Athens’ best rooftop bars.
Keep it Greek: Shoe boutique Tsakiris Mallas does very covetable (and reasonably priced) wedges, espadrilles and slides.
Family fun: Volta Fun Town on the second floor has an indoor soft play and outdoor games terrace. Park your toddler in the supervised soft play and dash off to shop solo, or take a break in the café while they wear themselves out. There’s also a teeny rollerskating rink on the third floor and a shop selling movie merchandise next to the Village Cinema complex.
For a good meal: TGI Fridays may be strictly for the tourists in London or New York, but here in Athens, the franchise is a popular go-to for young couples and families craving American-Tex Mex and lurid cocktails. Too manic? La Pasteria next door does cracking pizzas.
Top tip? Currently the only place in Athens to indulge in a cinnabon, a ridiculously delicious American import. For novel gift ideas, Flying Tiger Copenhagen will tempt you with everything from chickpea chips to llama-shaped plant pots—all at knockdown prices.
How to get there? Six stops from Syntagma on the red metro line towards Elliniko.