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The Dimotiki Agora: Athens Central Market

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varvakeios market in athens

Athens is certainly a lot more than just age-old monuments and a plethora of museums, thus if you need a break from touring historical sites, Athens Central Market is a definite place to visit! The busy central market of Athens (or as called by locals: “Varvakios”, or “Dimotiki Agora”) perfectly shows how the Athenians enjoy life.

The Central Market is filled with exotic smells of food that a heart could desire, while bounded by vibrant colors of culture. It’s the true reflection of Greek culture, lifestyle, and socio-economic society.

The Dimotiki Agora holds a rich historical significance, with vendors selling in this market for decades.

The best part is that you actually don’t even need an entry ticket for entering it!

Today, the Varvakios market has become one of the most popular tourist spots in Athens; and peoples from throughout the world visit it and are left wonderstruck.

They are astonished by the splendors of the market, which truly reflects the culture and vibrancy of Athenians.

If you are in Athens or planning to be there any time soon, Athens Central Market certainly deserves to be explored!

Enter a world of sounds, smells and tastes at Varvakios market. Pic: commons.wikimedia.org

The Fruit, Meat and Vegetable Market of Athens

Meat, Spices, Herb, tea, olives, dried fruits, nuts, and legumes; Athens Central Market has it all!

Vendors from across Athens, have been setting up the stalls in the market for several decades, and are providing a diverse range of fresh and local food products to the customers.

At Athens Cental market, they’ll never run out of olives. Pic: Nataša Stuper/flickr.com

What makes, this place so enthralling is that it’s super cheap! Trust us; you wouldn’t find any place cheaper than this, in the entire Athens!

There are captivating sections devoted to particular products, including meat and sections of fish and seafood. All energetic!

Along with that, you’ll also find halls of fresh fruits and vegetables, loaded with local specialties as well as sweet and cheese, from across Greece.

Eat your greens at the Athens Central Market. Pic: Trans World Productions/flickr.com

The Varvakios market is one of the favorite destinations of local Athenians; thus it wouldn’t be un-common finding it crowded with locals (both rich and poor).

Especially during festivals and occasions like Christmas and Easter, it becomes a pretty interesting place for Athenians who prefer shopping from here.

Vegetarians, please look away now: The meat market at Varvakios. Pic: commons.wikimedia.org

Doubtlessly, Athens Central Market isn’t just cheapest market in town but also an incredible place to shop edible souvenirs and local products for your relatives back home, such as the famous “Feta cheese” and fresh olives (Luckily, comes vacuum-sealed, so you don’t need to worry regarding its durability!)

The most prominent sections of the Athens Central Market are its sea-food section with an exclusive range of fisheries and catches of Mediterranean and Aegean including octopus, squid, and cuttlefish.

Also, the displayed pig feet, lambs and intestine of cows give the market a traditional look.

Fish straight from the sea to you. Pic: Trans World Productions/flickr.com

Restaurants –The Local Specialty

In case during your visit, you start smelling enchanting aroma or your heart starts desiring some exceptionally delicious food, you may even try some of the restaurants or magirio (basic workers’ canteen) within the complex that offers various traditional style dishes.

These are phenomenal places for an authentic Greek food experience that’s surely a treat for every tourist!

Although these several small bistros serve a variety of enjoyable local cuisines, their most prominent specialty is “Patsas” a soup made with the tripe (stomach lining) and feet of a pig or cow.

Tip: To taste patsas the right way, you must add chili flakes and either vinegar or skordostoupi, vinegar marinated with garlic cloves.

This is truly the “King of the Market” and worth a try!

– A couple of places to eat in the Athens Central Market

  • Karayiannis: A great spot for midday ouzo and meze (the Greek version of tapas).
  • Epirus: The best place to taste patsas. The Epirus restaurant has been tracked down by many famous chefs, such as Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver. Check it at Tripadvisor

Athens’s central market is the ultimate place to explore the Athenian lifestyle, where you’ll find literally everything your heart desires!

With all its color and vibrancy, it’s truly an incredible place to explore while saving you money. We are sure; you’d love it!

Enjoy home-style Greek food at the Oinomageireio Epirus, Pic: Enjoy home-style Greek food at the Oinomageireio Epirus Facebook Official page

Where is Athens Central Market located? (Map)

Fortunately, Athens Central Market is situated in an easily accessible area, thus tourist can easily explore Dimotiki Agora with absolute convenience.

It’s located close to the Psiri area -a small, lively neighborhood in Athens.

It can be easily found on Athinas street, right between Monastiraki and Omonoia squares.

Athens Central Market (Varvakios) opening hours

The Dimotiki Agora opens every day except for Sundays and National Holidays, from 7 am – 3 pm (Although, some shops remain open late up till 6 pm).

Therefore, it can be visited at any time in between.

However, we would suggest visiting it in the early hours of the morning, before heat intensifies.

The Athens Market opens every day except for Sundays. Pic: Jorge Láscar/flickr.com

Ultimate Tips while visiting the Dimotiki Agora: Athens Central Market

· The floor in the market, especially in the sea-food hall, is usually very slimy; thus make sure to wear solid shoes or boots with a good grip. Slippery footwear such as sandals or flip-flops should be avoided at all costs.

· If you are accompanying children with yourself or raw meat causes you discomfort, then you should carry a mask with yourself, as it gets very smelly particularly in the meat section. Also, you may see some live-butchering and raw displays in the market, thus if you are sensitive to it, you may not visit those halls.

· It’s ideal to visit Athens Central Market, in early hours of the day as unlike other markets, most of the vendors wrap up by late afternoon. Hence, to avoid any inconvenience make sure to visit during the early hours of the day, before it gets overcrowded.

When you visit the Athens Market try to avoid slippery footwear such as sandals or flip-flops. Pic: commons.wikimedia.org

Athens Central Market: How to get there?

The Central Market of Athens is located in the heart of the city, and easily accessible by city Metro service.

To get there, you may get off at Omonoia Metro Station, from where the Athens market is just by a walking distance of 6 minutes.

On the other hand, you may also use Panepistimio Athens Metro Station, from where the market is just 7-minutes walk away.

Both the Metro stations are approximately the same distance, thus you may choose the right one according to your personal convenience.

In addition, you may also use taxis or rental cars (read: is there uber or lyft in Athens?) for your convenience; but they are relatively expensive. So, we would always suggest avoiding them.

Now, if you are looking for an alternative way to make a visit to Athens Central Market, check this guided tour that we found for you! Food Market Walk, Cooking Class, and Lunch, on the same tour!

Remember that BTI Athens Travel Guide is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to leave us a comment or just contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.

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In Brief
  • Transportation: Metro, Bus, Taxi, Trolleys, Tram
  • What to See: The Varvakios Agora in Athens
  • What to Do: Explore the Athens Central Market and Buy Local Products
  • Do you have to walk: Yes
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