There a few different types of places in Greece where you can buy your necessities when it comes to the food and drink arena.
I find that Greece is a very convenient place for getting what you want, when you want it. The All Day Cafe/Bar is a perfect example, but we will go into that another time. Today I’m answering a few frequently asked questions that visitors to Athens have. Luckily the answers to these questions are easily found in two places.
Peripteros (Περίπτερο) or simply called a kiosk, is something that I miss whenever I am outside of Greece. They are so damn convenient!
Greek kiosks have been around since the early 1900s and are a part of each individual community. I’m sure they started out as a more simple entity, selling things such as newspapers and basic necessities of life. They have definitely expanded in their offerings to the public over the years.
Kiosks are freestanding little boxes that mainly could be described as snack shacks. Snack shacks with newspapers, magazines, cigarettes and other random supplies, like toothpaste, condoms and even whiskey may be found behind the counter. For sure they will all have cold drinks, chips and candy – those are the staples.
Where can I buy beer in Athens?
Athens kiosks sell beer and often also have some wine and even hard liquor for sale. Some tourists will purchase beer at a kiosk and wander the streets with it. Americans, I’m looking at you! I know, I know, it is a novelty and you think you are on Bourbon St. Just take it easy, as you will notice that other people are not doing this.
Where can I get bottled water in Athens?
I mentioned earlier that I miss kiosks when I am away. I miss the convenience of them and the reasonable prices. Mainly the WATER. Greece has the cheapest water in Europe. The price is set as a law, so any shop that you go to will charge .50 for a small bottle and 1 for a big bottle. Last summer on Santorini I was charged .60 for a small bottle, so maybe the islands can charge more (or they just thought they could get away with charging a tourist a bit more).
I consider myself to be quite the water connoisseur. In the summer time while I am at the beach, I am always aware of the nearest kiosk so I know where I can go to get my hydrate on. If I run to the kiosk to grab a couple of waters and a bag of chips happens to find it’s way into my possession, I blame it on their excellent marketing and display skills.
How late are Kiosks open in Greece?
This depends on where you are in the country. In central Athens, you will find some open 24 hours a day. Busy areas with traffic and activity throughout the night will cater to the night owls and remain accessible to their needs. In smaller villages, they will close down when the town quiets down for the evening. If you are leaving a restaurant and need to pick something up, just ask the staff- they all will know where something is open.
Why are there so many empty kiosks in Athens?
They used to be on most corners of main streets in the high traffic areas of Athens. In recent years the number has drastically decreased due to the economic situation and I have heard rumors of some legislation being passed in regards to not renewing their licenses.
With economic restraints people are less likely to stop and buy a candy bar when they are walking down the street or a can of Coke. Locals also do more shopping at the larger chains that can offer lower prices.
To the ones that are still open and feeding those snack cravings and hydrating the masses, S’agapo (σ’αγαπω=I love you)!
Mini Markets are little shops that carry a bit more than your average periptero. They may have fresh produce, household supplies and more food products than just the snacks found at a kiosk. I feel like I don’t need to explain this because the name says it all- it is a miniature supermarket!
On the islands or in smaller villages of Greece, what Athenians would consider a mini market, may just be the local supermarket. Wait, so then is it no longer a mini market? Where do we draw the line!?!
Are there standard hours for mini markets in Athens?
Mini markets are allowed to open on Sundays (large supermarkets are not), so if you are in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon and realize that you are out of a staple ingredient, mini markets can save the day!
As with the kiosks, they may stay open well into the night depending on the demand in the area.
Where can I buy wine in Athens?
Some kiosks may have some wine for sale, but I’m not sure if you want to go there. It is probably really old if it is behind the counter or really cheap and in a plastic bottle if it is in the cooler. Be adventurous if you want, but don’t blame me for the hangover.
Mini markets will usually have a small wine/hard liquor section at the checkout. The prices will be higher than at a supermarket and again, the bottles may have been sitting there for quite awhile- so beware!
Places that sell liquor and wine may be marked as a Cava (Καβα).
Why are people hanging-out in front of the mini market?
In Athens, each microcosm within busy neighborhoods has its local mini market. Prices are a bit higher than the big chain supermarkets, but you are paying for the convenience. Locals all have their go-to mini-market and usually have a friendly relationship with the clerks.
Some may even serve coffee and are the local hang-out for men to meet and talk politics, sports, life- the modern day answer to the kafenio.