Shopping in Santorini can be an excellent and unique experience. The biggest economic driver for the island is tourism, which means that there is a large market for local producers, designers, artists, and jewelsmiths to create their own unique wares for sale. Of course, there is a broad variety of souvenir shops all over the island, which tend to sell mass-produced items, similar to those that can be bought throughout Greek tourist destinations. Prices can range from very cheap to the extremely costly, high-quality items you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The shops stay open until late in the evening- especially in the summer season- so you can enjoy searching for the right thing beyond the heat of the day.
Fira is the main centre for shopping on the island, as it is the capital. There is a huge variety of places to visit here, with a great diversity of products for sale. Through the centre is a street known as ‘gold street’ for its over 40 jewelers present. Make sure your purchases are truly handmade, as there are many shops which offer unique items which speak to the tradition and history of the island. Such a shop would be ‘Ilias Lalaounis’, where every piece of jewelry has its own story and is inspired deeply by Santorini’s 3,500-year history. For a more contemporary feel, try Koukla jewelry and crafts. ‘Gorgona’ is both an art and gift shop, which sells its own hand made art, designs into glass and a variety of other artistic gifts which are made by artists on the island. Both Bazaar and Drakkar shops located near to the centre of Fira offer youthful and elegant clothes, bags and accessories from both Greek and international designers. For upscale, luxury fashion, try out ‘The White Santorini’, with pieces handcrafted and sewn in Greece by designer Sophia Hatzigeorgiou. Utilizing delicate materials and patterns inspired by the island itself, you can find one branch in Fira and a second in Kamari beach. A perfect place to look for your new outfit before going out for a romantic meal atop the caldera.
The village of Oia is the site of the famous postcard vistas of Santorini. It’s also one of the best areas for shopping and somewhere you should certainly consider to include in your itinerary. ‘Atlantis Bookshop’ is a must go for anyone who is a fan of reading. It is owned by people from across Europe and the US who love the island and the history, with a number of volumes that would be very difficult to find elsewhere- particularly if you’re interested in the Cyclades and Greek history.
If you’d like to take home some genuine art by a local then it is worth visiting ‘Galanopoulos’ art gallery. Here you’ll find not only fine art with a specific bent toward home and interior design but also giclee prints on paper or canvas. There are also mix painting sculptures that utilize local materials- such as stone and earth- and color palettes. ‘Replica’ is a shop that you can find pieces of fine art inspired by those of antiquity, such as ceramics, pottery, frescoes, and terracotta figurines. ‘Iama’ wine shop is one that started small and has developed into a big name for itself, selling wines from across the island and the rest of the country. ‘Frederika’ is another shop, with globally sought after products, crafted by the artisan who gives her name to the shop. Frederika carves scenes of the island into local pumice stone, reflecting the extreme diversity and complexity of perspectives from every spot in Santorini. This is an age old tradition which has been brought forth elegantly, available for purchase in the shop Finikia, right next to Oia.
Located above the capital of Fira, you will find that Firostefani has the best views of the Caldera, with the added extra height giving you greater distance. The area is typically less crowded than Fira as well, which means greater access to the shops for you. Don’t miss the ‘Art of the Loom’, which has taken old wooden artifacts from the textile factories that were part of the island economy, and crafted them into artistic pieces, as well as practical items and jewelry. ‘Aegean Designs’ is another place to stop by. Selling handcrafted items on the island itself, and located in a beautiful garden, they retail hand painted linen, wall hangings, jewelry and more, taking deep inspiration from the colors and textures of the Aegean. For more innovative and quirky art pieces, drop into ‘Leoni Schmiedel’, with its excellent view over the caldera and art, featuring materials ever present from Santorini, such as sand, stone and old parchments. Furthermore, the shop/gallery is so ornately decorated, it is like a museum.
If you’re down on Kamari beach, one of the biggest hotspots for beach life and shopping, then check out ‘Ammos’ store. Part of the biggest chain on the island, you would have also noticed it in Fira and Oia. Here you can find stylish apparel from international brands, as well as some Greek designers. If you’re passing Vedema resort in Megalochori, be sure to check out luxury fashion boutique ‘Wanderlista’ for a great range of upscale fashion based on locations. And whilst you’re there, ‘Galateas Pottery Studio’ is the perfect place to find unique ceramics that bring a splash of color to any home. In Messaria, it’s well worth visiting ‘Spira’, a beautiful sculpture shop that is owned by a long lineage of marble sculptors. You can find a diversity of works made from marble, as well as other local stone, such as kitchen sinks, bathroom flooring, fireplaces, and ornate tiles- all crafted with attention to detail and aesthetics. Keep your eyes open everywhere you go on the island, and you’ll be sure to bring home that something special.