No visit to Athens is complete without a stroll down Ermou Street. Situated in the center of the city just across Syntagma Square, Ermou hosts a collection of both boutique and brand name retail shops (mainly clothing stores). You’ll also find kiosks, cafes, small eateries, and street vendors all around. If you start your walk from the Vouli (Parliament) building, cross Syntagma Square, and continue down Ermou, you will pass through the Monastiraki area and end up in Gazi. These two neighborhoods of Athens are very colorful, artsy, and unique, as are the many shops you will find on your way there.
So let’s start our trip down Ermou from the beginning. Upon entering the street, you will notice to your left the blue banner signs of Fokas, a Greek department store launched in 1936 (now closed) housed in a neoclassical building. The collection of shops on Ermou is varied to suit all sorts of styles and preferences. Each shop has its own something special that will draw you in. From interesting neoclassical interior design to fun sale prices, you can pretty much find everything and anything here – including boutique attire to everyday wear, countless accessories, shoes, and random things you don’t need (but you just have to have.) A few well-known shops you can find on Ermou include Nike, Hondos Center, H&M, Zara, Berksha, M.A.C., The Body Shop, Tiger and more. Ermou is like a giant outdoor shopping mall with that extra dose of spice. Plus it’s part of the center of Athens – a city so diverse and unique you can’t help but fall in love with its charm.
People-wise, Ermou attracts all sorts, so aside from the obvious tourist looking happily lost, you will also see rushing businesspeople in suits, laidback students taking a break from class for some ice cream and laughs, elderly walking to church, couples holding hands, and families juggling kids and strollers. Street vendors here sell corn on the cob, roasted chestnuts, and salepi (a warm drink) during the winter season. You will also find shoe-shining services, and of course festival-style balloons to complete children’s weekend trips to Ermou. As is custom for many busy streets all over the world, Ermou also hosts a number of street performers at all times of the day, including mimes, musicians, clowns, and more.
A pedestrian street and popular central Athens destination that fills up on the weekends, Ermou is a street that never really sleeps. Even in the early morning hours, chances are, if you’re walking down Ermou, you won’t be alone!