Within the main Travel Value & Duty Free stores, which are located in both terminals, the tobacco offer is extensive, featuring all the big international brands, a decent selection of Cuban cigars, as well as local cigarette brands such as George Karelias. Whisky has always been popular in Greece and the range in Hellenic Duty Free is particularly good with single malts as much evidence as cheaper blends. Brandy is another popular local choice (Metaxa is one of the leading brands) and if you are a fan of ouzo, you won’t be disappointed by the offer.
Greek wine has a poor international reputation mainly because it is often associated with retsina, the cheap pine-flavoured white wine served up to tourists in tavernas in great quantities all over Greece, and which often tastes no better than paint stripper. Proper Greek wine, however, is often of good quality, but suffers from being made from little known indigenous grape varieties, and having confusing bottle labels.
Hellenic Duty Free offers a good range of Greek wines so why not buy a bottle and make up your own mind as to the quality of what’s inside? As a rough guide, white wines tend to be more consistent than Greek reds, but why not ask the shop staff for their recommendation?
Forget dodgy moussaka and blancmange-pink taramasalata, true Greek cuisine is one of the most underrated and healthiest in Europe. It boasts many delicious dishes and based on top-quality meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. So seek out the airport’s excellent Hellenic Gourmet stores for foodie treats such as Greek honey, surely some of the best in the world, as well as cheeses, olive oils, dried herbs, dried fruit, charcuterie and nuts.
We like the way the airport has created the fashion offer, which has something for everybody and is not solely dominated by upscale designer brands. There are plenty of affordable branded stores such as Swatch, Accessorize, Bijoux Terner, Victoria's Secrets and Tie Rack, which rub shoulders with high-end fashion names such as Bvlgari, Longchamp, Lacoste, Burberry and Ermengildo Zegna.
If you want to try somewhere with a more local flavour, the Ilias Lalaounis store sells fine Greek jewellery and is connected to the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum in downtown Athens, which houses over 3,000 items of jewellery made in the post-war period. Alternatively, Folli Follie, which is actually owned by Hellenic Duty Free, sells a wide range of youthful, fashion-driven jewellery watches and accessories (www.follifollie.com).
If you are a sucker for quirky natural beauty products, the Mastiha Shop at the airport, is a must-visit. Mastiha is a resin from a tree grown on the Greek island of Chios, which is believed to have therapeutic qualities. Consequently, the store sells a broad selection of Mastiha-based products such as candies, pies, face creams, Mastiha oil, body care products, and even toothpaste. See www.mastihashop.com
for more details.
We should also make a mention of the Korres outlet, the Athens-based natural beauty brand, which sells its products all over Europe. The company sells organic-certified skin and hair care products, a make-up line, suncare products and body butters. Check out the full range at www.korres.com
Last but not least is the recently opened Artpoint Papasotiriou shop, which specialises in top-quality replicas of Greek museum exhibits, as well as books about the country’s amazing classical heritage.