Every Sunday morning, dozens of vendors gather in Athens’ Avissynias Square selling anything from broken Barbie dolls to working gramophones. I know that now, but I would have liked to know that last week as I walked through the streets of the Monastiraki neighbourhood after a particularly heavy night of ouzo drinking.
Making my way home from the Acropolis at 1pm, reeling from the hike up to the ancient Parthenon as well as my monstrous hangover, I almost crashed into a bookshelf. This would be pretty unremarkable, if said bookshelf hadn’t been standing in the middle of the street and overflowing with an array of objects which were never meant to cohabit. Leaning against a one-eyed porcelain doll glistened a tiny red ukulele, which was in turn party covered by a pile of dusty comic books. On the top shelf, a crystal vase teetered dangerously, threatening to crush the basket of broken light bulbs beneath it.
“Συγνώμη! Sorry!” I said to no one in particular, while shaking my head. When I looked up, my field of vision was suddenly filled with a large portrait of Plato and a pair of faux fur handcuffs. After several minutes of utter confusion I realised what we both know now – this was the Monastiraki flea market and I was finally witnessing one of the quirkiest street markets the world has ever seen in all of its glory.
I could continue telling you of all the treasures I stumbled upon whilst walking around Monastiraki flea market, but this is one instance where I am willing to admit that a picture speaks a thousand words. This post contains twenty photos, which means technically it is worth twenty thousand words… So that’s a book for you right there!
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Monastiraki Flea Market Info
Opening hours: Monastiraki flea market happens every Sunday, but the neighbourhood is home to many strange antique stores which are open daily.
Food: I sat down for a lovely meal at Savvas restaurant, which serves Greek and Middle Eastern dishes cooked to perfection. I opted for the grilled aubergine and tabbouleh, while my friends got the mixed meat platter – and we were all extremely pleased. The interior is surprisingly zen for such an overwhelming neighbourhood – there is even an indoor waterfall and tiny chirping birds flying overhead!
Sleep: If you would like to explore the Monastiraki neighbourhood in full, a few hours simply will not do. I wholeheartedly booking a night at the AthenStyle Hostel which is located in the heart of this eclectic quarter. Starting at €12 per night, the place is an absolute steal and located right in the heart of all the action!
Have I mentioned that it has a rooftop terrace with incredible (or, if you are prone to respiratory disease, potentially breath-taking) views of the Acropolis… just have a look at the photo above! Breakfast is included, as is free Wi-Fi, as are in-room lockers and weekly art&culture guides… What a deal!
What is the quirkiest flea market you have ever been to? Do you enjoy them or consider them silly junk graveyards?