Varvarkeios is the central market hall of Athens.
Food of all kinds is offered here, from meat, fish and seafood to fruit and vegetables, cheese, nuts, dried fruit and spices.
Regional specialties are also offered and if you want, you can even buy household goods.
Things to Do at Varvarkeios Central Market
Here at the Varvarkeios Central Market in Athens you can find anything your heart desires to eat. In fact, its often called the “Stomach of Athens” and gives you a small glimpse of what Athens was like in years past. A true modern day agora.
The noise level in the hall takes some getting used to and is definitely not for everyone, but it is an interesting experience that should not be missed. It's incredibly loud, as all the traders are loudly promoting their goods. Whoever shouts the loudest makes the most sales...
In the meat market you can see whole sides of beef hanging on hooks, waiting for buyers. Both meat and fish are openly displayed for sale, so the market in these spots is not only noisy, but also quite smelly.
The displays of the stalls are hardly decorated. This is not usual in the in Varvarkeios market hall, because here the goods as are in the foreground. Since all products are fresh, flourishes and decorations are not needed.
Here you can not touch, but you taste taste. Many traders also let you try the cheese or olives in small bites directly at the sales stand.
If you get hungry looking at all the delicious food, go to one of the small cafés in the market hall or make yourself comfortable in a snack bar. Here the products are offered in processed form, and traditional Greek food is served. There are also plenty of taverns and restaurants outside the market hall in the Varvarkeios area.
TIP: Even if the atmosphere is a bit reminiscent of an oriental bazaar, there is no bargaining here, in contrast to other markets, the prices are set and fixed.
Entrance, Tickets and Tours
There is no entrance fee to visit the Varvarkeios central market.
The market is open from Monday to Saturday. It is advisable to go there as early as possible, when everything is still nice and clean and fresh. Since the market hall opens very early, it usually closes in the late afternoon or early evening.
How to Get to Varvarkeios Central Market
The Athens Varvarkeios Central Market is located half-way between Omonia square and Monastiraki Square at 42 Athinas Street
It can be reached by taking the green metro line 1 and the red line 2, Omonia Square station. From there it is only a few minutes' walk.
History and Facts about Varvarkeios Central Market
The Varvarkeios Central Market was founded in 1886 and named after Ioannis Varvakis who founded a Lyceum near by. Construction started in 1878 and was delayed by a fire in 1884. It has been in contenus operation since its opening in 1886, despite bombings, earthquakes, and disasters. The building was to be demolished after the 1944 December Riots with the intention to build a high rise building in its place, but these plans were never carried out. However, it has been renovated several times over the years.
Today, Varvarkeios Central Market is a thriving place where you can find exotic spices, meat, vegetables, and nuts from all over Greece.
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