When foodies think of bazaars of spices, fresh fish, and freshly cut meats they think of gastronomical delights conjured up from the creative minds of the most decorated and noted chefs. Now, if you are vacationing in Athens, put the Bahar and the Varvakios markets on Evripidou Street on your vacation itinerary. At Bahar, you will find mounds of approx 2500 spices to compete with the fantasy of a Spice route bazaar of old. Expect to wait to get in as there is usual a line at this most popular location.
At the Varvakios market, which is more like an Aladdins lamp experience for the true foodie explorer/chef, you will have a true 'sensual' experience. It can be quite titillating between the volume of the booth salesmen touting their goods, to the smells of fish (especially for a first time visitor), to the colors and motion. If you get hungry looking at all the choices, you can go to one of the many great restaurants, ie: the Papandreou restaurant (open 24 hours) where you won't believe the generous portions. The market place is a huge building built in Roman style being started in 1878 and finished in 1886 as has been a local mainstay ever since. It's close to bus lines and trains, but if you have a car, or are taking a taxi, know that the traffic can be quite challenging. Walking tours are a great choice to see this area.
FYI: Opening hours that we would suggest to go would be 10: am to 1:00 pm. The market is closed Sundays.
Note: If you are in Athens during the holidays, Easter, Clean Monday, Christmas etc. please be advised there are very large crowds of locals here. The shops and restaurants however, add hours to accommodate the demand.
*Helpful link: This great short video shows the "flavors" of the Varvakios experience. http://youtu.be/QjvaxYl1oNE
Customize your Athens experience. http://www.archaeologous.com/tours/24/custom-half-day-sightseeing-tour-athens/