Kallidromiou Farmers Market is situated all the way along Kallidromiou street in central Athens. It is also known as Laiki Farmers Market, or Exarchia Farmers Market since it sits on a slope just above the Exarchia District, known for its lively graffiti scene, and just before you reach Strefi Hill.
In the Exarchia District leading up the hill toward Kallidromiou Farmers Market on Kallidromious street, you’ll stumble upon a mixture of crammed and aromatic Athenian corner delis that exhibit everything from creamy blocks of Greek Feta in vast brine-filled tins to weekly catchups. Nearby, honest bakeries that brook neither genetic modifications nor gluten sit alongside proud butcher shops whose artisans parcel heavy steak in thick paper secured with elastic bands.
There is also a plethora of vintage clothing and record stores set among occasional artist and stationery supply stores, and multiple bookshops for intellectuals of every persuasion. This brazen assault on your senses is served with a side of cafe culture, philosophers, students, and activists of all ages who occupy the pavements and tables scattered around in pedestrianised areas.
Kallidromiou Farmers Market is set against this backdrop every Saturday, starting from the Kallidromiou Steps at 7 am.
The market offers an endless array of plump, fresh fruit and vegetables displayed in market stalls far into the distance. You’ll also find dragon fruit and curious specious of stringy mushrooms alongside stacks of ‘free grazing chicken’ eggs and towers of fish; assorted honey in recycled, mismatched glass pots; perilous pyramids of nuts and sultanas; and a vast array of gleaming olives in capacious, briny, wooden buckets.
Friendly Market Traders
All food is sold directly from the producers and offered at great prices. Locals old and young trailed expectant shopping trolley bags along the length of the street as they surveyed the goodies on offer and returned to select their merchant. Don’t be put off by the crowds and good-natured shouting; it’s all part of the fun! You’ll even find mini street bands weaving their way happily through the crowds.
On our first visit in December 2022, one of three we made to the same market, we schlepped up the steep hill from the top of Stounari street on what was, for us hardy Northern Irelanders, a very warm day (21 Celcius).
While not all Kallidromiou Farmers Market traders speak English – why should they? – several called a neighbour to help out, or we made do with just a few words in common. Hand signals or the requisite number of raised fingers work well in any language. In any case, traders simply place a bag in your hand and let you pick what you wish. Everything is weighed and the price displayed on a calculator should you wish to haggle good-naturedly like the Exarchians. (Everything was so well-priced, we didn’t even try. And, prices were sometimes rounded down to the Euro.)
Items are often ordered and bought by the kilo. Though we simply ordered most other items easily enough, coming back with an accidental kilo of fat, pimento-stuffed olives (at easily one fifth the price we’d pay at home for something much smaller and in a jar) was a problem we were happy to solve over the coming week! They make a great accompaniment to a simple plate with bread and cheese.
We gathered up a small rucksack full of very well-priced store-cupboard basics: potatoes, peppers, onions, eggs, bananas, apples, and a pot of olive paste. Almost back at the street from which we’d entered, we were encouraged into a store by a lady with a tiny stand offering cheese samples. We exited the shop laden with some locally produced cheese and a very good 6 euro Merlot, both of which were soon paired with some crusty bread for lunch. My travelling companion also fell prey to a pitta-wrapped pork skewer from a souvlaki stall on the way out of the market.
If you’re back in the same area later in your stay, walk a few streets over toward Strefi Hill where lovers and photographers gather for the sunset. You can enjoy views out toward the Aegean Sea and all the high spots of the Athenian hills, including the sharp outline of the Parthenon’s columns on the Acropolis against the fading, apricot haze of a late afternoon sky.
Information on Kallidromiou Farmers Market
Read more about Kallidromiou Farmers Market (with alternative names) at Kaiki Farmers’ Market or Exarchia Farmers Market. It is open from 07:00 am on Saturday mornings and officially runs to 13:00 pm (though most days we were there, it was open and bunged with people well beyond 15:30).
You can get there by walking from Omonia or Panepistimiou metro stations. Or, you can walk about 15 minutes from Syntagma Square. There are many taxis in the area that you can hail off the street or use either the Uber or Taxiplon taxi apps, so it is very easy to get there and back if you’d prefer not to walk.