The Greeks are passionate about their food. Tasting some of the country’s best-loved dishes in their place of origin is an enlightening way to explore Greek culture and traditions, and Athens perhaps offers the most diverse range of food in the country.
This private, half-day walking tour gives you an introduction to the city’s markets, delis, bakers and food purveyors as well as Greek food traditions and customs. You’ll explore the heart of Athens as well as the up-and-coming area of Psirri, where the Varvakios Agora, Athens’s central market, is located, enjoying many food stops along the way.
Your walking tour begins in Syntagma Square, where you’ll meet your guide. They’ll guide you through the nearby streets and lanes before you reach your first stop of the day, a traditional bakery, where you can choose from a variety of Greek baked goods. As you walk, your guide fills you in on the fundamentals of Greek cuisine: sourcing the freshest ingredients, using seasonal produce and cooking with minimal fuss.
From the bakery, your walk takes you past some of Athens’s Byzantine and Greek Orthodox churches. You then reach the city’s central food market, which is set in a large, wrought-iron market hall and outdoors in the surrounding streets. Here, you’ll find everything from fishmongers and butchers loudly announcing their wares to rows and rows of olives, spices, cheeses and wild herbs. Dried chillies hang from the walls, smoked meats and sausages fill the air with tempting smells, and a wide range of plump, succulent Mediterranean fruit and vegetables overflows from the stalls.
Once you’ve had some time to explore the market and have heard a little about regional Greek cuisine and produce, your guide will lead you to a local delicatessen-café, where you can sit down to a platter of local cheeses and cured meats and find out about their origins. You’ll also have the option of ouzo (a dry anise-based apéritif) or tsipouro (a local pomace brandy) to wash it down.
From the deli, you’ll continue on foot around Psirri, passing some of the district’s most renowned examples of street art en route, before stopping at a local souvlaki restaurant in Monastiraki Square. Here you can try this enduringly-popular dish with the meat of your choice and will hear a little about fast-food traditions in Greece.
From Monastiraki Square, you head off on the final leg of your tour to Saint-Irene’s Square for a sweet Greek dessert of loukoumades (honey-soaked doughnuts), before saying goodbye to your guide.