Food tours have become highly popular in recent years among many travelers and it’s not hard to see why. What better way is there to discover a new culture than through their cuisine? In Greece, I had the chance to take part in a 3-hour food tour in Athens with Athens Walking Tours and I enjoyed every minute of it. The tour was informative, fun and I got the chance to try food I otherwise wouldn’t know about.
If you want to know what else to see/do in Athens, check out my “10 Reasons Why You Must Visit Athens”!
Here’s why you should go on the Athens Food Tour:
The food tour in Athens takes about 3.5 hours from 9:30 to 1pm. I found the length of the tour absolutely perfect and the start and end times worked well with me other travel plans as I was able to go on with sightseeing after the food tour and I didn’t lose any time.
I met up with my tour guide and fellow tour participants at 9:15 at Monastiraki Square in downtown Athens. Before I left the hotel, I did not have breakfast as I wanted to be able to eat as much food as I could – and that was a good choice. Our tour guide Despina waited for us with a sign saying “Athens Food Tour” and she checked our names. After a couple of minutes, the other participants showed up as well and the tour began. Our first stop was a small food stand where real Athenians buy their breakfast “koulouri”, a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds.
Our tour guide Despina guided us through a local area filled with Greek markets, shops and restaurants. What I really liked about the tour was that she always explained the origin of certain foods or dishes and how they came to Greece. She explained the connection between Turkish and Arabic foods and how these peoples adapted dishes from one another during times of occupation or flourishing trade. She always said, “You cannot talk about Greek food without mentioning its history!”, and I completely agree. Throughout the tour, I felt well-informed and learned a lot of new things. If you are a history buff like me, you will love this food tour!
The Best Souvenirs
Part of the tour took place in a family owned small Greek delicatessen store selling unique and traditional Greek products to the local population in Athens. Not only could we sample the finest feta cheeses, thyme honeys, olive oils and Greek yogurts, but we were also able to buy the things we sampled to take them home. Now, you might think this is one of those situations where the tour guides lure you in to buy overly priced knick-knacks trying to make a huge profit off of tourists – quite the contrary. Despina was very clear that we do not have to buy anything and there’s no pressure. She personally loves this shop and is passionate about the products and that’s why she took us there.
In the end, I got myself a quality bottle of olive oil for about 5 EUR as well as some delicious local thyme honey for about 4 EUR.
Local Fish and Fruit Market
Besides trying all kinds of food at local restaurants and cafes, Despina took us to the local fish and fruit market in Athens. It was amazing to see the variety of local seafood that Greece has to offer. This was also the place where most restaurants buy their fish and seafood from. Despina told us that before the markets close, the vendors call up different restaurants trying to sell the leftover seafood for discounted prices.
The fruit markets were also very interesting as the selection of quality seasonal fruits was simply overwhelming. Here, we got to try a bunch of cherries and soft peaches.
The Best Food In Athens
The best part about the tour is, obviously, the great amount of local dishes you get to try. During our tour, we tried about 8 different dishes and were not disappointed. From cheese and smoked meat over Greek sweets and desserts to traditional gyros, everything you could imagine and more was offered! Besides trying so much food, Despina also took us to spice shops selling home made dried ingredients and all sorts of Greek spices!
My favorite were probably the Greek pies we tried in the beginning of the tour, one of which was salty and the other sweet. I also loved trying feta cheese with thyme honey, a combination some might not thought of before the tour. The last dish, our surprise stop (shhhhh!), was a complete Greek gyros!
The Best Tour In Athens!
The food tour in Athens offered by Athens Walking Tours was absolutely wonderful and I recommend anyone who is looking for a unique, authentic experience with great food and lots of historical information to join the tour. Even though it was a food tour, I learned a lot about Greek culture and the city of Athens and came across a couple of unique sites during the tour. Our tour guide Despina was absolutely wonderful and competent and the tour was will timed and organized. Overall, I had a great time and got a unique insight into Greek culture.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post, but all opinions are my own.
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