A Gluten Free Athens Get Away
In November of 2018, I surprised my mom during her trip to Israel with a little 3 day Athens get away. It was both of our first times in Greece and our obsession with Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had our expectations high!
In my opinion, 3 days was the perfect amount of time to see all of Athens. We enjoyed time by the water, historic sites like the Acropolis, and delicious cocktails and fun local bars without feeling like we missed out on anything due to our short trip.
Arriving early in the morning, we landed and headed to our Airbnb. I’ve found that I actually prefer to stay outside of the centre of town during my travels. Staying in non touristy neighborhoods gives me the opportunity to see more of the local gems. Our Airbnb was about a 30 minute walk from the Acropolis via a cute pedestrian street and just minutes from Hadreons Arch.
After we checked in, we headed into town to explore. Our first reaction: shock! If you haven’t been, you would not believe the number of penis shaped souvenirs we found. Second reaction: intrigued by all the yogurt options.
Around sunset, we went to A is for Athens to watch a beautiful sunset with a peach wine spritzer for me and coffee for mom.
Our final stop of the night was Noelle.
Noelle is a wonderful old timey bar, also called “The Holiday Bar,” located just a few minutes from the centre square. There we tried some delicious and unique cocktails inside of a beautifully decorated room- prepared for Christmas year round. (You can read more about my favorite bars in Athens here.)
Our second day was a long one, jam packed with visits to historic sites. For brunch, we went to Veganaki– a lovely vegan cafe located right between our airbnb and town. We had vegan GF spanakopita, moussaka, coffee, and fresh lemonade. It was a tiny little joint where everything was made fresh and looked amazing.
After brunch, we visited the Acropolis. It was interesting to learn about the history and see the panoramic view of Athens but of course quite touristy. After less than an hour there- we were ready to move on. Next on our adventure was the Jewish Museum which was an unexpectedly well done. We enjoyed reading the history of Jews who were protected by the Greeks during the Holocaust and spent quite a while inside. Someone at the museum recommended we visit the Holocaust Memorial too so we set off on our way.
On our journey, we stumbled upon a cute boutique that had a “colored coffee bar” inside it! I tried blue latte while my mom looked at their gorgeous clothes.
When we arrived at the Holocaust memorial, it was sadly fairly unmarked and easy to pass. It did happen to be near the local synagogue so I decided to go and pray mincha. To my surprise- the shul was only open in the morning and only had davening a couple mornings a week. (which you need to plan attendance in advance.)
Next, we headed to do a little shopping. We explored the winding streets of Athens without any specific destination. We stopped for authentic Greek yogurt during out walk. Afterwards, Mom and I popped into Bretto’s Distillery to look around. Neither of us were ready for a drink so we decided to continue on our journey instead.
The following hours were spent walking through the Monstiraki Flea Market. We stumbled upon the nearby Mirch Cafe which serves up delicious Indian food packed with spice. Their spice levels were shockingly high enough to appease my mom who asks for her food to be on fire. We split curry and a starter- trying not to fill up in one place.
After a lot more walking and what must have been 100 second hand stores, we were in need of a snack. We grabbed French fries, but not just any fries. These were topped with feta and tatziki! While we ate them we went window shopping on Emou street. This street is which is known for its big brands like Zara, H &M, The Body Shop and more. We shopped til we dropped before finishing the night with gelato from the infamous Davinci Gelato.
On our final morning, we started out with a visit to the National Garden. This isn’t just a garden- it actually has animals there as well! After a morning stroll, we went to grab yogurt for breakfast before hopping on the bus to go to Port of Piraeus. The Port is about a half an hour away form town by bus. At the Port walked all around for hours. We popped in and out of local bakeries, stores, and stopped by the beach for a little rest. Thousands of flights of stairs later, we stopped for mom to get a kebab and for me to get some fries before heading back to town for our final night in Athens.
For dinner we went to our favourite meal of the trip- Tazza All Day. Tazza is a funky little cafe near the center of town with tons of antiques crowding the walls. As an avid potato eater, I can objectively say they had the best potatoes I have had in my entire life. We also had delicious roasted veggies and finished off with traditional Greek yogurt. It was the perfect end to the trip.
The Down Low
Public transit to and from the Athens airport is simple and easy to navigate which was great for us as we had weird hour flights. Depending on where you go, drinks and food are cheap but don’t fall into tourist traps ( like we did on the first day but I decided to leave out of this post.) In the central square you will likely spend lots of money and get shitty food and service. Better to head onto a side street and seek out the cafes that seem to be filled with locals! We used cabs a few times which were surprisingly cheap and I recommend taking advantage of.
If you have an extra day, or even instead of Port of Piraeus, I recommend taking a trip to the Islands. I felt like Athens was very much like Tel Aviv. There weren’t so many unique things about the city other than historic sites.
There are great vegan spots for those that choose to eat out in vegan restaurants for kashrut reasons. Avocado & Veganaki are both great, plus there are lots of awesome health food stores around town.
Find all the spots we ate at here on my Gluten Free World Map!