Welcome to Part 3/3 of our Vegan Travel Blogs in Europe. Today is all about Greece! I am going to be covering all of the delicious food we found in both Santorini and Athens. We both didn’t speak or understand a word of Greek but luckily everybody we encountered spoke English really well. There were plenty of veg-friendly options and we ate some really diverse meals. Let’s get into it!
Just a side note: If you travel to Santorini, I would recommend yet again an Air BnB. It is much more difficult to source options here and the terrain is harder to navigate. We stayed in Oia for the incredible views but if we ever returned, Fira would be a much better option as it’s closer to everything. In Athens, we stayed at the beautiful Hera Hotel which was close to all the main attractions and their buffet breakfast was quite vegan-friendly. They provided rice milk on request and lots of dried fruit, toast, jam and cereal.
We spent two incredible nights in Oia at a magnificent Air BnB that looked out over the entire island. I still cannot believe how lucky we were to stay there. On our first day, we ate lunch at Lotza which was an omnivorous restaurant with vegetarian/vegan options. The majority of cafe’s in Greece serve dishes called Fava and Gemista which are already made vegan. Fava is made with yellow split-peas and is typically served in oil with capers, onions and lemon juice. Gemista are stuffed peppers with rice. Both are equally filling and delicious. You can find them everywhere.
Another veg-friendly restaurant in Oia is Karma which is hidden down a side-street with an enchanting little garden you can sit in. They serve a boiled chickpea stew (see below) that has been slow-cooked for 5 hours. I was blown away by it. It seems so simple but the flavours were incredible. Francis had a large plate of basil spaghetti with a napoli sauce. We were really impressed with this place!
One of the best things Francis and I did on our entire trip was the 3 hour hike from Oia to Fira. Make sure you start early so the sun doesn’t hit you hard. We saw the most breathtaking views and sights of the island along the way. It was a real accomplishment. When we arrived in Fira, we treated ourselves to a fantastic lunch at Falafel Land. You can veganise any of their falafels by substituting tzatziki for tahini. You won’t believe how cheap their prices are too! You get such value for your money with a generous and tasty meal.
Tip: Make sure you watch the sunset in Oia! It’s actually the number one attraction there and so magical…
On our last day in Oia, we ate lunch at Pelekanos Restaurant. Not only does it offer 360 views of the island, it also provides veg-friendly options. We ate dolmadas (vine leaves stuffed with rice and lemon juice), a refreshing watermelon and mint salad plus this cute trio of veggie burgers. Please note, these burgers are not served vegan unless you ask them to be.
BTW: In Santorini, donkey trail-riding is a top attraction. It is incredibly cruel and unnecessary. We saw so many poor donkeys chained up outside in the blistering sun. It broke our hearts. Please don’t support this. There is an organisation worldwide called The Donkey Sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates mistreated donkeys. It has a station in Santorini for these beautiful creatures. We live in a day and age where we can easily get around other ways so I hope this becomes a thing of the past very soon.
I loved Athens so much more than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s so green, full of history and the people are very kind. It’s also a very vegan-friendly city! We were so amazed at the endless list of options that appeared on Happy Cow. Here are our favourite places to eat whilst passing through:
Avocado is an all vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Athens that is a bit expensive but so worth it. It focuses on nutrition, green-goodness and healthy eating. It’s one of those places where the vegan menu is so extensive and appealing that you feel stressed out. You just want to eat it all! I ordered the Luminus Vegan which was a fusion of recipes from Europe, Far East and South America. This dish has brown rice, portobello mushrooms, snow peas, edamame and lemongrass cooked in gluten free tamari sauce and topped with Avocado’s signature guacamole dip. You can also order juices, desserts, snacks and more.
We ate here twice, it was that good. Zachari & Alati is a 100% vegan middle-eastern restaurant run by a lovely family that pride themselves on their cooking. We ordered falafel wraps, falafel plates, pies and baked goods for dessert. This was another place that charges too little for incredible food and quality portions. I cannot recommend this place highly enough so please pay it a visit if you’re in the area.
Tip: Halva is 99.9% vegan most of the time but check the ingredients just in case. It is the most delicious sweet-treat from Greece – I ate so much of it whilst I was there, I gave myself a tummy-ache. I bought a packet from Zachari & Alati (see above) and it literally only contained coconut syrup and sesame seeds. It was soft, gooey perfection.
Speaking of sweet-treats, Ice Queen makes…are you ready for it…VEGAN WAFFLES!!! I cannot remember the last time I had eaten waffles before Athens but they were heaven and I want more right now! My waffles (on the left) were topped with bananas and coconut ice-cream. Francis’s (on the right) were drizzled in vegan nutella (yes you read correctly) and topped with melon, banana and coconut ice-cream. All 100% vegan!
The final place I am going to mention on this post is one all vegans should visit when travelling to Athens: Vegan Nation! This place is relatively new and offers pre-cooked vegan meals, sandwiches, wraps, salads, desserts and juices. You can buy them in bulk as ready-made lunches and dinners. How awesome is that? Francis and I ate dinner there one night and then stocked up on vegan sandwiches for our day trip to Delphi the next day. We ate jackfruit wraps and rolls with babaganoush – yum! For our last day in Athens, we returned and bought more sandwiches for our late-flight to London that evening. I’m so proud of this place. It is such a great idea and we made excellent use out of them during our stay.
I hope you enjoyed all of our vegan-finds in Europe. As mentioned, all 3 of our blogs will be up on Vegan Travel so feel free to venture over there and support our profile along with all of the other bloggers/vloggers. We absolutely love travelling as vegans. You get to explore the cities you are in rather than just pick the first place you see and every dollar you spend is a vote for what you believe in. We look forward to more vegan travel in the near-future. Until then…
Peace & Love xoxo