This tour was so much more than just a food tour. They should rename it, “Food, History, Culture and Good Banter Around Athens”. I suppose that is a bit long though.
We met up with Rachel in Monastiraki square on a GORGEOUS September (the best month in Greece) morning. She met us with a little treat (which I will not reveal as that takes the fun out it) and introduced herself and her son Sam who was helping out. She gave the group a little history of how she started leading the tours and the group itself did a little intro session.
On a personal level, I liked Rachel right off the bat. There is nothing worse than getting a weirdo for a tour guide who you will be forced to chit chat with for the next 4 hours. So they got a tick right away for friendly and personable guide.
I’m going to give some details about our afternoon with Rachel, but not an exact play by play for two reasons. Reason one is that they change the tours every time based on the group and the group’s interests. Reason two is because I like surprises and I want you to be surprised when you take your tour with Rachel or Mike!
Monastiraki and Psiri
We strolled around Monastiraki and Psiri which are neighborhoods that are always full of sights, sounds and smells at every turn. These areas can be a bit intimidating for a first time Athens visitor as they have many closed down shops with graffiti on the walls. That’s one of the great reasons to go on a walking tour with a local – if you are alone, you may miss some cool things because the streets aren’t ‘super welcoming’ at first glance.
I was super excited when I learned about our first stop.
(I said I’m not going to ruin the tour for you, but you should watch this whole video before visiting Athens anyway)
Two of my favorite Greek foods in one stop! Spanikopita and Bougatsa. Bam!
Athens Central Market
We made our way to the Central Municipal Athens Market on Athinas St and it just so happened to be my first time visiting this market.
There is a section for meat and another specifically for seafood. I’ve watched enough shows on the Travel Channel to know what to expect of this type of meat market. These are not places that I personally seek out when I am visiting a new city but it was interesting to see nonetheless.
I seriously can’t imagine what this joint smells like in mid August!
We crossed the street and got out of the ‘smell zone’ and entered the fruit and veggie market. This part of the market is like the typical ‘Laiki Agora’ that you will find all over Athens on any day of the week.
Each neighborhood has it’s scheduled Laiki day where farmers bring in their local produce and sell to the locals. Rachel hooked us up with some seasonal fruits and the group happily munched away.
History, Culture and Good Banter Around Athens
The great thing about our tour with Rachel and Sam is that while we were walking around Athens, they were constantly sharing little tidbits with us about the local culture and relevant historical info. They showed us interesting shops that I never knew existed (even after living here for over 5 years).
It was seriously like walking around a new city with old friends!
We all sat down at a taverna and had a tasty gyro. I’m kind of a gyro snob, so I was pleasantly surprised when I took a bite and found it was really good!
We checked out a few churches on our way to Plaka which was our last area of the day. The tour really did have a nice mix of culture, history and wasn’t just about stuffing our faces with yummy Greek food. We were definitely stuffed by the end though!
Our last stop was in a beautifully shaded garden cafe/restaurant on a side street in Plaka. What a great find! There we enjoyed some mezedes (Greek tapas), a few local dishes and Greek wine. I think Rachel wanted to feed us more, but we were all pretty full at this point.
I definitely suggest taking this tour to anyone visiting Athens. Even if it is not your first time in Athens, you’ll surely see some new sites. If you are a local with visitors, it is nice to let someone else be in charge and lead the way. You’ll definitely learn a few new things and meet some nice people along the way.
Food Around Athens
Website : www.foodaroundathens.com
Facebook page : www.facebook.com/FoodAroundAthens