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Sunday is traditionally a day of leisure for the average Greek, dedicated to two important aspects of life: food and family. Most Greeks enjoy the largest meal of this day at lunchtime, sharing it with an extended family that usually includes children, cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles.
On this walk – our own take on a classic Athens Sunday – we will start off at a leisurely pace, enjoying the quiet streets around downtown’s normally bustling historic Monastiriaki Square. We’ll begin with a fresh-baked koulouri at the bakery that supplies most of the city’s street vendors with this iconic street food, before exploring the nearby weekly flea market. There will be a good Greek coffee and breakfast’s second course: thick strained yogurt with honey and nuts alongside hosaf, a dried fruit and spice compote that’s a specialty of the Pontic Greeks exiled in the 1920’s from Turkey’s Black Sea region.
As our Sunday stroll continues through the cobblestoned streets of the Plaka, the historic neighborhood under the shadow of the Acropolis, we’ll walk past buildings and monuments representing the depth of Athenian history, from the ancient Agora and the Stoa of Attalos, a 2nd century B.C. shopping arcade, to one of Athens’ oldest functioning churches, where students still go to get a blessing before final exams.
From here, we’ll wend our way through Thissio and Petralona, two lively neighborhoods filled with cafes and classic tavernas, which still maintain an air of “old Athens” about them. Here will make our first lunch stop, sitting down for a meal of unforgettable grilled lamb chops and hand-cut fries in a family-run local institution.
Our final stop will be in nearby Psyri – a working-class neighborhood that’s still home to many old-school small businesses – to eat at another family-run spot, a traditional taverna located on a tranquil pedestrianized street, where we’ll join the locals who are eating out with their extended families. There we’ll enjoy Greek comfort food like dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), soutzoukakia (Smyrna-style meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce) and the season’s best horta (salads made of wild greens) among Athenian families and friends – a fitting end to our movable Sunday feast.
What is included in the fee?
In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – almost a dozen different edible specialties – are included in the price. A limited selection of alcohol is served on the walks and is included in the price.
How does the payment process work?
Once you have made a reservation, we require the full $135 fee to be paid in order to complete the online booking. Our online booking system uses Stripe to process secure payments.
What is your cancellation policy?
100% will be refunded if given 1 week notice prior to walk and 50% will be refunded if given 72 hours notice or more.
Are your walks public or private? How many people are on them?
Our walks are 2-7 people and are open to the public. If you would like to do a private walk, we may be able to arrange one for an additional fee. Please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Can I get a discount if I join more than one walk?
Yes, we offer a 10% discount to those who join more than one walk. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join multiple walks.
Are your walks suitable for people with food allergies?
This can vary based on a number of factors, including the food item in question. Please email us at email@example.com to discuss your situation before booking.
Are your walks suitable for vegetarians, pescetarians, and vegans?
We do not recommend this activity for vegetarians and vegans but pescetarians will only have to pass on a few offerings.
Are your walks suitable for a gluten-free diet?
This walk can be modified for gluten-free route.
How physically demanding are the walks?
The walk is about 2KM (1.25 miles) of fairly flat terrain, broken up into almost a dozen stops. The streets and sidewalks of Athens are quite well kept but we do recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes.
Can children join the walks?
Of course! We offer a 50% discount to children ages 12 and under, and we do not charge for children under the ages 6 and under.
Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return, once the tour is over?
Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own.
Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.
How much food will I get to try?
This is really up to you. We generally make between 9 and 12 eating stops on our walk and try to include some breaks from eating along the way. The price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our walks often involve street food and sharing food.
Is Athens safe these days?
Yes, despite the current economic instability, Athens is still a safe place to explore. Though demonstrations are a regular occurrence, they are largely peaceful and focused in certain parts of the city. In the area where we spend most of our time – the old market streets of downtown Athens – it’s business as usual.
There’s a yellowy crust, a puddle of honey and a scattering of walnuts, and it’s quite the most delicious yoghurt I’ve ever tasted. … A trained chef, Caroline is passionate about Greek cuisine and expertly weaves a path through the Central Market, pointing out the best fish, pork and tomatoes, before leading us to a tiny stall selling herby sausage patties with salad, olives and a glass of tsipouro (a pomace brandy). Read more
Greece may be plagued by financial woes but it is also in the middle of a culinary renaissance, and this has wide-ranging ramifications for travelers.”The culinary scene has been influenced by the crisis as many Greeks have retreated from global culinary trends to the comfort of Greek cooking,” says Despina Trivolis, who runs the Athens branch of the global network Culinary Backstreets . Read more
Un nouveau monde de fromage Vous le savez sûrement déjà, j’adore faire une visite guidée culinaire quand j’arrive dans une nouvelle ville pour me donner une petite idée de la scène gastronomique locale. J’ai fait la même chose à Athènes avec Culinary Backstreets pendant la Culinary Secrets of Downtown Athens Tour. À part plus de six heures de bouchées exquises, ai-je besoin de vous dire pourquoi je recommande la visite avec eux? C’est d’ailleurs pendant la tournée que j’ai découvert qu’il existe plusieurs sortes de fromage feta et que c’est un monde à part entière qui m’était jusque-là totalement inconnu. Attention, c’est cochon! Read more
There was far more to our Culinary Backstreets walk in central Athens. Starting with breakfast, we ate, walked, talked, photographed and ate even more around central Athens with our guide, the lovely Despina. I thought I knew Greek food, having eaten a lot of it during my life. And I did. It looked familiar, but in reality it was completely different. It was Greek food, but not as I knew it. And I loved it! Read more
Everyone else on my tour loved their time in the meat market and I absolutely loved the tour as a whole. I would heartily encourage anyone visiting Athens to give it a try. Read more
A Tailored Gluten-Free Card for Greece Read more