Athens Food Tour
Exarchia: Taste of Utopia
Quick Bite: On this afternoon food tour of Exarchia, we’ll explore this vibrant neighborhood’s roots in political activism but also investigate why it is also home to some of the city’s best eats. This 6-hour tour includes more than a dozen essential bites, sips and stops that illustrate the history and culture of this iconic and complex district.
Before the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia became the utopian social experiment and hotbed of political activism that it is today, the area was the equivalent of a college town nestled into the middle of the city. Flanked by the University of Athens and the Polytechnic Institute, Exarchia developed quickly throughout the 20th century as a magnet for students and professors from all over Greece. Cafe culture thrived and a wide range of eateries opened — from student-friendly street food to private dining clubs for academics — to satisfy the diverse cravings of this new educated class. Over the decades, artists, writers, musicians and activists were also drawn to Exarchia, which in the late 20th century was the stage of some defining moments in Greek political activism, solidifying the neighborhood’s reputation as a self-governing, DIY and bohemian oasis in the middle of the city.
Fully taking in the complexity — and charm — of Exarchia requires diving into its backstreets. On this day filled with bites, sips and illuminating stops, we’ll do just that, tracing the evolution of the neighborhood through its food culture. We’ll visit an old-school pastry shop opened in 1915 and a classic delicatessen for a tasting of products from the Mani region — olives, halva, honey and other artisanal products. We’ll have delicious rustic savory pies like the ones mothers from all over the country send to their children when they are away in college. We’ll visit a diner serving traditional specialties not usually found outside of Greek homes. In view of some of the city’s most famous political street art, we’ll stop for a series of meze at an ouzeri frequented by community organizers. Along the way, we’ll visit a number of spots that local activists had “taken over” to better serve the community, including a park like no other. There will also be an epic souvlaki tasting, a special bite at a Cretan canteen and, at an underground cellar, a wine tasting focused on native grape varieties and a final digestif of tsipouro from a distillery in northern Greece’s pastoral Tyrnavos mountains.
As night falls and the bars begin to buzz, you can head home with a deep understanding of Athens’ most complex and exciting neighborhood. Or, like us, you may also find yourself caught up in the spirit of Exarchia, sticking around for one more round (or two) with locals.
Fee includes everything consumed on the walk. Some special features:
|Best route for gluten-free diets||Children welcome|
|Samples fish, can be altered for pescatarians||Includes market visits|
|Can be altered for vegetarians, but not for vegans||Terrain fairly flat/ Stroller – friendly|
- How are you dealing with COVID-19 risk on your walks?
- We have reinforced our commitment to safety with new guidelines to assure maximum safety of our guests on our walks in terms of social distancing and hygiene while maintaining the quality of the experience. For more details on our precautions, read here.
Our routes have been altered during this period of time to ensure the safety of our guests, guides and community. Our cancellation policy is extremely flexible to deal with changes in travel plans.
- What are the current travel restrictions or requirements in Greece?
- You can read the full travel regulations by location for Greece here. Starting June 15th, 2020, there will be no quarantine requirements for guests entering Greece. Our cancellation policy is extremely flexible to deal with changes in travel plans. Please contact us for specific questions on travel restrictions.
- 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.
- Why is the Culinary Backstreets tour more expensive than some other walking tours?
- Our approach is different than most tour companies. Each of our culinary walks is the outcome of considerable research. We work with academics in the field and our own team of experienced professionals – both guides and local journalists. Our ongoing publishing of articles, from restaurant reviews to features about the intersection of food and culture, constantly feeds new material into the culinary walks, so they evolve and constantly improve. Though costly, we believe that this is how to create the quality experiences we strive for. We practice honest tourism and would never accept a free lunch or any sort of commission. On the contrary, we are proud to know that the money spent during the culinary walk goes to support businesses that we believe in, helping to preserve the social and cultural fabric of the cities we love so dearly.
- 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. The Downtown Athens walk can accommodate participants who do not eat fish, seafood, or pork. Dairy and nut allergies can also be accommodated. Participants with allergies to raw tomato, raw onion, raw garlic, mint or bell peppers can join this walk.
- Are your walks suitable for vegetarians, pescatarians, and vegans?
- This walk can be altered for vegetarians and pescatarians, however, we do not recommend this activity for vegans.
- Are your walks suitable for a gluten-free diet?
- Our Downtown Athens walk can be completely 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.