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Athens Food Tour

Exarchia: Taste of Utopia

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On this afternoon food tour of Exarchia, we’ll explore this vibrant neighborhood’s roots in political activism but also what makes it 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, complex and exceptionally vibrant district.

ABOUT

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.

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.

On this tour, 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.

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DETAILS

  • Group size: 2-7
  • 5.5 hours
  • Monday-Saturday 1pm
  • Exarchia
  • Culinary Backstreets
    Price: Adults x $140

Dietary

Some, but not all, stops can be altered for vegetarians, but not for vegans. Can accommodate gluten-free diets. Alcohol is served.

Mobility

Easy, flat terrain and stroller-friendly. Includes market visits that can be crowded at times. Children welcome.
REVIEWS
Our guide was knowledgeable, fun and super considerate of the one guest with a gluten allergy (brought her special treats to substitute for the foods she couldn’t eat).... Read more Read less
The many dynamic "off the beaten track" and food aplenty venues we visited were each unique experiences frequented by locals, likely unknown to a city visitor.... Read more Read less
Food, culture, and a willingness to answer all the tourists' questions about modern Greece and its politics.... Read more Read less
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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 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? 90% will be refunded if given 1 week notice prior to walk and 50% will be refunded if given 72 hours notice or more. Less than 72 hours is non-refundable.
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, you can book it for a supplement by selecting book entire excursion. If it is not available on booking, we may be able to arrange one for an additional fee. Please contact us at walks@culinarybackstreets.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 walks@culinarybackstreets.comif 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 walks@culinarybackstreets.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, pescetarians and vegans? This walk can be altered for vegetarians and pescatarians, however, we do not recommend this activity for vegans.
Are your walks gluten-free? Our Downtown Athens walk can be completely modified for gluten-free route.
How physically demanding is the walk? TThe 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 charge $25 for children 6 and younger.
Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return, once the tour is over? Our tour prices don’t include transportation to and from the tour. 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 10 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.
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.

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Guests

Adults
Age 13+
Children
Ages 7-12
Children
Ages 6 & under
Exarchia: Taste of Utopia
Adults x $140
Total
Fee includes everything consumed on the walk.
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