Greek cuisine has some of the most exquisite dishes and not only can you tour the main or alternative neighborhoods in search of the best places to have lunch or dinner, but you can also enjoy the best wines or even take cooking classes.
From lunch on a terrace with an open view of the Parthenon to dinner in a revolving restaurant with an open panoramic view of Athens, the options for a gastronomic experience in the Greek capital are varied.
1. Private gastronomic tour with 10 Greek food tastings
One of the best ways to discover the culture of a country is to get to know the local gastronomy and a tour of this type will allow you to taste the best flavors of Greece.
With the accompaniment of a private guide you can live a tasting experience while visiting markets, food counters and local stalls.
On these tours you will walk through the Psiri and Monastiraki neighborhoods and visit the Central Market, where the tasting will begin in classic Greek cheese stores.
What you will taste on this tour
You will taste kefalotyri cheese and feta cheese and also its pairing with raki, the aniseed drink that refers to Ancient Greece, you will taste the exquisite puff pastry bougatsa and koulouri, a Greek bread characteristic of the local gastronomy and its multicultural influences.
You will also taste different varieties of Greek coffee, the local version of the Middle Eastern kebab, sweet donuts and loukoumades pastries while contemplating all the attractions of the Plaka neighborhood, the oldest in Athens.
In all cases the local guide will tell you about the local stories, mention the traditions related to each food and guide you through the street art murals of Psiri. These tours are very common in Athens, especially for the variety of typical tastings proposed.
- Price... These tours start from 109 euros per person including tastings and the assistance of the private local guide.
- Duration... Approximately 3 hours.
- Advantages of this tour... You will get an approach to the local gastronomy through the main Greek dishes and also a historical tour of Psiri, Monastiraki and Plaka, three of the most traditional neighborhoods of Athens.
2. Evening gastronomic tour for small groups and wine tasting in Athens
In these gastronomic night tours you will be able to combine the tasting of cheeses, meats and sausages with the most exquisite wines of Greece. It is possible that some of them you have found if you have made a tour of the Greek islands.
On this tour, which usually takes place around the historic Syntagma Square , you can also see the illuminated Parliament building, a spectacle in itself.
The first stop on these tours is usually in Plaka, where you will sample the best local liquors in the food stores on Adrianou Street , the main artery of the neighborhood. At the street stalls you will also taste souvlaki, a delicious skewer of meats and vegetables with Greek dressings, keftedes, Greek kebab and other neighborhood specialties.
The wine tasting usually takes place in Psiri, where the tour continues in one of the local tavernas so you can enjoy four different varieties of local wines before ending the tour with a traditional Greek ice cream. All along the way you will be assisted by a private local guide.
Details of interest
- Price... These tours start from 110 euros per person, including wine tasting, wine tasting and the assistance of the private local guide.
- Duration... Approximately 4 hours.
- Advantages of this tour... You can enjoy an interesting night tour and taste some of the best wines of Greece.
- Disadvantages of this tour... It is exclusively for seniors, so if you plan to travel with children to Athens it could be a problem.
3. Greek cooking class with dinner on a terrace overlooking the Acropolis
On these interactive tours you will not only get to know Greek gastronomy by tasting it, but you will also learn how to prepare your own dishes.
On one of the terraces of the Monastiraki neighborhood , one of Athens' must-see sites, and in small groups of no more than ten people, a registered chef will teach you how to cook a three-course dinner which you will then taste at dinner overlooking the Acropolis, the Plaka skyline and the Hill of the Nymphs.
On these excursions you will learn how to cook tzatziki sauce, Greek spanakopita cake and other local delicacies. The class lasts approximately three hours and afterwards you will be able to dine with your group on a terrace with an open panoramic view of the Acropolis.
If you are a cooking enthusiast, this experience may be perfect for you, as you will have the permanent assistance of a professional chef and you will be able to enjoy a dinner with one of the best views in Europe at the end of the class.
- Price... These excursions start from 87 euros per person including materials and the assistance of a professional chef.
- Duration... Approximately 4 hours.
- Advantages of this excursion... You will be able to learn the secrets of Greek cuisine with the advice of a professional chef.
4. Dinner in a revolving restaurant with a panoramic view of Athens
On these excursions you can live an experience as curious as it is fascinating. Suspended on a platform located 60 meters above the ground and supported by a crane, you will have one of the best views of Athens illuminated at night while you dine on a six-course meal of traditional Greek cuisine.
You will share the experience with twenty other people. This excursion takes place in the Gazi neighborhood. The price usually includes the full menu, open bar of alcoholic beverages and the necessary safety items to keep you on your feet for the entire dinner.
This unusual experience is one of the best things to do in Athens at night and will not only allow you to see the Acropolis, but on clear days you will be able to see the illuminated skyline of the Greek capital.
Details of interest
- Price... These excursions start from €145 per person for a full menu and open bar of alcoholic beverages.
- Duration... Approximately 2 hours.
- Advantages of this excursion... You will be able to see the Acropolis and the skyline of the city from a height of approximately 60 meters.
5. Alternative gastronomic tour of the Gazi neighborhood...
Gazi is currently one of the best kept secrets of the Greek capital, but for some time now it has been open to tourism and it is possible to visit the most eclectic neighborhood of Athens and discover it in all its facets.
One of them is through these alternative gastronomic tours in which you can also get closer to the cultural life of the neighborhood.
As there are no large concentrations of tourists in Gazi and the surrounding neighborhood of Kerameikos, you will be able to enjoy a leisurely evening stroll with stops at street food and local drink stalls.
You will also learn about the city's theaters, roving music and ancient local tavernas that escape the Michelin stars, but not the exquisite delicacies of Greek cuisine.
In small groups of no more than ten people, you will be able to connect with the city's street art, with its flavors and also with the street culture in one of Athens' not-to-be-missed neighborhoods that is frequent on bike tours.
- Price... These tours start from €55 per person including tastings and local guide assistance.
- Duration... Approximately 3 hours.
- Advantages of this tour... This is the ideal tour to get to know the alternative circuit of Athens on a culinary tour and has an excellent price/quality ratio.
How to book a culinary tour in Athens?
You can book a gastronomic tour in advance online or choose it once you are in the city. Please note that most of these tours are designed for small groups, so if you try to book over the date you may find that the groups do not have space.
If you visit Athens in summer you should consider that temperatures can be a bit high, so in those cases I advise you to opt for a night tour as the heat is less intense during the night.
How long is a gastronomic tour in Athens?
The answer depends on the chosen excursion, but on average these gastronomic tours last between two and four hours, including tastings, walks through the different neighborhoods, wine tastings and all the experiences of each of the tour activities you have chosen.
As they are short excursions, they probably won't interfere with your travel plan, even if you are planning a short stay in the city. In this case, a gastronomic tour with a neighborhood tour could be a good option to get to know in the same activity the gastronomic profile of Greece and also some of the most significant neighborhoods of the city.
If you are planning to stay only two days in Athens, here is a list of places to visit that could be of great help.
What will I see on this type of excursion?
Generally speaking, these excursions are designed so that you can get to know the gastronomy of Greece and also how it is related to Greek culture.
That is why you will not only enjoy tastings of local food but you will also walk through the most representative neighborhoods of Athens, and also some alternative sites, depending on which tour you choose.
Most tours will allow you to tour Plaka, which is the oldest neighborhood of the Greek capital and a multicultural site with Turkish influences, Monastiraki, the eclectic Gazi, Kerameikos and Psiri.
You will also enjoy open views of the Acropolis, which is illuminated at night to create a magical atmosphere, and the Parthenon, which is one of the most important buildings of Ancient Greece.
In all these excursions you will be assisted by an expert local guide or a professional chef, depending on the chosen tour, who will not only introduce you to Greek gastronomy but also to the secrets of the sites you will visit.
Tips for a gastronomic tour or a cooking class in Athens
If you are planning to visit Athens during the high season, keep in mind that spaces on small group tours can sell out, so for those cases I recommend you to book in advance online as soon as you have your trip itinerary organized.
If you visit Athens in summer, you will find that temperatures tend to be high, which could interfere with your experience during the day. For those cases I recommend that you opt for the night alternatives, as the cooler temperatures will allow you to better enjoy the excursions.
If you plan to visit Athens during Christmas, the excursions may alter their activities to include traditional Greek holiday meal options.
In some neighborhoods such as Monastiraki during Christmas Eve the lights gain the streets and windows of the houses and in addition to the local gastronomy you will also discover the city illuminated with festive motifs.
Note also that some excursions are exclusively for seniors , something that could interfere if you are visiting Athens with children.
How much does a gastronomic tour, dinner or cooking class in Athens cost?
It will depend on the tour chosen, as the less frequent alternatives, such as the high-altitude dinner in the Gazi neighborhood or the tastings with Greek wine tasting, tend to be the most expensive, with prices starting at 110 euros.
Other more economical options, such as the tour of the alternative neighborhood of Gazi with tasting of street food and drinks, are the ones with the best price-quality ratio and start from 55 euros.
All these options include in each case the assistance of an expert local guide or professional chef, in the case of cooking classes, and the tasting dishes. With an extra cost you can choose to add a larger number of dishes and other wine variants in the excursions that include wine tasting.
Why is it advisable to do a gastronomic tour or take a cooking class in Athens?
With the assistance of a local guide you can learn about the best places to eat in Athens and the secrets of each neighborhood, especially when you opt for excursions in alternative places, such as Gazi and Kerameikos.
On the other hand, with a guided tour you can save time and money and avoid the hassle of having to organize a tour on your own.
I recommend that before booking the tour you consider which option is the most interesting for you and fits your travel plan. Afterwards, you will only have to enjoy one of the most multicultural gastronomies in Europe and all the flavors of Greece.