If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I just spent a few weeks exploring Greece as part of my journey through Europe over the next few months.
I love travel, and it has been a lifelong goal of mine to work and travel the world. So far, it’s been incredible.
I love exploring new cultures, meeting new people and seeing my comfort level adjust the more I travel. Every time I get on a plane for a new adventure I freak out for a split second, then days or weeks later I find myself feeling at home in crazy places, like a tuk tuk in the streets of Delhi or a remote village in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
I loved everything about Greece. The food, the beaches, the people, the culture. Staying healthy was fairly easy here. We walked a lot, and there was beautiful fresh food everywhere.
Sticking to a gluten free diet can be a little tricky, just because there’s unsuspecting gluten in a lot of traditional Greek dishes. If you stick to Greek salads, fresh seafood, dips and protein (except for meatballs – these generally contain wheat flour), you should be ok. If in doubt, save a screenshot of the celiac travel card to your phone and show the waiter. I talk about eating gluten-free in Greece in more detail below.
I ate ice-cream, drank rosé and accidentally had gluten (at least) a few times. And I survived. So if you don’t have any crazy reactions to food, just relax, enjoy yourself and don’t beat yourself up for eating things you normally wouldn’t.
Most people I spoke to before visiting Athens warned me not to spend more than a couple of days there. To get in, visit the Acropolis and get out.
I didn’t listen. I stayed 6 nights. And I loved it.
I’m not much of a city person, but Athens was epic.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Exarchia, and I’d definitely recommend staying around here. In Exarchia and Kolonakis, there are loads of amazing cafes and restaurants, and it’s walking distance to all the main tourist destinations.
Wander down tree-lined Valtetsiou – there are so many awesome bars and cafes along this street. We loved Warehouse and Sousourada.
Another awesome street to find lots of restaurants is Petraki. We had great Mexican at Taqueria Maya, and there were lots of other restaurants and bars nearby.
The Acropolis is incredible and not to be missed. We went early in the day to avoid being outside in the middle of the day in 40-degree heat.
Once you’ve seen the Acropolis, make your way to Froots Juice Bar for a cold veggie juice or smoothie. Delish!
Lycabettus Hill has the most epic view of the sunset. Take a picnic rug and snacks and head up there to watch the sun go down! The rooftop cocktail bar at A is for Athens has an awesome view of the Acropolis at sunset if that's more your style. If you have time, do both!
For an authentic Greek meal, you can’t go past Diporto. Walk in, find a spot to sit and food and wine is plonked down on your table. You don’t choose what to eat or drink – so if you don’t like the idea of that, you might want to go elsewhere. But when we went, the food was fresh, healthy and so damn tasty (and all gluten free).
If you want to stock up on healthy goodness, head to Bamboo Vegan. I went here a couple of times to grab kombucha, paleo bars and cashew butter. I love having things like this on hand when I travel!
We stayed at Nicos Studios which was super cute and had the friendliest owners! It’s an awesome spot – our balcony had a view of the beautiful Logaras Beach which is only a 50m walk away.
Living in Australia has made me quite the beach snob. I’m not a fan of beaches jam-packed with umbrellas and loud music. I prefer a quiet, natural beach. Kalogeros Beach is a small beach nearby with crystal clear water. The best bit is the clay cliffs – you can mix the clay with water and make a natural mask. My skin felt incredible afterwards!
We ate at a few different restaurants on Paros, but Anna & Giogrio’s Taverna was a standout. It was the one of the best meals I have ever had (not just in Greece, I’m talking EVER). There were lots of healthy, fresh options here. Plus, the view was incredible!
The town of Bali was very touristy, but Evita Beach was one of the most beautiful beaches we visited in the whole trip. We also loved The Sailors Bar for coffee, sheeps milk ice-cream and cocktails. We stayed at the northern end of town near Evita Beach, so we were away from all of the hustle and bustle.
This cute little town was everything I hoped for. Great places to eat, nice, quiet beaches and relaxed, non-touristy vibes. And the town itself is a very traditional, authentic Cretan town to visit.
The whole town is surrounded by olive groves. We wandered over to Chiona Beach for a day, and on the way home, stopped at Agkathia for dinner, for authentic Greek food and an epic view of the olive groves and beach.
Vai Beach is a short bus ride away. It’s worth a look, but very touristy.
The southern end of Kouremenos Beach is beautiful. There are loads of windsurfers here, but it’s still a fairly quiet beach. There’s also a cute little bar right on the beach where you can have dinner or a drink.
Istro Beach was incredible. Honestly, the clearest, bluest water I’ve every seen. The town itself isn’t particularly exciting, but it’s worth visiting for the beach alone. The western end of the beach is called Voulisma, and it’s jam-packed with umbrelllas, but the eastern end is quiet and beautiful. Agios Panteleimon Beach is nearby, and while the beach isn’t as nice as Istro, it’s very quiet and not at all touristy.
We stayed at Maria’s Apartments, which I can’t recommend highly enough. For great, healthy food options, we loved Mama Lukia.
We stayed in Elounda for a couple of nights, and there are meant to be some great beaches around. To be honest, I had a lot of work on for those few days, so spent most of my time there working from a café or our hotel!
Eating gluten free in Greece
We found the easiest way to stick to eating gluten free was to keep it very simple. My friend I was with is celiac, so we would often order a couple of meals to share.
Here are some of our favourites:
- Greek salad
- Fava bean dip
- Chicken souvlaki
- Baked eggplant (moussaka isn’t gluten free, so this is a great alternative)
- Stuffed capsicum and tomatoes (stuffed with rice)
A lot of dishes that you wouldn’t necessarily expect contain gluten, like moussaka and meatballs. So it’s best to ask, use your celiac card, or stick to the safer options above.
Eating dairy-free in Greece would be quite challenging. While I mostly avoid dairy at home, I ate plenty of it here. You could have the Greek salad and baked eggplant and request no feta, and the fava bean dip, chicken souvlaki and stuffed capsicum and tomato are usually dairy-free too.
We had a kitchen in most places we stayed, and there’s so much incredible, fresh food available, so you could always prepare some meals at home.
When you’ve eliminated gluten, dairy, refined sugar and hydrogenated oils, travel can become overwhelming.
Firstly, it’s important to know your non-negotiables. What are the foods you need to avoid as much as humanly possible? For me, it’s gluten. If you have an autoimmune condition or you’re in a healing phase then try and stick to those as much as possible.
Second: don’t stress! If you accidentally eat something you normally wouldn’t – don’t beat yourself up! When you’re on holidays and relaxed, your body can normally handle a little more than when you’re in your normal environment.
So, just relax and enjoy yourself as much as possible! Allow yourself to experience the different foods and culture.
Have you been to Greece? Where were your favourite spots, and most importantly - what was your favourite Greek food?
PS. If you want to learn how to thrive with real food, head on over here to grab my Real Food Starter Kit!