by Hadassah Patterson

So. You’d like to go to Greece. It is the land of beautiful isles, gorgeous waters, and bountiful food.

But “Wait!” you say. “I’m vegan. Can I go there? Will I still eat well on vacation?”

Crete

Put your fears to rest.

People often assume that if something is Greek, it must be laden with char-broiled meats and heavy on feta (they do have some wonderful traditional food!) but vegans can still travel to Greece without subsisting solely on granola bars and apples stashed in luggage.

We asked our friend George Portokalakis at Portoclub Travel in Crete, Greece to help us look at why. George has been in hospitality and tourism for at least 30 years and had plenty to say about catering to various diets.

Because of Greek Orthodox feast or fasting days, there are about 186 days a year when certain kinds of food, such as meats, fish, dairy, and the like are not consumed. For this reason, all traditional Greek restaurants or tavernas provide vegetarian foods called Ladera.  (There may be some types of shellfish allowed during these periods, depending on the occasion.)

So, it is easier to get vegan in Greece than many other travel destinations.

It isn’t even necessary to go through the shtick of, “Well, I’m ____, and I don’t eat meat or dairy… Because……” One can easily order off a menu any number of wholly vegan or vegetarian options, without a lot of fuss. Even less fussy, would be to say Nistevo (NEE-STE-VO). This means basically, ‘I am on feast.’

There will not be a huge discussion unless you happen to say how you learned of it and want to talk culture. They will likely just tell you the Nistisima (NE-STE-SEE-MA) menu options for the day. It is cut and dry since this is just another part of daily life in Greece.  Of course, it is all the better to have a Greek friend, guide, or tour service to maximize your enjoyment.

George told us his latest group the preceding week was vegan. They enjoyed 36 different vegan breakfast options, 42 different vegan meals for lunch, 18 options for dinner, and they cooked 20 different vegan meals during their classes. Sound sparse? Hardly!

Here is a list of some of the best places in Crete to eat vegan:

Seafood Restaurant – Parasyris – Heraklion, Crete

Traditional, pescatarian, vegan, vegetarian. Gluten-free available with tour groups.

Parasyris – Heraklion, Crete

Restaurant Petoussis, Heraklion, Crete

Meat, fish, traditional Cretan food, vegetarian, and vegan. Gluten-free and other preferences available with tour groups.

Restaurant Petoussis, Heraklion, Crete

Taverna Vassiliko – At the Old Port in Chania, Crete

Mostly fish, meat, traditional Cretan cuisine, vegetarian, vegan

Taverna Vassiliko - At the Old Port, Chania, Crete

Taverna Kokkinos Pyrgos, At the South Central Fishing Village of Kokkinos, Pyrgos, Crete

Mostly fish, meat, traditional Cretan cuisine, vegetarian, vegan

Taverna Kokkinos Pyrgos, At the South Central Fishing Village of Kokkinos, Pyrgos, Crete

Taverna Agia Dynamis, Waters of Argyroupolis, North Central Crete

Grilled meats, traditional Cretan foods, vegetarian, vegan

Taverna Agia Dynamis, Waters of Argyroupolis, North Central Crete

There are also some very cool alternatives that are culinary-inspired and vegan-friendly, such as the women’s cooperative at Marathos village where they make Xompliasto Koulori or wedding art pastry. These are beautiful and artistically extravagant decorative bread.

 Xompliasto Koulori, - Greek wedding art pastry

Can you imagine how difficult and time-consuming this is? The sheer level of skill involved is unbelievable. Astounding work the women do there! They also teach a variety of vegan-friendly cooking classes.

Here is a joyful snap of a class dancing, as is so common in Greece. OPA!

Vegan Cooking Class in Crete

We hope you enjoyed our little vegan-friendly tour of Crete, Greece.  May you find your kefi, no matter what you love to eat or how far you roam!

(No doubt you’ll want to continue eating healthy, homemade meals after you return home. Check the high protein meals here.)

Kalí órexi! Bon Appetit!

Check current hotel prices for Crete.

Want to know more?

Contact: Hadassah Patterson

Deelish! Foods – World on a Table Tours

hpatterson@foodtoursingreece.com

919-682-1100 (U.S. only)

 

 

shares

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!