I have recently returned to my home in Australia from an incredible seven weeks travelling around Europe. I am so grateful to have been able to explore the far corners of the globe and to experience the myriad and diverse cultures of these places. The first country on my travel map was Greece and the Greek Islands. I visited Athens, Mykonos, Ios and Santorini. Despite being very touristic, it only took a short walk off the coastline track, a quick turn down one of the smaller cobbled streets, or an exhilarating scooter ride off the main roads, to find oneself in a serene and stunning paradise.
Here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way for staying healthy while travelling in Greece:
- Shop at the farmers markets for fresh produce – stone fruit like cherries, apricots and peaches were abundant and delicious. Fruit is the perfect snack in the humid Greek weather. Another fantastic option was the fresh watermelon, all you need is a half of one and a spoon.
- Food doesn’t need to be overly complicated or flavoured excessively. I loved that the Greeks emphasised dishes with fewer but high quality ingredients. When eating out I enjoyed grilled mixed vegetables and/or mushrooms which were simply done with a touch of high quality olive oil and herbs.
- Order salad everywhere! They were so fresh and flavoursome. For a starter I often went for the traditional Greek Salad, but I simply asked for mine without cheese, which they were always more than happy to do.
- If you’re in Athens it’s worth visiting this gem of a restaurant that I managed to hunt down, aptly named after one of my favourite foods ever, Avocado. The menu is completely vegetarian with many vegan options, green juices, superfood smoothies, and so on. I had a delicious quinoa salad and a simple spinach, sprout and avocado salad – both were delicious. Oh, and a house brewed kombucha – perfection.
- My go-to local dishes that are great healthy staples and available almost anywhere in Greece and the Islands:
- The famous ‘Greek salad’ – it almost goes without saying that this beautiful and hydrating salad packed with cucumber, tomato, olives and other goodies is at the top of the list! (but hold the cheese please). Dressings in Greece tend to be simple and healthy – think olive oil and balsamic.
- ‘Horta’- cooked wild greens, such a yummy and nutritious meal accompaniment.
- ‘Melitzannosalata’ – translates to ‘eggplant salad’ but is more like a dip of baked eggplant blended with olive oil, fresh herbs such as parsley, chilli and lemon. Light and bursting with flavour.
- ‘Fava’ – cooked fava beans blended into a paste or dip with lemon, olive oil and spices. Paired nicely with salad and horta for a meal.