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Greece Culinary Tour

The thriving urban foodways of cosmopolitan Athens and the deeply traditional culinary life on the island of Tinos is always a striking and delicious contrast, but during Easter week, everything is amplified for the holiest of holidays and the culinary celebration that is weaved into it. Join Culinary Backstreets as they begin in Athens and then move to Tinos, where you’ll explore the island and its unique Easter traditions through food!

Highlights

  • Enjoy short scenic hikes and agricultural and market visits
  • Experience sacred traditions and hands-on demonstrations
  • Join a hungry group of travelers excited to explore all that Greece has to offer
  • 2 talented local guides will accompany you throughout the trip
  • Daily local meals will be provided
  • 6 nights accommodation

Styles


7 days with instruction
Group size: 6-12 participants
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
15:00

You will be staying in boutique hotels both in Athens and Tinos. You will be staying in shared or single rooms, based on your preference.

Program

You'll visit historic and religious monuments key to Easter traditions, join village celebrations, meet local artisans, and take part in the preparation of seasonal ingredients. You’ll get out for short treks to experience the landscape and track down secrets that only can be discovered on foot. With your time in Athens as a perspective on contemporary Greek life, your sojourn in Tinos will be a deep dive into the traditional culture and cuisine of Greek island life, at the most festive moment of the year: Easter.

Day 1: Athens arrival and welcome

This afternoon, arrive in Athens and settle into your group’s hotel. In the early evening, you’ll meet for a welcome drink and introductions, then take a stroll to your first dinner together. Over several courses of traditional Athenian cuisine, accompanied by local wines, you’ll start getting to know each other and discuss what the week holds in store.

Day 2: Exploring the diversity of the Greek kitchen

To put the week and its cuisine in proper perspective, you’ll spend a day in downtown Athens, the Greek melting pot. Here, you’ll discover an array of regional cuisines, hailing from the Greek islands to Asia Minor and even the Eastern Black Sea.

Visit the Central Market, where you’ll taste olive oils and all that is good in Greece, and have the chance to meet small, local producers, including a cheesemaker and a producer of wild honey. Eat lunch over the course of a series of stops at charismatic yet lesser-known backstreet restaurants. After much eating and strolling, this evening is yours to rest and relax, or continue exploring more on your own.

Day 3: Off to Tinos!

After a leisurely morning in Athens, check out of the hotel, hop into a private van, and head to the port. From there, it’s off by fast ferry to the island of Tinos (about a two-hour ride)! Check into the hotel and enjoy some rest before attending the Good Friday procession.

Witness members of the community carrying a funereal epitaph covered in flowers, a solemn celebration that culminates with the priest wading into the sea to say a prayer for drowned sailors, a tradition unique to Tinos. After the procession, you’ll be treated to a bountiful feast of Tinos specialties, including local artichokes and roasted doves. The lively taverna where you’ll be hosted is run by a local woman, Eleni, who happens to be one of the island’s best cooks.

Day 4: Morning preservation, midnight resurrection

This morning, head out to the village of Ktikadi. Along the way, stop by an artichoke farm and head out to the fields to learn about one of the island's greatest crops.

Upon reaching Ktikadi, you’ll be welcomed into the workshop of two local women who specialize in the island’s food products, they dry, preserve, and jar just about anything that springs from the land. Roll up your sleeves and join them for a hands-on demonstration and tasting of their products followed by lunch.

In the afternoon, rest up in anticipation of the island’s biggest celebration: the midnight commemoration of the Resurrection, which takes place in the village of Dio Choria. Firework displays and a lively feast mark the end of the fast of Lent and the start of the Easter celebration, that tonight, you’re lucky enough to be a part of!

Day 5: Earning your Easter feast

Easter Sunday will kick off with a late brunch in a charming spot in the village of Agapi. Set off on a short hike through the forest to Volax, a village known for its hand-painted doors bearing messages of love.

In Volax, take part in your own traditional Easter feast. Sip wine and take turns rotating the lamb while it roasts on a spit over an open fire. You’ll also be joined by locals taking part in the celebration, don’t be surprised by live music and impromptu dancing. Once the lamb is ready, gather around the table and toast to your time in Tinos during its most important day of the year.

Day 6: Athens farewell feast

Before you say goodbye to Tinos, make a morning visit to the island’s cathedral, which is a pilgrimage site and one of the most important churches in Greek Orthodoxy.

Pack up and check out of the hotel and return by boat to the mainland, where you’ll be back at a hotel for one last night in Athens. For your farewell dinner, gather in a contemporary Greek restaurant, where you’ll see (and taste) what’s next for this ancient yet dynamic cuisine, and raise a glass to your immersive week of culinary adventures.

Day 7: Farewell and departure

Until the next adventure! You can depart anytime on this day. Culinary Backstreets will provide the option of booking additional nights at the Athens hotel after the tour and are more than happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own.

Notes on the itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. Culinary Backstreets expects to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Activity level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking three to five miles each day and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get hands-on during a couple of cooking workshops.

Included excursions

  • Experience sacred traditions: Get an inside view of Orthodox Easter traditions and join in on the celebrations
  • Hands-on demonstrations: Join village women to prepare local, seasonal delicacies
  • Local meals: In Athens and in Tinos, both traditional and contemporary, sit at some of the best tables in town to enjoy all that the Greek pantry has to offer
  • Short scenic hikes: Experience the distinct landscape of the island on short, scenic walks on ancient paths
  • Agricultural and market visits: In Athens and Tinos, meet the producers and the vendors which keep this country’s kitchens stock

Location

Athens

While for the last decade, Athens has been struggling with the impact of the ongoing economic crisis, which has also brought up some big questions regarding Greece’s self-identity and the country’s place within Europe, the hard times have also helped spark a process of rediscovery, with Greeks taking a new look at their own identity, their own resources, and, most importantly, from perspective, their own culinary traditions and heritage.

Tinos

The island of Tinos is known for its rugged landscape, sprinkled with sugar-cube houses and palatial birdhouses. A quiet retreat from its crowded and glitzy island neighbors, it’s a place where local village life thrives. Neighbors still cook for each other, preserving unique culinary traditions and adhering to the strict Greek Orthodox calendar of feasting and fasting.

Tinos is also home to one of the most important religious pilgrimage sites in Greece, which, once a year, is awash in the pageantry and ritual celebration of Easter. Come Easter, the Tinos feast table, creaking under the weight of spring lamb, artichoke pies, sheep and goat’s milk cheeses, sizzling kokoretsi, minerally and fresh white wines, salads laced with foraged herbs, almond cakes, and much, much more, might make you want to get up and dance, as the locals often do.

Food

You are encouraged to have an adventurous palate! Culinary Backstreets will try their best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Though spit-roasted lamb is central to the Easter feast, the Greek diet is filled with other options. They can accommodate a vegetarian and pescatarian diet. Please send an inquiry about any specific restrictions or food allergies.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Culinary Backstreets will provide the option of booking additional nights at the Athens hotel before and/or after the tour, and are more than happy to provide suggestions for things to do and see in the city on your own. For more information, please send an inquiry.

What's included

  • All activities and events as mentioned
  • 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 5 dinners
  • 6 nights of accommodation in boutique hotels
  • 2 talented local guides to accompany you throughout the trip

What's not included

  • Transportation and flights to and from Athens, including airport transfers
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Culinary Backstreets offerings (1 lunch, 1 dinner, and some alcoholic beverages)
  • If applicable, applying for a Greek visa (not required for U.S. citizens)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 6 participants

Availability

Arrival: Wednesday April 20, 2022
Departure: Tuesday April 26, 2022

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For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.

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