Bites of History and Gastronomy Tour
Through this itinerary, you will follow an alternative path that will allow you to explore Athinas’ Street, Varvakeios Agora (Athens Central Market), Kotzia Square, Monastiraki Square.
This tour will give us the opportunity to “taste” small bites of modern Greek history and architecture, as well as discover the secrets of Greek gastronomic tradition.
We will start from Syntagma/Constitution square, which is fundamentally connected with the first official Greek Constitution and the political developments in the 19th and 20th centuries. As we stand at the upper part of the square we see in front of us the Greek Parliament, which used to be the Old Palace for the ex-kings and queens of Greece until 1922. We cross the road and get a closer look at the Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by the Evzones, a special unit of the Greek Armed Forces, who stand proudly in perfect stillness. Passing by the Hotel Grande Bretagne we will reminisce about the gracious history of this grand hotel and we will reach the Military Pension Fund building, comprising today the CITY LINK: Athens’ Cosmopolitan Side. Theaters, eclectic shopping, gourmet dining and fine drinks are all available under the roof of an Athenian architectural landmark. At the end of the Gallery we have the chance to marvel at Fernando Botero’s sculpture, the bronze sculpture of the Abduction of Europa by Zeus.
We will walk along Stadiou Street, an important boulevard since the foundation of the new Greek state in 1832.The street is named after the ancient Panathenaic Stadium located about 3 km southeast of the downtown core and is aligned directly with the ancient stadium. This street has existed since ancient times. Passing by the PaliaVouli/Old Parliament building, at Kolokotroni square, we find the imposing statute of Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the most distinguished leaders of the Greek Revolution against the Ottomans. We will stop at Klathmonos square and the Museum of the City of Athens, which served as a residence for the first royal couple in Modern Greek history in 1836, King Othon and Queen Amalia, until they could build their palace.It now houses the Lambros Eftaxias’ collection of about 40.000 Athens related items. Now, we head towards Kotzia square and Athinas street.The architects of the new capital of the Greek State, Stamatis Kleanthis and Eduard Schaubert, designed a street that connected the ancient with the modern city. It was named after the goddess Athina/Minerva, the patron of Ancient Athens. We arrive at Athens City Hall on Kotzia square, which was initially named Ludovicos Square, in honor of King Othon’s father (Othon was the first King of Greece). As we get down towards Kotzia square we will stop for a while to taste kouloúria (sesame bread rings)
We cross Athinas street getting to the Varvakios Agora (Athens Central Market). This is literally the Grand Central Station of food, where people from all walks of life converge to discover the freshest and most delicious ways to satiate their hunger. Make no mistake; everyone shops here, from celebrity chefs to neighborhood grocery store owners. Named after one of Greece’s national heroes, philanthropist and gentleman Ioannis Varvakis (1745-1825), it is a tribute to the everyman, as the Athens Central Market, aka the Varvakios, knows no class divides. The Varvakios once came close to demolition. It’s an historic open market with bioclimatic ventilation, built in 1886. We will wander in the meat market and the fish market to get to know the riches of the Greek seas, buy fruits and vegetables and finally, we will try a traditionally-brewed Greek coffee.
Further down on Evripidou street we will stop at the well-known “Miran”charcuterie, to taste “tsipouro“or “ouzo” with pastrami, delicious sausages and smoked pork meat from the north or the south of Greece. Opposite is the little church of Agios Ioannis stin Kolona/ Saint John at the Column, named after the column inside the church. As we keep walking on Evripidou Street, we will make a stop at the “Bahar” shop, a famous Athenian spot for high quality spices. At the corner with Athinas street we find the “Tsakanikas” pastry shop. Here we will try scrumptious loukoumia(a sweet delicacy), the sugary delights. Our tour will finish at around 12.30-13:00 when we arrive at a local tavern to enjoy some traditional Greek food.
- Meeting point: Syntagma Metro Station. Exit towards 1st sign Syntagma square /Grande Bretagne. 2nd sign/Syntagma Square
- The people should wait on Syntagma Square as soon as they come up the last stairs and exit on the square.
- Meeting time: 08:45-09:00 am
- Kick-off: at 09.00 am sharp
- Duration: 4 Hours approximately
- Drop off: Local Tavern in Monastiraki area
- The booking is non-refundable if canceled 72 hours before the tour time.
- This is a walking tour, so athletic shoes are recommended (no sandals). You will be walking on paved streets that can be slippery. Also, you may wish to carry a bottle of water with you.
- Finally, don’t forget hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, cameras, and your thirst for stories.
- The tour is implemented in small shared groups.
- A private tour can be arranged daily, at extra cost.
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