Veganism is poorly understood in Greece, at least by the older generation. The irony is that vegetable dishes abound naturally in the local cuisine. Some of the oldest people on earth come from Greece, a combined result of a diet rich in plants, close families and community relationships.
Delicious eggplant dishes compete with stuffed vine leaves and outstanding salads for your attention, as do the fresh fruit salads and the best watermelons ever. Check our Local Foods guide to understand just to what extent you will be able to rely on local foods in normal restaurants. Furthermore, Greece has fasting traditions attached to the Orthodox Christian Church which require large periods of time without any meat consumption.
So, stick with the authentic local food that is vegan as much as you can. It will serve you well and you will not find it boring and it will satisfy your cravings for fresh produce, beans, potatoes and fruits.
Avoid tourist traps that cater to the Western diet taste and go for the small eateries owed by local families (taverns) where you will see a lot of local people.
Will your waiter understand your request for veganizing dishes? If young, probably yes since English is now a compulsory subject in final high school exams . If not, ask to see what they are making in the kitchen. Most of the time you will be welcome. See our Vegan Vocabulary page to help you communicate. Print it, screen-shoot it and keep it handy.
The tricky part will be shopping in supermarkets in Greece for processed vegan foods since most packages are almost always written in Greek. Some solutions: ask someone to read it for you, or just stay away from processed food altogether :-). We have made a list of vegan Greek Snacks for you, complete with pics of the packages to help you. Also make sure to consult that page since it has a list of the stores from all over the country that carry vegan products.
Farmers’ markets (laiki) are a pleasure to visit with all their fresh Mediterranean fruits and veggies. If you are staying in a place with an accessible kitchen, you will be in heaven. Rent a bike and go shopping for your produce and fruits every morning!
Still have questions? Ask them on our Greece Forum tab to get all the answers.
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