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Vegan in Santorini, Greece

June 23, 2016 in Travel

If you are worried about finding vegan food in Santorini, don’t be! Even though there isn’t a vegan or vegetarian restaurant on the island everyplace we went to had something delicious and vegan to eat, even traditional cuisine! Below are all the places my boyfriend and I ate, the experiences we had and the hotels we stayed at during out 5-night trip in May to Santorini. If you are also visiting Athens while in Greece check out my last post here!

Mama’s House in Fira

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This restaurant is located right in the city of Fira and was recommended by our hotel, but funny enough it was already on our list of places to eat! One item you will be able to find at every restaurant is fava and it is almost always vegan. It’s a dip made of fava beans and Mama’s House made the best one I tried (and I tried a quite a few), it was so delicious that I had it twice. We went here on our first night and I enjoyed the fava with bread and the fennel pie (good but too oily for me). Our waiter was very accommodating and the prices were great. My boyfriend, whom eats meat, really liked this place so we came back another day for lunch, not being very hungry I gladly just ordered fava with bread. There aren’t many options for vegans, but order any two appetizers and they will definitely fill you up!

Tranquila Bar in Perissa

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We spent the next afternoon at Perissa beach where I had heard there were many vegan and vegetarian options at a few restaurants, one being Tranquilo Bar. Now there were quite a few vegetarian options but none vegan, our waiter was very helpful and suggested which items could be altered for me. I opted for the lentil salad and boy was the portion huge! It was simple but delicious and I had enough for two meals. Relaxed atmosphere, lots of smoothies and we got to use their beach chairs and umbrellas afterwards (all the restaurants offered this).

Santo Wines Winery in Prygos

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I’m realizing now that I never asked if the wines were vegan, but considering most usually are I’m not too worried. After the beach we came here to watch the sunset and enjoy a wine tasting. We chose a tasting of 12 that came with snacks such as bread sticks, fava, tomato, olives and the dreaded cheese (my boyfriend ate it). We were a bit early for the sunset so we were there for a while slowly drinking our wine and enjoying the view. It was funny to see that most tables left without drinking all their wine, I mean it is a tasting but our 12 glasses were less than a bottle of wine. Overall the wines were just ok, whites were much better than the reds (with Greek wines I typically prefer white). It’s located in Prygos and has a view of the caldera, a nice place to go if you’re looking for a more private romantic setting during sunset because Oia becomes very crowded and swarmed with tourists during that time.

Panorama Restaurant in Thirasia

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We booked an excursion to see the volcano, swim in the hot springs and visit the small Island Thirasia on our third day. When we arrived at Thirasia we passed all the restaurants that line the bottom of the island and walked up the enormous flight of stairs to the top of Thirasia. When you reach the top utterly exhausted (please do not ride the poor donkeys) there will be the Panorama Restaurant. We walked around the top of the Island but realized there was nothing else up there except for run down homes and one other café. We were not expecting what we saw and don’t believe many people actually lived there. If you can book an excursion that does not go to this Island that is what I would do unless you just want to go and support the restaurants and people there. We decided to go to the Panorama Restaurant only because it had the best view; we had 2 hours to kill and were a little hungry. The family that runs this place was very sweet and happily figured out something for me to eat (I claimed to be allergic to all animal products, sometimes it’s just easier that way). My meal was simply rice stuffed tomatoes with potatoes, lots of carbs but tasted like a delicious home cooked meal. If you end up on this Island during your stay in Santorini you can happily know you have a place to enjoy a vegan meal!

Lolita’s Gelato in Oia

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If you’re looking for a nice cold treat in Oia this place is located right at the bus station! They always carry a few vegan sorbets and the two I tried, chocolate and lemon, were delicious. Not the best I’ve had, but a nice option if you have a craving some cold ice cream on a hot day.

Karma in Oia

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This was my favourite restaurant in Santorini, but also a bit more expensive than the rest (although still reasonable). Oia in general is more expensive than the other parts of the Island, but that is were you can see the iconic white cave buildings and famous sunset view. This place has many vegetarian options and the staff informed me that many could be made vegan. I chose a chickpea stew as well as a cold eggplant dip with bread and I highly recommend both! Karma does not have a sea view but does have a beautiful patio that felt very romantic after we had just watched the sunset over by the caldera.

Taverna Tasos in Imerovigli

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The last night I ended up with terrible cramps from it being that time of the month, and I just could not move! A few hours were spent hunched over crying in our hotel room, thankfully our hotel In Imerovigli was right beside a restaurant. My boyfriend was so sweet and went to order us food to eat in our room. He said the place was busy and the staff did not speak much English so it took a while to figure out what was vegan. We shared the fried zucchini fritters, stuffed vine leaves and fava with bread, my boyfriend also had some cheese dip. Now I’m not sure if everything (specifically the fritters) was truly vegan due to the language barrier, but I’m hoping it was. Overall delicious and satisfying (Mama’s House fava was much better), but not the best service and I’m so thankful for my boyfriend organizing that for us.

Skiza Café in Oia

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On our last day I wanted to spend a few hours in Oia before we had to catch our flight back to Athens in the late afternoon. We decided to enjoy the caldera view from this Cafe that my boyfriend found online which had good reviews. I had a fruit tea and a lemon sorbet (it was the only vegan one) and my boyfriend had a milkshake and ice cream. We had a good experience and took an awesome time lapse of the caldera but at the end they over charged us for the sorbets by just a couple EURs so we decided to not leave a tip instead of arguing.

Hotel Villa Soula in Fira

Being on a budget we decided to spend 3 nights at Villa Soula for 30 EUR a night, and I’m sorry but I forgot to take photos of the room. Tim and I are use to staying in pretty nice hotels, so this was definitely a different experience for us. Staff was fantastic and our room was kept clean, which is very important to me. Our room was very small, especially the bathroom where you would soak everything while you showered! It was very basic, but clean and had a great central location (5 – 10 minute walk to the bus station) also a pool that we did not use. If you wanted to explore the entire Island using the buses and on a budget, Fira is where you’ll want to stay. All local buses stop in Fira and each bus ride is/will cost you a separate ticket (that you purchase while on the bus around 2 EUR).

Gizis Hotel in Imerovigli

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We treated ourselves to a room with a caldera view and private Jacuzzi for our last two nights for 150 EUR a night. The hotel is located in Imerovigli, which lies between Fira and Oia. I highly recommend checking out hotels in this area if you are looking for a great view and privacy. The hotels in Oia are not only more expensive but many rooms with private outdoor Jacuzzis are not very private, because everyone can overlook you. This room was a great deal and I would definitely stay here again even if we had to pay more during a busier season (we went in May). Our room included breakfast and the hotel was very accommodating and specially ordered soymilk for me to have with my breakfast at no extra charge. We were given complimentary wine and fruit in our room when we arrived and for an extra 2 EUR you can have your breakfast brought to your room (which we did and enjoyed it in our hot tub on our last day). Our room was very clean and there is a lovely bar and outdoor pool with a great caldera view in the hotel. Staff overall were very helpful and I recommend staying here!

Santorini was always a placed I dreamed of visiting, but for some reason I didn’t realize how tourist based it would be. We did not visit every town in Santorini but we did experience quite a bit and everything felt like it was set up for tourists. All the souvenir shops and restaurant hosts trying to get you to eat at their restaurants, it wasn’t as fairytale-esque as I had imagined. That being said, I think many people hype up the places they dream of seeing and end up disappointed. I still loved Santorini and would love to visit again in the future; the beaches are relaxing, the white buildings are beautiful and the views are breathtaking. I can’t wait to visit the other Greek Islands one day. I hope this post helps you on your trip, even if you are not vegan I’m sure you will enjoy some of the places mentioned above (all names are linked to their restaurant/hotel websites)!

Vegan in Athens, Greece

June 23, 2016 in Travel

Food is a huge part of travelling for me; it is one of many people’s favourite ways of getting to know another culture. I typically like to try traditional dishes from the countries I visit but many of the vegan restaurants I went to on my 4-night trip in Athens did not serve traditional Greek cuisine. Although the food and restaurants I will be sharing with you in this post were delicious and good experiences, if you would like to see what traditional food you can eat in Greece then check out my post Vegan in Santorini.

Avocado

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My boyfriend and I visited this restaurant 3 times during our trip; I guess that tells you we really liked it. BUT make sure to continue reading because at the end of our stay we found a place we liked just as much or even more. Our first visit was our favourite, the staff that night were SO friendly and made us want to come back. This restaurant is vegetarian and vegan and their entire menu is posted on their website. Lots of vegan options like pizza, burgers, tempeh, noodles, curries, soups, salads and quinoa bowls. Overall everything was delicious and I recommend trying their cold avocado soup if you visit during spring. My boyfriend loved their Zen Tempeh noodle dish, but when he ordered it a second time it wasn’t as good. Maybe it was different staff in the kitchen that day, but when they offered him something else instead it also didn’t taste as good as the other dishes we had enjoyed. We were a little disappointed by the inconsistency but the staff was very good about it and dropped the charge for his meal. If you go, make sure you ask for a table upstairs where you can dine sitting on floor cushions with low tables, it was so comfortable and such a cool intimate vibe.

Rosebud

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This is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant with a unique variety of dishes; I tried their vegan souvlaki and my boyfriend had their artichoke dumplings, while both were good my boyfriend was still hungry afterwards. For the price compared to other restaurants and quality the portions should have been larger. My souvlaki in a pita with fries was definitely enough for me, but wasn’t something I would eat again. It was quite sweet rather than savory and tasted nothing like the real thing. I liked my boyfriend’s dumplings more, but the portion was small for a main dish. I’m not sure if I would have even been full after eating that. We were planning to check out the vegan grocery store nearby after lunch anyway and didn’t love our meals enough to want to try anything else. If you don’t mind spending a bit more money to be satisfied, check out this place. They had some cool sounding dishes like vegan fish n’ chips and they even serve breakfast (their whole menu is also online). I would recommend they update their décor though; the atmosphere didn’t match the price tag.

Bamboo Vegan

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This is the only vegan grocery store in Athens, and it is a lot smaller than I expected. They sold products I could get back in Munich but they also had sandwiches, cake, and pies (sausage, spinach, cheese, custard etc.) to-go and the owner was so nice and gave us large portions of the baked goods to try for free and didn’t even seem to expect us to buy anything. We tried a bunch of the pies and bought the custard and cheese to go, but our favourite was the custard pie topped with cinnamon and icing sugar. I believe it was supposed to be the vegan version of a traditional Greek custard pie, which my family loves and I used to eat back in Toronto, it was sadly not as good but still a yummy inexpensive snack. We asked the owner what restaurants he recommends and he mentioned the next place I’m about to share; which I might say was my favourite.

Mama Tierra

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This is a Mediterranean restaurant and we only ate here once, but I think it might have been my favourite place. I say think because I only got to try one meal on the menu! Again this is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, so although my boyfriends meal looked delicious; it wasn’t vegan so I didn’t try it. The menu for this place is online here and everything is very reasonably priced. I had a chocolate avocado smoothie to drink and veggie patties made of quinoa, vegetables and potatoes with sweet and sour dressing, rice, and slaw. It was such a simple satisfying meal and it made me want to come back, but we were sadly leaving the next day. My boyfriend had ginger kombucha to drink (SO good, we are obsessed with kombucha right now but I’m not sure if theirs is house made or bought), baked melitzanokeftedes (eggplant balls) and a mushroom burger. Not a fancy place and they do take-out, but definitely check it out if you want a delicious yet inexpensive meal.

Ice Queen Gelato

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May turned out to be a great month to visit Athens, not as busy as the summer months but still hot and sunny (25-30 degrees Celsius) in other words it was perfect ice cream weather. This place is in the Plaka and near the Acropolis, they serve regular dairy gelato but as well as a few vegan sorbets like chocolate, coffee, lemon and coconut. The cones are not vegan (and they told me without even having to ask, which was so nice as I forgot to) so I got chocolate and coconut sorbet in a cup and my god I don’t know how they were sorbets. They were so rich and creamy, especially the chocolate that I couldn’t finish and had to give the rest to Tim. I really enjoyed it and if you love chocolate you should try it.

Overall, there are many options in Athens for anyone on a vegetarian or vegan diet. With my experience in Santorini I’m sure many traditional restaurants would also be able to accommodate you. I hope that this information was helpful and all of the places mentioned are linked in the post (just click the restaurants name)!

Venice in 3 Days

April 18, 2016 in Travel

I was pleasantly surprised by how much you could do in such a short period of time in Venice! The island is so small that you can walk everywhere; if you’re up for it you could walk the whole island in one day. That means no matter where you decide to stay, you probably wont be disappointed with the location.

Getting to Venice from Munich

Tim (my boyfriend) and I took a bus from Munich to the Venice Tronchetto parking garage, this is where all buses will drop you off. We then took the People Mover (a Tram) for 1.5 EUR each, one way, to Piazzale Roma that took just a couple minutes. I wouldn’t recommend paying for an expensive boat taxi over to the city, once you get to Piazzale Roma everything is walking distance. Our hotel was about a 10-minute walk from there, excluding the time we struggled to figure out the direction we were supposed to be headed!

Hotel

We stayed at Hotel Hesperia in the Cannaregio area, from February 10 – 12th paying about 90 EUR a night with a room looking out onto the Canal di Cannaregio, including breakfast. We were really happy with the location and it was one of the most peaceful canals we saw while there. Our room had two windows looking out onto the water, how romantic! The only issue we had was the walls being paper thin, we could hear our neighbors arguing a lot but it made for a bit of a laugh.

By the time we were settled into the hotel, had showers and freshened up, it was already the evening and the sun was setting! We decided to just go out and explore the city and grab a bite to eat.

Venice “Fast Food”

While walking through the city we discovered a few of the places I had remembered reading good things about on TripAdvisor, the first being Fried Land. During this Trip I was still in my vegetarian transitioning and caved into eating a bit of seafood (I’m successfully transitioning to a plant based diet now!). This place is a hole in the wall and you might pass it if you don’t peak down one of the small streets. They have a bunch of pasta and deep fried seafood that you take to go. We got a mix of fried shrimps and calamari as well as the black cuttlefish pasta (pasta al nero di seppie). All delicious and affordable as far as Venice prices go!

Gelato

Along the same street is Gelateria Ca’ D’oro:, the best Gelato I’ve ever had! We went here every day and I always had the pistachio, it’s to die for. I tried a lot of the other flavours as well and I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of them!

Wine and Cicchetti

The first night we went to Vino Vero for wine and cicchetti to end our first day, but we weren’t very pleased. The vibe wasn’t comfortable, we were the only tourists and the staff wasn’t very friendly or helpful. Small pricey selection of cicchetti (2 -3 EUR a piece) that were OK but at least the wine (5+ EUR a glass) was good! The second night we went to Cantine del Vino già Schiavi and I wish we had gone there the first night as well! Busy place with a great vibe, a mix of locals and tourists, good prices and LOTS of variety! The cicchetti (1.20 EUR a piece) selection was fantastic and the wine (2 EUR a glass) was great! Highly recommend going here to end your night, but mind you they do close pretty early (I think 8 or 9).

Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace

Tim and I spent the second day checking out the usual Tourist stuff, like Piazza San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge. We walked from our hotel to the Rialto Bridge (approx. 20 minutes) that was sadly under construction and then we walked to Piazza San Marco (approx. 10 min). The Saint Mark’s Basilica is free to enter and the Doge’s Palace is right beside it where we paid to do the secret itineraries tour. There are other museums in St. Marks Square that you can purchase a combination ticket for when visiting Doge’s Palace but I wasn’t too interested in seeing anything else. We toured the Palace for about an hour before we had to rush back to the courtyard for the secret tour! The secret Itineraries tour was just over an hour long and shows you more of the Palace and (my favourite part) the story behind the famous prisoner Giacomo Casanova. While touring the Palace don’t forget to look out from within the Bridge of Sighs, it has a breath taking view of the water; or you can see it from a bridge just outside the Palace!

The Jewish Ghetto

On our third and last day we decided to tour the Jewish Ghetto, mainly because it was the only part of Venice we hadn’t seen yet. Our second day had been spent walking all over the island until we couldn’t walk anymore! In the Ghetto we found a delicious bakery called Major and had a cannoli and tiramisu, which we took to go and ate in a small park. I would recommend checking them out if you decide to stroll into that area, all of their pastries and desserts looked delicious!

February turned out to be a great time of year to visit Venice, weather was not too cold (fall attire) and it wasn’t crazy busy with tourists. We didn’t have any fancy dinners out so I sadly don’t have any nice restaurants to recommend but we were very happy with every place we went to, especially without breaking the bank. We also decided to skip the gondola ride because it seemed a little too chilly to be out on the water but mainly because we couldn’t justify the 80 EUR price tag. If I go back during a warmer season I’d do it, but I really don’t feel like we missed out. Spending the evenings with a bottle of wine in our room looking out over the water was more than enough romance for me, a dream definitely worth fulfilling.

If you’re interested in any of the places I’ve mentioned just click on the bolded name in the post and you should be linked to their site! Thanks for reading and enjoy your stay in Venice!

Schwangau Neuschwanstein Castle

September 25, 2015 in Travel

I went to visit my boyfriend in Munich during the spring. He took me to see the Schwangau Neuschwanstein Castle that inspired the famous Disney castle! It was a beautiful site and incredibly romantic despite all the tourists.

We spent a good hour lining up to get tickets to tour the castle and then went over to the lake to rent a row boat for about 5 EUR for half an hour. That was my favourite part, the lake was not overcrowded even though there were so many tourists on land. The view was so damn breathtaking, watching my boyfriend row us across the lake made me feel like I was in a movie (*cough* the notebook).

About 45 minutes before our tour we took a bus up the mountain to the castle, I was not about to hike up there in my dress and flats (if you know me, you already know I ain’t about that hike). You can view the castle from the courtyard and viewpoint on a bridge for free. The tour was very short and the only good part was the view from a balcony over looking the mountains and lake, which you can see in the photo gallery above.

Overall an incredible day and an unforgettable date. The views really are breathtaking.

What I wore:
Dress – Boutique 1861, Pink trench coat – RW&Co

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