We booked a trip to Athens for a long weekend for some sightseeing out of season to avoid the summer Acropolis crowds, and hopefully some blue skies and good food. As I began researching gluten free in Athens I found very little information available online, and some that I did seemed to give a mixed response. One that can be typical for countries with fairly naturally gluten free cuisine – some say it’s easy because of this, and others find it hard as that can lead to lack of knowledge and dedicated gluten free restaurants.
This is how I got on in Athens after four nights there using a coeliac translation card to help me and hopefully I can give you a few more options without needing to do all the research for yourself as I’ve done it for you!
As there aren’t that many options, I have also added restaurants that were recommended for gluten free and may have been on my list but I didn’t eat at them to check cross contamination measures so you’ll will need to check if they are coeliac safe if you want to dine there. Many were vegan restaurants which aren’t where we would chose to eat. If you’re vegan and gluten free though this gives you some options to check out too. Every restaurant I personally tried for myself includes a photo in the list below.
This is where we chose to stay in Athens, as a budget hotel in a good location for sightseeing, near the bars I wanted to try in the evenings and with a rooftop bar of its own and being a five minute walk from 100% gluten free Nudie Foodie for breakfast if we wanted to eat out so it suited our needs.
- This hotel is in an ideal location in Psiri and a two minute walk from the metro station Monastiraki which connects directly to the airport metro stop (and costs €9 for a single ticket for the airport journey).
- You can also reach the coast directly from this same metro station.
- You are in a good location for the sights and bars.
- Our balcony room had Acropolis views and was worth the £7 per night upgrade (especially for some outside space whilst mask wearing is mandatory even outside in Greece).
- Rooftop bar in the hotel.
- The room had a fridge.
- You are located right near 100% gluten free Nudie Foodie.
- Noisy from bar and location at times
- No kettle provided
- The bathroom was very small, especially the shower and had a shower curtain so very basic
- No pool which may be desired in summer
Being near Nudie Foodie and having a fridge for supermarket supplies meant I didn’t need to worry about hotel food or getting glutened at the beginning of the day! The hotel is nothing fancy, but we didn’t need it to be for a winter city break. If you want a more luxurious stay I have included the best of the responses that I had back from 5* hotels regarding gluten free availability when I was doing some initial research. A couple of them may need some follow up if you’d prefer to know a bit more about exactly what gluten free offerings they have but these are my initial responses.
This is the hotel we would have probably have picked for more high end trip, or for one night at the end of the trip hence the research but in the end we decided not to have the hassle of changing hotels. It’s conveniently located near Arcadia restaurant and I would probably stay here if I had just one night in Athens on a stopover.
Both the reception, and the Food and Beverage Manager replied to my email and this was the response:
We would like to inform you that we meet all health and safety measures as we are certified with iso 2000.
In such cases we meet all safety measures for the proper and safe management of gluten-free products.
The processing of these products is done in safe conditions. for example: special cutting benches as well as knives to ensure your maximum safety.
At coco mat Athens bc we also provide gluten-free products for breakfast. For example: bread rolls, bars, as well as cold cuts and gluten-free cheeses and many other options available for breakfast.
On our beautiful breakfast buffet you will found gluten free choices and we can ensure you that we follow all the necessary hygiene protocols that have been set by the Greek Government!
Also, by the time you arrive at our facilities, we will give you all the information you might need in order to feel completely safe!
We will be very happy to welcome you to our hotel and provide you a high rated hospitality.
We have taken all the dedicated measures to our kitchen for preparation of gluten free meals and specific allergies with high standards concerned from our executive chef.
Will be very important If you finally make a reservation to our hotel to inform us for the dates so we will make some orders and preparations.
Thank you for your email regarding your questions on Gluten Free products. We do have a number of products and menu items which are gluten free and we are able to tailor make and purchase items for you during your stay related to your Breakfast and other produce that will come separately sealed and items can be prepared separately in our kitchen.
For extreme medical conditions that are critical, as a hotel we operate also with non gluten free products and I am unable to fully guarantee that all touch points in our Food and Beverage areas will be fully isolated.
Having a 100% gluten free restaurant nearby for breakfast at least, or a hotel that can accommodate can make such a difference to your trip as you can eat without the fear of your day being ruined by being glutened. For me on this trip that was cafe Nudie Foodie.
This place was definitely on my must visit list, and meant I could easily eat breakfast in Athens. Breakfast that was an actual treat as well and not just making do! The menu is a dream with so much choice that I’m just not used to everyday including pancakes, and waffles!
Most items on the menu are also vegetarian and the pancakes I ordered were keto. Made with almond flour and topped with coconut cream, raspberry coulis and pistachio they were delicious whilst Paul ordered the banana pancakes.
Gluten free and vegan options included banana pancakes, tofu scramble, an açai bowl and a chickpea burger.
They were opening 10-6 Friday to Sunday when we visited which were the hours posted on their Facebook page but Google showed them as open daily.
About a ten minute walk north of our hotel but off the tourist trail was Stani, an authentic dairy patisserie that has been trading since 1931. You might need to ignore the cakes but I was there for the Greek yoghurt anyway, and that topped with honey and walnuts for breakfast was amazing! It cost €6.80 for the huge portion of yoghurt and a coffee.
I passed Happy Blender – it’s on the same street as Athens flea market and thought it could be a great place to try with juices and açai bowls on offer. It’s also listed as number 2 on trip advisor for gluten free restaurants so worth a try if you’re looking for a centrally located and healthy breakfast with vegan options.
Not one for Central Athens but if your trip is taking you further afield and you’re vegan/on a raw food diet this could be worth a try. I’m not personally a fan of raw food but there are some good looking raw desserts on the menu!
You can easily eat at Nudie Foodie for lunch especially as they had pizza on the menu, or maybe try a supermarket or the Central Market area for supplies for a picnic lunch.
I had also packed two packs of Genius pitta bread for this trip, which is a holiday must have for me especially for Greece! They’re long life, lightweight, pack flat in your bag and don’t need toasting. I love them as they can be used for sandwiches, emergency naan bread or for dipping into any dip, hummus, cream cheese. They’re just so versatile and in Athens they allow you to also tuck into things like local tzatziki. If I’d have tried turning up at more random restaurants for lunch rather than ones I’d researched I’d have eaten more tzatziki and Greek salads. But, be careful even of the salads when ordering as I was surprised to see lots of additions like barley and croutons!
Sadly, Greece doesn’t have gluten free burgers and options in McDonalds. However, the McDonalds websites for different countries are excellent for allergen advice including may contains and in Greece it shows the fries and wedges as having no allergens. This gives you an easy option if you need it, or want something on the go but gluten free fries are not a rarity in Greece so it’s not very exciting option especially compared to what you can find in McDonalds in some European countries.
Arcadia was probably the restaurant in Athens with the most gluten free reviews and what came up frequently during my research and I can see why – especially with it being conveniently located near the Acropolis Museum making it a must visit destination.
The gluten free options were amazing including fried calamari, saganaki cheese (don’t order this elsewhere as it’s fried in flour!) and dolamades. These are the three dishes I ordered off the starters menu to make my own lunch. Paul tried a bit of them all with the calamari being his favourite, along with ordering a moussaka. A dish that trip advisor reviews suggested could be made gluten free – but for my visit it wasn’t.
We were also given a small portion of yoghurt with walnuts and honey as a small dessert with our bill. It was all delicious and this restaurant with its convenient location, knowledgeable staff, and mega gluten free options including gluten free bread they make themselves this would be my number one recommendation for a trip to Athens.
The three starters, one main, one Diet Coke, two lattes and an iced cappuccino came to €45.
Gluten free and vegan – Vegetarian options included pasta, risotto and salads (and moussaka if you don’t need it to be gluten free) but there were no obvious vegan options.
We passed this restaurant but didn’t stop to eat here. It is fully vegetarian with gluten free and wheat free options marked on the menu and gluten free recommendations but you would need to check cross contamination measures taken.
I thought it looked like a cafe, but it’s showing online as opening until 10pm.
I have always found The Hard Rock managers extremely knowledgeable and accommodating for gluten free. I’ve eaten here in many countries and often have it as a back up plan and Athens was no exception with it being located near my hotel. On this trip I didn’t need it so I didn’t scope out the extent of the options but one to try if you’re struggling to eat out in the city.
Found thanks to trip advisor reviews – for which there were many for Lithos, it was a great find with gluten free options marked on the menu (but sadly no desserts) and located right near my hotel.
The dips were marked as gluten free so I chose the spicy feta spread. A bit strange to offer as a gluten free option as you literally get served the dip alone when you order it gluten free! Luckily I had gluten free pitta in my handbag which they didn’t mind me eating, quite the opposite I think they were impressed I was prepared!
Whilst it may not look like much, this dip tasted amazing!
For the main I ordered the pork filled with metsovone cheese and sundried tomato pesto with fries. This meal was huge and tasted pretty good although I wouldn’t say you could tell that the pork was stuffed.
There were no gluten free dessert options (I never understand this in places that mark gluten free on the menu, why doesn’t anyone change this when they realise there is nothing as they add the labels?!) but we were given a plate of fruit for free with the bill.
I was struggling to find many gluten free recommendations online, the same few places came up but when I searched the hashtag #koiliokaki on Instragram it brought up this hidden gem with plenty of gluten free options and they replied to my message that they are very careful with cooking processes and can cater for coeliacs.
It is a BBQ restaurant so great for Paul also so it went on the must visit list! It isn’t located in Central Athens but we felt it was worth the effort, especially when combined with time walking along the sea front. At the time of our visit it was open Thursday to Saturday 1pm – midnight, and 1pm-6pm on Sunday’s.
We ordered a Greek salad and tzatziki to start, which actually came with gluten free bread here. Paul then ordered a ribeye for his main, and I had the chicken kebab which were both immense! I highly recommend coming here if you have time, it was worth the effort!
This was a restaurant we tried on the first night with outdoor covered seating with heaters and Acropolis views. The whole street is restaurants but I choose this one as the photo on the menu card they were using on the street to advertise was a simple dish of steak, sweet potato purée and asparagus. I thought it was called Theta but that’s bringing up a cocktail bar on Google.
Using the translation card the waiter understood that I had a ‘gluten allergy’ and directed me to some of the simple meat and fish dishes. I couldn’t be bothered to ask more questions about the grill or sauces so instead asked if I could have the goats cheese, saffron and pine nut risotto which he said I could and then double checked with the chef to be sure.
This naturally vegetarian and gluten free dish was amazing. I love saffron anyway so really enjoyed the flavours of this dish, with some added crunch from the pine nuts. Washed down with a glass of wine of course. Possibly not very ‘Greek’ but simply divine.
In full transparency I can’t be confident recommending this restaurant for its gluten free procedures but I felt safe enough opting for a naturally gluten free meal from them so you will need to decide if that’s right for you.
Veganaki is a fully gluten free and vegan restaurant. However, it is not certified or dedicated gluten free and has a disclaimer that whilst the whole menu is naturally gluten free some ingredients may contain traces of gluten and shouldn’t be eaten by those with severe allergies.
I didn’t try it to see how they helped those with coeliac understand the extent they use may contains but I definitely would have checked it out if I was also vegan or struggling to find other restaurants. Also a great option for those less required to worry about cross contamination but needing to eat vegan, dairy free and gluten free.
I was recommended this bakery on Instagram but at 45 mins metro ride from where we were staying I was pushing my luck to try it with Paul on a short trip!
Nestle crunch bars generally are gluten free and clearly labelled in Europe making it easy to find some safe chocolate. I found these in Masoutis opposite our hotel.
We stopped at Kayak for coffee, but they had gluten free Icecream, and lactose free sorbets on the menu that I would have checked out if it was warmer (as I didn’t make sure you check cross contamination measures).
L’arte del gelato were also advertising gluten free gelato, but again I didn’t check whether it was safe for coeliacs but I didn’t see many gluten free signs over the weekend so could be a good starting point in a search for icecream!
I would have loved to return to Nudie Foodie for an afternoon treat. The cheesecake looked amazing and the waffles with icecream could easily be an epic treat stop off. All we need now is for them to start selling baklava, which I didn’t find gluten free!
This is the small supermarket that was opposite our hotel which had a small selection of gluten free items including bread, pasta, cereal although no real choice of options or brands but it was available. They had some crisps and chocolate that were labelled gluten free too and obviously lots of naturally gluten free options. I also spotted violife cheese and almond milk yoghurts.
A supermarket I was recommended for gluten free products on Instagram but didn’t get a chance to visit.
If you’re staying in Athens for more than a couple of days, or staying in an Air B n B for deliveries then definitely check out this website for gluten free deliveries!
Coffee in Greece is something else. I’m not really a fan of hot coffee but love iced coffees so Athens was the place for me! I had plenty of cappuccino freddos over the few days.
Little Kook is a themed cafe that you should definitely check out if you’re a content creator or on a girls trip. We walked past but it wasn’t somewhere Paul wanted to go in!
Who knew as I began researching that Athens would have so many cool must visit bars? Bars featured in the Top 50 in the World list, themed bars and rooftop bars that mostly had cocktails priced in the €9-10 price range. Most of the recommendations I found via Cheap Holiday Expert, Chelsea and Jess Parrs blog, whilst Baba au Rum and Clumsies are also recommended by Lonely Planet. I have listed everything below that we had on the list but we ended up using the hotel roof top bar so we didn’t visit as many as originally planned!
Rooftop bars are a must in Athens for the iconic views of the Parthenon lit up at night and we were lucky enough to have one in our hotel. Otherwise, Couleur Locale and MS Rooftop Bar are highly recommended.
Listed in the top 50 bars in the World for Athens is Baba au Rum so we headed out to check this out, but they only had a couple of tables outside that were full and no one inside so we headed to Noel instead but it looked like a great bar for busier nights.
Listed in the Lonely Planet guide, Brettos is a fab bar with a beautiful back drop of coloured bottles. We walked past here and had the full intention of returning but ran out of time.
Another must visit bar as it’s also named in the top 50 bars in the World list!
A beautiful bar recommended by Chelsea – Cheap Holiday Expert (See her Athens highlights in her profile) that looked beautiful and was added to our list for €10 cocktails only to discover it was located literally 200 feet from our hotel. We loved the vibe here for our pre dinner drink on Friday night. The photo below doesn’t do the whole place justice! We would have returned for more if I didn’t have so many bars on my list to try! €15 for a beer and cocktail (the cocktail was immense!)
Year round Christmas cocktails and theme? Yes please! The bar is covered in fairy lights, and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting outside for some cocktails.
The only bar on the list not located near the Attalos Hotel but instead by Coco Athens BC and Arkadia Restaurant, and it sounds like a fun bar if you’re staying in this area!
Where to Watch Sunset
In addition to watching from a rooftop bar listed above (or in our case the balcony in our room) these are some recommended sunset locations!
The Acropolis can be visited at sunset but instead we headed to Lycabettus Hill so the Acropolis was in our view. You should definitely walk up Lycabettus Hill or take the funicular up for views over Athens (€7.50pp return, but we ended up walking back down) as it has some awesome views. It’s a popular spot at sunset so can only imagine how busy it gets in the summer when we would definitely try and see it for sunrise instead!
Return from Islands at sunset
If you go on a trip to the Islands it was recommended to return at sunset! Something we didn’t do but sounds like a great tip.
If you’re spending longer in Athens and looking for some day trips I saw Temple of Poseidon recommended for sunset views.
The Acropolis is actually the hill in Athens, with the Parthenon located at the top. This is an absolute must visit. Definitely follow advice and go at 8am for opening if you’re visiting at peak times, it was busy enough at 9:30am in February so I dread to think of what the crowds can be like.
Entrance cost €10 per person for us but think that doubles to €20 in peak periods. This makes the €30 combined attraction ticket more attractive in summer months. I’ve also seen tips to buy this at a quieter site than the Acropolis so you have your ticket before visiting. We faced no crowds first thing in the morning though in February at the Acropolis ticket office.
Ideally do this on your first day or before the Parthenon to learn more about what you are visiting and take a guided tour if you want to understand more about the artefacts. We didn’t follow this as for us Friday and Saturday were sunny days with blue skies whereas Sunday was predicting rain so we saved this for the Sunday for an hour wander. There are awesome views from the coffee shop in the museum too.
An archaeological site for the Ancient angora of Athens, which would have effectively have been the Market place/a place of social gathering in the city.
The oldest house in Athens which was built in the 17th century. This was only open limited hours, just 11-4 on Sunday during our trip but it is free!
A crazy market, with an indoor market filled with meat and fish stalls but really not one if you’re vegetarian, vegan or squeamish as they had everything including whole sheep head for sale. There was a place cooking fresh fish in the fish market area though that could be worth checking out for a simple lunch.
Outside there were fresh fruit and vegetable stalls and olives at the market, plus plenty of shops selling produce. It’s worth a wander!
We took a trip out to the coast, I think it was six stops on the metro from where we were staying, where you pick up a tram along the coastline. We passed an amazing looking playground and water park on the tram at Flisvos Park too if you’re travelling with children. We headed slightly further up the coast and walked back several stops. In better weather you could easily make a day of it. This photo was taken at the end of our walk so doesn’t highlight the best of the beach options but we enjoyed getting out of the city for the afternoon.
The guards change every hour in Athens, but the large grand ceremony is held every Sunday at 11am.
A photo opportunity to capture the Acropolis through Hadrian’s Arch!
Located off Monastiraki Square, the flea market is effectively a street that has many shops that is almost like a busy street full of tourists stores. However, on Sunday all sorts of antiques (?!) were also sold in the streets making it worth a wander!
We don’t visit many museums and picked the Acropolis Museum but this is another museum you could check out in bad weather or if you’re more into museums than us! This could be combined with Stani dairy bar and the central market based on its location.
We spent some time wandering the National Garden full of palm trees and orange trees.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus originally was built with 104 columns, but now 15 remain most of which in reality are covered in scaffolding. €4 entrance per person, or €8 at peak times or included in the €30 combined attraction ticket.
Other Recommendations/Tips for Greece:
- People ask how long to visit Athens for – you can easily do a whistle stop tour of the sights in a day (or two to make it less rushed and have more time for good food, and to soak up the coffee culture). Our third day allowed us more leisurely start times and to venture to the coast and have some time in the sun on our balcony, but we could probably still have done this within the two days and added a different day tour in better weather or earlier starts to the day.
- Our flight was with BA (didn’t really work out any more than the budget airline carriers in the end due to having checked luggage included). The flight didn’t include meals, but they gave out drinks and a snack. For our flight this was a wheat filled Kellogg’s nutri grain bar. It would have been a nice surprise (and not that hard for BA to pick a gluten free and vegan cereal bar) but I was fully prepared with cold pizza and a sausage sandwich! On the way home I had a pack of Genius pitta bread and some olive spread I bought at the airport.
- Wear comfy shoes, we walked a lot!
- We still needed a rain jacket/light jacket in February and the weather is unpredictable during this month.
- Order cappuccino Freddos everywhere you go!
- Metro from the airport €9 single ticket
- Metro and tram day ticket where we visited the coast €4.10 (excluding airport)
- Acropolis €10 / €20 in summer / €30 combined attraction ticket
- Acropolis museum €5 / €10 in summer
- Funicular up Lycabettus Hill €7.50 return
- Cocktails in bars around Psiri – approx €10 / beer €5
- Large bottle of water from street stall €1
Other Resources for Gluten Free in Athens
We had a really fab few days in Athens without the need to rush around like you do for many cities in that timeframe, it was lovely to spend time relaxing drinking all the coffee and cocktails. I hope that however long your trip is you have a wonderful time exploring and finding all the gluten free eats!
Happy Gluten Free Travels!