Whether you’re trekking the Greek islands for 2 days or two weeks, there are a few drinks and eats one must try during their travels. I’ve compiled a short list of my top 5 recommendations for any budgeting traveler.
1. Ouzo – This clear alcoholic beverage is at the top of my list of things to try while trekking Greece. With its distinct licorice flavor and smooth finish, you’ll definitely be smashing plates and partying just like a local after a drink (or two) of this traditional liquor. Ouzo can be found stocked at any local corner or liquor store in a variety of flavors such as; mint, coriander, and cinnamon. If you’re not in the mood to split a bottle with friends (or drink solo), just ask any waiter or bartender at whatever restaurant or bar you dine in, they’ll be happy to bring you a shot (or two) to start your evening off the ‘Greek’ way. The pricing can vary widely, downtown closer to bars and clubs you may pay a little more than away from the city center, at a bar you can expect higher prices as well (duh).
2. Gyros – If you spend even one second in Greece and don’t eat at least 5 gyros in your first day, then you’re not doin’ it right. A gyro is a traditional Greek dish that consists of meat (pork, beef, chicken or lamb) cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served wrapped (or sometimes alongside) in a flatbread (such as pita) with tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce – your new favorite ketchup/mustard/mayo/ranch. A gyro sandwich will run you no more than 5euro, while an entire plate with sides may get up to 10euro depending on where you’re dinning.
3. Tzatziki sauce – Ahh yes, your new ‘I-put-this-on-everything’ sauce. I didn’t even know what was in it or how it was made – I just knew it tasted like heaven and paired with my gyros and the fries on the side. Tzatziki sauce is always served alongside meats or as a dip. It’s made of salted strained yogurt (or diluted yogurt) mixed with cucumbers, salt, olive oil, and garlic (my favorite ingredient). Sometimes it can be mixed with vinegar or lemon, but it just depends who’s cookin’ in the back.
4. Baklava – You didn’t think I would leave your sweet tooth hangin’ now did you? This rich, sweet pastry consists of layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together with either a syrup or honey. This can be served cold, warm or room temperature. I personally am not a huge fan of desserts with nuts mixed in or topped onto my pastries, but to each his own. A slice will only run you 2-5euro depending on where you’re dinning.
5. Souvlaki – Remember those skewers dad used to whip up every football game day? Think of this as the Greek version. Slouvaki or a Greek fast food dish that is made of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. This is good for any budgeting traveler who still wants to dive into the traditional Greek culture but not empty his/her pockets over. You can expect to this paired with flat bread and tzaziki sauce. Yes, an entire meal for (easily) under 7 euro.
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