The Ugly Truth About Crete

The Ugly Truth About Crete

After two amazing weeks in Crete (we stayed in a town called Plakias on the South of the Island) I am home. Those who know me know that normally I am not happy to be home after a sun-soaking, beach-loving holiday. And that is pretty much true in this instance.


Not everything was perfect in Crete. The scenery? Yes! The heat? Hell yes! The food? no. For most people the food here would be pretty much the tastiest you have ever had – Plakias is known for it’s fresh fish. But not for me. As someone who has a PREEEETTY limited diet (no gluten, dairy or meat) it is safe the say the food here was not the best!

There were 13 of us sharing a villa so we tended to eat in one night, normally a BBQ, and eat out the next. The eating in wasn’t too bad, I had a LOT of rice, salads and vegetables and I really tried to have lots of protein, yet however many nuts I might eat this would not be enough! Fortunately we found avocados which were a God send, but the supermarkets lacked spinach, lentils, Tofu (OK I didn’t really expect them to have this), beans etc.

I also hadn’t thought about bringing my own herbs and spices, so I was pretty limited on the flavours of things. We had a rosemary bush outside our villa and bought one assortment of Greek seasonings but this got pretty repetitive having the same flavour each day. My favourite food to have on a BBQ was corn on the cob in case my face doesn’t give it all away! It was absolutely lush and a definite must have!

Eating out was a whole other story.

Like I said Plakias is known for its fresh fish and seafood, and this did not disappoint my family, but something Plakias, and the rest of Greece, are not known for is Vegan, Gluten free options. I haven’t got any photos of the food I had, because to be perfectly honest it wasn’t photo worthy! I found one starter that I could have at every place we went, Vine Leaves stuffed with rice although I had to be careful as some of the restaurants made them VERY acidic – not good for a recovering gut – then I normally had to order some fries (checking they were GF).

At one place there was a beetroot salad on the menu, and when I asked if that was OK for me to have he said yes! Brilliant! But when it came out it was in fact just sliced up beetroot in a little bowl. I had this for a main and thank goodness that on this occasion, my starter also came out with the mains (serving is a little ‘unique’ in Crete shall we say) as I don’t think many people there do it, but as this was the only option for me in many places I tended to order a few different starter plates, some I would actually have for a starter and some I would have for a main.

Even though my food options were limited I wasn’t going to let that ruin my trip, and also my families. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be thankful for what you do have!


#1 – Take your own herbs and spices, maybe get a assortment pot that has a few different holders so you can take a few different kinds.

#2 – Check trip adviser, a few of the restaurants we went to we had researched before hand and they had said they had ‘vegan’ options, and one said it had gluten free options.

#3 – Translate a sentence on your phone, I put ‘I can not eat gluten, meat or dairy as it makes me very sick’ and showed it to the waiter to help them out a little!

#4 – TAKE IT AS IT COMES – enjoy it, work with what you’ve got and don’t let it ruin your holiday!

#5 – Have AT LEAST one breakfast on the beach, and when everyone else is eating their pastries, have a fresh pomegranate or nectarine, they never disappoint!

If you have any of your own tips and tricks for managing abroad I am all ears!

59 Replies to “The Ugly Truth About Crete”

  1. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to not to be able to eat so many class of foods. I have recently gone through an elimination diet, to find out which group of foods makes me sick and it was really hard. Going out to eat was definitely not an option.

    1. It is hard but I try not to let it stop me doing anything! I hope you manage to figure what it is, it’s a nightmare not knowing! x

  2. I can’t imagine the pains of traveling while on a restricted diet. I’m glad you were able to eat in some of the time so you could enjoy more options, even with the limited spice/herb offerings!

    1. It wasn’t so much the limited spice/herb options it was the fact that if I bought more than 1 I would have WAY too much for my holiday and it would be wasted, and a waste of my money!

  3. Its a shame they don’t have more vegan or gluten free food. I am a vegetarian and find sometimes choice in restaurants abroad can be limited, at least you did not let it ruin your trip!

  4. A friend of mine recently visited Greece and he told me that its very hot there too. So I guess I would agree now. Not sure though if he was able to visit Crete and explore the foods as he had only limited time. I hope soon I can visit this too.

    1. The heat is the bit I love best! I can’t get enough of it. Any place in Greece I have visited have been well worth the trip!

  5. It is a good idea to research the restaurants when you are going to be traveling. I have always wanted to go to Greece.

  6. You’re not alone with finding slim pickings in the food department when traveling. On a recent international trip our family had a very difficult time with the country’s food – it was bland and lacking flavor. But it’s all part of the experience! Sometimes we just need to grin and bear it.

    1. Definitely! I find it’s very hit and miss, when you hit its great, when you miss, like you say grin and bare it!

    1. I’m sure there are places that are vegan/gluten free it just so happened that was not the case in Plakias! Still very enjoyable though!

  7. Although the trip was not with the best experiences,I hope you had better time staying away from daily tasks.These tips are really helpful for anyone who plans a trip to Crete,specially I like the idea of bringing own herbs..

  8. thank you for sharing this beautiful destination and giving us some helpful advice. I really want to visit Plakias if I have a chance to. I love seafood and beach. This destination is my cup of tea. Thank you for writing this article.

    1. No problem, I have some more posts coming out about my trip and the different beaches etc so keep your eyes peeled!

  9. Thanks for being honest about some of your not so glamorous experiences in Crete. Yes I think about that now while I travel especially for long periods of time bringing my own herbs and spice because not all countries have certain flavors and import so you might suffer.

    1. I would just hate buying a big bag and then have to leave it there, or bring it home for it to go to waste because I have lots of spices/herbs there already!

  10. In my case, sometimes I got confused with foods, especially dining at Chinese restaurants. Glad I always have my Google Translate app which is very helpful to my travels.

  11. It seems like you had a really great time after getting passed the food scenario! You seemed to do a really good job with finding some pretty tasty thing to eat though! My son has a milk protein intolerance so I can understand a little bit when you’re on vacation and having to worry about food is the last thing you want to do!

  12. I think I heard complaints before – not about Crete but about Grece and food, like very greasy chips etc. I still want to go one summer for that tan and that Med waters.

    1. The food is great if you find the right places, I didn’t stumble upon any this time unfortunately! It really is well worth the visit! πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t really know about it until I was diagnosed so don’t worry! The doctor told me and I just stared at him blankly!

  13. Ohhh, I think I went to Crete as a very young child. I’ve heard about how good it is for food but didn’t realise it would lack variety for restricted diets. I’m sorry you didn’t have much variety but it looks like a truly beautiful place.

    1. I think it depends where you go as to the restrictions. It was worth being without a few of my day to day foods as it really was beautiful πŸ™‚

  14. Oh no, that does suck a bit when you’re struggling to find food. Plenty of fresh fruit though so I guess that helped a little! Plus you won’t have gained any dreaded holiday weight like the rest of us!!

    1. I LOVED the fresh fruit!! Haha true but it is so easy to snack on crisps etc when you haven’t had a ‘proper’ meal so I probably did gain a bit!

  15. So sorry to hear there weren’t many food options for you. We really take for granted how accommodating the UK is. Hopefully Crete will start to introduce more options in the near future. I’m shocked that they didn’t even have things in the supermarkets. I hope you had a lovely holiday regardless. X

    1. We definitely do, which is probably one of the problems! Maybe I wasn’t looking in the shops properly but I will know better for next time! It really was lovely thank you πŸ™‚

  16. Travelling while sticking to a diet might be quite hard especially if you are not in capital cities. I thought there were no issues in Greece but I guess it will still take a while for all the islands to catch up too.

  17. Good for you for keeping such a positive attitude!! I can’t imagine how frustrating it must’ve been to have to navigate the menus in a different country and different language. Looks like it was still ab beautiful trip!

  18. Hey, i ‘ve been to Plakias 4 times. The last time just weeks ago. Actually for us it was like a vegan dream come true! We found a lot of vegan and gluten free stuff and meals in the market, the supermarket, the landscape and the taverns. Fava, Gemista, stuffed zucchini and zucchini flowers, vegan cheeses (3 different), soy mince, a shitload of awesome and fresh herbs and spices, soy, almond and whalenut milk, mulberrys, pumpkins, fresh oranges, limes and lemons, strawberrys, bananas (didn’t even know they grow on crete), cherries, and those salads (beetroot, avacado and all the other ones). We had such a great time. Again. I m so sorry you missed all of that. In 2017 there even was a vegan/vegetarian tavern next to Plakias (it shut down a few month ago). Give it another try. Crete is awesome for great food and landscape.
    And since the Crete people are very religious and for a period of time every year, they eat vegan. So if you want to ask if it is without egg or milk you ask if it is Nistissimo. Everybody who sells food will know what you are up to.

    1. Oh wow I cant believe I missed all of these! We must have just been going to the wrong taverns and supermarkets I guess, but it’s definitely noted for next time. I would of course go back! I couldn’t find much online whe;I searched for places so the names of the places you that would be great! Thank you for your advice!

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