2 July 2023

Vegan in Rhodes | Greece

I recently visited Rhodes town in Greece with my mum, it was on my birthday week and the trip was just stunning, from the food, to the people, the scenery and the weather, I couldn't recommend it enough.

As for food, we had a really great balance of accidentally vegan options which you can eat in most restaurants like dolmadakia (vine leaves stuffed with rice) gemista (tomato & peppers stuffed with rice), gigantes (butter beans in tomato dill sauce), olives, aubergine salad (a dip), fava (split pea dip), hummus, greek salad & dakos (minus the feta), falafel, grilled veg, pita, lemon potatoes and mountain greens, to veganised versions of classics including gyros, moussaka, feta in phyllo with 'honey' and gelato of various flavours.

Rhodes also has a strong Italian influence, so they also have accidentally vegan pasta dishes like spaghetti aglio e olio, and arrabbiata, so there's really something for everyone.

Day 1

We arrived on Monday afternoon and headed straight for the beach after a short trip on a local bus - this was pretty busy with little room for luggage, but was significantly cheaper than a taxi or transfer. We enjoyed a few hours in the sun before enjoying a cocktail at the hotel and heading into the old town for dinner.

Dinner time was around 8-9pm in Rhodes, after the sun has set and it's a little cooler. There were so many spots in the old town, most of which had hosts trying to get you in, so we kept looking for something a little more quiet and came across a wonderful taverna called Ta Mezeklikia in a quiet but picturesque courtyard that was just perfect.

We enjoyed some gemista (stuffed veg with rice), the best gigantes of our trip and a Greek salad minus the feta, which we dressed with a little olive oil and vinegar on the table, as well as a glass of red wine and some bread and olive oil for the table. It was a wonderful first evening and a great spot in the old town. 

Day 2

Our first full day in Rhodes we had a quick stop by the hotel breakfast buffet before heading into the old town to explore, we had some bread, tahini, tomatoes, olives and cucumber as well as fresh watermelon. We stayed at the Pearl hotel in Rhodes, it was 5 minutes walk from the beach, 10-15 minutes from the old town and had super friendly staff which really made our trip, as well as air con in the room, a pool and a breakfast buffet, it was more on the basic side but was a great little base for our holiday and we got a good last-minute deal on it so I definitely have no complaints.

We spent a bit of time exploring the old town, the harbour and even found some vegan gelato from Royo. Most places had vegan sorbet, but I'm a sucker for the creamier flavours, the hazelnut and dark chocolate flavours were my favourites, but the pistachio was also delicious. We spent a little while longer exploring the old town with our cameras and then got a vegan gyros with hummus from Pita Fan. I'm sure this would have been even better enjoyed fresh and hot, but we couldn't resist taking them back to the beach to enjoy a little later. 

We spent the afternoon on the beach reading and enjoying the weather. It's 15€ cash for 2 chairs and an umbrella for the day, which I think is worth it to ensure you have a bit of respite from the sun, we also had beach shoes for the water, as they are stony beaches and also get very hot on your feet when walking to the water. There are also people selling cold drinks walking up the beach which are pretty reasonably priced should you want any water, fizzy drinks or a cold beer. Most places in Rhodes take cards, but it is worth having cash for the beach chairs and little purchases like drinks. Most ATMs will charge a fee for a withdrawal, so it's best to get a little more out at once to save on the fees, I used a Monzo card, which doesn't charge you to use a card abroad and it's best to choose the option of local currency at the ATM for the best rates.

We then got ready, had an obligatory cocktail and snack of some nuts in our hotel room and wanderd to the waterfront, to experience the most beautiful sunset. For dinner we checked out Ono, one of the only veggie restaurants in Rhodes, it's worth booking as it does get a little busy, but we just managed to get a table. We enjoyed an Israeli salad, vegan moussaka and one of my favourite dishes ever, vegan feta coated in crispy phyllo pastry and drenched in maple syrup - it was salty, chewy, crisp and sweet and a must-try in Rhodes. Despite being pretty full, we couldn't resist trying the cherry cheesecake and I'm so glad we did, it was buttery and crisp, super creamy, with a perfect balance of sweet and tartness from the cherries.

Day 3

Our third day in Rhodes was my birthday, so we booked a day trip to Lindos, which took about 90 minutes by coach from Rhodes town. Lindos is a little more compact than Rhodes, with mostly white buildings and tiny little streets. The beach was beautiful, however, it was down a massive hill, so it's worth bearing that in mind. 

For lunch we ordered some dolmadakia, gigantes, olives, aubergine salad and pita from Stefanys in Lindos. We found that the gigantes were slightly more brothy with a few veggies in and every restaurant makes them a little different. The aubergine salad was a smoky, slightly tangy dip that paired perfectly with the pita. There was a vegan restaurant in Lindos which had gyros, but were limited on other vegan options, so we chose accidentally vegan Greek food instead. We enjoyed the afternoon on the beach in Lindos before heading back to Rhodes town on the coach.

For dinner we went to Ouzo which was up the street from our hotel. We'd walked past the night before and the host was telling us about what we could have as a vegan and was super knowledgeable, but not too pushy either. We were welcomed in and recommended the veggie platter which he made vegan for us, we also ordered some extra dolmadaki and a side of hummus. The platter had gigantes, falafel, stuffed veg, onion rings, grilled veg, slaw and peas. It was incredibly delicious and really hit the spot, particularly with the hummus.

After dinner the host even brought over flavoured ouzo and asked another group of diners to sing, the entire restaurant joined in and it was such a lovely moment. The whole evening was just amazing and had perfect Greek hospitality, I'd highly recommend checking it out on your trip. 

Day 4

Our final full day in Rhodes was a beach day, the beaches on the top/towards the right of the island are slightly more sheltered from the winds, however, there are a few tavernas on the left which we'd noticed had vegan options. We went to Orexi, which had a vegan section of the menu, it was a little more pricey but the gyros board was delicious and had a beautiful view of the sea. We shared this and it went perfectly with a cold beer - I'm typically a wine or cocktail drinker, but this paired wonderfully with a crisp cold beer. 

For dinner we wandered into the old town and ate at Rustico taverna. The portion sizes were a little smaller here for the price, particularly the hummus, but it was tasty food and they were knowledgeable about veggie and vegan options too. We ordered the dakos, minus the cheese, potatoes (specify vegan), grilled veg, hummus and pitta. 

On the way back to our hotel we stopped by Ice Art for some gelato, they had plenty of labelled vegan flavours of sorbet, but the bitter chocolate was also accidentally vegan and was so incredibly delicious!

Day 5

Our flight back wasn't until the evening and our hotel were lovely enough to let us leave our luggage there and use the pool shower in the afternoon, so we spent our final hours enjoying the sunshine on the beach, reading and relaxing. 

Up to then there were still a few dishes we hadn't managed to enjoy, but also a few favourites we couldn't resist having again and to our delight we found a restaurant near the beach called Olive with all of them on the menu, so we ordered a meze feast of pita, mountain greens, gigantes, fava and dolmadakia - it was the perfect meal and the perfect closure to our holiday. 

We got a taxi back to the airport - I realised I had booking.com credits I could use for this and it only took about 20 minutes. The airport had a few options, including burger king vegan nuggets, but we ended up getting a vegan spanokopita and some lemon potatoes - they were a little pricey as airport food is, but it hit the spot and I wasn't quite ready for non-Greek delights just yet.

Overall the trip was just so incredible, the old town of Rhodes is so beautiful, paired with lovely beaches, Greek hospitality and a huge variety of vegan food, it really is such a wonderful destination for a holiday!

A few notes: most stuffed veg is just with rice, but some have mince, so it's worth ensuring you read the menu description. You may also need to specify no sauce on the dolma. Vegetarian was a widely understood term, vegan a little less so but it was still easy to navigate and sometimes you could ask a few questions e.g. with things like extra sauces or if the fritters had egg or cheese just to check and they were happy to help.

A few places in Rhodes town we didn't have chance to visit/ were opening in July, but also had vegan options were:

Interested in travelling more as a vegan? 

Check out some of my other trips for places to eat and things to do: