A journey stumbling through the Aegean.
Backpack laden with Turkish gifts (and other holiday paraphernalia), my familiarity and enchantment with the Anatolian Aegean left me thinking it was time to head into that ancient sea and explore some Greek territory.
My experiences of Hellas were not quite as I expected: the landscape and people differing bewilderingly from those of Turkey. The inviting temptations of the verdant tresses of pine forests toppling into the 'Turquoise Coast' were lost as I wandered inalienably through barren islands inviolably prankt on the sapphire sea. *
There was a lot to learn, for when I return: so here I shall share as much as I dare, in my own prosaic poetry, my tumbling tale, with the tools of the trade I gathered along the way. May it be useful for your adventures in this (alas once-thriving) land!
In a series of blog posts I will follow the journey I made, setting sail from Halicarnassus (Bodrum, Muğla, Turkey) to the island of Kos, just a few kilometers away - a distance so short it could be swum, but a nation so separate a double passport control is required.
I will include tips for each place I visited: the transport system in Greece and its various parts isn't always the most intuitive, and the expected norms and behaviours aren't quite what a Western European, nor an Aegean Turk, would necessarily be used to. Let's just say my jaw dropped more than once - often with neither the sunset nor architecture responsible.
As I did not stay in hotels or hostels for the most part, but with locals (through the wonder that is Couchsurfing), I was privy to much Greek translation, local knowledge, travel tips, and off-the-beaten-track treasures, that I hope can give you an extra special time beyond what scouring Tripadvisor may or may not achieve.
My route, seen in the map, avoids party islands and seeks a diverse experience of the country in a somewhat limited time. The key areas explored are:
Kalabaka (Meteora monasteries)
Volos and Pelion area
The first crossing
Bye Bye Bodrum Turquoise Coast soon becomes Sapphire Sea
Stepping onto Kos island the first thing you might notice is that suddenly you are in an Orthodox Christian European country and no longer in the Muslim Middle East...except you wouldn't. Yes most people walked through the streets in bikini tops and while bikinis and skimpy whats-its alike abound in the South and West coasts of Turkey, perhaps the only difference would be that once you're off the beach and on the road, in Turkey you should put your top back on...here, the town and the beach were one.
Many people from Bodrum take a day trip to Kos, but whether or not this is your intention be very aware of the ferry times which are...a little dictatorial. Depart from Bodrum Castle port at 9/9:30am and return at 4:30/5pm. The discrepancies depend on the season (and the whim of the ferry companies). I turned up bright and early at the port having woken at 6am from a far away part of the Bodrum peninsula and bought my ticket there and then, leaving them my bag to go and find a çay.
The experience is like that of an airport, bags are scanned, visa are checked, passport is nodded at by a serious looking policeman in a box, and there's even a duty free. And an hour later once you've made the crossing don't expect to go skipping straight to the beach. There's another rowdy queue for passport control. Once through that though there's beach to the right and some sites of interest a walk around the bay to the left.
Heading inwards towards what looked like something of interest I came upon Hippocrates Square and...perhaps an ancient ruin...?
A few days before me coming here I had experienced the intense earthquake and its still pretty intense aftershocks while in Bodrum on 21st July. I was scared, and despite some practice shakes in equally untrustworthy Italian buildings this long rumble had me trembling inside and out. The most structural damage was seen in Kos and due to collapsing buildings, 2 people were sadly killed.
So in this picture what we're seeing is, that big tree is a the Plane tree under which Hippocrates supposedly taught (or rather its ancestor seeing as its only around 500 hundred years old). And the broken pile of columns and a discernible dome was just a little Ottoman water fountain built by a Turkish governor Gazi Hassan. (It turns out noone was particularly bothered by its crumbling). Yes those vague scratches on the roof are indeed Arabic engravings.
As you can see in the background there is a very distinctive minaret and indeed many of the Greek churches resemble mosques with domed roofs and converted minarets, but due to its 'colourful' past, -governed by Turks, Italians, Germans, Brits and Greeks without even venturing into antique times- a wide variety of influences from Venetian houses to the medieval Castle of the Knights can be observed.
However I am not going to write a history lesson, there's plenty of museums, books and Wikipedia for that. I spent very little time on Kos for I had an Athenian friend from Rome to catch on the mainland and Patmos to pass by on the way.
*Excuse the Shelley quote but I couldn't quite find the words myself.
Quote from Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
Of course if you want to travel anywhere and see some things, you usually have to pay for it, but the oh-so-considerate travel agent in one of the Ferry offices seemed concerned for my pocket and whether it would be 'worth it' for me.
This theme of people being a little overly concerned with what I'm doing instead of minding their own business and letting me mind mine (admittedly a rather introverted British trait) is something rather recurrent on my trip in Greece, but future episodes will be less kindly and more exasperating. Needless to say, it was worth it, as you can see below.
Well actually the price was a little more than just that, as my phone's pedometer can attest: it involved a large amount of wandering up dead-end paths leading to donkeys, clambering extremely steep tracks, and eventually trying to minimise the audibility of my pants, as I powered through the final streets of the hilltop town of Chora to the highest point of the island, where lies the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian. Despite the effort, I wasn't too disappointed when, upon arriving, I was told by a very smiley girl that the monastery was closed.
I can't promise, but at least I felt that the view was better than any monastery would be, and what's more I was then privy to a beautiful atmospheric little art exhibition in a nearby building, for which I've lost the leaflet with the artist's name on...
Greek island tip: after a couple of islands you'll begin to notice a recurrence in towns called Chora or 'Hora'. Every island has a town called 'Chora', pronounced with an airy hard C as an alternative name for the 'capital' of the island which also bears the same name of the island.
What is worth a visit is the Cave of the Apocalypse. I was simply quite intrigued by the melodramatic sounding name. Although today we refer to the apocalypse as being some terrible end of the world, the actual origin ἀποκάλυψις, (Greek of course) means 'apo' - the negative prefix 'un' and 'kalùpto' - 'covering': an uncovering or revelation. This cave is where St John (nobody quite knows John who) wrote the Book of Revelation following some visions, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Don't rely on the internet for opening times as, despite reading otherwise, I found it written on the door to be open until 6pm. In fact when I arrived, half way up the road from Skala to Chora, it was 6:10pm and I cursed my luck before discovering I could walk right in to witness a baptism taking place.
Here they are standing in the doorway to the cave, having unfortunately trapped some poor travellers inside and consequently me from seeing inside, while the priest rambled endlessly an indistinguishable -even to Greeks- repetitive chant and the baby grew more and more restless. I waited patiently but this was no short psalm. Increasing numbers of elegantly dressed guests arrived mid-ceremony, vacantly smiling as the holy words rolled on and the baby's wails became more urgent.
They eventually moved inside, meaning I could have a look around the cave, and continued the infant's torment with lots of swinging incense and some questionable singing, where different people seemed to join in in different parts, at which the point the child really let rip his indignation in watery screams. I'll admit I don't have the highest regard for fanciful religious ceremony and this one with its eerie chanting, ominous basin of water (yes, for baby-dunking), and serious lack of ventilation for the throat catching incense fumes didn't escape my skepticism, drawing to mind the cavern of Macbeth's witches, cauldron and all.
Of the cave itself, do a little research beforehand to know what to look out for of significance. Normally a couple of euros for a ticket would also be required - if you're not paying in piety.
The town of Chora is a nice place to stay for your evening meal and wander through the little streets. It might depend on the time of year a bit, but the sun sets elsewhere. A little too exhausted to walk back the way I'd come and keen to chase the last bit of sun, I noticed a bus stop near a kiosk at the foot of the town. The timetable told me a bus headed to 'Grikos' would come along soon, although one headed back to Skala the port town not until later...so off to Grikos I went!
The big green coach style bus arrived and did its regular U-turn on the cliff-edge road (that's the way it is ok), and while I thought I was being granted free passage when asking the bus driver for a ticket and he smilingly waved at me to 'Please, just take a seat'; oft in Greece it seems there is a special, usually elderly, man employed to come down the aisles of the bus once it's moving to sell you a ticket. Nevertheless this old man kept forgetting whether or not I and others had bought a ticket on this rather short but windy journey and he stumbled about with a look of mild suspicion and déjà vu at each passenger.
Once I'd realised we'd reached Grikos and that there were no sunset-drenched beaches, or indeed anything much, around the rather deserted town, I decided to stay on the bus and enjoy the views of the island as it headed back the way we'd come and on to Skala. I really recommend this if you're tired as the roads provide beautiful views and I got to see the sunset after all!
The buzzy inside streets of Skala are the delightful mix of pretty shops and restaurants spilling onto narrow stone streets one enjoys on such holiday destinations. All the people outside eating or chatting make a nice cosy atmosphere as the stars began to pop out, but I was headed to the Patmos Cultural Centre to find out about the 'Aegean Film festival'. Bingo! It was the last night with a showing of A United Kingdom at..... 'around 9pm'. I asked because this was not what the timetable was saying and the vague answer wasn't very helpful given that it was nearing 8:40pm and I wanted to get something to eat first.
A hurried filled pancake in a smart but nevertheless low-cost restaurant (which I chose solely for the outdoor sofas) and I rushed back, beer in hand, worried I wouldn't be let in at 9:05. Had I been in Italy, I would have known better, but it turns out Patmos runs on a similar clock and the screening didn't start for another half an hour. Regardless it was a beautiful film and a lovely experience beneath the vast, starry sky, thinking of on what small, sea-swathed speck of land I was.
Through the foamless isles, and stainless sea...
As midnight approached, I was back by the so-called port - which is actually more of a little pier with a bar - well in time, as instructed, as were many other passengers, seated eagerly by the gates. I had left my luggage in the welcoming bar which has a designated space for bags and stays open throughout the night.
With no sign of the ship I put my phone to charge, changed into some loose trousers and brushed my teeth to be comfortable for the journey. Despite the 30°C + temperatures the ships were absolutely freezing inside due to the air-conditioning, and my attempts to sleep in the fresh air of the top floor deck ended up being equally nippy as some pretty forceful winds picked up, blowing even people's blankets around.
As lorries and vans stream off, economy passengers flurry to get on and set up camp on the already full ship (It came from Leros beforehand). I was pretty exhausted from a sleepless night the day before and since there's not much else to do without even a view to look at, I was keen to get some sleep. However, I wandered hopelessly through the many seated areas of the multiple floors to a sight I had never seen before.
Chairs had been arranged in ways I could never have imagined; every inch of every surface, be it the Chora lounge chairs, the Mikonos diner benches, or the children's play area (looked pretty comfy) was covered in curled up people, a few dogs, a cat and even a little bird rocking on a perch in a cage.
Unfortunately I was unprepared, with no blanket or mat and, having moved my spot three times due to cold, I eventually found an abandoned stool by a coffee table at 4am. I settled down, wrapped up in my towel, head and shoulders on the seat and body on the table, to sleep for the rest of the journey.
Despite all this, my largest shock and displeasure was being physically shaken awake by a manhandling ship employee just before 7am, as he shouted in Greek and went round clapping everyone awake. A nearby little girl asking her mother echoed my thoughts: 'Why is that man waking everyone up?!'. We weren't due for over an hour but I can only assume it was to encourage passengers to get spending in the cafes.
I stubbornly repositioned on the table, replaced my eye mask and went straight back to sleep.
Despite the hour's delay in departure, the captain seemed to have put his foot down, as we arrived to Pireaus port after a 'rosy' sunrise not long after 8am. Athens, like many great European capitals, is well covered in terms of touristic advice on the internet. I will just provide a little logistical information and my highlights.
From Pireaus port, on the West side of the Attican peninsula, don't fret - as I did- there is a free bus waiting to take all passengers towards the nearest metro. Get off at the last, or perhaps only, stop, and follow the crowd of people heading towards Pireaus metro station on the green line.
Plan now to save money and get either a 24 hour or 5 day ticket pass. There will be a machine to get integrated metro and bus tickets. So you can use this ticket (don't lose it) as many times as you like within the period you choose, allowing you to move about freely. At the time of writing there were no barriers or ticket checks on the metros but they are in the process of installing automated ticket barriers like those in London as I'm pretty sure many cash strapped Athenians and travellers alike don't bother with the ticket.
it's all Greek to me...
If you hadn't already considered the extent of the difficulty of the Greek language, then your troubles will be soon fully realised. This is not a matter of pronouncing a bunch of letters in your best Greek accent, or vaguely noting down the sounds of what you heard when someone told you the name of a station. It really might as well be 汉语. (If you speak Chinese, then replace accordingly!)
The metro map and many signs, helpfully or not, are written in both Greek and Roman alphabets. However, even if, as I did, you think you have knowledge about the letters enough to work out the English equivalent, BEWARE! Many names are so long you've no hope of guessing correctly which syllable wins the right to be emphasised; and a confusing range of sounds and uninterpretable diphthongs will ensure you flounder regardless.
Two useful stations you may need are: Μοναστηράκι 'Monastiraki' a very central area near markets and restaurants and where the Green line changes with Blue, and Σύνταγμα 'Syntagma', the 'Constitution Square' in front of the parliament and not far from the national gardens, where the Blue line meets the Red. I always thought that so long as you could see a metro map, it was hard to get lost in a city. But I managed to do some bizarre loop the loops and taking of trains in wrong directions from Monastiraki, as not all the signs are intuitive and sometimes they only give one 'direction'. So... be flexible, and if in doubt, ask - most people speak pretty good English.
My hopes of picking up some conversational Greek already squandered, I was fortunate enough to be guided here and there by a local friend. I recommend walking up through the olive groves from a central station when you decide to splash on your Acropolis ticket (€20 full price), instead of using the namesake metro which will take you to the new museum instead. If you head up there middle-late afternoon you'll be able to hop up the nearby 'rock' as everyone enjoys the sunset, and -if you're lucky like us- a gust of vomit, as it seems to be a night spot for a few drinks...or more.
Once you step through the gates to the Acropolis and make your way up to enter the territory of this historic place, I advise you to take as many silly photographs as possible. There is a squad of casually dressed wardens, armed with whistles, ready to blow til they're faint, should you venture to strike a pose, or -god forbid- sit with two feet off the ground on a wall.
You'll never know who you're standing next to and where the next shrill peep will come from next, but as I rambled slowly back to stop via a certain corner I hadn't seen, 15 minutes before closure, I was stopped by a treble call of 'lady! lady, no, you must go this way!'. An experience to be oft repeated in my trip through Greece: from eating a snack while waiting (12 minutes) for a metro (yes, twelve), to huddling my cold knees to my chest thus placing my toes upon the bench where I was sitting, - I constantly found myself being told what I must not do, by people with no apparent authority, nor particular stake in what I was doing!
To complete the Acropolis experience you might want to visit the new Acropolis museum down below. But you might also do better to go to the British Museum (London), where the marbles, comprising exquisite statues and enormously long friezes, stolen by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon building at the beginning of the 19th Century, are kept to this day. Carefully arranged plaster casts are positioned in the bright, modern purpose building, along with a thorough archeological history of Athens. Expect long queues, and intense air-conditioning.
Here I take the opportunity to display a very large painting I did many years ago, inspired by the Parthenon friezes at the British Museum. It involved photographing a schoolmate from above, as she replicated some dramatic poses of the horses! Below you can see an extract of the frieze from the Acropolis museum in Athens.
Other spots to take a walk which I particularly enjoyed include:
If you've a few days in Athens, it's a good base from which to head down and visit Sounion, the Southernmost point of the Attican peninsula, and home to the Temple of Poseidon. Although, all down the coastline the shimmering sea and enticing little pebbly beaches may seduce you, once at the bottom itself, Sounion offers very little, so don't plan to spend a day there.
In fact, the time to go, as you can see, is sunset.
Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,
Legendarily this is where some say King Aegeus, looking out for the safe return of his son, jumped off the cliff into the namesake Aegean Sea, when Theseus forgot to change his black sails as he returned, bride in tow, from slaying the Minotaur in Crete.
If you're fortunate enough to be able to drive with a friend - or perhaps a newly met Athenian acquaintance - in an open top car, winding your way along the dazzling coastline and stopping here and there for a dip in the sea, then I recommend it! Otherwise you can find the bus information, with times and departure points here. These timings may vary with the season and it gets very busy around sunset so make sure you have a ticket and remember not to miss the last bus back. Although in the worst case it might be easy enough to hitch a ride!
If you do a search for the destinations I write about, as I certainly advise for your travel plans, 'Andros island' will lead you to an island in the Bahamas. Once you've dipped into the Caribbean sea you might not want to return, so I'm warning you now to type directly 'Andros, Greece' to save any tempting deviations. This Andros is a lot cheaper and the sea is still a lovely aquamarine colour. Usually.
The ferry to Andros, which continues on to Tinos and Mykonos, departs from Rafina port which is still considered an Athens port but isn't really near Athens at all. On the Eastern side of the main peninsula, you can get a direct KTEL bus, departing regularly but randomly and taking under an hour. I bought my ferry ticket from one of the numerous sale points at the port and then had plenty of time to hang around so even walked along the seaside to a little beach with some sunbathers where I took a dip to cool off....
....Still, probably best avoid the swimming in ferry ports..!
Or perhaps the sea altogether, as I thought when I saw this pretty mess on my way back towards the boat.
It's a giant ferry as big as the overnighter, so I knew my way round, but just a 2 hour trip bringing you into Gavrio port from where you can take a bus all along the island to the capital (Andros, or Chora as we've now learnt). I knew now to take my seat and wait for an elderly man to come and give me my ticket later in the journey.
It turns out there's just one winding road along the island so you can pretty much get to where you need to go. It stops at Batsi, the most glitzy and buzzy town on the island (although they don't really seem appropriate adjectives in the grand scheme of things) on the balmy sheltered side of the island and ends on the windy East coast.
I'd got a last minute host with a sculptor in a little village on the hilltop called Pitrofos, but when I gave the address I had half the bus discussing where I should be getting off. One man was so concerned he didn't rest for the whole journey because he said I'd have to walk a long way from where the bus stops, while the ticket man dismissed this. As it ended up, I was deposited on the edge of the road on a particularly windy (in both senses) part, but fortunately within a few minutes a dusty van with a panting dog out the window appeared and took me up the hill some more.
I was a little concerned because there wasn't much in the way of shops or cafes...well actually there was nothing, but happily my host had some rice stuffed vine leaves for me to dine on.
The next day I got a ride to Andros (Chora) the main city, on the East side of the island and worked my way into the centre where I finally got a little feel of 'Greek island' as you see on postcards or as is somehow summoned to mind from some subconscious source when people refer to 'Greek islands'. (With 6000 islands in Greece I'm not quite sure how such a term can be seen to represent even a single quality). Anyway as you can see, it was quite picturesque. And I began regretting my decision that I don't need sunglasses, as I squinted my way through the blinding white paths and buildings in the blustery sunshine.
A little Art...
You'll also find Greece's first 'Modern Art' museum, founded by a collector and shipowner "Basil" Goulandris, aptly named the Museum of Contemporary Art Andros. It has two wings for a reasonable €5 ticket: a permanent collection containing the work of various Greek and international sculptors and painters, and also a large exhibition building. I really enjoyed the Nikos Engonopoulos exhibition, enhancing my understanding of surrealism with the Greek contribution.
If you enjoy a hike then Andros is famous for it and has 100km of routes maintained and organised by volunteers. You can check out this website for information on the routes, get hold of a map, and to get an idea of what to expect. We drove down one of the most precipitous cliffs in the van to get to a private beach in a desperate attempt to escape the wind. Instead we were plagued by searing hot sun (and the wind kept blowing away our makeshift shade).
You can't actually tell in this picture but I am standing on a very high stack of rocks. There are some incredible rock formations like this to be found. After my first night in the village I decided to go in search of a bit more life and just as the moon was rising and the daylight fading, I re-deposited myself on the edge of the only road, bikini, sundress, and backpack-clad and, thumb out, hoped for the best.
As the first few staring faces ignored my waves completely, just as it was really getting dark, a rickety open back truck slowed up and two radiant faces asked me where I was going. Well, there is only one way to go and sure enough the one young French couple were passing my intended destination of Batsi. With only two seats, I had to clamber in the back with the luggage and we rattled along. They were also travelling around large parts of Greece, had just been on a full day hike, and mentioned some of the highlights of their travels. I could scarcely remember the places they named but memory of the mysterious word 'Pelion' which I later googled, gave a total new direction to my tour.
I had already found where I would stay in Batsi, a charming little hostel of rather ramshackle facilities with a personal welcoming gesture of a glass of lemon juice on the roof terrace and a bracelet. The Lemon Tree hostel has a big 'dorm' sleeping 8 in bunks and a couple of little but hot rooms, an outdoor kitchen situated tightly between the two bathrooms. If you're up in time there's tea and toast for breakfast. It's not luxurious, rather on the 'hippie' side, but the vine-wreathed roof terrace with a view over the bay is lovely, as is the quietly gentle sloping walk down to the sea-front bars, laced with fresh running streams. For a cheap quick bite to eat (me almost every meal) head straight down and first place on the left does a souvlaki for €2, I alternated between mushrooms and halloumi. This is the ONLY place I found halloumi throughout the whole odyssey!
You can walk both ways along the seafront, open sun loungers on the beach are free to the extent that someone will come and take an order for a drink from you. Otherwise help yourself to the plentiful sand. I walked right round the bay to a little shrubbed peninsula, meeting some goats along the way, where the water was a very satisfying turquoise and dived right in. There are multiple beaches, rocky, pebbly, and sandy along towards the south as well and the last I tried happened to be a nudist beach where I encountered the owners of the hostel not long after checking out!.
To get back to mainland or to your next island, you climb onto the packed bus right on the edge of the water by the bars and in 15 minutes you're at the port where you can buy your ticket again. I prefer to buy at the port in case you're late or early and because you can pick up any offers they might have.
The Meteora Monasteries, Μετέωρα, near the town of Kalabaka, Καλαμπάκα.
The long, painful, crowded trip from Athens to Kalabaka is ultimately worth it.
While lounging under the grape vines overlooking the blue bay on Andros, I was wondering whether to bother with the long trip inland to visit what could potentially have become a very crowded, tiring tourist attraction. One traveller I met suggested that given time and effort taken to get there, it's overrated, but another encounter assured me the magical place was not to be missed.
So after an evening ferry back to the mainland, an airbnb for the night near the train station, and a one-way ticket (as ever I was non-committal as to how long I'd remain) to Kalabaka station the following morning, I headed to the next part of my exploration of Greece.
A day suffices, is what they all said. You go up, visit a few monasteries, back down again, have dinner and be on your way through Greece. But why! A quick recommendation led me to the 'world's best hostel', at least in so far as the beds are solid wooden cubby holes with curtains and there is a SHOE RACK outside the rooms so that stinky smell is reduced somewhat.
Upon learning of the rarity of the bus to the top, I had no choice but agree to the cross-country trekking route up the mountains. Fortunately I had a couple of travellers from the hostel to guide me, and help out with the photo opportunities on the way up. And thank goodness...because the way back down in the dark is just a little bit scary, no matter how beautiful the moon!
Even once at the top, what you do have to know, is that the monasteries are not close - so if you are without a vehicle, walking is paramount. Nevertheless, I had the misfortune that despite my efforts that most of them were closed to the public on the day I went! Oh well, I didn't really need an excuse to stay longer, and the scenery is worth it even if you don't enter the monasteries, but I stuck around and managed to fit in another 2 trips to the top.
If you're visiting or moving to Rome and don't want to miss out on the food scene, I hope to provide you with some pitstops from a full Roman dinner to a quick snack or gelato and where to do your shopping!
You don't have to feel left out, or embarrassed about expressing your diet choice in most Italian cities. Some people and places will always kick up a fuss or pretend not to understand. We've all heard the same silly questions...
"So....can you eat...bread...?"
But since Italy's primary industry is tourism, catering to the needs of their international visitors is what businesses do best, and that means adapting to the rise of veganism too.
It's true that fundamental to some of Rome's traditional dishes are cheese and meat. Cacio e Pepe is pasta stirred with pecorino cheese and black pepper. Simple, delicious, vegetarian, but not vegan. Carbonara, another Roman speciality requires cheese and guanciale - boar cheek (sorry, -rather graphic perhaps).
However, another very famous Roman dish is Carciofi alla Romana or Carciofi alla Giuda. Artichokes with lots of olive oil, in the latter case, deep fried. This is 100% vegan, bingo! Definitely not raw though...Raw foodists should scroll down for a bit.
Below, I provide some vegan pitstops for every occasion, but if you do find yourself, as is often the case, stuck in any old Roman trattoria look out for: pasta e ceci or pasta e fagioli.
Failing that, get the minestre.
These are all soups. The first, with chickpeas and pasta is totally delicious and I can't seem to replicate it at home. The second, pasta with beans, usually borlotti, is equally mysteriously yummy, thick and warming.
Finally, you can't go wrong with the third option of a mixed vegetable minestrone, (no pasta). Almost all places will have at least one, if not all of these hearty dishes to leave you satisfied.
So, beginning with my hands down favourite place for vegan food in Rome and where you can some of this Roman food whether you're an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, take a look at this list to have you covered for your trip to Rome!
Vegan eats in Rome