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Once in while we like to get in the car and drive to new places here in Florida, nothing fancy or expensive, just a daycation to unwind and get away from the everyday routine. This time we decided to go northwest to a small riverfront town called Tarpon Springs. We were actually around the Tampa area that day and from there visiting Tarpon Springs is only about a 45-minute drive.
When we finally arrived, the town was way smaller than I had imagined and the tourist epicenter was about a single street to be exact.
And how exactly did we decide to visit this small town in northwest Florida? Well, it was all thanks to Google. I don’t remember exactly when I first heard about this town but I do remember hearing the words Greek food and that was enough to get me intrigued. So I searched online and found great reviews of the area, plus the story behind how the town was founded is pretty fascinating.
It’s a tiny little place, but very welcoming and pleasant to spend a day with the family. You do feel like it’s a small piece of Greece, especially inside Hellas, where a lot of the Greek food traditions are still kept alive. Tarpon Springs actually has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US.
Our search for the famous Greek restaurants started as soon as we arrived. The town itself is quite small and the center of Tarpon Springs’ Greek culture lies on one street that has several Greek restaurants and shops, all right off the coast.
We ate at Hellas Restaurant and Bakery, one of the most popular spots in the area. I ordered the Hellas Gyro, a delicious combination of beef and lamb meat, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce on pita bread. I was in food heaven! Roberto ordered the Beef K -Bob and also loved it.
Then we went for a walk and visited the small shops. One of the places I liked the most was a store where they sell handmade soaps. I’m a little obsessed with these things… I really like products that are handmade with natural ingredients.
The famous sponges are everywhere. These sponges are the reason that Tarpon Springs has such a large Greek community. As I learned while in town, the Greeks began to arrive in the early 1900s when local businesses started looking for sponge divers and experts in this field, and the Greeks are among the best in the world.