If you’re in the Tampa or Clearwater area and feel like a little OPA! Greek-style, then you must visit Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs is Florida’s Greek Town, 10 miles north of Clearwater, on the warm and lovely Gulf of Mexico.
This charming town was built by Greek immigrants who brought the tradition of tradition of diving for sponges to the popular sunshine state. Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States.
So it’s no surprise that my parents own a home of their own in this Greek community. This Florida Greektown is one of the biggest sponge industries in the world. You will want to hang out by the docks and watch the workers load a fresh catch of sponges. Yes you’ll want to pick up a few sponges in one of the many little tourist shops. But you’ll have to also pick up some handmade soaps to take home as well.
After walking the strip, stop for lunch or dinner at one of the many authentic Greek restaurants, like Mykonos. If you’re not in the mood for Greek, make sure to dine at Rusty Bellies, a real seafood haven at the end of the strip with a seafood market next door. It does get pretty busy, so make a reservation! Be sure to try the Carly Sue Shrimp N Grits for a real southern favourite. Before heading home, be sure to stop by Hellas Bakery for a delicious Greek pastry.
If you can manage to visit during a Greek Festival, you will have a blast. This year, the Tarpon Springs Opa! Palooza Greek Festival runs June 8th – 10th 2018.