Winter in Greece probably isn’t your first thought when it comes to a holiday. Like many people, it was probably a summer holiday on the islands. But on the mainland, winter has a lot to offer, provided you know where to look! While these places are beautiful in any season, stone buildings, mountainous backdrops and quiet villages have a special kind of magic in the winter season.
When you say the words ‘winter in Greece’ there is one destination that comes to mind immediately for many Greeks. Arahova. This little village is the Greek Queen of the winter! It is a favourite for locals who like to have a winter escape, as it is only 150km away from central Athens.
In Arahova you are spoilt for choice with delicious food and exquisite drinks, honey and cheese, herbs, beautiful, handcrafted souvenirs, luxurious clothes and accessories. It will make you feel like you have found a unique and elegant marketplace. Arahova’s traditional architecture and astonishing views will enchant you in the winter season. All with the beautiful backdrop of a snowy Mount Parnassus!
Agoriani is a close neighbour to the beautiful village of Arahova. In this area you are also close to Delphi and the famous Sanctuary of Apollo which is a must-visit while you are in this region of Greece. If you are a nature lover you can walk from Agoriani to Delphi following the famous E4 European path, that passes through the most beautiful part of the forest. Another benefit for winter lovers is that the ski-center is only a few kilometers away so here you can enjoy the slopes as well as the village.
Agoriani will fulfil all your mountainous village dreams. You can explore the village streets and enjoy the stone houses, smoking chimneys and little tavernas with delicious local products. Despite being a popular spot during winter in Greece, this beautiful village still retains an air of authenticity. The locals radiate hospitality, and you are always more than welcome in the kafeneia (traditional Greek cafes).
Kastoria, located in Northern Greece and nestled in the mountains, is a destination that remains a well-kept secret to most visitors. Here you can experience a city of old neighbourhoods, narrow lanes, stately mansions and Byzantine churches. On the shores of Lake Orestiada you are forced to take a step back in time and embrace the joys of winter in Greece.
As you walk on the south shore next to the old mansions of wealthy furriers and you will experience some of the splendour of the Byzantine era. The city is famous for its high-quality fur. It was in fact named after the thriving beaver (in Greek kastoras) population that once populated these shores.
Metsovo, a small mountain town in Epirus, is the perfect destination for winter in Greece. It is famous for its local cheese and wine varieties as well as being a popular winter and ski destination. Aside from the rustic charm and welcoming locals, this village is rich in culture. Be sure to visit the Folk Art Museum and the Averoff Museum of Neohellenic Art. Like anywhere in winter, a traditional warming meal is perfect on a cold evening, so do not miss the traditional tavernas.
Kalavrita is a small city located in the Peloponnese region. Sitting at an altitude of 730 meters Kalavrita is famous for its ski center. Only 188 km from Athens it is becoming more and more popular during the winter season as people come for a relaxing escape.
Just a short drive out of the city you can find the state-of-the-art ski park with 12 slopes and special snowboard and snow tube parks. Not to worry if skiing isn’t your thing. You can also enjoy the hiking trails, mountaineering on Mt Helmos, climbing, mountain biking and even paragliding if you’re brave enough!
This will seem like an unlikely destination for winter in Greece, but as Santorini is such a popular spot, visiting this island in the winter gives you an entirely different perspective and experience. While swimming might be off the cards there is still plenty to do in Santorini. There are still restaurants open, museums and archaeological sites to explore, or why not do a wine tasting!
The Greek islands don’t have to be just a summer destination! A good tip to remember if you are thinking of visiting the islands in winter is that islands that are larger in size will have a bigger permanent population and offer more frequent travel options. They are also much more likely to have year-round restaurants, hotels and entertainment options for visitors!
If you are considering winter in Greece, don’t forget the capital! This vibrant city is a beautiful place to explore in any season. If you are visiting Athens in December, Christmas festivities will be in full swing and you can indulge in some Greek Christmas traditions and try some festive food. Take an evening walk to the city centre and see Syntagma square ablaze with lights! The winter months are the perfect time to visit the many museums that Athens has on offer. It’s also the best time to explore the Acropolis with no crowds!