Choose Greece for your winter holidays and enjoy all the possibilities that open up around that time of year! From skiing in Parnassos and on the Mainalo Mountains to visiting the Byzantine monuments in Dispilio. Winter in Greece is waiting for you!
Sporting Activities in the Wild
Large areas of woodland with snow-capped peaks, forest trails and old pathways, fast-flowing rivers crowned with stone bridges and striking lakes create the ideal setting for having a truly memorable experience during your winter holidays.
The biggest ski resorts in the country are on Parnassos, Kalavryta, Kaimaktsalan, Vasilitsa, Tria-Pente Pigadia, Pelion and Mainalo Mountains and they offer unforgettable snowy adventures against an all-white setting.
Enjoy the natural beauty of the mountainous areas with the numerous cloud–capped peaks and the wide network of signposted trails while you go hiking or mountaineering. If you love mountain biking, or you use a 4WD vehicle, you will discover many off road routes that will lead you deep into the heart of Greek nature.
You can practice water sports in lakes such as Orestiada, Ioanninon, Plastira, Kerkini, Vegoritida, or bird watching or simply go for a romantic stroll, enjoying the view of the snowed landscape reflected in their still waters.
Winter Trips to Greek Picture-Perfect Towns
Seasons may change, and the beauty of some destinations are only enhanced in winter! Kastoria, Ioannina, Metsovo and Karpenisi are four towns that serve to prove that statement.
In Kastoria, one of Macedonia’s gem towns, you will enjoy going on a tour of the lake’s serene surroundings. Wander in the town’s traditional neighbourhoods, see the Byzantine monuments and visit Dispilio (7km SE of Kastoria) a lake settlement of pile dwellings dating back to 5000 BC.
Ioannina, the capital of Epirus region is a beautiful old town with an amazing cultural heritage, imposing monuments and picturesque neighbourhoods. Visit Lake Pamvotida, one of the area’s top sights and the picture-perfect islet of Kyra Frosyni located right in the centre of the lake. You will feel as if transported to the past, to an era of secrets and legends.
Metsovo is a traditional town, perched on a mountain slope and built according to the Epirus architectural style. Visit the impressive art and cultural sites, taste the famous local dishes and feel your energy levels rising as you practice sports in the area’s forests and mountains.
Trendy Villages Full of Life
Dotted throughout the Greek countryside, partly covered in clouds or lying under a cloak of pure white snow, these villages are the meeting point for those jet-setters who wish to enjoy their trip to the countryside as well as winter sports in style, and at the same time enjoy the nightlife until sunrise. Arachova in Central Greece and Palaios Agios Athanasios, a picture-perfect traditional village in Macedonia, are the most popular destinations at a stone’s throw from ski resorts.
Virgin forests, majestic mountains, impressive caves, deep shaded gorges, wetland habitats of rare beauty and other remarkable ecosystems enhance the loveliness of the Greek countryside.
See the beauty of Greek nature unfold in the National Parks on Pindus, Parnassos, Vikos, Parnitha, Olympus, Mainalo mountains and in the Forest of Dadia, as well as in habitats such as the ones in Lakes Kerkini, Prespes, Vegoritida and in Nestos River.
Hidden Mountain Paradises
Wooded recesses lie nestled in mountainous areas, most of them seemingly defying the law of gravity and offering an unobstructed view that can take your breath away. Numerous paths are there to be explored as the country’s rugged terrain gradually unveils the beauty of the Greek highlands and offers many alternatives to thrill-seekers.
There is no match to the mountainous parts of Korinthia and Arcadia in the Peloponnese when it comes to areas of natural beauty that also share a rich history and if you travel to the mountainous parts of Nafpaktia you will find there are more than 40 villages scattered on the area’s seven mountains, nestled in forested peaks, next to winding trails on a wild terrain – all waiting to be explored.
Visit Zagorochoria, a group of 48 traditional, stone-built villages in the centre of Epirus region. You will be captivated by the wonder works of nature and men.
Visit the villages perched on the slopes of Mt. Pelion. They are fine examples of the local traditional architecture. You will also find an interesting network of hiking trails under the breathtaking canopy of foliage on the mountain of the mythical Centaurs.
The country is full of treasures related to its culture and bear witness to the ancient Greek past that has offered so much to humanity. There are more than 100 imposing archaeological sites, numerous monuments, and hundreds of museums, where this historic course unfolds – one that has been both continuous and impressive, over a span of 5000 years.
Local Traditions and Customs
Undoubtedly, the greatest holiday season in the winter is Christmas time, as numerous local traditions and customs come to the forefront come alive across the country.
Decorated Christmas trees and little boats ornament houses and streets. Bells are ringing and children sing Christmas carols in towns and villages. Traditional practices come to the forefront such as ‘Momogeroi’ in many parts of Macedonia and Thrace, ‘Ragoutsaria’ in Kastoria town, a custom connected with ancient festivities in honour of the Greek god Dionysus, and bonfires in Florina town.
On New Year’s Day, there are customs for bringing good luck, like hanging a big onion bulb at the front door or breaking a pomegranate at the house’s entrance door. On Theophany Day (the twelfth day of Christmas) running waters are sanctified during the morning mass, when the Cross is thrown by the priest in the waters, while men and women dive in the water and compete in trying to catch it!
During the Greek Halloween period (Apokria), carnival parades take place, the biggest ones in Patras and Xanthi. Watch the customary reproductions of a ‘vlach wedding’ in Thebes, tzamales in Ioannina, gaitanaki in Livadeia, the burning of tzaros in Xanthi, boules in Naoussa, and alevromoutzouromata in Galaxidi.
Avoid the crowds of tourists that flock during there in the summer months and visit Greece in the winter! You will be able to take your time while you tour the country that has been named ‘the Cradle of Western Civilisation’.