Winter time in Greece – where to go?
Little is known that Greece is a fantastic winter destination and has much more to offer than beaches and the sea.
Actually Greece is a mountainous country, it has beautiful mountains and 22 ski centers on them, fantastic mountain villages where tourism is well developed, many mountain lakes and rivers, centuries-old forests. Everything you need for a great wintering.
You can view the list of ski centers in Greece with all the details (length of slopes, number of ski lifts, etc.) HERE.
Near the ski centers there are some of the most beautiful Greek mountain villages that you can really enjoy as they are very popular and visited, and beautifully decorated.
The Greek cities of Athens and Thessaloniki are an excellent choice to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays in them, which we wrote about by clicking on: New Year and Christmas in Thessaloniki and Athens.
But since these cities are alive even during the winter, you can have a great time in them at any time during the winter. HERE you can find and our recommendation for 5 best restaurants in Thessaloniki.
However, if you want a real experience of winter, we suggest you visit one of the mountain villages - towns, the most famous winter centers, which we will present in more detail below.
The most popular places for wintering in Greece
Kastoria is one of the most romantic cities in Greece and one of the most popular winter destinations. The city is built on the edge of Lake Kastoria, offering a fantastic view of the lake and the surrounding area. Tourists can wander around the city and admire the combination of traditional and modern elements in its architecture.
Trikala is a beautiful city located in northern Greece. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit many historical places, such as the Byzantine Castle, and the Old Town of Trikala, which has some of the best restaurants and coffee bars in Trikala, where you can try local specialties.
The municipality of Trikala organizes one of the biggest Christmas festivals in Greece. There are many activities to entertain visitors in the city, but also in the surrounding area, so you can visit Meteora, the most important monastery complex in Greece behind Mount Athos, or the Pertuli ski center for a pleasant day in the snow.
Drama is home to Santa’s most popular village, Oneirupoli or City of Dreams. This is a theme park that offers a variety of activities for both children and parents.
The colorful village transports its visitors to a magical fairy tale and offers you the ultimate Christmas atmosphere. You can read more about this village by clicking on Santa’s Village in Drama.
Apart from Oneirupoli, if you visit Drama you can also organize day trips to the Falakros ski resort.
Drama also offers a range of traditional accommodations where everyone can find a warm and friendly shelter. In Drama itself, there is a beautiful park of Agia Varvara, which is more beautiful in the summer, but it is also nice to walk through it in the winter.
Drama is also a good choice because you can also visit the Bulgarian ski resort of Bansko.
Arachova is one of the most popular Greek destinations during the winter and a favorite place for Athenians to spend the winter. Besides being close to Athens, it is also very close to other popular destinations, such as Delphi.
The village is located near the three ski centers of Mount Parnassus, so it is full of skiers, but if you don’t ski in this place, you will have a great time because it also offers numerous other facilities. There are many nightclubs in the town that offer entertainment until the morning hours, good restaurants, shops, entertainment for children such as an ice rink, a large number of hotels, but also log cabins with swimming pools and spa centers.
A walk through the village under the snow with beautiful architecture, stone houses, paved streets will surely please you. Arachova is simply a place where Athenians spend their winter holidays.
One of our favorite mountain spots in Greece is Agios Athanasios. This mountain village has only 184 permanent residents, it is located in northern Greece on Mount Kaymakchalan. In 1992, it was declared a traditional settlement of Greece and has remained unchanged since then.
The village, which was built at the end of the sixteenth century by farmers and builders from Epirus, is today a popular tourist destination. In the village itself there are many beautiful traditionally built hotels and guesthouses where you can enjoy your winter vacation.
Agios Atanasios is located near the ski center Kaymakchalan (Voras). The village has narrow cobbled streets, many taverns with delicious food, and houses and hotels are made of stone.
Agios Athanasios is also an ideal starting point for many excursions as it is within easy driving distance of major Greek cities such as Edessa and Xanthi, Thessaloniki is not far away, as well as the famous Lutra Pozar (hot springs in the forest) where you can bathe in outdoors and during winter.
You can watch a video about this two-mountain place by clicking HERE
Loutra Pozar is one of the best and most interesting proposals for a winter destination
Is there a better feeling than swimming in warm water in a river in the middle of winter in a snowy and forest environment?
Thermal springs exist all over Greece, and Loutra Pozar in the north of Greece is one of the best. Here the thermal river Toplica rises with a temperature of 37 degrees and flows through the forest, a real waterfall and a whirlpool where you can swim in the open air. The price for access to this swimming pool is symbolic and amounts to 2-3€, but in addition to this outdoor swimming pool, there are also 48 private baths, two indoor pools and two small hammams, as well as a modern hydrotherapy center with eight pools for 6 people. There is also a 50-meter swimming pool on a specially designed plateau, and visitors can enjoy the small thermal waterfalls along the river for free.
You can rent accommodation nearby, in the village of Loutraki, visit Kaymakchalan where you can also ski, visit Agios Athanasios, and Thessaloniki is not far away either.
Metsovo, one of the most beautiful mountain places in Greece, teems with life both during the summer and winter periods of the year, but in our opinion, the beauty of this place is at its best during the winter.
Read more about this great place in the text we dedicated only to him because he definitely deserves it by clicking on: Metsovo overnight stay on the way to the Ionian coast.
Here we will just say that you can spend your entire vacation in Metsovo, not just one or two days. Here you can enjoy a real winter magic.
Zagori - mountain villages
This area is difficult to describe in words, but it is an exceptional destination for nature lovers. Over 1000 square kilometers of densely forested, mountainous landscape punctuated by deep gorges, pristine rivers, waterfalls, caves and more, 46 stone-built villages complete what can only be called a mountain paradise.
Nature-loving hikers have at their disposal hundreds of kilometers of well-marked trails that pass over old stone bridges, past inhabited and uninhabited monasteries, through protected forests teeming with life and over ridges with heart-rending views.
Each of the villages is more beautiful than the last - the legacy of master masons who are considered the greatest in the country.
The accommodation options are large and the high-quality accommodation facilities are mostly built in a traditional style.
When you feel like you need to get back to civilization, the cultural city of Ioannina is only a few minutes’ drive away and there are many other beauties and surprises waiting for you there.
Tsumerka is the mountain range of Pindos, which consists of a series of peaks that form a giant ridge from the north to the south of the country.
Pristine forests, crystalline springs and waterfalls feeding wide rivers, canyons, dense forests and abundant wildlife form the heart of Tsumerka National Park.
A total of 47 villages are dotted with a wild landscape reminiscent of Zagori, but unlike Zagori this region is less developed, making it a good place to experience the Greek countryside at its wildest, and really get away from it all.
If you want to jump out of the tourist offer, there are plenty of places to do so here. Tsumerka is the perfect destination for nature lovers and people seeking refuge from civilization.
The Pelion Peninsula
The Pelion Peninsula is an equally good summer and winter destination.
The slopes of the mountains are covered with dense almost jungle forest, and the endless blue glassy sea stretches below them, but what is especially interesting during the winter are the traditional mountain villages.
Cobbled streets, large paved squares with plane trees, restaurants with delicious specialties, shops with local products, quality accommodation built in the traditional style of stone and wood, as well as a ski center will make your vacation complete.
In order to have an even better time, we recommend you to visit the beautiful large seaside town Volos, but also the village of Makrinitsa, which offers a fantastic view of Volos, which is why this village is called the “balcony of Pelion”.
Poto credit: photography of Natura 2000 protected area with ID Kastoria
Photo credit: Nicholaslogo Lifts in Ski resort on Mountain Falakro
Photo credits to Mark Belokopytov
Photo credit: Hotel Philippion,Loutraki https://www.hotel-philippion.gr/en/pozar-baths/
Photo credit: Web-Greece.com https://web-greece.gr/newweb/en/location/macedonia/pella/kaimaktsalan/loutra-pozar/
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