Although Greece is mostly popular in summer, over the last years winter holidays are also developing in Greece. Apart from picturesque islands and vast beaches, Greece is also a mountainous country with many winter beauties to offer to its visitors. As the climate is much milder than in other winter destinations, this makes it easier for the tourists to come to Greece. Although sometimes the occasional rain may seem to spoil the magic, the temperatures vary between 15oC to 0oC from November to February.
Popular destinations in Greece during winter
An early morning stroll may take you onto a delightful path through conifers or mixed forests to another hamlet with glorious views along the way. If it has snowed, then you’ll want to visit Greece’s well-known ski resorts and enjoy your favorite winter sports. The snow queen here is Arahova with its lady in waiting, Livadi, below the Parnassos Centre, considered Greece’s best. The hotels are top and non-skiers can go horse-riding, mountain biking, or driving their ATVs on special routes.
From Pelion’s ski resort at Agriolefkes, you can combine winter sports with exploring the mountains famed villages. Other excellent ski resorts can be found at Falakro (Drama), Kaimaktsalan, Vasilitsa, Seli, Karpenissi, Elatohori and Kalavryta. They’re all set in spectacular locations, conveniently close to archaeological sites, Byzantine monuments and hamlets untouched by tourism.
Winter in Greece: traditions and customs in the big cities
Winter is when the cities come into their own. The mild weather of Athens and Thessaloniki make them ideal winter destinations for a quick getaway. Patras, Volos, Naoussa, Veria and Ioannina also have rewards for a winter break: walks, shopping, and entertainment, particularly during the holiday season. Winter’s also a time to revel in the season’s festivals. Carnival in Patras, for example, is renowned throughout Europe.
In Kastoria, you might want to check out the Ragoutsaria, a three-day period of music on traditional brass instruments, dancing, food and wine that has its roots in Dionysian rituals. And at Epiphany on January 6th, you’ll want to see the Blessing of the Waters, though you probably won’t be tempted to dive into the icy sea for the cross, thrown by the priest.
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