Why Winter is the Best Time to Travel to Greece

By Soren Rivero

Seaside vibes, sparkling azure nights, and plenty of delicious bites – Greece is an extraordinary vacation destination that continues to draw in millions of travelers every year.

Though it may be true that most people visit Greece in the summer, we're here to show you why the best time to visit Greece is actually in the winter!

See Greece in a New Light

If your image of Greece is purely composed of college spring breakers having the time of their life on beautiful blue beaches, it’s time to rearrange the thinking a little bit. Greece is much more than just a hotspot for party goers or summer vibes.

Going to Greece during winter provides you with the opportunity to see a different side of this historic and popular country – one that you’d probably never imagine. You’ll see how the locals enjoy the crisp season authentically without the crowds of tourists and underlying obligation to spend your time solely in the sun.

Experience Greece With Fewer Crowds

Fewer tourists plan their trip to Greece during the winter months. Especially in mainland Greece and near the northern mountains, you’ll definitely be experiencing Greece with a much smaller crowd if you go during winter. This makes it an ideal time to see all the historic monuments without having to worry about long lines or packed crowds.

Since winter is typically a time where we seek warmth and comfort, Greece is an ideal spot for any winter vacation. Locals themselves seem to enjoy the winter season more due to its authenticity and purity. Whether it’s the lack of crowds or the mountains covered in white snow, who knows! All that we can say is that you’ll be surprised how amazing a trip to Greece during the winter season is.

The Weather is Better Than You’d Expect!

Okay, so what about the weather in Greece?

Winter in Greece is fairly mild. Given that it’s a peninsular and mountainous region near the Mediterranean Sea, you can’t really expect temperatures to get too cold in Greece. Especially near the coast. But the position of Greece is also far above the equator, giving it the chance to experience all four seasons. Temperatures usually linger between 53 - 60°F (12 - 15 °C) throughout the season. That drops whenever you move to the more mainland regions in the north, such as Macedonia and Thrace, with temperatures frequently dropping below freezing.

Athens occasionally sees snowfall, making the historic city all the more beautiful to see. Islands such as Mykonos and Chania are much warmer, making them ideal year-round.

Mountains of Opportunities to Explore

Did you know that over 70% of Greece's land mass is composed of mountains?

One of the best things to do in Greece during winter is to take your adventure towards the mountains. You can start off skiing down blankets of snow in the central town of Karpenissi, the capital of Evrytania. The mountains of this region are decorated with more than just snow — white water rapids, meadows, and ancient monasteries also make this a must visit site in Greece. You can even hike in the nearby Pindos Mountains!

Arachova is also an excellent place to visit during your winter trip to Greece. The village sits on the lower ends of Mt. Parnassos (another good option for skiing in Greece) and is commonly referred to as “Winter Mykonos.” You can enjoy the blend of modern architecture and lifestyle thanks to the popularity of the town, while still experiencing the rich history embedded within the cobblestone streets! Just a few minutes away from the town is the iconic monument of Delphi and the Oracle of Delphi, both perfect to visit in the winter with smaller crowds.

Taste Winter-Specific Food & Drink

The food in Greece is spectacular all year, but it's especially delightful in the winter when you get to try dishes that aren't typically served during hotter seasons. Some of which include fasolada, a bean soup known as the “national food of the Greeks” and lahanodolmades, Greek cabbage rolls. Desserts are also super popular during winter in Greece! Visit any bakery or shop to try out heart-warming (and soul nourishing) sweet treats such as melomakarona — Christmas honey biscuits.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Drinks are also included. One thing you should definitely try is the popular alcoholic drink of Rakomelo made from combining honey and raki. This spirit is most similar to brandy and has a balanced fruity flavor made slightly sweeter with the addition of anise. It’s great for warming up on cold winter nights. You can also find this drink made with wine instead, if raki isn’t for you.

Winter Festivities

Perhaps a trip to Greece would make your heart sing melodies of joy and comfort, as the winter holiday traditions in this country are like none other.

Christmas holidays in Greece last for 12 days. Starting on Christmas Eve and ending on January 6th, this is a time of celebration and coming together. You’ll see parties and festive activities all across Greek cities. You’ll want to visit the northeastern region of Drama to see the most extravagant Christmas village in (arguably) the entire European continent: Oneiroupoli. You can also take a short day trip over to Drama and stroll around the city, or have some more fun at the Ski Resort in Falakros.

Christmas isn’t the only holiday that warrants big celebrations in Greece. Ragoutsaria is a century-long ancient tradition in Greece that takes place during Carnival in the city of Kastoria. Adults and kids come together to wear traditional clothing and participate in open dances, sing-offs, and dance competitions. The holiday is a revival of ancient Dionysian rites, beginning on Epiphany (Jan 6).

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