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Home > Winter In Greece Guide – What To Do & Weather

Winter In Greece Guide – What To Do & Weather

Post author Guru

Written by our local expert Guru

Written by a local specialist we know and trust to bring you the most up-to-date travel information.

Are you heading to Greece this winter? You’re in for a real treat! Winter in Greece is all about cool experiences without the crowds (unlike in the summer months). In winter, you’ll be wandering around ancient ruins and world-famous archaeological sites, and guess what? You’ve got them almost all to yourself.

The weather’s a mixed bag – sure, there might be some gray skies, but don’t be surprised to find plenty of sunny days, especially around the Aegean Sea. If you’re into skiing, the resorts are top-notch. And let’s talk about the villages – they’re straight out of a postcard with their traditional architecture, even more charming in the winter light.

So, whether you’re up for outdoor adventures or want to soak in some history and culture, a winter vacation in Greece is the perfect time to explore with fewer crowds.

Greece Travel Blog_Guide On Things To Do In Winter In Greece

When most people think of Greece, they immediately envisage crystal-clear turquoise waters reflecting off white-washed Greek buildings, gorgeous sandy beaches, and fabulous Greek cuisin e. It is no wonder that Greece is often considered a ‘summer-time’ holiday destination.

But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. For a country so rich in history and culture, Greece should not be dismissed when considering a European winter getaway .

As such, I’ve put together this guide on what you can do in Greece in winter to inspire you to visit this beautiful country, even in the colder winter months!

  • Our Favorite Winter Hotels In Greece

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Is Greece Worth Visiting In Winter?

Greece With KIds - What to do in Greece with kids - Athens - Parthenon, Akropolis

So, when is winter in Greece? The months of December through February make up the winter season in Greece.

Winter in Greece is certainly not the country’s popular season  – that award goes to July and August. 

Visiting Greece in winter, you will find that  the beaches are quiet, the islands are a little deserted, and the weather is undoubtedly chillier. But that doesn’t make it a wrong time to visit. In fact, in many ways, winter is the best time to experience this ancient nation’s culture, history, and versatility.

With many incredible attractions and destinations, Greece has much to offer the winter traveler . Fewer tourists mean shorter queues to get into major attractions, less crowded restaurants, and better pricing and travel deals to take advantage of.

Whatever kind of vacation you’re looking for, a Greece winter is a brilliant time to visit.

Greece Winter Weather

How To Visit The Greek Islands From Turkey In One Day - Rhodes, Lindos bay

You may be wondering if it gets cold in Greece. Compared to most European countries , the weather in Greece has mild winters and is pleasant. So, a trip to southern Greece is the perfect option if you want to spend a week away from the biting cold.

If milder temperatures are what you’re after, southern Greece is not only mild but frequently quite warm in the winter. You’ll definitely want to pack a pair of shorts for the sunniest days. In January or February, Greece does not offer laze-on-the-beach weather. Still, it is a great time to explore the country’s many ancient sites without dripping with sweat and being surrounded by other over-enthusiastic tourists.

Winter is Greece’s rainy season, so pack a rain jacket and some sturdy waterproof shoes , particularly if you plan hiking. The northern and mountainous regions are a good deal colder than the southern lowlands. If you’re keen on snowy peaks, January and February are the coldest months. And if you head to the mountains, you’ll likely find snow there.

We’ve dedicated a whole post on what to pack for Greece travel for those seeking more inspiration.

Greece In December – What Is A Greek Christmas Like?

Wondering if you should spend your Christmas in Greece ? For anyone interested in cultural traditions and incredible cuisine , you can’t go wrong with this decision.

Listen to Greek Christmas carols . Admire the decorations, including lit-up boats celebrating a Greek Saint Basil and jolly older men representing another saint that’s undoubtedly not Santa. And enjoy the merry local traditions of whichever city or village you’re in.

How is the weather in Greece in December? As mentioned above, December weather in Greece can be surprisingly mild. Although the mountains may have snow and cold weather, southern Greece and the Greek islands boast pretty comfy weather. Visiting Athens in December, Crete in winter, or Paros in winter are all excellent choices for a warmer Christmas holiday .

Winter In Greece Temps

For a general idea of what temperatures to expect, the average temperatures in December range between a high of 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) and a low of 6 degrees Celsius (43 Fahrenheit). Again, however, the average weather in Greece in December varies drastically between the inland mountainous region and the coasts and islands .

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Best things to do in greece in winter.

Winter in Greece - Small town Oia on Santorini

There is so much to enjoy during a Greek winter. In winter, the colder (relatively speaking) Greek weather has some unique attractions and activities, making it an excellent time to explore.

These are our top picks for what to do in Greece in winter.

1. Go Museum-Hopping In Athens

Christmas in Greece - Sintagma Square

There are some incredible things to do in Athens , but the famous ancient city’s top draws are the historic sites and the world-class museums. The best thing about visiting Greece in the winter is that the small crowds make museum-hopping so much easier and more enjoyable.

Two of the best museums in Athens are the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. Both showcase phenomenal historical artifacts from up to eight thousand years ago! If you’ve ever seen ancient Greek art in your history textbooks, chances are you’ll find it here.

The Byzantine and Christian Museum and Benaki Museum are two other fantastic options for those spending more than a weekend in Athens. You’ll learn so much about Greek history and culture and see some mind-boggling things, too. All with hardly anyone around you, which museum lovers will confirm, really elevates the experience.

  • Christmas In Athens

2. Go Skiing In Arachova

Greece may not be well-known for its skiing , but the Hellenic country has some great options. The mountain town of Arachova is close to Mount Parnassos, which has some excellent ski slopes for all skill levels.

While we don’t recommend choosing Greece over the more famous destinations for a ski holiday, it is lovely to add to your Greek winter vacation. Not only can you ski here, but Arachova also offers world-class resorts and spas, fantastic nightlife , and some genuinely once-in-a-lifetime views.

3. See Meteora In Snow

Winter in Greece - View of the mountains and monasteries of Meteora

If you’re visiting Greece in January or February, you have a chance of spotting Meteora surrounded by snow. This one-of-a-kind monastery is magical in all conditions. The snow adds another layer to the beauty.

Throughout winter, snow or none, Meteora is a brilliant destination. The monastery complex is built on six natural pillars and massive boulders, making for a unique destination. The surrounding landscape is lush and green in winter, benefitting from the seasonal rains and significantly reduced crowds .

The structures were initially built so the monks could live in isolation, far from civilization and nearly inaccessible to outsiders. Today, the monastery is one of the best places to visit in Greece in November, December, January, and throughout the entire year really.

4. Explore Mount Pelion From Volos

Base yourself in the magnificent city of Volos, only 27 kilometers from one of Greece’s most famous ski centers: Mount Pelion (1500 m). Probably among the most stunning landscapes in Greece, Mount Pelion Ski Center is a year-round destination that you can also visit, even if skiing is not one of your interests.

As a matter of fact, besides forests, you will find spectacular beaches , quaint mountain villages, and — of course — the renowned Mount Pelion.

The ski center features five ski slopes, four lifts, and a chalet with restaurants, cafes, and accommodations. There is also a ski and snowboard school.

In the nearby area, visitors can explore the magnificent city of Volos, which is only 27 kilometers from the ski resort.

5. Get Off The Beaten Path In Zagorochoria

An inspiring region about a 5-hour drive from Athens , the area is an outstanding winter destination featuring the most incredibly gorgeous mountain villages you could ever imagine.

Located in the region of Epirus, on the northwestern side of Greece, the local villages boast picture-perfect stone houses with grey-tiled roofs on charming narrow alleys.

Still somewhat virgin to international tourism, Zagorochoria can quickly become your favorite European winter destination if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track place to discover.

6. Go To The Christmas Markets Of Thessaloniki

Christmas In Thessaloniki - Aristotelous Square

Located in northern Greece, about a five-hour drive from Athens, this important city is a great winter destination and the best place in the country to explore its Christmas markets and other events related to the merry season. 

As is the tradition in Christmas Markets , you will find an assortment of Christmas trinkets and souvenirs, tree decorations, lights, and delicious treats — do not forget that Thessaloniki has the reputation of being the city that produces the best sweets and desserts in the country!

  • Thessaloniki Christmas Markets & Winter Exploration

7. Take A Hiking Trip Through The Wild Mountain Landscapes

The mainland of Greece is covered with mountainous hiking trails . Most are not for the faint of heart and can take days or even weeks to complete. They’ll be some of the most memorable days of your life, but you do need to have quite a high fitness level.

Hike along a scenic riverside path on the Samaria Gorge Trail, which takes you through Byzantine ruins and spectacular nature. Or find one of the many trails on beautiful Mount Athos.

For those keen on a multi-day hike, the seventy-five-kilometer Menalon trail will take you through the heart of the Peloponnese . Explore charming mountain villages, deep canyons, and striking mountains. It should take you around three days to complete, with time to stop and enjoy your surroundings.

8. Head To Nymfaio, The Capital Of Silversmithing

Nymfaio

Regarding mountain villages, you should include Nymfaio in your itinerary. The village, famed for its silversmithing industry and local warriors, is a pretty town in Western Macedonia with a rich history. Founded by Vlach travelers in the 14th century, Nymfaio quickly became known for its skillful smiths.

The town of Nymfaio features many museums where visitors can see religious silverware, jewelry, and gold artifacts made by the town’s master artisans. Besides its cultural riches, Nymfaio has a wealth of architectural and natural beauty. Visitors can bask in the picturesque scenery from the village’s old houses or wander through the scenic streets.

There is also an environmental protection center run by the Greek ecological organization Environmental Centre ARCTUROS; at the center, visitors can see rescued bears and wolves that are too weak to survive by themselves.

9. Taste Greece’s Unique Winter Cuisine

Christmas in Greece - Homemade Hot Pork Tenderloin

Greece is particularly well-known for its summer foods. Greek salads, light meals, and rich yogurts with berries are all country staples. But the food goes through a substantial shift when the weather gets chilly.

Expect meatball and bean soups, hearty stews, stuffed cabbage leaves , and oven roasts. Greek winter food is healthy and delicious, guaranteed to warm you up and keep your energy high.

If you’re visiting Greece in December, try traditional Christmas treats like spinach, cheese pies, and roast pork. Of course, Greek coffee with a slice of baklava is the perfect way to end any summer or winter meal. But its rich flavor is best suited to winter .

10. Swim In Thermal Lake Vouliagmeni

Lake Vouliagmeni is just outside of Athens , making for a great day trip from the city. It’s a beautiful, brackish lake with pleasant temperatures at any time of year. The minerals in the large lake include potassium, ammonium, calcium, and iodine. Together, the water’s minerals relieve several health issues, including bone and muscle stresses, eczema, and arthritis.

The lake also has a happy doctor fish population, which provides natural (and ticklish) exfoliation. The spa facilities also include sunbeds, a restaurant, and nearby accommodation options.

11. Visit The Greek Islands

Ideas For Things To Do In Corfu In Winter For Everyone - Paleokastrisa Resoirt

Modern Greece is most well-known for its gorgeous Greek islands . People come in droves to laze on the beaches, explore wild paradises, and enjoy the laid-back island vibe.

Winter on the Greek Isles is slightly different and may not be your obvious choice, but it should be considered nonetheless. The local population settles back into everyday daily life, and the tourism industry hunkers down till the subsequent summer season. You may find this to be your favorite time to visit the islands .

Get to know the locals, play backgammon, and embrace the late-night cafe culture. Explore the islands , hike, and cycle across the green landscapes. Winter is also when you’ll have some of the best cultural experiences, including live performances and art shows.

If you’re unsure about the weather on the Greek island in December or January, rest assured you’ll be able to enjoy many comfy and sunny days. Although obviously much less warm than summer, winter allows for outdoor activities like sunbathing, which would be drenched in sweat in summer.

Corfu is one of the best options for a Greek winter escape, with a “vibrant local tradition, a beautiful Old Town, and lots to keep you busy. Crete and Lesvos are also terrific options, with mountain villages you can hike between and frequently mild winter weather. Another option that becomes more budget-friendly in the winter is Santorini .

Tip: Do note that most ferry operators and flights connecting the mainland to the Greek Isles operate on a much more reduced schedule during these off-peak winter months. Be sure to plan and book in advance to avoid running into any schedule issues.

  • Island Hopping In Greece

12. Wander The Snowy Streets Of Ioannina

This charming city is the perfect combination – with cobblestone streets, snow-capped mountain peaks, and a serene lake, making for a picturesque winter escape. 

From taverns and museums to the city’s famed castle and stunning views, this lovely city has so much to offer.

Don’t forget to take a boat ride across Lake Pamvotis to take in the scenery.

13. Explore Kastoria’s Historical Buildings

Most Beautiful Cities in Greece - Cityscape of Kastoria

Another Greek winter gem, Kastoria, is a crucial mountain settlement close to the Albanian border in West Macedonia. Perched on Lake Orestiada, Kastoria boasts a unique historical collection of ancient Byzantine and Ottoman mansions and buildings with characteristic wooden balconies and over fifty awe-inspiring ancient Byzantine churches, everything surrounded by the impressive mountainous landscapes of the Macedonia region. With a dusting of snow, these buildings become enchanting.

Kastoria is also known for the old stone bridges characteristic of the local architecture; the best known is the arched Bridge of Zouzouli, dating back to 1880. The bridge is about 7 meters high and was built over the waters of a stream carrying the same name.

14. Enjoy Winter Sports In Karpenisi

The city of Karpenisi is located in the valley of the river Karpenisiotis in the southern part of the Pindus Mountains.

This enchanting small town is surrounded by the mountains of Kaliakouda, Helidona, and Timfristos, and it has often been dubbed the small Switzerland of Greece.

The place is a popular tourist destination during the winter months  and is a favorite of locals at Christmas. Yet, its incredible pine tree forests and rugged landscape make it a fantastic destination all year round for those fond of the outdoors.

15. Take In The Alpine Atmosphere Of Metsovo

Metsovo, Greece in winter - pretty cities in Greece

Surrounded by the imposing Pindus mountain range and at about 1200 meters above sea level, Metsovo is not only a beautiful Greek city but also one of the most popular winter destinations in the country. Popular for its gorgeous buildings made of stone, including mansions, monasteries , bridges, cobbled streets, and squares.

The town has managed to preserve its traditional character, remaining home to old traditions. The city offers many cultural events and sports opportunities, as well as cozy tavernas and streets filled with the smells of roasting chestnuts all winter.

Greece In Winter FAQs

What are the best places to visit in greece during winter.

Greece offers a great winter experience with mild weather and fewer tourists. Some of the best places to visit include larger islands like Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Santorini, as well as historical sites in the mainland such as Athens and Thessaloniki.

Are there any ski resorts in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece has excellent ski resorts, such as Mount Parnassus near Athens, Arachova, and Mount Olympus. These resorts provide a perfect place for skiing enthusiasts and offer breathtaking views.

Is winter a good time to visit the Ionian Islands?

While the Ionian Islands may experience occasional rain during winter, they still offer a great place to visit. You can explore beautiful beaches, coastal areas, and picturesque villages with fewer tourists.

What is the weather like in Greece during winter?

In winter, Greece experiences mild and sunny weather, especially in the southern regions. While the coldest month of the year varies, the average temperature in mainland Greece during winter is around 13°C.

Are there any small villages worth visiting in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece is known for its quaint villages with narrow streets and traditional charm. Places like Arachova in central Greece and Oia in Santorini are just a few examples of picturesque villages worth exploring.

What are some travel tips for visiting Greece in winter?

When traveling to Greece in winter, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast and plan your activities accordingly. Hotel rates are generally lower during this time, making it an ideal place for budget travelers. Be sure to try the local Greek cuisine and immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of the country.

Can you recommend any other larger islands to explore in winter?

Apart from Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Santorini, you can also consider visiting the larger islands of Kos, Mykonos, and Zakynthos. These islands offer a variety of attractions, beautiful landscapes, and cultural experiences.

What is the weather like in northern regions of Greece during winter?

The northern regions of Greece can be colder and experience more frequent rainfall during winter. However, if you don’t mind the occasional rain, you can still enjoy the beauty of the area, as it offers unique cultural attractions and stunning natural landscapes.

Are there beautiful beaches to explore during winter in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece boasts a multitude of beautiful beaches along its coastline. While swimming might not be suitable due to cooler temperatures, you can still enjoy long walks, beachcombing, and the sheer beauty of these coastal areas.

How are the hotel rates during winter in Greece?

Hotel prices are generally lower during winter in Greece compared to the peak tourist season. You can find excellent deals and enjoy comfortable accommodations at more affordable rates.

What are some smaller islands worth considering for a winter trip?

If you’re looking to explore smaller islands during winter, consider destinations like Hydra, Naxos, Paros, or Skiathos. These islands offer a more relaxed atmosphere and a chance to experience local life.

Are historical sites and archaeological sites open during winter in Greece?

Yes, most historical and archaeological sites in Greece remain open during winter, with less crowded conditions. You can enjoy exploring iconic landmarks like the Acropolis in Athens or the Palace of Knossos in Crete with more opportunities to interact with guides and curators.

Is Greece a good winter destination for those from Northern Europe?

Yes, Greece is a popular choice for people from Northern Europe seeking a winter getaway. The warm weather, sunny days, and the vibrant local culture make it an ideal place to escape the colder temperatures of the northern regions.

Can I find live music and entertainment in Greece during winter?

Absolutely! In larger cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, you can find plenty of live music venues and cultural events happening throughout the year. Additionally, during the Christmas season, there are various concerts and festivities to enjoy.

Is it possible to go on road trips and explore Greece during winter?

Yes, winter is a great time to embark on road trips and explore the diverse landscapes and quaint villages of Greece. Just ensure to check the weather conditions and plan accordingly for occasional rainfall.

Are there any winter festivals or events in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece offers various winter festivals and events. Some notable ones include the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Christmas celebrations throughout the country, New Year’s Eve festivities, and the Patras Carnival, known as one of the biggest carnivals in Greece.

What are some traditional Greek dishes to try during winter?

During winter, you can indulge in a variety of delicious Greek dishes. Some popular choices include traditional bean soup (fasolada), hearty stews like stifado, and the traditional delicacy of Clean Monday, a day where people enjoy vegetarian dishes and kite flying to mark the beginning of Lent.

Is it a good idea to visit Athens city center during winter?

Visiting Athens city center during winter is definitely a good idea. With fewer tourists around and pleasant weather, you can explore iconic sites like the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, and enjoy the charm of the city’s historical and cultural attractions.

Is Greece a good destination for a winter getaway?

Absolutely! Greece is a perfect place for a winter getaway. It offers mild weather, fewer tourists compared to the peak tourist season, and a chance to explore the country’s rich history, beautiful landscapes, and picturesque villages.

What are the best ways to experience the local culture in Greece during winter?

To experience the local culture in Greece during winter, try visiting traditional tavernas where you can enjoy authentic Greek cuisine and local music. Engage with the locals, participate in traditional festivals, and explore the narrow streets and quaint villages to truly immerse yourself in the Greek way of life.

Can I expect good weather in Greece during winter?

Greece generally enjoys good weather during winter, especially in the southern regions. While occasional rain is possible, you can still experience sunny and pleasant days throughout your visit.

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Winter In Greece Wrap-Up

Whether you prefer spending your Greek winter holidays sightseeing in the city of Athens, decide to explore the Greek islands in December, January, or February, want to indulge in a thermal baths experience, or prefer to go hiking instead, you will no doubt be pleasantly surprised by all that this fantastic country has to offer, even during the much quieter Greece winter months.

So, why not try Greece in the off-season and book your next winter getaway to this magical country instead?

  • 5 Lesser-Known Greek Islands
  • How To Rent A Car In Greece + Driving Tips
  • What Currency Is Used In Greece?
  • How To Tip In Greece
  • Where To Stay In Crete
  • Where To Stay In Mykonos
  • Top Hotels In Santorini

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Top 11 Winter Destinations In Greece in 2024

Eleni Gimouki Last Updated: September 26, 2023

Almost everyone knows Greece as one of the best destinations for their summer holidays. However, if you wish to have a winter vacation, give Greece a try. You will be amazed by the numerous beauties of Greece in the winter. So, let’s discover the top winter destinations in Greece in the article below.

Pro Tip:  Bookmarks are certainly the key to organizing a great trip. Bookmark this post in a “Greece” folder in your browser. This way you can circle back to it while you are traveling. 

Best Winter Destinations and Things to Do In Greece

Although Greece is famous for its sunny summer, the mountainous parts are much more beautiful than you might realize. Here you will discover high mountains with lakes, beautiful forests, and breathtaking landscapes.

You can spend your time hiking or even skiing. On the other hand, even if you aren’t a sports lover, there are many towns to spend your winter holidays in. Either way, get ready to discover picturesque places, museums, and great archaeological places at a time when there are fewer crowds too.

We gathered some of the top winter destinations in Greece. You can choose your favorite and start exploring a different way to see this country.

11. Metsovo

winter destinations in greece

Picturesque Village | Ski Resort Nearby | Local Cheese (Metsovone)

Metsovo is one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece. It is a large traditional village on the Pindus mountain range (1,160 meters high) in Epirus. In Metsovo, you can have a great time admiring the traditional architecture of the village that dates back several centuries. There are many cafes and restaurants to spend your day in, and the view is picturesque when the winter fog rolls in.

In addition, if you wish for some winter sports, then you can visit the ski center of Metsovo and have fun on the slopes. There are also many options for trekking in the summer. For example, you can explore the Aoos artificial lake or the waterfall in Anilio village. You can approach both by car through a wonderful route. You’ll want to have plenty of storage space on your camera!

How to get to: Metsovo

10. Litochoro

travel to greece in winter

Small Village | At the Foot of Mount Olympus | Ideal for Mountaineering

Litochoro is a small and picturesque village at the foot of Mount Olympus, so it is the ideal destination if you like climbing mountains. On Mount Olympus, you will discover many beauties, such as small waterfalls and beautiful routes. It is no coincidence that the 12 gods of antiquity chose this mountain as their abode. From this great height, you can even view the Aegean Sea!

However, you need to know two things. If you are going to climb Mount Olympus, it would be better to work with a tour agency such as Trekking Hellas , so as to organize your climbing with safety.

Secondly, although there are enough hotels in Litochoro, there aren’t many things to do. So, if you aren’t a hiking lover, this place may not be for you, but the view of Mount Olympus is worth checking out anyway.

How to get to: Litochoro

travel to greece in winter

Sustainable City | Natural Landscapes | Bicycle Friendly

Trikala is a fairly large city in central Greece. In recent years, it has become really popular for many reasons. For starters, it is a bicycle-friendly city. So, if you decide to visit it, you can rent a bicycle and enjoy cycling into the city and along its river. Yes, you read right! A beautiful river passes through the city of Trikala. Not far outside the city is the Paleokarya old stone bridge, so don’t miss seeing it!

In this city, you won’t get bored since it is a really lively city with many cafes, restaurants, and bars. And if you have enough time, you could also visit the cliff-top monasteries at Meteora. It is certain that you have already seen photos from Meteora as it is one of the most famous places in Greece. It’s only a 30-minute drive to Meteora, then you can travel to the popular monasteries from there.

How to get to: Trikala

winter destinations in greece

The City Of Waters | 12 Waterfalls | Natural Landscapes

Edessa is another amazing city that you can certainly visit all year round. It is located in central Macedonia. What’s impressive about this city is its 12 waterfalls that make for some unforgettable experiences.

As there are so many waterfalls in Edessa, you will discover a hydropower museum to explore. Moreover, this city is a great option for the winter holidays since it’s close to other cool places to visit.

If you choose Edessa as the base for your winter holidays, then you have the chance to visit many amazing places. For example, you can spend a day of your holidays at Paleos Agios Athanasios , a really picturesque village. Moreover, you may also feel like visiting the Voras Ski Center at Kaimaktsalan Mountain.

Above all, a place that I really love next to Edessa is Loutraki Arideas. There, you will discover Pozar Thermal Baths . It is an amazing chance to spend a cold day having a hot spa.

How to get to: Edessa

7. Kastoria

travel to greece in winter

Natural Landscapes | Bicycle Friendly | Lake Boating

Kastoria is a beautiful city in Macedonia. It isn’t a big or noisy city but there are many things to do to spend a great time during your holidays. And there are enough hotels to stay at and many cafes, restaurants, and bars to enjoy.

If you visit Kastoria city, we recommend having lunch or dinner at To Steki Tis Pareas . Kostas, the friendly owner of the restaurant, will certainly help you decide which dishes to choose from.

In this city, you will certainly love walking or cycling around its lake. Moreover, there are some interesting museums to visit such as the Folklore Museum of Kastoria. If you have enough time, you can also visit the really cool Dragon’s Cave and the Prehistoric Settlement of Dispilio .

How to get to: Kastoria

6. Karpenisi

travel to greece in winter

Beautiful Landscapes | Picturesque Town | Mountainous Destination

If you are looking for a place full of fir trees in a mountain valley, then the traditional but lively Karpenisi is one of the best options. Karpenisi is a picturesque mountainous town. It is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the Greek natural environment.

As it is one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece, you can be sure that it will be really easy to find enough hotels. Moreover, there are some quality restaurants where you can try many traditional or even local dishes.

Finally, near Karpenisi, there are some very significant and beautiful places to visit if you spend your holidays there. For example, you will certainly be amazed by the Panta Vrehi Canyon . You can trekking along the river until you approach the official Panta Vrehi spot.

The scenery that you will discover is certainly a great surprise that’s worth snapping photos. You can also visit Prousos Monastery and the Velouchi Ski Center .

How to get to: Karpenisi

winter destinations in greece

Seaside Destination | Mountainous Villages | Nightlife

Um, yes, Volos is a winter destination. Actually, you can visit Volos either in the winter or in the summer. What’s really amazing about this destination is that there are many mountainous villages to visit in the winter and admire the sea view from up above. On the other hand, you have the chance to also visit this place in the summer and enjoy swimming in crystal clear seawater.

Volos is a big enough city that you will enjoy its nightlife. Also, it is the ideal place for starting road trips in Pelio villages where hiking is also popular in the summer. All of the villages are built in mountainous areas.

Each village is unique, and you have the chance to taste their local cuisine. For example, you can try a spetsofai dish, which is a dish based on local sausage. Above all, in every village, you will admire the beautiful natural landscape.

How to get to: Volos

4. Arachova

Top winter destinations in Greece

At The Foot Of Mount Parnassos | Cosmopolitan Destination | Breathtaking View

Arachova is a cosmopolitan winter destination. Get ready to discover traditional but luxury restaurants, cozy cafes, and unique hotels. What you may want to know is that Arachova may be a more expensive destination, especially during the Christmas season.

During the winter, it is always very crowdy and lively. Here you can also admire the traditional architecture along the narrow streets and roads in this mountainous town.

Of course, if you organize a winter trip to Arachova, you must pay a visit to Parnassos Ski Centre . The route to the ski center is amazing, as you can admire the snowy landscape. On the other hand, if you want to get even more familiar with the Greek history and culture, you may want to spend a day visiting Delphi archaeological site.

How to get to: Arachova

3. Ioannina

Best winter destinations in Greece

Natural Landscapes | Cultural Attractions | Traditional Cuisine

I can say with confidence that Ioannina is my happy place in Greece. Here, you will enjoy a long walk by the lake under beautiful plane trees and see the fully habitable island in the middle of the lake. You will also love the city center with so many amazing spots to meet locals and see beautiful buildings.

Also, a visit to the Byzantine castle will make you feel like you’re traveling in time. Finally, you can enjoy tasting traditional cuisine, especially pies, in so many restaurants.

Ioannina is a really big place where everyone can find what they’re looking for. There are many museums and archaeological sites to visit, bars, and also taverns with live music to spend the night.

You may also want to visit nearby villages or even do some extreme sports like rafting in rivers or climbing the second-highest mountain in Greece (Smolikas). If you do, you’ll find the dragon lake on the top!

How to get to: Ioannina

2. Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki Top Winter Destinations In Greece

Timeless Beauty | Traditional Cuisine | City Destination

Thessaloniki is one of the best winter destinations in Greece. It is a big city where you can enjoy your winter vacations. There are many attractions to see and many activities to do.

For example, a great idea is to enjoy a walk by the sea. The best area is named Nea Paralia (New Beach). Locals really love to start their day jogging or just walking this area. The most famous attraction in Thessaloniki, however, is the White Tower. We could say that it is the trademark of the city.

Moreover, in this city, you will certainly enjoy traditional and local cuisine and delicious sweets. Most people who visit Thessaloniki, have a few extra pounds by the end of their holidays there. If Thessaloniki makes your list, you can also take a look what we recommend to do in Thessaloniki . Moreover, you can find some really amazing hotels to stay at .

travel to greece in winter

Capital Of Greece | Numerous Museums To Visit | Luxury Hotels, Bars & Restaurants

Of course, Athens couldn’t be missed on our list of the top winter destinations in Greece. This city is an all-time classic destination in Greece.

As you already know, Athens has many significant archaeological sites like the Parthenon and museums like the New Acropolis Museum . You will also enjoy walks in picturesque Plaka . You can taste traditional or modern dishes in different restaurants—many of which have views of the Acropolis . And at night, get ready to have fun until early in the morning.

For you who love city destinations for your winter holidays, Athens is the ideal option. Besides, it is the biggest city in Athens. During the winter, locals prefer visiting the very center of Athens rather than the Athenian Riviera. In this city, you will never get bored as there are always interesting attractions to see and activities to do.

You can also consult our recommendations of what you must do in Athens and take some ideas on how you can spend your holidays in this big city. Moreover, if you wish to stay at a luxury hotel on your vacation, then don’t miss our favorite luxury hotels in the city .

How to get to: Athens

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Greece Travel Secrets

GREECE OFF-SEASON – WHAT TO DO IN GREECE IN WINTER

winter in greece

While Greece is synonymous with dazzling beaches and stunning sunsets it is possible to have a great time in the Greece off-season as well.

As the weather cools down, tourist crowds dwindle, and souvenir shops shut their doors. Visiting Greece in winter offers a chance to get to know the country beyond its familiar facade of sun-kissed beaches, bustling seaside villages and busy tourist attractions and ancient sites. And though it may be colder than usual, it’s still warmer than many European destinations.

Coupled with the very real opportunity to hit the slopes at a number of ski resorts, and Greece reveals itself as a very comprehensive winter destination for everyone! 

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Greece weather in winter

Generally, the winter weather in Greece tends to be quiet cold in most places. From around November, the temperature begins to drop leaving behind the balmy days of summer and heading towards the winter months.

With the peak season running from June through September many places begin to close after that as the Greece off-season begins.

From November, daytime temperatures in much of the country average around 15°C and don’t get much warmer than that until March, when temperatures begin to climb to around 17°C (in Athens, at least).

Generally, places like Crete see higher daytime temperatures before March; in February, for example, the average daytime high is 16°C.

December can be gloomy; think overcast skies and rain and it can also get windy in coastal areas although Christmas in Greece is, of course, a very festive time.

January is the coldest month of the year; it can drop below zero in some places (notably the north), but temperatures are still warmer than many other Northern European countries. That means hiking and exploring the Greek countryside, or its islands may be a nice idea.

Things start to look up towards the end of February. You’ll still be in for showers and overcast skies, but it’s not freezing. Temperatures hover around 10°C for much of the country, except for the islands further south.

As March inches in, sunshine hours increase. Though it’s chilly, it’s not as cold as many places in Europe.

Some spots remain relatively warm (for Europe, anyway), so let’s see exactly where those places are — and, if you’re interested in a ski holiday, let’s see where you can find snow in Greece.

Winter in Athens

Though sultry and hot in the summer months  in winter Athens ’ can be quite wonderful. It’s a cooler, quieter and perhaps more magical affair, with fewer tourists and less baking sun to hinder long days of discovering what the city has to offer.

Visiting the Acropolis (which dates back to the 5th century BC) during the cooler months is different from seeing it in summer when there can be big crowds of people to contend with.

You’ll be able to take your time and get to learn the history in a calmer atmosphere.

The Ancient Agora is also open and much more pleasant to explore without the searing sunshine glaring down. You can take in this storied marketplace with its statues and monuments at a very comfortable pace.

Generally, everything from museum tickets to hotels and eateries will have cheaper rates than in the peak months, meaning your budget will stretch even further.

One thing to note, however, is that sites will have shorter opening times, closing around 5 p.m. rather than 7 p.m., for example. A lot of people like to buy a Multi-pass that allows them to visit 6 of the top archaeological sites with self-guided audio tours.

Tip: It’s a good idea to pack a few layers and bring an umbrella (or waterproof jacket) in case of a downpour.

There’s no reason Athens can’t be a winter destination — millions live, work, and play in the city all year round. Chances are you’ll be able to get under the skin of the city a little more than in peak season.

Further reading : Where to stay in Athens

The Greek Islands in Winter

People may think that Greece’s storied and sun-drenched islands shut up shop in winter, but that is not the case for many of them.

Life continues for most islanders, and though some islands’ big resorts and hotels — even some restaurants and bars — close for the season, most islands will still be ticking along with local life. Greeks like to eat out, too!

You’ll get to discover a different side of the Greek islands in winter, minus the party-goers and package tourists.

Crete in winter

Located furthest south Crete has mild and sunny weather throughout winter; in fact, it has some of the warmest winter weather in Europe.

This makes it easy to get out and see everything this ancient site has to offer. Museums remain open in Crete (maybe with shorter opening hours), and popular sites such as Knossos – usually crowded with tourists in-season – may feel like exclusive viewings.

The Cyclades Islands in winter

Santorini in winter is a lot quieter than other times a year but it’s still good as a year-round destination. Views of the caldera remain stunning, the sunsets here stay beautiful, no matter what the temperature is — and all of that with fewer party-going crowds.

A lot of shops and tavernas will be closed but there are enough open to satisfy any visitor. There are still some limited Caldera cruises operating, albiet without swim stops, and the incredible Ancient Akrotiri Site is open year round as are several other great Museums like the Museum of Prehistoric Thera.

Syros, the Cyclades ’ capital and most populated island, also remains open for business, if somewhat quieter than usual; think cool breezes and bright winter skies. As the Capital it has a very impressive Town Hall, in fact the largest in Greece, and there are some magnificent Cathedrals and even a beautiful Theatre to visit.

Other popular Cycladic islands such as Paros and Naxos are home to large permanent populations and life goes on for them all.

Many places will be closed but it is still possible to find a few rooms for rent and the taverna’s and shops that remain open will be the ones that the locals all frequent so it makes for a very authentic experience, albeit a very different one for tourist season.

The Dodecanese Islands

Across the Aegean Sea, Lesvos — the “Island of Ouzo” — is also very much visitable during winter. This island is a go-to destination for bird-watchers and nature lovers; wildflowers and marshlands make this a beautiful place to base yourself.

Rhodes also experiences mild winters (highs average around 15°C), which makes seeing its UNESCO-recognised Old Town – complete with Byzantine and Venetian architecture – very doable.

Hiking is great on Rhodes , and pleasant when the temperatures aren’t so hot, particularly around the pretty town of Lindos . 

The Sporades Islands

The island of Skiathos calms down in winter after the nightlife of summer. It also offers you the chance to get in touch with local life. With tourist restaurants and souvenir shops shut, local tavernas will welcome you in, and you’ll be able to get chatting to locals.

The Saronic Islands in Winter

Just off the coast of Athens, the Saronic Islands make for excellent day trips from the capital, even during the winter months, with sandy beaches, pine trees, history, and rustic, lively tavernas.

They may be cooler than in summer, but they remain lovely. Hydra , for example, is home to around 3000 permanent residents and is still very much alive in winter. The cliff top bars may be a magnet for summer time visitors but sitting under a warm heater at a harbourside taverna and watching the machinations of the island can also be very enjoyable.

Even easier is Aegina , only 1 hour from Athens by ferry and very much a year round destination, in fact it is practically a suburb of Athens. There are some significant archaelogical sites on Aegina, particularly the Temple of Aphaia and the Churches such as Nectarios are open year round and are very worthwhile.

Further reading :

Which are the warmest Greek islands in May?

Which are the best Greek islands in October?

Which are the best Greek islands?

greece off season

The Temple of Aphaia, Aeagina Island

Thessaloniki in Winter

Thessaloniki has average winter temperatures of around 10°C and lows of 1°C, with January being the coldest month. Since it’s a northern city, Thessaloniki can also get an occasional dusting of snow. However, this just adds to its charm.

That charm is further enhanced by the fact that there are practically no tourists here during winter.

The waterfront area of Thessaloniki becomes a wintery walkway, where you can duck into cafes to warm up with a hot chocolate, complete with views out across the sea. The city takes on a completely different character.

The popular “Umbrellas” sculpture is crowded with Instagrammers and selfie-takers during the height of the season in summer, but in winter, it’s deserted.

That means it’ll be your own spot for photoshoots and sunset seclusion; the abstract sculpture looks starkly stunning silhouetted on the red sky.

Elsewhere in Thessaloniki in winter, the city’s more historical sights are also quiet.

The iconic White Tower, with its Byzantine history, remains open, as does its museum. Again, the lack of crowds makes visiting a much less stressful experience. The charming Ano Poli — Thessaloniki’s old city — is still bustling with residents.

Yet the cobbled streets are quieter, meaning you’ll be able to feel the historical atmosphere and character of the place more readily. The smell of wood fires burning in houses as you meander just adds to the allure.

If you’ve had enough of wandering around in the cold and exploring outdoors, you (and your extremities!) will be pleased to note that Thessaloniki has a wealth of cafes offering warmth and good food.

Spend time people-watching, enjoying the environment, and maybe even chatting to a local. Sampling delicious Greek food is a given, with hearty delights such as moussaka providing a warming treat.

The weather is generally cold, and it can get icy underfoot, so make sure you’ve got a sturdy pair of shoes for walking around the city streets. A warm scarf, gloves and a hat wouldn’t go amiss in Thessaloniki’s winters. A down jacket may be in order, too!

Further reading : Visit the city of ghosts : What to see in Thessaloniki  

Thessaly and Meteora in winter

The region of Thessaly has the Aegean Sea — and the Sporades Islands — to the east, Macedonia to the north, Epirus to the west, and Central Greece to its south.

It’s a land of myths: the Plain of Thessaly is where the epic battle for supremacy between the Titans and the Olympians took place.

Thousands of years later, the region is yours to explore. Yes, even in the winter months.

Dubbed the “Breadbasket of Greece”, the seasons in this region are very distinct here, but mainly split into just two: summer and winter. Summer is hot; winter is cold.

The temperatures average between 10°C and zero, with chilly nights and snowfall a distinct possibility, especially in highland areas.

In Thessaly, you’ll find one of Greece’s most celebrated attractions outside of its ancient wonders – Meteora .

This incredible set of monasteries is set on a castle-like outcrop of rock, with a setting and history that resulted in them being made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the date of its origin is unknown, there was a monastic state existing there in the 11th century.

By the 14th century, hermit monks escaping the Turks had founded 20 monasteries in the area. Only six remain today – and thankfully, you can visit them.

Meteora in winter means snow-dusted mountains, making for an even more mystical and surreal world.

It’s a quiet place, much more subdued than summer with its tour groups and daytrippers; you can more easily feel the holiness of the region. Note, however, that opening times of the monasteries change in the winter months, so it’s important to check ahead.

Plan for cold weather when you’re visiting Meteora in winter; make sure to bring layers and a good pair of walking shoes if you don’t want to do a tour. It actually may be more pleasant in winter than in summer, as the trails can get sweaty in the summer heat.

Oh, and it’s beautiful in winter, especially after a snowfall. Thessaly’s capital, Larissa, is an excellent place to base yourself. It can be a cosy winter getaway. Being the fourth biggest city in Greece, there’s a choice of accommodation, and it makes for a good jumping-off point for skiing in Greece too.

Further reading : How to visit Meteora

Central and Northern Greece in Winter 

If you’re interested in skiing or just want to see some beautifully snowy landscapes, you’ll be pleased to know (and probably surprised to hear) that the central and northern parts of the country are a veritable winter wonderland.

It’s beaches and nightlife that often spring to mind when people think of Greece; many may not even realise there are ski resorts in Greece. In fact skiing in Greece is great value and there are over 24 ski resorts to choose from!

Parnassos, for example, around two hours north of Athens, hosts a very popular ski resort — so popular, in fact, that you should book ahead, especially for weekends. The resort itself opens between December and May and boasts 13 ski lifts and 19 runs, making for a comprehensive place to hit the slopes. It’s probably the best-organised ski resort in the country, hence its popularity.

The main town of Arachova is very charming and one of the best places to visit in Greece during the off season, as right next door is the incredible archaelogical site, Delphi , one of the most important in the country.

Elsewhere, there’s the Kalavrita Ski Centre. Set on Mount Helmos, this ski resort is the second-biggest that Greece has to offer, with 12 slopes and seven ski lifts.

Most people base themselves in Kalavrita itself – a pretty town with cafes, eateries, and accommodation on a mountain backdrop. Perhaps most beautiful, however, is Agriolefkes on Mount Pelion.

Featuring five ski slopes and four lifts, there are chalets and eateries scattered around the area; there’s even a ski and snowboard school and hiking paths.

Mount Olympus may be the designated home of the gods , but it’s also home to prime skiing! Towering at 2,917 metres, it’s the tallest peak in Greece.

On its northern slopes, you’ll find Elatochori Ski Centre. Comprising six slopes and two ski lifts, there are also two ski schools and a selection of hotels, guesthouses, eateries and shops scattering the local area. It’s a four-hour drive from Athens.

For a long ski season, head to Mount Falakro near the Bulgarian border. Falakro Ski Centre boasts a whopping 21 slopes and is open Thursday-Sunday, December to late May. The snowiest month here is actually March!

Skiing in Greece isn’t just doable, it’s one of the most popular winter pastimes of the country, with resorts getting busy at the weekends.

The Peloponnese in Winter

Barely connected to the mainland by the isthmus of Corinth, the southern Greek peninsular region of the Peloponnese is primed for exploration during the winter months. Days here can be sunny and bright, with temperatures between 2 and 10°C.

It’s not warm, however, it is beautiful. There are wildflowers to marvel at, walking trails to enjoy, ancient ruins to soak up, vistas of snow-capped mountains to gaze upon, and local life to embrace.

On sunnier days, despite low temperatures, you may find yourself in a T-shirt — especially towards the tail end of February.

Corinth itself is an ancient city, once its own city-state alongside the likes of Athens and Sparta. Ruins and museums are the order of the day in the historic Corinth, including the Temple of Apollo (built in 550 BC) and its very own answer to the Athens Acropolis, Acrocorinth.

Glimpsing these relics of the past and coastline views with no crowds makes it easy to let your imagination run riot; it’s mostly free of big tour groups in winter.

Mycenae, in the northeastern Peloponnese, is another ancient site. It was home to a Bronze Age civilisation. In fact, it was the Mycenaean culture that left its tales in Homer’s Illiad , which makes visiting this site of myth and legend even more of a wonder. You can also see the tomb of Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae who led the attack on ancient Troy.

Close to Mycenae is the coastal town of Nafplio . Usually a bustling destination in summer, in winter, the beachside draw of this town remains. This was the first Capital of modern Greece and is considered one of the prettiest towns in the country.

The medieval Venetian-built Fortress of Palamidi above the town is ideal for hiking (it’s about 1,000 steps), but if you don’t fancy that sort of work-out, its old, winding streets are welcoming enough for exploration.

Other amazing sites to visit on the Peloponnese include the Byzanntine city of Mystras and Ancient Olympia , both perfect in winter and they are mostly outdoors and can be hard going in the summer sun.

Further reading: Peloponnese holidays : A complete guide 

travel to greece in winter

Visiting Greece off-season may not be the vacation you had in mind when you saw all the stunning photos of azure beaches and blue church domes in sugar cube villages but it does offer a real alternative to many of the more popular European winter destinations.

No crowds and low prices are two great incentives to explore Greece in winter and shoulder seasons and you will likely uncover a more authentic local experience than you would in Summer.

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about Greece Travel Secrets

Welcome to Greece Travel Secrets! I’m Sandy, a tragic Grecophile married to a Greek, hoping to help you have the best possible trip to Greece. We want you to experience the famous Greek ‘Filotimo’ before you even get there.

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Visit Greece in winter. It's tourist light, but still history packed and the weather's cooler, yet often sunny. Discover the difference and take a look a Greece for winter breaks. The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Greece your essential guide for visiting Greece .

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Cultural and natural sites of Athens and the Peloponnese

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An Odyssey Adventure in Ancient Greece

Learn the secrets of Ancient Greek mythology and history visiting the world-renowned site of the Acropolis, explore the unspoiled landscape of Peloponnese, become a true Spartan warrior in Thermopylae and much more - this self drive tour takes you on a real Greek adventure.

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Explore Classical Greece: self-drive motorhome trip

This 15-days motorhome road trip will take you to Athens, the city of legends and some of the most fascinating classical sites, such as Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi and the man-made marvels of the Corinth Canal and Byzantine monasteries of Meteora. A perfect tour for history.

Visit Athens in winter, because few tourists do. Average temperatures are about 12ºC, but you get frequent sunny days. So take advantage of less heat and low crowds to explore over 3000 years of history.

See the Acropolis and discover the Parthenon. Then go visit the marvellous Temple of Athena Nike. And the National Archeological Museum is fascinating, plus there's room to browse during winter. To make the most of your time, book Athens Studios in the historic centre.

You will find even more ideas for your holiday in Athens with our guide to the best things to do in Athens .

acropolis-athens-shutterstock_506075200

The Acropolis in Athens Greece in winter © Lambros Kazan/Shutterstock

Get to know Athens off-season and experience the city's unusual café culture. Visit bouzouki clubs and chat to locals. Then take advantage of fewer tourists to go on a night walk to discover the off-beat Athens' districts that often get overlooked in summer.

Prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Greece or Greece Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday. Click 'Modify this itinerary' to contact a local Italy expert.

Forget ferries and visit the Peloponnese Peninsula . Joined to mainland by road bridge, it's loved for quaint fishing villages, Kalamata olive groves, traditional taverna and great local cooking.

Stay in chic Nafplio and explore the remarkable Venetian fortress. Don't miss a wander round the ruins of Ancient Corinth . Then go pay homage at the tomb of Agamemnon and applaud the Epidaurus amphitheatre. If you like the vibe, stay at Nafsimedon Hotel in Nafplio.

Crete has it all, even in colder months of the year. It's the largest and most southerly Greek island, so winter weather tends to be milder than elsewhere in the country. And there are barely any tourists to disturb the peace.

Lower temperatures are perfect for active holidays . Try gorge walking and trail hiking in the wild and lovely interior. And think about doing some climbing in the White Mountains. Choose the city of Chania as a base and stay at Notus in the Old Town.

White Mountains in Crete © Shutterstock

Hiking the White Mountains in Crete Greece in winter © Markus Bolliger/Shutterstock

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Souvlaki © Shutterstock

Don't miss Heraklion in winter when it's light on tourists but still very long on history. Make a point of exploring the Venetian monuments, Koules Fortress and the impressive Lion Square.

Then for World Heritage magnificence head to the Minoan Palace at Knossos just a short drive from Heraklion. It's the place for labyrinthine mosaics, mighty ruins and the original Minotaur legends. Raise Heraklion in the city centre is good for winter breaks.

Head to Hydra. Serene, peaceful and just off the Peloponnese coast, it's also car free. So it's the place to walk, sail or water taxi. The Rolling Stones often visited Hydra , and Leonard Cohen had a holiday home here. If you want to stay, book Angelica Boutique Hotel .

hydra-greece-shutterstock_150961370

Hydra island off the Peloponnese coast Greece © kokixx/Shutterstock

Visit Greece to ski at several Greek resorts during winter. Try Mount Parnassos near Delphi and stay in Arachova - good for skiing and days out in Athens. ViP Chalet 4 Seasons in Arachova makes an excellent base for ski breaks in Greece.

Ready to travel to Greece ? Find out about the best time to go and the best places to see and things to do in Greece . For inspiration use the Greece itineraries from The Rough Guide to Greece and our local travel experts . A bit more hands on, learn about getting there , getting around the country and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to https://www.books.roughguides.com/travel-insurance/?_ga=2.217601554.507231792.1632048345-48127756.1631030096 ">buy travel insurance before you go.

Inspired to take a winter trip and want to explore further afield? Take a look at our best winter sun destinations around the world .

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Winter In Greece

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Greece is a land of contrasts, from sun-drenched sandy beaches to soaring mountains with snow that doesn’t melt until the middle of spring. Archaeological sites stretch back thousands of years and contrast the many beautiful islands. Many people associate Greece with the summer and long hot days with beautiful sunsets. However, winter in Greece is also an excellent time to visit.

The weather can be surprisingly mild, especially in the south. Islands like Crete, the largest and most southernmost point of Greece, have plenty of sunshine and temperatures can reach 20C (68F). However, you do need to be prepared for lower temperatures, especially in January and February.

An advantage of visiting Greece in winter is the lack of tourists. Cities like Athens and Heraklion are still busy with locals and a few visitors, but you will find that there are fewer people at the archaeological sites and museums. Another good thing is that the guides and curators have more time to talk to you about the exhibits and the history of Greece.

Not all the islands are open for winter tourism in Greece, especially the smaller ones that don’t have airports. However, the larger islands, such as Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Santorini, are accessible by plane during the winter months. You will have to change planes in Athens at this time of the year as charter and budget flights don’t operate to the islands in the winter.

Aegean Airlines offer a good service that is reliable, quick, and frequent. You will find that, even in the larger islands, many of the resorts in Greece shut in the winter months, but life in the cities is still lively due to the local population. Restaurants, bars, and tavernas stay open, and you will find that you aren’t rushed with your meal and can spend a whole evening in a taverna, soaking in the atmosphere.

Winter Accommodation

Greece winter weather, 2- epidaurus, 3- mt parnitha national park, 5- litochera, 6- ioannina, 8- parnassos ski centre and resort, 10- metsova, 11- kastoria, 12- thessaloniki, 13- kalavryta, 14- trikala, 15- karpensi, 17- knossos palace, 18- santorini, 19- rhodes town, 20- corfu town, winter festivals, everything you need to know about winter in greece.

  • 7-Day Grand Greece Tour – Discover Greece from prehistory to modern times.
  • Day Trip To Meteora – Travel to this amazing area from Athens by train.
  • Santorini Caldera Winter Cruise – Enjoy the view on a relaxing cruise around one of Greece’s most popular islands.

winter in greece

Most hotels in Greece have seasonal pricing during the winter. You will find it cheaper to visit at this time of the year.

You can also try phoning the hotels directly to see if you can negotiate a deal, but it’s just as easy to look for reasonably priced accommodation online here:

  • Parnassos Ski Hotels
  • Arachova Hotels

visit greece in winter

The average temperature on the mainland of Greece during winter is 13C (55.4F), although in the north, in such cities as Thessaloniki, the temperature can drop to 5.5C (41.9F).

In the mountains, the temperature is even lower but for those who enjoy skiing, you will find some excellent ski resorts.

That’s something that many people don’t associate Greece with, but it is well worth considering as an alternative to France, Austria, or Switzerland.

In December, you may experience the Halcyon Days.

There is an old belief that the week before and the week after the winter solstice, the sea becomes calm, and the weather is pleasant.

Although this belief is rooted in ancient history, it came through in December 2022 when temperatures exceeded 20C (68F) in many parts of the country.

Christmas was the warmest in five decades and many Athenians flocked to the beach instead of having a cosy, traditional meal at home.

However, don’t assume that the weather is going to be mild.

It can get cold and wet, so always bring warmer clothes and raincoats.

The weather can change abruptly from one day to the next in the winter, so be prepared.

20 Best Places To Visit In Greece In The Winter

athens in winter

If you want to experience Greek city life as the Greeks do, Athens is the place to go in the winter.

They will spend hours chatting over a coffee or having an ouzo-inspired lunch, and you can do the same.

If you enjoy nightlife, bars and clubs are open until the early hours. To meet people, consider joining a nightlife tour like this one .

Old merges with the new in Athens.

The Acropolis towers over a city that not only has modern shopping malls but an old town called Plaka, located on the northern slopes of the Acropolis offers commanding views of the citadel.

Many shops, restaurants, and cafes here are crowded in the summer with tourists. And you will be able to enjoy the experience here more in the winter without fighting through the crowds.

The Acropolis was built in the 5th century BC and is well worth a visit if you are interested in the history of Greece.

It houses some famous buildings, including the Parthenon, which was built to honour the goddess Athena.

History buffs will be in their element as there are over 80 museums in Athens.

The most important is The National Archaeological Museum which houses artefacts from prehistoric times to the Roman period.

Also worth visiting is the Acropolis Museum, which houses artefacts found at the Acropolis.

An advantage of visiting the museums in Athens in the winter is that many offer reduced entry and it’s worth purchasing a combo ticket that allows you to visit several archaeological sites .

The National Archaeological Museum is at 1 Tositsa 10682 Athens. The Acropolis Museum is at Dionysiou Areopagitou 15 11742 Athens.

Epidaurus is on the northeastern side of the Peloponnese and is famous for its Ancient Theatre built in the 4th century BC.

It is well worth visiting this site in the winter as it won’t be crowded with tourists, and you may even have the place to yourself.

If you are staying in Athens, hire a car.

It is 121.82 km (75.69 miles) away and it takes about 1 hour 46 minutes to get there.

In the winter there are day trips to Epidaurus from Athens but they are less frequent than in the summer.

The theatre is in good condition for its age.

It was built to honour the god, Asclepius, the god of medicine, and has excellent acoustics and symmetry.

There is a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius next to the theatre.

ancient greece in winter

If it’s a nice day and you enjoy walking, head over to Mt Parnitha National Park. It is only 25 km (15.5 miles) north of Athens.

The National Park is in a beautiful setting.

There are mountains, fir forests, streams, gorges, and caves to enjoy, and you may be lucky enough to meet some wildlife such as red deer.

One of the most famous caves is one dedicated to the god Pan, the god of mountains and shepherds.

The park has marked trails, so you won’t get lost. You can join a 4×4 safari adventure here .

Edessa is in central Macedonia and is famous for its 12 beautiful waterfalls. It is a well-established winter destination and is a lovely place to visit.

There is a hydropower museum to explore in the town, where you will learn about the industrial history of Edessa, and there is also a folklore museum.

There are some interesting places to visit close to Edessa, so you won’t be bored if you decide to spend a few days there.

In Loutraki Arideas, you can pamper yourself at the Pozar Thermal Baths .

The village of Paleos Agios Athanasios is beautiful, so spend the day there and have a long lunch without the crowds.

If you like skiing, you are close to the Voris Ski Centre at Kaimaktsalan Mountain, the third-highest mountain in Greece at 2524 m (8280.8 feet).

Greece in winter mount olympus

If you love hiking, Litochera is a picturesque place at the foot of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece.

It is 2917 metres (9570 feet) high and a sight to behold, especially if you are interested in ancient Greek history.

Mount Olympus was considered the home of the ancient gods and the site of the throne of Zeus.

There are plenty of hotels in Litochera but if you don’t like walking or hiking, there isn’t much else to do besides eating and drinking.

If you want to climb Mount Olympus, we suggest you book a trip with a tour company .

Trekking Hellas arranges a winter hike to Skolio Peak, the second-highest peak of Mount Olympus.

Be aware that it will be cold, so wear warm clothes and it’s highly likely that there will be snow which may be picturesque but dangerous for the inexperienced.

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Ioannina is in northwest Greece and is renowned for its silverwork.

There are hotels here that are open in the winter, and there is plenty to do to pass the days.

Ioannina is located on the west shore of the beautiful Lake Parnvatis.

Take a long walk around the lake and enjoy the beautiful sunset when the lake turns a beautiful silver.

There are plenty of museums to keep you occupied during your stay.

Visit the Silversmithing Museum, where you can learn about the history of the craft.

At The Archaeological Museum, there is a focus on the site of Dodona, which is a short drive away.

Dodona was the sanctuary of the god Zeus, and is well worth a visit.

You will see a well-preserved Hellenistic theatre, traces of an ancient stadium, and the foundations of the Hiera Oikia, the sacred residence of Zeus.

Many bars and tavernas in Ioannina stay open all winter, so you won’t go hungry or thirsty and there’s something cosy about listening to live music in a Greek taverna in winter. 

Nobody will rush you to leave, so stay until the early hours.

The National Archaeological Museum of Ioannina is at 6 25th Martiou Square, Ioannina 45221. The Silversmithing Museum is at Acropolis of the Kale, Castle of Ioannina 45221.

meteora in winter Greece

Meteora is 105 km (65 miles) from Ioannina and the highlights are the 14th-century monasteries perched on top of steep rocks reaching heights of more than 600 metres (1969.5 feet).

You can visit six of these monasteries and spend some time enjoying the amazing frescoes and paintings.

If you feel fit, you can walk up to the monasteries, but driving is also possible.

While in the area, make sure that you visit the hermit caves of Badovas where, until two centuries ago, monks made them their home. It is hard to imagine a life both physically and mentally challenging.

There are day trips by train to Meteora from Athens during the winter and you can also join a tour from Thessaloniki .

when is winter in greece snow slopes on a sunny day

Mount Parnassos, at 2457 metres (8061 feet) is one of the highest in Greece.

It is in the centre of the country, surrounded by forests filled with fir trees and wildlife like red deer.

If you enjoy skiing, you will love the ski resort here.

There are two skiing areas, Kellaria and Fterolakis, 21 pistes, seven ski routes and four mini pistes for beginners.

After skiing, you can relax in one of the two chalets with a hot drink.

Rental equipment is available, and there is a ski school, so you don’t have to be an expert to ski here.

Stay in the village of Arachova , which has a lively atmosphere with plenty of bars and tavernas open well into the night.

Visit the Church of Agios Georgios, where you will have a spectacular view of the area.

Book your accommodation here .

10 km (6.2 miles) from Arachova is the ancient site of Delphi, built in the 8th century BC.

It was dedicated to Apollo, the ancient god of sun and light and is also the site of the Oracle.

It is said that Zeus released two eagles, one to the east and the other to the west.

They met at Delphi, and Zeus declared the site the centre of the world.

There is an Archaeological Museum at the site that houses artefacts excavated from the Temple of Apollo.

Trips from Athens to Delphi operate during the winter, so you don’t have to drive if you are staying in the capital.

greece in winter metsovo

Metsovo, in Epirus, is a popular winter retreat for the Greeks, so you know it must be good.

It is a large village in the Pindus Mountain range. The highest point is 1160 metres (3805.7 feet).

If you enjoy skiing, there are three small resorts close by to choose from. If not, there is a folk museum and art gallery to visit.

Metsovo is a gastronomic paradise.

You will be presented at the Katogi Averoff Hotel and Winery with delicious dishes and excellent wines.

There are many cafes and restaurants open in the winter to choose from.

greece in winter frozen lake with birds, snow and clouds

Kastoria is next to the beautiful lake, Orestiada, where you can drive, walk or cycle around and hike in the forests nearby.

There are plenty of hotels in town that stay open during the winter, and there are many bars, cafes, and tavernas where you can spend your evenings.

For those interested in history, there are 60 Byzantine churches to discover in the town and some museums, including the interesting Folklore Museum, where you can see a wine cellar and wine press among other exhibits.

Just outside the town, visit the Panagia Monastery and Dragon’s Cave.

The Folklore Museum is at 10 Kapetan Lazou Street, Kastoria

greece in winter thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-largest city and a lovely place to spend a winter holiday.

There is plenty to do and see because it is a bustling city that doesn’t close down for the winter months.

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, and bars are open, and the city is well known for the delicious sweets you can try, such as the bougatsa, a perfect combination of croissant and custard cream, often served with berries.

Thessaloniki is steeped in more than 3000 years of history. The Rotonda is a must-see.

It was built in the 4th century as a temple to Zeus and was later converted to a Christian temple.

The White Tower should also be added to your agenda.

Built by the Ottomans In the 15th century to defend the city’s harbour, it also operates as a museum.

If the weather is nice, take a walk along the waterfront as it is very pretty. However, Thessaloniki is in the country’s north, so you may experience colder weather here than in Athens or one of the southern islands. The hop-on hop-off bus will get you to most attractions in Thessaloniki.

Kalavryta Greece in winter

Kalavryta is in the Peloponnese and is built on the slopes of Mount Helmos.

The views are breathtaking.

The town is best known for its ski resort which rivals Parnassos and has ski runs for all abilities, from beginners to experienced skiers.

The town is built for winter tourism, and there are many hotels, guesthouses and spas.

If you want to take a break from the slopes, the town is steeped in history.

Visit one of the monasteries or The Municipal Museum of the Kalavryta Holocaust.

For rail enthusiasts, a railway line runs between Kalavryts and the village of Diakofto by the sea.

The views from the train windows are spectacular.

The train winds through the Vouraikos gorge and river, crosses 49 bridges and travels through narrow tunnels carved into the rock.

It is a spectacular journey and is a must if you visit Kalavryta.

The Municipal Museum of the Kalavryta Holocaust is at 1 – 5 Sygrou, Achaia, 25001, Kalavryta

Trikala is in central Greece, about two hours’ drive from Athens, and is a beautiful, large village with a river running through it.

The city is bicycle-friendly so hire a bicycle, ride by the river and explore the village.

If you enjoy walking, hike through the forest along a marked route called Arhalo Misseon.

There are some interesting churches to visit in Trikala, such as the small church of St Nicholas in Apo Trikala (Upper Trikala), which offers a spectacular countryside view.

There’s also the monastery of St Vlasios, built in the 17th century, where from the balcony at the back, you’ll see another remarkable view.

Trikala is a place to relax in one of the many cafes, bars, and restaurants. At night, the atmosphere is lively.

The monasteries at Meteora are only a 30-minute drive.

Karpensi is a town in central Greece situated in the valley of the river, Karpenisiotis, in the southern part of the Pindus mountains.

It is a picturesque town and a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

It is a popular winter destination with the Greeks, so plenty of hotels are open throughout the winter.

There are many restaurants serving both traditional and local food.

If you want a day out, you will find beautiful places to visit.

Drive (if you have an SUV) or trek along the river to the Panta Vrehi Canyon but do consider doing this with a professional guide in the winter as there may be snow.

It is worth seeing as the waterfall is spectacular.

If you enjoy skiing, the Velouchi ski centre is just 10 km (6.2 miles) from Karpensi.

Chania is on the island of Crete on the northwest coast and is a wonderful winter destination.

Because it is a city, it remains lively throughout the year, and you will find many restaurants, bars, and cafes open in the winter.

The most beautiful place to relax over a frappe or ouzo is in the Venetian harbour.

Wander around the winding streets of the old town admiring the Venetian buildings and perhaps see an art exhibition in the Mosque of Janissaries, which is a reminder of Ottoman rule.

There are interesting museums in Chania, such as The Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum is at Coast Kountouristi, Aki Kountourioti, Chania Town 73100. For something different, unleash your artistic creativity on this drawing tour of Chania .

The Palace of Knossos is 4.8 km(3 miles) south of the capital of Crete, Heraklion.

It is one of the most popular archaeological sites in Greece and is a must-visit if you are staying in Heraklion and are interested in history.

Knossos was the centre of the Minoan civilisation, which existed on the island from 3000 to 1100 BC.

It is larger and more complex than any other palace in Greece and shows that the Minoans were advanced for their time.

You need about two to three hours to explore Knossos, and there are guides at the entrance if you want a tour or skip the line and order your ticket and self-guided smartphone tour here .

There are a couple of tavernas on the other side of the road.

Santorini is a beautiful island in the southern Aegean Sea, famous for its whitewashed buildings built on volcanic rock.

There is plenty to see on the island, and tours operate during the winter. Options include taking a winter cruise to enjoy the caldera or cruise the volcanic islands and stop at hot springs .

One will take you to the amazing volcanic Red Beach, the Akrotiri archaeological site, a winery to taste the fine wines produced on the island, and the Prophet Elias Monastery.

It ends with a spectacular sunset in Oia, weather permitting.

The beach resorts do shut down in the winter, but if you stay in the capital, Fira, you will find hotels, restaurants, and cafes open.

It is the best place to stay, and the tours that operate in the winter start from there.

The beach resorts on Rhodes close down in the winter, but if you are more interested in sightseeing than getting a tan, there are hotels, restaurants, and bars open in Rhodes Town.

The new town is busier than the old in the winter, but this gives you a chance to explore the old town without the crush of tourists.

Here you will see the Palace of the Grand Masters, gothic architecture, and mosques and public baths from the Ottoman period.

In the new town, you will find modern shops.

There is plenty more in Rhodes Town to whet your appetite, including the Archaeological Museum and The Modern Art Museum.

The Archaeological Museum is at the Hospital of the Knights, Rhodes Town, 85100. The Museum of Modern Art is Simis 2, Rhodes Town, 85100. Here’s where the 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus will take you .

Corfu is nearer continental Europe than islands such as Crete and Rhodes, so it isn’t surprising that it isn’t quite as warm as these islands.

It also has a lot of rain between November and March, so pack accordingly.

Because it is a bigger island, Corfu Town is still lively in the winter, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars open.

There is a selection of hotels open ranging from budget to luxury.

Winter is an excellent time to visit the old town as you won’t be caught up with large groups of tourists.

The old town is beautiful, and the buildings reflect the Venetian occupation.

The Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit as it houses finds from the Temple of Artemis and artefacts from the ancient citadel of Corfu.

The Archaeological Museum is at Vraila Armeni Street, Corfu Town. Here’s where the hop-on hop-off bus will take you .

Winter Travel Tips

when does winter start in greece

In the winter, you will find authentic Greek dishes as you will be eating with the locals, whereas in the summer, a lot of the food is produced specifically for the tourist market.

Food shifts away from lighter meals and salads to delicious soups and stews such as giouvarlakia, a soup made of meatballs combined with rice, tomato sauce, and spices.

Fasolada is a bean soup that is also very popular during winter.

The typical Greek salad is replaced with lahanodolmades or cabbage salad because cabbage is plentiful at this time of year. The cabbage is mixed with garlic, onions, and olive oil.

Spetsofai is a hearty dish prepared with sausages, red peppers and tomato sauce. It is usually spicy, so be warned. It is usually eaten with graviera cheese and warm bread.

Drinks such as rakomelo (honey raki) are enjoyed in the winter months. Rakomelo is a combination of the Cretan spirit, raki, and honey, and it is served warm.

There are celebrations during the winter months that will make your stay in Greece more pleasurable.

In early November, Thessaloniki’s International Film Festival focuses on independent cinema. The city is abuzz and you might even spot a celebrity.

Christmas has always played second fiddle to Easter in Greece, but in the last 20 years, it has increased in popularity. These days, you can see decorations everywhere, and Syntagma Square in Athens has a dazzling display of lights and a massive tree. The harbour will be lit with decorations glistening in the Mediterranean Sea if you are in a coastal town.

New Year is when the children get gifts from Agios Vasilios (Saint Basil). New Year’s Day is marked by the cutting of the vasilopita, a special cake that contains a coin. Whoever finds it will have good luck.

January 6th, the Epiphany, is a Bank Holiday, and the day is commemorated with the blessing of local waters. After the cross is blessed, the Orthodox priests throw it into the sea and men dive in to find it. Piraeus holds the biggest ceremony, which is worth going to.

Just before Lent is the Apokreas celebration, which is a carnival. The best celebrations are in Patras, Skyros, and Xanthus but any is worth going to for the experience. Most people put on costumes and eat, drink and make merry, even in the smallest villages.

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The Acropolis during winter time in Athens, Greece

If you are considering Greece for a winter vacation, the following information will share ideas and insight on the weather, best places to visit, and top experiences you can enjoy when traveling through the country at this time of year.

If you wish to explore the ancient history in Athens or enjoy fewer crowds in January, looking for a view of snowcapped peaks around the hanging churches of Meteora, or interested in experiencing the temperatures in Greece in December, winter across the country is a wonderland of experiences.

To help you plan your Greece tour in winter, we share the ideal places to indulge in the seasonal ambiance, from the mainland to the islands.

Weather in Greece in December, January, and February

Where to go in greece in winter, what to do in greece in winter, plan your trip to greece in winter.

Santorini Island at sunset in Greece

Santorini Island at sunset in Greece

Average Temperatures in Athens, Greece: 57°F High • 45°F Low

The weather in Greece in the winter varies across the diverse landscape, reaching cold, snowy temperatures in the northern mountains and warm, inviting temperatures across a number of islands, especially the nation’s southernmost, Crete, for a perfect family vacation or tour for couples .

Greece in February is at its coldest, but retains a welcoming charm in villages dusted with snow, slopes offering exciting skiing opportunities, or great weather for wandering through towns, exploring ancient ruins, or taking to fabulous hiking trails, in addition to fewer tourists during an island-hopping tour .

Expert Tips for Discerning Travelers

Kolymbithres of Ovires in the Zagori, Greece

Kolymbithres of Ovires in the Zagori, Greece

Crete • Best Place for Great Weather

Crete in winter is full of exciting discoveries, from Venetian harbors to mountain villages, delicious seasonal cuisine to gorges ready for exploration.

As the southernmost Greek island, Crete’s weather is wonderful, averaging nearly 300 days of sun a year and thereby embodying the delights of a Mediterranean climate.

Visit the remains of an ancient Minoan palace, stroll along winding cobblestone lanes, or visit one of the many archeological museums featuring artifacts dating back to the Neolithic era. You can find the best ways to enjoy your trip with our inspiring Athens, Santorini, & Crete sample itineraries.

Athens • Best Place for Families with Children

Athens represents iconic Greece, home to ancient wonders, marvelous museums, and fantastic cafe culture, all of which capture millennia of heritage and culture.

In winter, Athens offers the same enticing views of monuments like the Acropolis and ancient streets of the Plaka neighborhoods, but with fewer crowds, giving you the perfect family-friendly atmosphere.

Whether visiting the immersive Acropolis Museum or enjoying a panoramic view from Mount Lycabettus, the city has family-friendly fun year-round, whether on an Athens & Santorini tour or delving deeper into a Greece family vacation .

The Zagori • Best Place to Avoid the Crowds

The Zagori are considered one of Greece’s hidden treasures at any time of year, but in winter, the collection of medieval mountain villages reveals a surprising wonderland.

The lanes weaving through the hills and connecting the main roads are dusted with snow, houses brim with the aromas of seasonal comfort foods, and nearby ski resorts offer access to incredible slopes perfect for adventurers venturing off the groomed trails.

From winter activities to relaxing with a glass of rakomelo , a type of local brandy, the Zagori are an easy, fun, and gorgeous place to escape the crowds in winter.

Learn more: Luxury Greece Tours

Monemvasia • Best Place for Couples or Honeymooners

Monemvasia is one of the most romantic places to visit in Greece and perfect for couples or honeymooners in winter, when the tiered cobblestone streets of the Byzantine castle town are free from crowds.

Often referred to as the “Gibraltar of Greece”, Monemvasia’s charm emerges from its historical foundations, preserved walls, rising turrets, and walkways leading to the surrounding crashing waters of the Myrtoan Sea. Find your perfect couple’s tour in Greece or discover the best Greece honeymoon vacation for your preferences, one that includes indulging in the remote setting and historic ambiance of Monemvasia.

Santorini • Best Greek Island to Visit

With famous sunsets, iconic whitewashed buildings with blue trim, and ethereal cliffs overlooking a breathtaking caldera, Santorini is one of the best places to visit in Greece.

What was once a quiet time on the island, when shops and restaurants closed until the summer tourist season, has become a fascinating period in which to enjoy the beauty and charms of island life without the intense crowds of peak season.

Winter has become a treasured time to visit Santorini, giving you the chance to walk the famous cliff-side trail, visit the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri, or enjoy a sunset cruise on the piercing blue water, all of which will turn your winter Santorini tour into an unforgettable experience.

Dinner at sunset in Santorini, Greece

Dinner at sunset in Santorini, Greece

Explore the Wonders of Ancient Greece

Ancient Grecian life offers unique stories of the past that link to today’s western world with foundational thought, architecture, and art, especially when visiting places like Athens, Santorini, and Crete.

In winter, the famous ruins across the country are less impacted by large crowds, making it easier to discover the splendors of history, from the Acropolis to Knossos Palace, Sparta to Delphi. Inspiration on top things to do in Athens and Santorini can help demonstrate the variety of possibilities to experience during your Greece trip.

Discover the Regional and Seasonal Greek Flavors

Whether searching for typical mainland flavors or eager to indulge in the dishes of the Aegean islands, you can find glamorous restaurants or typical local cafes, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Athens or a cliffside bistro in Santorini.

Family eateries in Crete demonstrate the alluring recipes of the island that have influenced many dishes around the country, while wineries in the Peloponnese further showcase how the soil impacts taste. Embrace mezze or delight in specialty desserts as you distinguish between the flavors of cities and seaside, mainland and island.

Learn more: Greece Food & Wine Tours and Vacations

Enjoy the Festive Ambiance and Traditions

The festivals and customs across Greece in winter can immerse you in the exciting culture and seasonal charms.

Christmas markets are relatively new to Greece, but the demonstration of traditional handmade items and seasonal cuisine surrounded by decadent decorations add to the joys of December. Meanwhile, Ragoutzaria in January brings out traditional bands playing customary brass instruments in northern Greece while revelers eat, drink, and dance non-stop over three days.

Many cities and towns are also known for their colorful and flavorful Carnival celebrations that can last up to 14 days for an incredible two-week Greece vacation .

Wander the Inland Villages

Greece is bucolic and enchanting, with the traditional villages on the mainland and islands representing history, heritage, and delightful escapes into untouched tranquility.

In winter, the villages and towns scattered across the mountains and hills can become welcoming wonderlands, hiding as they do beneath sparking peaks or exuding the aromas of homemade pastries.

With views over sparkling seas, medieval walls protecting Byzantine frescoes, or vineyards overlooked by tourists, wandering the inland villages of Greece is wonderful and easily reached when considered as part of a vacation idea in a Greece trip planner .

Visit the Beautiful Islands Away from Crowds

The Greek islands are timeless and alluring no matter the time of year and while winter is not the best time to visit the beaches, the best Greek islands to visit are much more than sand and sea.

The azure waters and indulgent coastline may be the first image of the islands, but charming villages, chic boutique shops, and ancient history collide to create dreamy destinations perfect for any type of traveler in winter.

From elaborate sunsets to delightful wineries, medieval castles to mythological creatures, the Greek islands’ diverse beauty will leave you breathless.

Aerial view of Monemvasia in laconia, Greece

Aerial view of Monemvasia in laconia, Greece

Greece’s charm is timeless, with gorgeous seas, wonderful fortress towns, and beautiful mountain villages. In winter, you may feel as if you are uncovering hidden gems , demonstrating the treasures across the country that continue to inspire awe in travelers.

Discover what inspires you with our sample Santorini tours or find more information on your ideas and goals with our Greece travel guide . Our sample Greece vacations and tours can be personalized to your interests and schedule to give you the trip you have always dreamed of.

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T hinking of spending the winter in Greece? Here are some of the best destinations to explore during the colder months of the year.

Winter in Greece probably isn’t your first thought when you think of Greece or holidays in Greece. Like many people, you tend to associate the country with summer holidays on the Greek islands. But you will be surprised but how much winter has to offer, provided you know where to look!

While these Greek winter destinations are beautiful in any season – the stone buildings, mountainous backdrops and quiet villages have a special kind of magic in the winter season and will enchant those who visit them!

☞ Related: The Most Underrated Greek Islands In The Country

travel to greece in winter

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, beautifully 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!

☞ Related: The Best Destinations For Each Month of Greece

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 centre is only a few kilometres 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).

☞ Related: The Best Authentic Greek Restaurants In The Delphi Area

travel to greece in winter

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.

☞ Related: 5 Winter Destinations In Northern Greece You Will Fall In Love With

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.

☞ Related: The Traditional Greek Recipes You Need To Try

travel to greece in winter

Kalavrita is a small city located in the Peloponnese region. Sitting at an altitude of 730 meters Kalavrita is famous for its ski centre. 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!

☞ Related: 5 Ski Resorts In Greece That Will Make You Love Greek Winter

Cat Santorini Winter

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!

☞ Related: What Does Santorini Look Like In The Winter?

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!

☞ Related: How To Make The Most Of Winter In Athens

FAQ about Winter in Greece:

Here are some of the frequently asked questions from people wanting to visit Greece in the winter:

How cold is winter in Greece?

Compared to other European cities, Greece in the winter can be surprisingly mild. It all depends on where you go. Athens, on the southern part of the country, will be most pleasant. Some islands like Crete are also good choices with plenty of sunshine but make sure to pack a jacket for the wind.

What is the temperature like in winter in Greece?

The average temperature for winter in Greece is 13 °C or about 55 °F.

For some of the northern destinations like Thessaloniki, there is a much lower average of 5.5 °C (41.9°F) whereas, in Crete, that would be closer to 10 °C or about 50 °F during January .

Do you recommend visiting the Greek islands in the wintertime?

Yes, you can absolutely visit the Greek islands during the wintertime. Some of the best options are Rhodes , Crete , Santorini and Corfu. Generally, the larger and more well-connected islands will have more options for accommodation and dining. You will also want to check this list of Greek islands with airports to narrow down your search. Having the option to fly could come in handy when weather conditions prevent ships from coming and going to the island – even though getting stranded on a Greek island isn’t the worst thing that can happen!

You may also want to check out, our winter guide to Santorini island. This is an ideal option for budget-friendly travel to one of the most luxurious and sought after honeymoon destinations around the world. As long as there is a hot pool in your Santorini hotel, you may still enjoy views over the caldera just like in the summertime.

Is there winter tourism in Greece?

Of course! Greeks love to visit mainland destinations during the winter months like Meteora , Arahova , the beautiful villages of Zagori, and the snow-covered slopes of Kalavrita . Skiing is also a popular activity for most Greeks during the wintertime.

Here are some of the best ski resorts around Greece.

What can I do during the winter in Greece?

Visit archaeological sites , explore the cities and towns without the extra crowds, jump over to some of the islands for a taste of real Greek life and of course partake in your favourite wintertime nature activities. For those that enjoy hiking and skiing, Greece will be a pleasant surprise, with a diverse setting and an array of options on offer. Greece is covered by mountains, so just pick a region that you haven’t visited before and you will soon realize that there is no shortage of options.

And of course, experiencing the Greek cuisine takes on a whole different meaning during the winter months, when hearty soups, stews and Christmas desserts enter the picture!

What is a Greek Christmas like?

There are plenty of Greek Christmas traditions you will get to experience during the holiday season. From hearing traditional carols, to tasting all the Greek Christmas desserts , this is a magical time where the role of religion in Greek society is evident. Here are a few Greek Christmas traditions you might not know about.

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High Heels & a Backpack

Winter in Greece 2024: A Local’s Guide

Winter in Greece is not the usual choice for most people. After all, this beautiful Mediterranean country is mostly renowned for its idyllic islands and paradisical beaches.

In fact, for many people, what happens in Greece after the islands and holiday resorts close for the summer season is something of an unknown. Winter in Greece is a completely different travel experience.

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Visiting the country at this time of year means road trips through quaint stone mountain villages, tucking into steaming bowls of giouvetsi in homely tavernas in the countryside, or trying your hand at skiing. Greeks typically have 3-4 weeks of vacation for Christmas.

During this time, many of them head to Arachova or Karpenisi to rent a cabin with their families and friends. Greeks love a winter mountain getaway but up until now, they have been keeping most of these places to themselves.

Winter in Greece

From November onwards, a paradigm shift occurs. The once-crowded historical sites of ancient cities such as Athens become quiet and empty.

Vendors set up shop at the side of the roads selling roasted chestnuts and warm salep . Meanwhile, Athenian bars replace their ouzo and fruity summer cocktails with hot toddies  and warm homemade rakomelo .

Greece in Winter Weather 

Greece in winter: Skopelos island in January

The weather in Greece in winter is likely milder than what you are used to (especially if you are coming from the UK, the US, or other parts of Europe). However, it is by no means hot. It is a common misconception that Greece boasts warm, Mediterranean conditions all year round. The country sees defined seasons, just like most other European countries. 

The nice thing about the weather in Greece in winter is that even though it is cooler, most days are sunny with blue skies. There are occasional rainstorms, and rainfall is heavier and more frequent at this time of year than during the summer months. But any rain quickly subsides and the sky clears up. Spending winter in Greece doesn’t mean enduring dull, dreary weather conditions.  Temperatures vary from one part of the country to another. Generally speaking, the further south you go, the warmer it gets.

Average daytime winter temperatures in Athens tend to be between 6 and 9 °C. Meanwhile, Thessaloniki averages fall between 1 and  8 °C. Snow is not unheard of and the mountainous regions in Central and Northern Greece often see a light dusting of snow.

Where to Travel in Greece in Winter

Skopelos Greece in winter

It may be too cold to lounge on the beaches of the Greek islands. However, winter in Greece provides the opportunity for a different travel experience entirely.

Grab the chance to snuggle up in cozy log cabins nestled high in the mountains. Alternatively, you can experience major Greek cities without crowds.

Athens in Winter

Greece in winter

Athens is a perfect place to travel to in Greece during the winter months. The past few winters have actually seen the city and the Acropolis covered in snow.

If you choose to travel at this time, you might be lucky enough to witness this majestic spectacle yourself. During this time, outdoor ice rinks pop up around the city.

So, you can ice skate while gazing across to the Parthenon, the Ancient Agora , and some of the world’s oldest and most important historic sites. There are far fewer crowds in Athens during the winter.

This means that you can wander around the likes of the Acropolis , various Athenian museums, and old Plaka at a leisurely pace. You won’t have 14,393 other tourists getting in the back of your photos!

Prices are also significantly cheaper during this period too. Hotels, tours, and flights can be booked for as much as 60% less than in the summer.

There is no denying that Christmas in Athens brings a magical ambiance. A huge Christmas tree is set up in the city’s central Syntagma Square in late November.

Head for a nightcap at Little Kook or Noel. These are Athens’ perpetually winter-themed cocktail bars. For alternative evening entertainment, buy tickets to watch a wintry ballet or opera performance at the National Theatre.

Skopelos (& the Sporades islands)

Spending winter in Greece on a remote Greek island is a bold and unusual move. But it’s simultaneously a rewarding and character-building one!

Skopelos island gained international recognition and fame as being the “Mamma Mia” island of Kalokairi in the Hollywood movie. But even so, it maintains its status of being a sleepy Greek island idyll and doesn’t see swathes of tourists. This is, perhaps because it’s so tricky to get to.

Out of season on Skopelos, there is no one but locals. Skopelos town has a permanent population of 1500.

There are just a few coffee shops and restaurants that are open during the winter months. If you stop by at this time, you truly get a glimpse of what living on a Greek island is like when the tourists leave.

You can get to Skopelos , even in the middle of winter, by taking the ferry from nearby Volos . Because the island is so sparsely populated, it is possible to go out walking here for hours during the winter and never see another soul.

If you enjoy hiking, winter in Skopelos can be paradise. There are many Skopelos trails that lead you to breathtaking panoramas, hidden woodland monasteries, and quaint villages and hamlets.

In particular, don’t miss the walk to the pirate graveyard at Sendoukia. Because winter tourism in Skopelos is not common, it is very easy to secure an excellent deal on a local house or villa during this time.

Karpenisi is a stunning mountain village that sits on the slopes of Mount Timfristos in Evritania, Central Greece. It is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Greece” on account of its dramatic natural scenery.

Greek tourists flock to Karpenisi in late December in order to ski at Mount Velouchi. However, Karpenisi is so much more than “just another” ski destination.

The highlight of the region is the quaint stone villages that encompass the town. Venture 25km out of town to Proussos, a dramatic Orthodox Monastery perched on the edge of a cliff .

Proussos is one of the most important monasteries in all of Greece. It is a popular pilgrimage site today, particularly on Dormition day. During the Greek War for Independence, many renowned Greek soldiers rested here.

Next, stop by the village of Gavros to sample hearty cuisine that is particular to Evritania. Then, visit Palio Mikro Chorio to shop for traditional products and handicrafts.

If you want to travel off the beaten path in Greece, Kastoria is a great choice. The small city is the capital of Western Macedonia in Northern Greece.

It sits on the banks of the beautiful Lake Orestiada , against the dramatic backdrop of the Pindus mountains. A pleasant way to pass the time is to rent bicycles and cycle along the lakefront. Pass by early in the morning to watch the local fishermen try their luck in the lake’s waters.

Kastoria is home to more than 60 old Byzantine churches. Many of these structures are very well-preserved and laden with breathtaking frescoes. Better yet, there are no tourists here to share them with.

Santorini in winter

travel to greece in winter

Though it may sound like an unusual suggestion, winter is actually a pretty good time to visit Santorini! Over two million people travel to Santorini every year.

Travelling between November and March allows you to escape the bulk of these tourists as well as grab some pretty neat deals on flights to the island. Some of the touristic businesses across the island may be closed for the season.

However, many of the charming boutiques and restaurants across Fira and Oia remain open all year. Don’t forget that Santorini is home to permanent residents too.

Winter in Greece is still a good time to enjoy most of the activities on Santorini. On a clear day, dust off your walking shoes and embark on the scenic 10km hike from Fira to Oia.

Have dinner by the sea in lovely Ammoudi Bay, and get lost in the narrow back streets of Fira. Santorini may well be one of Greece’s most popular destinations, but some places are popular for a reason.

Thessaloniki in winter

Winter in Greece: Thessaloniki is a wonderful destination all year round

Thessaloniki, like Athens, is a Greek travel destination that can be enjoyed all year round. Greece’s second-largest city  may not have the same concentration of ruins and tourist sites as the capital. However, it is oozing with enough character and charm to keep you occupied for a long weekend.

The iconic White Tower and the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum are must-see sights while you’re in town. The exhibits on display here provide an insight into the history of this unique region of Central Macedonia.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and a coffee among trendy boho locals in Navarino square before touring quaint Ano Poli . Ano Poli is one of the city’s oldest districts and it is filled with quaint, colourful Ottoman-era houses.

Ladadika is equally worthy of your time. During the Ottoman era, Ladadika was one of the city’s main commercial districts and was home to a bustling bazaar.

The majority of the stores in Ladadika sold olive oil. (Ladadika means “with oil”). Today, the cobbled streets are packed full of trendy tavernas and restaurants. Some of the best Thessaloniki eateries can be found here.

Kalavryta is a pretty little town in the mountains of central Achaea. It sits at the foot of Mount Chelmos and is usually teeming with life during the winter.

Many ski resorts are located in this area, and a lot of Greeks pass through Kalavryta en route. The Agia Lavra monastery here is not to be missed.

The structure, perched on a cliff’s edge dates back to 961 AD. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the Peloponnese region of Greece . Despite being destroyed and rebuilt several times over the past few centuries, is well worth the hike to get to.

If scenic train rides are your thing, consider purchasing a ticket on the Odontotos . This is an old railway that takes you on a circuit through pristine woodlands and through the Vouraikos Gorge. This region is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful in all of Greece.

Arachova is often referred to as Greece’s “winter Mykonos”. This charming little mountain village is a popular weekend getaway for Greeks, particularly during the winter.

Arachova is just three hours north of Athens, and the little settlement has something for everyone. Here you can enjoy hiking and skiing, or simply revel in the chic ambiance of upscale bars set in luxury mountain hotels.

The hiking trails that twist and turn through the alpine landscapes surrounding Arachova vary in difficulty. They range from straightforward walks to challenging routes for experienced mountaineers. The region is arguably one of the best places for hiking in Greece .

Traditional villages of Zagori

As far as a lot of Greeks are concerned, Zagori is one of the best travel destinations for winter in Greece. Zagori is not just one little mountain village, but a cluster of 46 incredible stone villages.

The villages here are situated in close proximity to each other, with beautiful walking routes connecting them. Hikers can use Zagori as a base to venture out to the nearby Vikos Gorge.

Envisage renting your own log cabin where you can cook marshmallows over the fire. All the while, you have a backdrop of deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, frozen lakes, and adorable stone villages.

If you are interested in history and culture, you can enjoy visiting the countless stunning monasteries and churches in this region. Don’t pass up the chance to step inside and admire their intricate interior frescoes.  

travel to greece in winter

During the winter months, Northern Greece truly does become a winter wonderland. Frozen lakes, fir trees, and cobbled streets covered in fresh blankets of snow make Ioannina look like something straight out of a storybook .

The Northern city sits on the banks of Lake Pamvotida. Strolling around the lake in your hat, gloves, and scarf with a steaming cup of Greek coffee in hand is a wonderful Greek winter experience.

You should also dedicate an afternoon to the mysterious, nameless island situated at the centre of the lake. People do live in the small village on the island. It was also once home to notorious ruler Ali Pasha.

Ioannina, with its cobbled streets and stone houses that are home to traditional tavernas and ouzerias, feels worlds away from modern Athens and Thessaloniki. Waking up in a homely guest house and watching the sunrise above the lake from your balcony is a sight like no other.

Besides taking crisp winter walks along the lake and immersing yourself in the local culture, the city also boasts several attractions that are well worth checking out. Be sure to visit the archaeological museum of Ioannina, and the Cave of Perama while in town.

The rugged, wild mountains of Tzoumerka are the ultimate answer to getting off the beaten track in Greece. The mountainous region is comprised of 47 villages. Each one is more charming and unique than the last.

This is real, rural Greece. Tzoumerka is undiscovered by most international travellers. It is home to sheepherders, traditional craftsmen, and some of the friendliest people in the country.

The villages here are all very different, so try to plan a route and decide which areas interest you the most. Kypseli, Matsouki, Agnanta, Vourgareli, Theodoriana, Tsopela, Pramanta are all very charming. However, the list of worthy stopping points in Tzoumerka is extensive.

The villages here are very quiet. Some are home to just a handful of residents.

What makes the area so special is its natural beauty. Arguably the best approach for visiting Tzoumerka is to rent a car in Greece and drive through the small region. Plan a route and take in as much of the unique local culture, and as many of the stone-built villages as you can.

Nafplio   

travel to greece in winter

Once upon a time, charming Nafplio was actually the capital of mainland Greece. The crumbling remnants of ancient fortresses and castles that still stand protectively over the hilltops encompassing the town are a reminder of Nafplio’s important past.

Mention visiting Nafplio to any Greek and they will tell you that it is Greece’s quintessential romantic getaway destination. Regardless of who you travel with though, you are bound to fall in love with Nafplio’s narrow alleyways and cobbled piazzas.

Over the centuries, Nafplio has been occupied by people from various countries and civilizations. Today, the Venetian, Turkish, and Frankish influences contribute to unique and spectacular architecture that makes Nafplio a photographer’s dream.

Ascend the 900 steps to the Palamidi fortress to enjoy sweeping views of Nafplio and the cerulean waters surrounding it. Similarly, be sure to make time to visit the Venetian Bourtzi fortress.

Dozens of charming coffee shops, bars, and high-end stores are scattered throughout old Nafplio. In the port area, stop by one of the seafood tavernas and enjoy a dish prepared with the day’s latest catches.

Metsovo is yet another example of a charming mountain village that enables you to escape the chaos of city life during the winter months. The village awaits in the Pindus mountains and is renowned across Greece for its unique gastronomy.

This makes little Metsovo a perfect destination for foodie adventurers. Be sure to sample the local delicacies of kontosouvli  and homemade cheeses.

In particular, metsovone and metsovela cheese are particular to this region and can be purchased at an excellent quality in the local stores. Try to stop by the Averoff Winery Katogi so that you can try the region’s local “ katogi ” wine.

Edible aspects aside, Metsovo is a pleasant place for walking, hiking, and experiencing the unique culture of rural Greece. The 15 th century church of Agia Paraskevi, with its wood-carved temple, should make an appearance on your Metsovo agenda. So too should the local monasteries of Panagia and Agios Nicholas

The town of Loutraki is situated in Corinth, some 65 miles away from Athens. Loutraki is more commonly known as a seaside destination.

Indeed, the town is frequented by both Greeks and international tourists during the summer months. However, it is also a nice place to spend a weekend in the winter.

In particular, travellers can escape the cold climates by relaxing in the warm, soothing waters of the nearby Pozar thermal baths. Alternatively, treat yourself to a package at one of the many luxurious spas that are situated here.

Trikala sits in the northwestern part of Greece, 2.5 hours away from Thessaloniki. It may not be very well known internationally, but many Greeks refer to Trikala as being one of the prettiest towns in the country. 

The city may not have the archaeological sites of Thessaloniki or Athens. Still, it more than makes up for that in its character and charm. Wander through the old districts of Manavika and Varousi, and stop by River Lithaios early in the morning to watch the local fishermen cast their nets. 

FAQs About Traveling to Greece in Winter

Quaint villages of Central Greece

Do you still have any burning questions or concerns about travelling to Greece in winter? Hopefully, you will find the answers you are looking for below. 

Is Greece worth visiting in winter?

Greece is absolutely worth visiting in the winter months. However, it is important to note that winter in Greece is a different kind of travelling experience compared to summers spent lounging on Greek islands. 

The best places to visit in Greece at this time of year are quaint stone villages in mainland regions like Evritania, Epirus, and Zagorahoria. If you like nature and the great outdoors, this is also a good time to go hiking and skiing. 

Are Greek islands warm in winter?

A popular misconception about Greece is that the country sees a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate all year round. That is not true. While Greece and its islands see milder winters than other parts of Europe, it is by no means warm. Average temperatures on Greek islands in the winter can be between 0 and 7° Celsius during December, and between -1 and 6° in February. Technically, the further south you go, the warmer it is. So, for instance, Crete will be warmer than islands in the North Aegean. But Greek islands definitely are not hot in the winter. Although there are people that live on most Greek islands all year round, tourism to the islands is very seasonal and most businesses will be boarded up at this time too.

Which part of Greece is warmest in winter?

Southern Greece, Athens, and Crete are among the warmest places that you can visit in Greece in the winter. They are by no means hot and it definitely isn’t beach weather, but the skies are usually blue and clear, and you can enjoy coastal walks by the sea, and alfresco dining at quaint Athens restaurants and coffee shops. 

Which Greek island has the best winter weather? 

While Greek islands are definitely not hot in the winter months, Crete arguably has the best winter weather. This is in part because Crete is one of the southernmost islands in the country.

Alternatively, some of the larger Dodecanese islands are also among the mildest Greek islands to visit in the winter. Rhodes, for instance, sees average temperatures in November of between 13° and 19° Celsius. 

In December, the island’s averages are between 11 and 16° Celsius. 

What is Greece like in the winter?

Greece is magical during the winter months. Christmas in Greece is a huge deal and festive decorations start to pop up around the country in mid-November. 

In December , you can expect to see events virtually every night of the week in large cities like Athens. In 2023, the Athens Christmas lights will be turned on by Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis. Sound and light shows take place around the Greek capital, with displays projected onto notable Athenian landmarks and buildings. On Christmas Eve, there will be an elaborate light show projected on the Athens City Hall in Kotzia Square. 

Can I go to Santorini in winter?

You can absolutely enjoy a trip to Santorini in winter as long as you manage your expectations. This is not a good time to travel if you are hoping to swim or hang out on the beaches. A lot of hotels, bars, and businesses are closed, so the island doesn’t have the same ambiance or all-night beach parties as it does during the summer. However, there are advantages to travelling at this time of the year too. 

Fewer crowds

Most people only consider Greece as a summer travel destination. A scattering of people visits the country through October . However, in the winter months, the majority of the tourists disperse. 

Spending winter in Greece means that you can enjoy Santorini sunsets or Acropolis views without the masses of people around you that you would have if you travelled in July.

Better yet, venture off the beaten path to places like Karpenisi and Northern Greece . You may find that you have places entirely to yourself! 

Free admission days 

Winter in Greece

Athens, Thessaloniki, and certain other cities across Greece offer free admission days during the winter months. For instance, the Acropolis and all Athens museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of the month between November and March.

If you can time your trip accordingly, this can save you a fair chunk of your travel costs. Admission is also free on certain Greek public holidays.

Lower Costs 

Did you know that the costs of travelling in Greece soar by as much as 50% during the summer months? The winter season is the cheapest time to travel.

Accommodation costs, hotels, tour prices, and flight costs are significantly lower during the winter months. This is perfect if you are on a budget .

Final thoughts on spending winter in Greece

Greece in Winter: Athens Festive Displays

Have any further questions about winter in Greece or planning a Greek vacation  in general? I’ve been living in Greece for the past 4.5 years and would be happy to assist with any queries you may have.

Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo

highheelsandabackpack

Hi Melissa, this was a really helpful article. I’m trying to plan a trip for me and my boyfriend over Xmas and New Years. We’re thinking about renting a car, but do you think it’s better to try to do day trips from Athens or just road trip? I was thinking 23-30 Dec on the mainland and then Crete 30 Dec – 4 Jan, but am worried about essentially losing 2 days in Athens as most sites are closed 25 and 26 Dec. Any suggestions? We definitely want to go to Meteora, but aren’t really into skiing/snowboarding. More food/wine and culture oriented.

I’m thinking of traveling abroad for the first time in my life to Athens (solo) in November 2020 but afraid it would be too cold. I originally thought I’d pack summer clothes as it is a hot country 😀 but after reading, realized otherwise. How heavy shall I pack? (I get cold easily) and is it a good idea to solo travel to Athens in November? Thanks in advance!

Hi Melissa, great article, really helpful, thanks so much!

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travel to greece in winter

Editor's Pick

travel to greece in winter

One of the stunning monasteries of the UNESCO World Heritage center of Meteora.

© Shutterstock

The Top 10 Places to Visit in Greece in the Winter

As the weather cools, our gaze turns to the mountains, ski slopes rivers and stone-built villages of greece's top wintertime destinations..

By Pavlos Zafiropoulos, Paulina Kapsali | October 6th, 2017

So, just in case there is any confusion, yes, Greece does have a winter. The dry-baked Cycladic islands turn green as the rains arrive; their inhabitants bundle up against temperatures that can sink to the low single digits when biting northerlies whip through the Aegean.

On the mainland, mountain villages are frequently covered in blankets of snow. Many of the peaks above are dressed in white from November to April.

In fact, it’s pretty great.

Winter is the time to swap the sandals for hiking boots , and the cold beachside beer for a brandy or warm rakomelo by the fireplace. Hearty, slow-cooked stews replace light summertime salads, and a whole host of different seasonal products begin to appear: wild mushrooms , juicy oranges, fat chestnuts .

This is a time to experience a different sort of Greece – one of rivers , mountains and glorious natural landscapes as yet undiscovered by mass tourism. One that is emptier, wilder but also comforting in its own way, insulated from the rush and chaos of the modern world.

Of course, that doesn’t mean one needs to rough it. Accommodation options range from tidy bed-and-(excellent)-breakfasts to 5-star luxury spa resorts . And with a range of well-run companies offering organized activities from trekking to ski touring to mountain biking , there has never been a better time to discover Greece in the wintertime.

Below we’ve put together a list of Greece’s top winter destinations . It is by no means exhaustive, but a selection of great entry point to Greece’s mountainous winter wonderlands:

travel to greece in winter

© Yannis Larios

1. Zagori – Pure Mountain Magic

When it comes to Zagori, superlatives fail. Across 1000 sq km of densely forested, mountainous landscape punctuated by deep gorges, pristine rivers , waterfalls , caves and more, 46 stone-and-slate built villages (the  Zagorohoria ) complete what can only be called a mountain paradise.

Nature-loving hikers will struggle to choose from the hundreds of kilometers of well-marked trails that run over old stone bridges, past monasteries inhabited and not, through protected forests teeming with life and across ridges with views that are heartbreaking.

More experienced mountaineers can challenge themselves by tackling the alpine territory of the surrounding peaks, while a number of companies offer dozens of activities from backcountry skiing to whitewater rafting to organized hikes, making the natural wonders of the area accessible to all.

Each of the villages is prettier than the last – the legacy of master masons considered to be the greatest in the country – and the accommodation options are many and of exceptional quality. And when you feel you need to dip back into civilization, the cultured city of Ioannina is a short drive away and a destination in its own right.

Simply a must-visit.

Good For : Nature lovers, hikers, whitewater rafters, adventurers, anyone with a pulse.

Bad For : People who hate mountains, I guess.

Read more  about  Zagorohoria here .

Getting There:

500 km from Athens (a 6 hour drive). 300 km from Thessaloniki (3 hour drive). One can also fly to the airport of Ioannina – 1 hour’s drive from the first village. A car to get around is a must (equipped with snow chains in the winter).

travel to greece in winter

© Perikles Merakos

2. Arachova – Skiing and Cocktails

The village of Arachova has long been dubbed the ‘ Mykonos of the Winter ‘, being the hotspot that attracts more visitors than probably any other single winter destination.

The nearest village to Greece’s biggest ski resort on Mount Parnassos , and a mere 3 hours from Athens, Arachova becomes a fully-fledged cosmopolitan hangout in the cold months, complete with high-end shops, ski rental outlets, luxury hotels and spas, gourmet and traditional restaurants and plenty of bars and nightlife.

In terms of the skiing , while no Greek resort comes close to the size of the major centers in the Alps and elsewhere, Parnassos does offer some great slopes of all difficulty levels, as well as access to back-country runs for the more adventurous. While on sunny weekends it can get very crowded, during the week the resort can offer some very satisfying skiing with zero lift lines.

Beyond the slopes, the mountain offers plenty more – most notably the archaeological site of Delphi , the onetime seat of the famed oracle, which is only a short drive from Arachova. There are plenty of satisfying hikes through the mountain’s forests as well, including one that takes you to the archaeological site, with breathtaking views over the valley deep below.

Good For : Skiers, snowboarders, nature-lovers, archaeology buffs, people who want to show off their expensive new snow boots.

Bad For : Agoraphobes.

Read more  about  Arachova here.

 A 2.5 – 3 hour drive from Athens . Alternatively you can also get there by KTEL intercity buses from Athens, or by privately run ski buses from Athens which will also take you to the ski resort.

See here for details.

travel to greece in winter

3. Kalavryta – Peloponnesian Adventureland

If Arachova is the Mykonos of the winter, then one could say that Kalavryta is the season’s Naxos – offering perhaps even more variety than its more famous counterpart, but with a slightly less frenetic atmosphere.

Built on the slopes of Mount Helmos (meaning snowy mountain) in the Peloponnese , Kalavryta is a small town that is a perfect jumping off point for enjoying winter sports and activities in the area. Located only 2.5 – 3 hours from Athens, the mountain condenses a boggling diversity of landscapes in a relatively small area – from pine and fir forests and alpine lakes to extensive, visitable caves, to the fairytale plane tree forests in Planitero  below where you can enjoy fresh trout next to bubbling crystal springs.

But the area is probably best known for its ski resort which is a close rival to that of Parnassos, with ski runs for all abilities, although slightly less modern lifts. The town has well-developed tourism infrastructure with numerous hotels, spas and guesthouses. Many of the pretty, surrounding villages also offer great accommodation options.

Aside from nature-loving activities, the town and surrounding area also packs in plenty of culture and history, including a WWII museum , spectacular monasteries and a unique railway line that connects Kalavryta with the coastal village of Diakofto and is simply one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Good For : Skiers, snowboarders, nature-lovers, history buffs, families, train enthusiasts.

Bad For : Those who prefer the confines of a dull, gray, monotone world.

Read more  about   Kalavryta and Helmos here.

Getting there:

A 2.5 – 3hr drive from Athens , also accessible by intercity bus and from Diakofto via the rack railway line.

travel to greece in winter

4. Meteora – Beyond Unique

A true bucket-list destination , the first sight of the monasteries perched improbably on top of pillars of rock in this UNESCO World Heritage site is a take-your-breath-away moment. While many visit in the summer, the baking heat and large crowds can detract from the experience. The fall and winter, however, lend themselves to taking in the true majesty of the place.

Of the total of 24 monasteries that once formed this 1000-year-old community, 6 are still in operation and open to the public. Visiting them is to step into a world unto itself with wondrous examples of religious art on display in the churches and museums.

One can drive to the monasteries or hike up to them along a beautiful trail that winds between the pillars of rock. But for a truly out-of-this-world experience you can opt for a tour from above via hot air balloon .

The unique geological formations have also rendered the area a popular rock-climbing destination , while mountain biking , trekking and other activities are also on offer, plunging you into the surrounding nature. The neighboring town of Kalabaka offers plenty of high quality accommodation options and tourism services.

Good For : History buffs, religious tourists, hikers, nature lovers, hot air balloon enthusiasts, aspiring hermits.

Bad For : Bond villains. (See: For Your Eyes Only )

Read more  about   Meteora here . See a gallery of images here.

350 km north of Athens . The journey takes around four hours by car. Alternatively, Kalabaka , the city closest to Meteora, can be reached by train from Athens Railway Station. A return ticket costs around €30. Tickets can be booked online via www.trainose.gr.

travel to greece in winter

5. Tzoumerka – Walk on the Wild Side

Forming the lower part of the huge Pindos range in northwestern Greece, the Tzoumerka mountain chain is a series of peaks that effectively form a giant ridge running roughly north to south along the boundary between the regions of Ioannina and Arta .

Tzoumerka comes with all of the trappings of the best of mountainous Greece; crystal springs and waterfalls feeding wide rivers, canyons, dense forests and plenty of wildlife make up the heart of the National Park of Tzoumerka. 47 villages dot the wild landscape which is reminiscent of Zagori  (see above).

However unlike Zagori, the region is overall much less developed touristically making this a good place to experience the Greek countryside at its wildest, and to really get away from it all. If you want to jump off the tourist bandwagon, there are plenty of places to do so here.

The prettiest (and most visited) villages are Syrrako and Kalarrites on the northwestern side, while a mountain refuge in the village of Melissourgi offers a range of activities. Whitewater rafting can be done on the River Arachthos all year round, while a number of companies also arrange a slew of other activities from mountain biking to horseback riding. Be advised though that a car is essential and the roads are long and winding between villages.

Good For : Adventurers, nature lovers, people seeking refuge from the apocalypse.

Bad For : People who want to show off their expensive new snow boots. No one will care. 

Read more  about   Tzoumerka here.  

Getting There

From Athens you can drive to Pramanta (418kms) which is the central village of Tzoumerka in about 6 hours via the Athens – Patras road and the Rio bridge (for a small car petrol and tolls will cost about 65 euros).

Alternatively, you can take a one-hour flight from Athens to Ioannina. From Ioannina Pramanta it is about a 1.5 hour drive (62 kilometers).

travel to greece in winter

© Julia Klimi

6. Metsovo – Culture in the Mountains

To take your hit of the natural beauty of Epirus cut with a dose of well-mannered culture, the small and tidy stone-built town of Metsovo near the Tzoumerka mountain range may be more your speed. An important military and trading post in centuries past, Metsovo flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries, developing trade links to key cities throughout Europe.

Metsovo’s grandeur might have subsequently faded were it not for a foundation established in the 1940s by Evangelos Averoff, a government minister who hailed from the town. Among other work, the Averoff Foundation has, over the decades, supported local wine, and cheesemaking industries and helped promote tourism in the area, making Metsovo today a top mainland destination.

Today visitors can enjoy wine and gastronomic tourism at the Katogi Averoff Hotel and Winery among other quality hotels, together with all of the many outdoor activities the wider area has to offer – including skiing and snowboarding at not one but three nearby small resorts . For culture hounds the well-put-together folk museum and art gallery are must visits.

Good For : Nature Lovers, oenophiles, food lovers, classy folk.

Bad For : Uncouth philistines, urban layabouts.

Read more  about   Metsovo here .

Metsovo is approximately a 4½ drive from Athens . A road trip including and fuel and tolls is about 115 euros. From Thessaloniki it is only 2.5 hours along a newly constructed highway.

travel to greece in winter

© Clairy Moustafellou

travel to greece in winter

7. Loutraki Pella – Ease Your Aches at Pozar Spa

In the depths of winter is there anything better than easing into the hot waters of a natural thermal spring? No, no, there is not.

While thermal springs exist in many parts of the country, one of the best places to take to Greece’s healing waters is in the Pozar Spa in the region of Pella in Macedonia in the north of Greece, at the foot of Mount Voras (aka Kaimaktsalan).

Here the thermal 37 C Toplitsa river gushes out of springs and through a ravine where, surrounded by trees and waterfalls, a facility has being created fed by the river including 48 private baths, two indoor pools and two small hamam facilities, as well as a modern hydrotherapy center with eight 6-person pools. A 50m swimming pool is also located on a specially designed plateau, while visitors may also enjoy the small thermal waterfalls along the river.

Accommodation options abound in the nearby village of Loutraki and the ski resort of Kaimaktsalan is only an hour away to get into the white stuff.

Good for : Aches and pains, skiers, skiers with aches and pains, your general sense of wellbeing

Bad for : Seriously, who doesn’t like a hot bath?

Read more  about   Pozar and more hot springs here.

Loutraki of Pella is located 120 km north of Thessaloniki, a roughly 1.5 – 2 hour drive.

travel to greece in winter

8. The Mountains of Corinth – Natural Beauty With Easy Access

Driving up the serpetine roads and passing through the many stone-built villages into the mountains of Corinth, you’ll feel as though you’ve travelled back in time. If it weren’t for the odd visible electricity line and the cars parked at the edges of the villages, you would believe it.

Traditional tavernas with amazing views of the valleys below are surrounded by a constant lingering smell of wood fires, smoked meats, and hearty stews. The fact that these rustic little settlings of houses in the middle of nature exist so close to Athens might seem surprising, but they survive on tourism from the capital, and maintaining their traditional character is in everyone’s interest.

Opportunities for mountain biking , hiking and more abound, and the higher up the mountain you go, the smaller the villages get. What most of them have in abundance is good tavernas, shops selling locally produced spoon sweets, liqueurs, exceptional locally grown beans , and very nice hotels.

If you need a break from eating and watching the view, go see the Virgin of the Rock chape l, or drive to the marvelous Lake Doxa and the Saint George monastery above it. The view from here will bring tears to your eyes.

Good for : Hungry humans, people seeking to relax, last-minute planners.

Bad for : People who prefer inconvenient locations.

Read more  about   the mountains of Corinth here.

 About 140 km from Athens (a 1.5 hour drive ).

travel to greece in winter

9. Pilio – Mythical Landscapes

In Pilio (aka Pelion), nature offers a smorgasbord of atmospheric surroundings.

The peninsula is covered by densely wooded, almost jungle-like, mountain slopes. Driving through it, every now and again there’s a clearing where the sun breaks through, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by apple groves. Far below you the sea glistens, and all you hear is birdsong. If you stop to pick a juicy apple from a tree, you’ll likely get a flash of an image of a talking snake. Don’t let it stop you.

While the beaches below are also dramatically beautiful, the many mountain villages are what calls for a visit during winter.

The villages are rustic, yet picturesque and tourist friendly, with cobblestoned streets and large paved central squares . Gigantic, age old plane trees creates a natural fairytale like roofs over your head. Shops sell homemade jams and spoon sweets, and the tavernas serve surprisingly contemporary versions of traditional Greek food .

Good for : Explorers, nature lovers, families, foodies.

Bad for : Loathers of the color green.

Read more about Pilio here .

460 km from Athens (a 4.5 hour drive ). You can also travel to Volos by train, bus or plane, but you will need to rent a car there to really explore Pilio.

travel to greece in winter

10. The Mountains of Arcadia – A Real Utopia

Even in a land with as much natural beauty as Greece, the region of Arcadia has stood out since antiquity, with its name becoming a poet’s byword for paradise. It is little surprise. Today, while, this region in the central Peloponnese continues to be under the radar of many international travelers, Greek tourists have long been visiting the villages around the gorgeous and naturally rich mountain of Mainalos , and for good reason.

The most famous of the villages is the grand dame of Dimitsana : attractive, stone-built, with great food views and cafes at every turn. It is just one of a host of attractive mountain villages in an area packed with impressive historical sites to visit, both ancient and modern.

The nearby mountain of Mainalos is a protected natural park, through which the Lousios river runs through the gorge of the same name, forming rapids and waterfalls in places. Whitewater rafting trips are on offer throughout the colder months as are mountain biking trips, organized hikes and much more.

Fantastic local products to take home, incredible monasteries and more complete the almost utopian scene. And all of this just a 2.5 – 3 hour drive from Athens making it a perfect destination for a quick and easy getaway into the mountains.

Good for : Nature lovers, history buffs, weekenders, hikers, whitewater rafters, mountain bikers, fauns, satyrs and forest nymphs.

Bad For : Those who believe Arcadia isn’t a real place you can go to.

Read more about Arcadia here.

Getting There 

Dimitsana, located 203 kilometers from Athens , is roughly a 2½ hour drive from the city. The return trip costs roughly €60 for fuel and road tolls.

travel to greece in winter

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Sofia Adventures

The Most Enchanting Greek Islands to Visit in Winter

The Most Enchanting Greek Islands to Visit in Winter

Although the Greek islands are not the most usual destination you would think of when making up your mind about where to go for a winter vacation, they’re an option to consider if you’re not a fan of snow or extremely low temperatures.

More and more people are choosing to get rid of rigid winters by checking some of the most popular spots in the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek islands have, in general, perfectly mild weather, and many things you would never dream of doing in winter in other parts of the world.

Several are the activities you can enjoy on the Greek islands during winter. Besides, more low-cost European carriers offer flights to some of the bigger islands once or twice a week, and there are some ferry routes available to the destinations featured below.

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Where to Stay in Greece

Chania - Greece - Man in horse carriage by mosque at sunset

We are still working on guides to where to stay in many Greek cities. We currently have guides to:

  • Where to Stay in Athens
  • The Best Athens Hotels with Acropolis Views
  • Where to Stay in Rethymnon, Crete
  • Where to Stay in Lindos, Rhodes

If you’re looking for where to stay in a city we haven’t covered yet, we like to use Booking.com.  Make sure to book as early as possible. Greece is a popular beach destination, so rooms can sell-out earlier than expected.

What’s the Weather Like in Winter on the Greek Islands

Greece - Santorini - View of Santorini during the winter

Winters are not chilly, although you might encounter some very cold days. Overall, the average temperature on the islands ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C degrees, with some sunny days reaching even 18 °C on the southernmost island of all, Crete.

The weather is also fairly good in Rhodes and a good part of the Dodecanese, while the islands in the Ionian sea, such as Corfu and Zakynthos enjoy soft winters but are a bit rainier.

Things to Do in Winter on the Greek Islands

greece - crete - Windmill on the mountains of Lasithi plateau in Crete

The cold season roughly starts early in November, when the last big groups of tourists have completely left the islands. This weather extends well into March and sometimes even early April.

Although ferries reduce their schedules, it’s still possible to get to the islands by sea. Flights bound to bigger islands such as Crete and Corfu have daily routes to and from Athens.

When winter arrives at the Greek islands, it comes with an aura of quietness that the locals truly appreciate. During most of November and part of December, locals love to gather and enjoy the islands without the rush and craziness that tourism brings alone. It’s time for local festivals, music contests, and village celebrations related to traditional food, dances, and even local art.

Once the Christmas holidays are over, locals start getting ready for the upcoming season. Many shops and hotels close their doors to renovate, paint, and refurbish the structures while many restaurant owners and staff enjoy a well-deserved rest. The overall rhythm slows down, yet some people look busier than ever.

Many touristic shops and tour offices close for the season, however, local businesses still operate, sometimes with reduced hours. Prices are often very convenient and although the accommodation offer is not as ample, it’s quite common to find excellent hotel deals.

Popular activities among locals and visitors alike include sightseeing, meeting friends, and exploring. Many ancient sites and most museums have also reduced operating hours, but that comes with smaller fees as well.

When the sun shines on the Greek islands in winter, the weather is extremely pleasant, ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities. Enrolling for Greek lessons, working seasonally on an olive grove, or taking cooking classes can also represent great opportunities to check a different face of Greece during the winter.

Winter Ferries to the Islands

greece - Beautiful winter scenery with adorable young girls enjoying ferry ride staring at the deep blue aegean sea. Children having fun on family vacation in Greece. Kids sailing on a boat.

Not all connections remain active once October is over, some islands can be indeed very difficult to reach. Exactly for the same reason, island hopping is a kind of holiday more adequate for spring if you intend to skip the summer on the islands.

In winter, most ferries depart from the port of Piraeus although some of the islands don’t have more than one ferry per day or even per week.

What Islands in Greece are the Best for a Winter Vacation

Greece - Corfu - A street in Kerkyra, Greece on a rainy day and a yellow bicycle

Rainy Corfu.

There’s always something special about each of the hundreds of inhabited Greek islands, some of them are a great summer-only destination, while others allow visitors to explore and have fun no matter the climate.

The following islands are some of the most visited places in Greece in winter and the ones that you should consider when planning a winter holiday in Greece.

Argo-Saronic Islands

greece - hysea - Blurry image of traditional houses on a rainy day, Hydra island, Greece.

Hydra under the rai.

Located quite close to Athens, Hydra, Poros, and Aegina are three of the islands you can visit in winter without having to worry about long ferry rides. They are quite close to the Athenian coast and can be a great opportunity for a different kind of scape if you’re spending your winter holidays in Athens.

Hydra is a gem that you shouldn’t miss when considering a scape from Athens. It’s easy to see it in a very short time so you can visit only in a day if you’re looking for a quick taste of the traditional island life.

Another island in the Saronic Gulf worth a visit is Aegina , home to the best-preserved Greek Temple in the country. The Temple of Aphaia is a magnificent classic construction located in a breathtaking location above a pine forest and boasting stunning views not only of the island but also of the whole coast. Aegina is also known for its high-quality pistachios which you should never miss trying during a visit.

Poros , the tiniest of the three, is separated from the Peloponnese just by a narrow strait. It’s home to a pretty gorgeous old town, with a charming port where sailing ships and ferries coming from Athens dock daily.

One of the most popular tours that we recommend departs from Athens’ port of Piraeus and it’s a  cruise that visits the three of them in just a day. This three-island tour gives you a glimpse of what the Greek islands can be like also in winter since it can be booked all year round.

greece - winter - rhodes - Gate of St Antonios of old town in Rhodes Island

Another great Greek destination all year round, Rhodes is a unique gem full of things to do. The island, big enough and home to endless attractions, is not just a summer beach destination.

There are dozens of cultural activities you can do in Rhodes in winter . You can explore the magnificent city of Lindos or venture on a walking tour like this one inside the spectacular Palace of the Grand Masters as well as the rest of the old town.

If you are the explorer type, jump on a car or pick the bus to visit more archaeological sites, remote beaches where nobody goes in winter, and unique tavernas serving the best of the local food.

Greece - Corfu - Chlomos village in South Corfu Greece with dramatic sky and color.

Although some consider Corfu to be too rainy and close to the continent to be a good winter holiday spot on a Greek island, Corfu is a surprising destination for different reasons.

Starting from the fantastic dishes served and the glorious local wine, Corfu is also home to impressive monasteries over the sea, wonderful fortresses, a magnificent old town, and unique mountain villages that can be better enjoyed when the temperatures go down and the hordes of tourists go home.

The island is also home to many important museums which you can visit also during winter. If you plan to visit Corfu check also this fabulous itinerary ?

greece -crete - Winter in the old port of Chania, Crete, Greece

The biggest of the Greek islands has all it takes to become your favorite winter destination. Days on Crete can get cold in winter, but never as cold as in mainland Greece.

The island, the biggest of all of them, is home to four different unique cities you can visit. Heraklion , the capital, is a perfect place to stay if you are interested in exploring archaeological sites and museums.

For a romantic winter getaway, Rethymnon and Chania have beautiful old towns, a vibrant gastronomic scenario, and plenty of cultural events going on all year round. Finally, the smaller but no less interesting city of Agios Nikolaos, in East Crete , can be a great place to stay in winter in Crete because the area has a very reduced rainfall quantity also in winter.

Crete is also a fantastic place to practice winter sports, despite having mild weather, the island also has high mountains where snow is not rare at all.

Greece - Evia -Panoramic view Wonderful winter with lots of snow and snow drifts in a Greek village on the island of Evia, Greece

Evia is probably the less touristic island in Greece, but it’s precisely this the real reason why Evia has managed to remain unspoiled and authentic in every possible way.

Evia is easy to access from Athens through two bridges crossing the Gulf of Eubea. The island is another favorite destination among locals both for summer and winter vacations. When in Evia, other than visiting the capital, Halkida, try to take some time to discover the cities of Eretria one of the oldest cities in ancient times.

The ruins of Eretria are a great day trip when in Evia. The ruins are known for being the departure point of ships setting out to found new towns in southern Italy.

Another great thing to do in Evia is to visit a winery and enjoy a spa treatment all for the same price! We suggest this unique and relaxing escape to the island from Athens.

Greece - Naxos - Tour of Naxos, Greece

Probably one of the most popular destinations in Greece, Naxos is the perfect Cycladic island that combines majestic mountains, unique mountain villages, museums, archaeological sites, pristine beaches, and one-of-a-kind gastronomy… and all of these, all year round!

The island counts with a high number of permanent residents, this makes it a place where you will definitely find restaurants and hotels open all year round.

On the island, do not miss the mountain settlement of Halki, the marble village of Apeiranthos, and the archaeological sites in Sangri and Melanes.

Greece - Kalymnos -Melitsahas area as seen from a small hill.Located 7 km north west of Pothia, the capital of Kalymnos close to the famous village of Myrties.The photo was taken during winter period.

Fans of rock climbing put Kalymnos among one of the best destinations for that sport. Kalymnos, in the Dodecanese, is in fact a fantastic place to explore extreme sports and a serene pace of life. Although it can be hard to reach in the winter, the island of Kalymnos is well-worth the try.

Both aspiring climbers as well as expert ones love to spend the winters in Kalymnos where they can have spectacular mountain walls all to themselves but also enroll in climbing programs that are exclusively open in winter for fans of this extreme sport.

And if you’re not a fan of climbing? It doesn’t matter! Check one more interesting feature about Kalymnos! The island has a long sponge farming tradition it’s home to generations of sponge divers who, in the past, used to harvest and dive to capture a unique variety of sponges that were of utmost quality and exported all over the world.

Greece -Santorini - Sunset in Oia village at winter, Santorini

Another great Greek island to visit is Santorini, open to mass hordes of tourists all year long, but quieter in winter months. Visiting an empty Santorini can be an unforgettable experience to see the island under a different light.

Less overpopulated than in August or July, you’ll be able to experience the picturesque alleys, the museums, and even the lunar landscapes of some of its beaches at a completely different rhythm.

Make some time to explore the archaeological site of Akrotiri, the ruins of Ancient Thira, or the several wineries on the island. In fact, booking a wine-tasting tour of Santorini like this one can be an unforgettable journey through the most authentic tastes of Greece.

There are great things to do in Oia, Santorini in summer, but Oia (and the whole island) are an off-beat gem in winter!

What to Bring with You for a Greece Trip

Greece - Hydra - Stephanie leaving Hydra on an Island Cruise

Leaving Hydra by boat and heading to Aegina

We have several Greece packing lists to help you decide what to bring with you to  Greece ,  Rhodes , and  Crete  (with more on the way)! But here are five things you want to bring with you to any Greek beach vacation!

A Guidebook  – While travel blogs are great, we also definitely see the benefit of having a good paper guidebook in hand to refer to in your on-the-ground travel. We own and recommend the  Lonely Planet Greece  for a great guidebook on the ground. 

Sunscreen:  Yes, you will want sunscreen in Greece, no matter the time of year. While you can buy it here, I suggest you buy the good stuff from recognizable brands or better yet, buy it  online  in advance. I love this  solid Neutrogena sunscreen . Who doesn’t love a good solid for liquid swap? Great to keep in your bag without worrying about sunscreen explosions.

Motion sickness pills:  Great for ferry rides and bus rides especially on winding roads – I buy these   non-drowsy ones .  You can also try these  natural motion sickness bands  which use acupressure to reduce nausea – they actually work pretty well.

Hiking boots or sneakers with good grip : If you’re looking for waterfalls in Greece, you may have to do some hiking to get to them! Be sure to wear some well broken-in hiking boots or at the very least, some grippy sneakers.

A water bottle with a filter . While often, the tap water in Greece is drinkable, there are places where it isn’t. Always ask before drinking the water.

We generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any bad water that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend  the GRAYL water bottle  – it filters water perfectly (literally – 99.999% free of viruses, bacteria, etc.) in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc. – basically everything but the sea itself.

Travel safety items . We think Greece is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts , but neither Stephanie nor I use these.

Instead, we both carry the same  PacSafe anti-theft backpack . It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

More Greece Travel Resources

Greece - Athens - Parthenon temple over bright blue sky background, Acropolis hill, Athens Greecer with flowers

Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip.

First read our guide to  planning a trip to Greece , which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more.

Next, you’ll want to read our all-season  Greece packing list .

If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on  where to go in Greece , the best places for  island hopping in Greece , and when is the  best time to visit. 

If you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our  Athens Instagram guide , the  best Athens day trips , and our complete  Athens hotel guide.  We also have  Athens safety tips  so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned! 

We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our  Greece  and  Balkan  travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.

Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance

I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have  travel insurance  for traveling in Greece or anywhere in the world! This is especially true on a waterfall chasing and hiking trip, where you’ll be outdoors and in nature more than back home. 

Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of  World Nomads  for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption. 

While Greece is very safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe.

Pin This Unique Guide to the Best Islands to Visit in Greece in Winter!

travel to greece in winter

Gabi Ancarola is a translator and travel journalist living in Crete. She regularly writes about the island for several magazines about travel, gastronomy, and hospitality. She has published several travel guides about Greece and runs a local gastronomy tour in Chania. She loves cooking local dishes, taking photos, and driving on the mountain roads of Crete.

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10 Reasons You Should Visit Greece During Winter

Psiloritis mountains in Crete, Greece

Spending the summer in Greece is an excellent idea, but don’t be too quick to dismiss it for your winter break. You may be surprised to find out that temperatures can reach as high as 18C (64F) in November and December in the southern parts of the country. If that doesn’t convince you, there’s delicious seasonal food and drink, thermal lakes and even skiing to draw you to Greece during winter.

Sample the traditional winter food.

Take advantage of the opportunity to try new things. Forget the classic Greek salad and opt for the winter variants. As Greeks eat seasonally, you will get to discover winter recipes , such as stuffed lahanodolmades ( cabbage rolls), horta ( wild greens), or fasolada (bean soup). For dessert, you’re in luck as Christmas is the season of baking in this Mediterranean country. Kourabiedes (biscuits), diples (fried dough), and melomakarona (Christmas honey biscuits) are scrumptious sweets that will make you fall in love with winter in Greece.

R3NH7R Greek melomakarona Christmas biscuits

Enjoy the warm heat of rakomelo

Although winters in Greece tend to be mild, you’ll still want something to stay warm and rakomelo , an alcoholic drink consumed year-round but which is more commonly enjoyed in the colder months, is an ideal option . A blend of raki and honey, this herb-infused spirit is one of the best ways to warm up during cold nights. If raki is not your thing, there is also a version of this drink made with wine, called oinomelo .

2DAB8FY Rakomelo is an alcoholic drink made by combining honey and raki.

Give Greece’s other urban treasures a chance

Athens is hands-down a year-round destination. With its plethora of museums, ancient landmarks, bars and restaurants, the city is an easy pick. But why not give Greece’s second city a try? Thessaloniki is equally filled with archaeological sites, an excellent food scene and lively nightlife. Or check out the seaside town of Kavala , situated on the slopes of Mount Symvolo. Spread out around scenic Lake Pamvotida, Epirus’ capital Ioannina (also called Yannena) is another place worth visiting.

2A8KPPE Kavala old town with its Byzantine castle

Discover a Christmas-inspired theme park

Drama in northeastern Greece is home to one of the most famous Santa Claus villages in the country, Oneiroupoli. With a strong Christmas spirit, the theme park, covering more than 20,000sqm (215,000sqft) in the Municipal Gardens of Drama, offers a variety of activities for children and parents. Visitors can explore the small wooden houses, take a ride on small trains, enjoy free activities for children or taste Christmas beverages and dishes. But apart from Oneiroupoli, you can also visit the city of Drama and take a day trip to the nearby ski resort, Falakros.

2AGGN39 Oneiroupoli Christmas village

Visit landmarks without the crowds

Another advantage of visiting Greece in the winter is the chance to admire its ancient landmarks without the tourist throngs of summer. In winter, the mainland sites are practically deserted, allowing you to explore and experience the sites thoroughly. Picture this: a beautiful shot of the Parthenon with an atmospheric sky and sun rays piercing the clouds. And no tourists. Now, isn’t that marvellous?

Acropolis with the Parthenon in Athens, Greece

Swim in a thermal lake

If you’re a winter swimmer, Greece is a paradise. Indeed, swimming season never really ends in the Mediterranean nation. For the daredevils out there, the Athens Riviera has plenty of beaches to offer, but if you don’t fancy braving the cold, head to Lake Vouliagmeni. With the lowest temperature recorded in winter being 22C (72F), the warm seawater that feeds into the lake via underground caves offers the experience of a thermal spa.

people cheering on a mountain

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HWP2NT Lake Vouliagmeni, Greece

Experience a unique Greek festival

The Greek Christmas holidays last 12 days; from Christmas Eve until January 6th, when Greece celebrates the Epiphany. But in some areas, it doesn’t stop there. Take Kastoria, for example, where the local festival Ragoutsaria starts on the day of the Epiphany. This three-day festival, inspired by the Dionysian rituals, sees locals dressed up in costumes and dancing in the streets. The celebrations culminate on January 8th when crowds gather on Doltso Square to do battle in a sing-off. The day ends with parties and celebrations throughout the city.

Ski in the footstool of the ancient gods

If all you know about Greece is stunning beaches, sunny days, ancient landmarks and Greek islands, winter is an excellent opportunity to discover even more. The country is home to major ski and snowboard centres such as Arachova, or Kalavryta in the Peloponnese. However, if it’s the mountain of the gods that you’re looking for, choose Elatochori Ski Centre in the Pieria Mountains, on the northern slopes of Mount Olympus. Perched at an altitude of 1,450m (4,700ft), the centre has six ski trails stretching over 10km (6mi), complete with a track for snowboarding.

PN7X4D Ski centre on Mainalo mountain in Arcadia, Greece

Explore the homeland of Centaurs

Mythology has it that Mount Pelion was the home of Centaurs, the half-human, half-horse creatures who taught ancient Greek heroes the arts. Once you’ve visited the area, you may agree that there is something mythical about it. Home to 24 picturesque villages, Mount Pelion is a perfect combination of cascading waterfalls, vibrant greenery and spectacular nature. Stay in a traditional mansion to add a touch of authenticity to your trip and make sure to bring warm winter clothes along.

DTM59N A small waterfall on Mount Pelion, Greece

Enjoy the Greek islands in a different light

Come wintertime, the islands return to their true self. Locals settle back into their everyday lives and the moody skies add a touch of stunning drama to every scene. Unless you are into near-deserted locations, stick to the bigger islands such as Crete, Corfu , or Evia, where you can still enjoy a complete experience during the colder months.

DGH7AG Corfu during the winter months

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Travel Tips

These are the best times to visit Greece for the perfect weather!

By Ellen Mantle

Ellen is a Trip Manager for Contiki in Greece. She has been working in the area for 4 years and now calls Greece her second home.

Published on Jun 28, 2024 | 7 min

Table of Contents

Greece in spring: march to may, greece in summer: may to august, greece in autumn: september to november, greece in winter: november to february.

As a Trip Manager, I get asked when the best time to travel Greece is, all the time! And my honest answer is, Greece can and should be visited all year round. Let’s get into it so you can plan the best possible holiday for all your Greek wants and needs!

Highlights of Greece with Island Hopping

The cooler months of Spring, with a slight chance of rain, is an ideal time to visit Athens, Southern Greece and the Peloponnese. The many Ancient Archeological and Mythological sites are located on mainland Greece and should absolutely be on top of your list of things to see in Greece and with limited shaded areas at the sites, Spring is the time to go. Let’s be real though, there is never a bad time to learn more of Greece’s amazing history!

I had the absolute pleasure of being in Greece for Greek Easter this year, which is the most important religious holiday in the country. It was so beautiful seeing the nation celebrate together, and I would make the effort to be in the country for this celebration.

Greek Easter falls on different days each year, as they follow the Julian Calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar in which other Christian believers use. Sometimes they both fall on the same day! The preparation for Easter begins 40 days before, with Sarakosti fasting, where they cut back on their diets, some even eating a very basic, clean, vegan diet. If you have done any research on Greece, you should know that the food here is a core part of their culture, so after fasting for such a time, you can imagine the celebrations, when the fasting period is over!

Image source: Ellen Mantle

Must do activities in Spring:

  • Visit the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum: Visit the famous landmark and UNESCO site of Athens, the Parthenon temple, dedicated to the Goddess of War, and Patron Goddess of the city, Athena. Follow it up by visiting one of the most important museums in the world, housing findings from the Acropolis itself.
  • Ancient Sites of Delphi and Olympia: Visit the home of Apollo’s prophecy or run the track of the Ancient Olympians. Day trips depart from Athens regularly, or check out Contiki’s Spotlight on Greece trip, which visits both sites with local guides included and much more!
  • Check another UNESCO site off your list with Meteora: Meteora is a geographical phenomenon made up of huge rock pinnacles, protruding 600 metres from the ground. On top of these cliffs, are monasteries, used by Orthodox Christian hermit monks in the 9th and 10th centuries to physically reduce the space between them and the heavens. It is one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen!

10 best places to visit in Greece

Personally, I really enjoy the Cycladic Islands from mid-May to the start of June and mid-September, or what we call the “shoulder seasons”. The sun is shining, the crowds are not yet at their peak and most of the ferries are running equals the best time to visit Greece! Accommodation and transfer services are a little cheaper and locals are well rested from their winter, or are calming before their big break. 

Of course, the most popular time to visit the Greek Islands is July and August, when the weather is hot and consistent, all is open for business and popular clubs and bars welcome international acts to add to the well-known Mediterranean party lifestyle.

Must do activities in Summer:

  • Go on a Greek Island Hopping adventure: with 227 islands to choose from, it is the best way to enjoy the hotter months in Greece, with temperature dropping 10-15 degrees. Why not take the work out of it and jump on one of our Greek Island Hopping trips, sit back and let Contiki do all the nitty gritty for you. Stopping at Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and Ios, 3-4 of the Cycladic Islands, see the best the islands have to offer. 
  • Check out the Athens Riviera: Staying in Athens for a couple of days, and want a beach getaway? Take a short bus ride to some amazing beaches, along the Saronic Gulf. Only 40 minutes from the city centre, it’ll feel like you’re on an island escape. 
  • Visit Tinos for the Assumption of Mary: Another important date in the Greek Orthodox calendar is August 15th, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, or Dekapentaugoustos. It is believed that the Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary was found on the island of Tinos, making it a popular place of religious pilgrimage. Greeks from all over the country travel to Tinos to celebrate the day of Mary.  Similar to Easter, Greeks celebrate with a religious ceremony, followed by dancing, food, wine and festivities that last all night long.

Thessaloniki, and Northern Greece is the best to visit after mid August, through to October, with several festivals and occasions happening and a lovely average temperature of 16 degrees celsius. On the 28th of October, Greece celebrates “Oxi Day”, the Day of No, which commemorates Greece’s refusal to surrender to the Axi powers in World War 2.

Thessaloniki, like many other places in Greece, celebrates with military parades, and celebrations which fill up the streets of Thessaloniki with live music, traditional dancing and of course, food! It showcases Greece’s pride and patriotism at its best. 

The season for the Greek islands continues to extend each year, with larger, more popular islands, like Santorini and Crete , being more accessible, open and enjoyable through the month of October.

Greek Island Hopping

Must to activities in Autumn:

  • Pozar Thermal Baths: One of the top swimming activities to do in Greece’s colder months, the thermal baths are only a 1.5 hour drive from Thessaloniki. With 37 degree (celcius) water and comprising of 48 individual baths, 6 indoor pools, an outdoor pool hamam, a jacuzzi and a spa, the baths are believed to help with rheumatism, skin conditions, respiratory and circulatory problems.
  • Walk the cobblestone streets of Ano Poli: also known as “Upper Town”, Ano Poli is an old neighbourhood which overlooks the main city centre. During October, Ano Poli is covered with autumn leaves, creating a wonderful romantic atmosphere for people to enjoy.
  • International film festival: The International Film Festival of Thessaloniki takes place every Autumn and showcases the most creative independent films made by directors from all over the world. The festivals last for 10 days, showing more than 150 films to about 70 000 viewers.

Image source: Tania Mousinho / unsplash

Some people believe the best time to visit Greece is summer, and summer only. However winter is a time to experience a different side to the country. With rivers, mountains and other wonderful natural landscapes, it’s a haven for all adventure seekers. As the islands thrive in Summer, there are some towns in the north of Greece which shine brighter in winter. Kastoria, Ionnnina, Metsovo and Karpenisi  just to name a few!

Must do activities in Winter:

  • Shred up the slopes in Arachova: Nicknamed the Mykonos of Winter, Arachova is a little ski town, 2 and a half hours north-west of Athens. The Parnassos Ski centre, Greece’s biggest ski resort, offers excellent ski conditions for all snow sport lovers.
  • Hike the trails of Zagori: Welcome to hikers heaven. With hundreds of kilometers of well marked trails through forests, you will stumble across old stone bridges, inhabited monasteries, and cross over ridges, with breathtaking views. 
  • Visit Lake Pamvotida: It is an ideal destination for both summer and winter. With beautiful landscapes, surrounded by nature, and Byzantine fortresses,  it is a sight for sore eyes. In summer it is  perfect for water skiing, canoe and other water activities. 

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The World Was Here First

The Essential Guide to Visiting Athens in Winter

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

travel to greece in winter

It’s likely a rarity that you’ll think about Greece in the winter and Athens in winter in particular, but there are enormous upsides to visiting the capital Greek city in the winter months. The Greeks love to spend time with loved ones, eat warm comforting food, and take advantage of visiting ancient sites in the cooler months and less visited months. Read this article to get to know how to spend winter in Athens like a local and enjoy a prime getaway.

Table of Contents

Athens Weather in Winter

The weather in Athens tends to be quite mild throughout the winter, but definitely not the Mediterranean summer temperatures that a lot of people expect. 

When many travelers first experience Athens and Greece in general in the wintertime, they’re quite surprised by how cold it can be. The winter is short in Athens, but it is typically quite windy, wet, and sometimes even has a few days of snowfall.

The weather begins to cool down in November, with temperatures dropping in December, January, and February before beginning to warm back up in March. 

Temperatures in December usually average around 12°C (53°F) but feel a lot cooler in comparison to 12°C in more of a northern/central European country. Wind and rain begin to become more frequent but you’ll rarely see snow in December in Athens.

Athens in January is likely the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of 10°C (50°F). You’ll still experience a good amount of sunshine in January, but this is the month that you’ll see snow if it’s to happen in the given year. In the past few years, there has been a lot more snow than in previous years and the Acropolis under a blanket of snow is a special sight to see.

In February, the city of Athens has an average temperature of 12°C (53°F) but is also typically the part of the winter where the sun starts to shine stronger and there are fewer rainy/windy days. 

No matter the month you travel to Athens, you’ll want to bring layers on your trip and make sure to have a warmer jacket. Although the day can see a good amount of sun where maybe a sweater and hat will suffice when in Greece in winter, the night can be cold. So if you plan on exploring the city at night or going by the sea, warmer outerwear is almost a certain necessity. 

Athens in winter

Which Month to Visit Athens in Winter?

When beginning to plan an Athens winter itinerary you’ll probably wonder which month to visit Athens in winter. I suppose the best place to begin is that there are various benefits and drawbacks to visiting in each winter month.

Athens in December

Just like most capital cities in Europe, Athens is an exciting time to visit in December and especially in the lead-up to Christmas. Contrary to other Orthodox nations (such as Serbia or Georgia ), the Greek Orthodox church uses the Gregorian calendar so Christmas lands on the 25th of December, in line with the majority of Europe and elsewhere.

Of course, there are also lively New Year’s Eve celebrations that you can enjoy on the 31st of December, as well, if you prefer to ring in the new year the Greek way!

This is likely one of the major benefits of visiting Athens in December, in addition to the slightly cooler winter weather in Comparison to January or February.

The Greeks love anything “themed” and you’ll find lovely and festive decorations throughout the city as well as special Christmas and winter-themed cafes, which are a lot of fun (and tasty) to visit. It’s also always a joy to stroll through Plaka and the tiny Anafiotika neighborhood in central Athens to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

On the other hand, I’d say the only downside to visiting Athens in December is how busy it can get. While there aren’t as many tourists, the locals love to get out, shop for the holidays, and socialize with friends and family. 

Christmas in Athens

Athens in January 

After the hustle and bustle leading up to and during the holiday period, Athens in January really slows down. This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of visiting Athens in January. If you’d like to visit any of the major sites like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Syntagma Square or even Lycabettus Hill with small crowds, this is without a doubt the month to do it.

Locals have gone back to work and their daily routine, and tourists are still very minimal. If you’re looking to spend the New Year in the Greek capital, there are many bars and clubs hosting various events which can be a lot of fun, as well as a good way to experience life as a local.

On the downside, January is the coldest month of the year in Athens and it can be quite rainy and sometimes even snowy. If this isn’t a bother to you, January is a wonderful time to visit. 

Athens in February

Athens in February is another month of the year that has low tourists but also unpredictable weather. When considering the positives and drawbacks of visiting in February, not much is different from the month of January.

The only thing is that there will be more hours of sunshine towards the end of the month and possibly a few more tourists starting to trickle in as early spring approaches.

Exploring Athens in the colder months

Things to do in Athens in Winter

Athens in the summer may be the perfect time of year to visit if you’re focused on sunshine and time spent by the sea. But on the contrary, if you’re especially interested in visiting to explore Greek and Athenian culture, winter is the prime time. 

Explore the Ancient Sites & Museums

Athens is a city rich in deep history which leads to a wide array of sites for visitors to see when in Europe’s oldest capital. While this makes for a busy itinerary, it also makes for an extremely congested city when traveling in the warmer months.

If wandering around Athens and the Acropolis while feeling like you’ve fallen into Ancient Greece without crowds surrounding you while taking photos, then visiting in winter is a must. 

Another benefit to visiting Athens in the winter is the ticket costs for major sites. Monuments, museums and ancient archaeological sites in the city are split between seasons; summer and winter.

In the summer season, hours are longer and ticket costs are high. In the winter season, hours are reduced due to the fewer crowds visiting, and the best part, tickets for most sites are reduced in half.

This is a great way to explore everywhere in the city that you’ve longed to visit with fewer people around, and saving a good amount of money on attraction and sightseeing costs.

Some of the sites and museums in Athens that I recommend are:

  • The Acropolis Museum
  • Byzantine Museum
  • National Archaeological Museum
  • The Acropolis
  • The National Art Gallery and National Glyptotheque Museum 
  • Benaki Museum
  • The Museum of Cycladic Art
  • Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library

Acropolis museum

Savor Hearty Greek Tavern Cuisine & Drink 

One of the top things that Greece is known for worldwide is its inviting and flavorful food.  During the cooler months in Athens, one of the locals’ favorite pastimes is to go out to eat and enjoy long, tasty meals while passing time with those close to them.

Planning a trip to Athens in the summer is a great joy in its own right, but sometimes the heat is so intense that your only motivation will be to get into the air conditioning. In the winter months, you’ll find that hot, classic Greek dishes are even more enjoyable when you’re in good company and looking to escape the cool Athenian air.

Greeks also relish in a good drink and another way to enjoy the winter months in Athens is to check out one of the many bars and cafes. From wine bars, classic Greek liquor bars, cocktail bars, and more; there’s something for everyone. 

My personal favorite is “Rakomelo”. It’s a digestive spirit originating in Crete , consisting of “Raki”, a spirit, mixed with honey and spices such as cinnamon. It’s mainly consumed in the cooler months at a warm temperature, and is the perfect way to warm up on a winter day. 

For some of the best souvlaki and rakomelo in the city, head to the Kerameikos neighborhood to the Kerameio bar.

Sip some tasty rakomelo and order some souvlaki next door from Kalamakia O Elvis , and enjoy the cosy, neighborhood environment. I’m pretty sure that the combination of these three is a match made in heaven.

If you want to sample local cuisine with the help of a knowledgeable guide, check out this gourmet food tour or this street food tour to whet your appetite!

Rakomelo

Walk in Thissio 

Another benefit to the more mild winters is the ability to walk around the city center of Athens without feeling the urge to rush inside before you become uncomfortably cold. There are many walks in the city that offer interesting surroundings and beautiful views of the Greek national capital. 

If you’re looking for an atmospheric walk, I suggest heading to the Thissio neighborhood. Located west of the Monastiraki neighborhood and the Acropolis, Thissio is a lovely historic neighborhood in the city with the Acropolis on full show.

The neighborhood is full of neo-classic buildings, outdoor cafes with heaters, musicians, artisan stands, street art, cozy restaurants and cafes, and the perfect place to take a stroll with ancient views surrounding you.

Locals love coming to Thissio to walk their dogs, take in the city, breathe life, and catch up with good company.

Church of Agia Marina in Thissio

Coffee & Dessert (Christmas-themed Cafes)

So far you’re probably learning that there’s a theme here, Greeks love to eat good food, enjoy different types of drinks, and socialize. This leads to one of the next best things to do in Athens in winter; enjoy coffee and dessert. 

Coffee and Greek culture go hand in hand and also have a relationship tracing its roots back to the Ottoman Empire. So with such a deep history, Greece has been given a lot of time to really get creative.

You’ll find numerous spots throughout the city with extravagant desserts, all sorts of specialty coffees, and themed menus with whimsical decorations to the nines. If you’re visiting during the Christmas or holiday winter period and would love to experience these cafes, you’re in for a treat. My recommendations are:

Little Kook – Likely the most well-known themed cafe in Athens, Little Kook is located centrally in the Psiri neighborhood and likely has the most extravagant decor of any cafe/sweet shop in the city. There’s a neighboring gift shop as well where you can find unique little Christmas gifts and decorations if you fancy having a browse.

Cap Cap –  Cap Cap is another popular fairytale-themed cafe located in the Aigaleo neighborhood of Athens. It’s located a bit outside of the center, but is easily reached by metro and is a good neighborhood to explore to get a better idea of what life is like outside of the center.

The theme of Cap Cap changes about once a month depending on the season or holiday, and the specialty here is their extravagant desserts that are close to works of art.

Each dessert is thoughtfully designed to the theme, and you’ll also find fun drinks here such as butterbeer if you visit during the Harry Potter theme!

Bouzoukia 

If you’re feeling brave and searching for the quintessential Greek winter activity, therein lies the Bouzoukia.

Bouzoukia goes far back into Greek history due to the “Bouzouki”, the classic Greek instrument that the clubs are named after. 

These clubs are the heart and soul of Greek nightlife, and when the warmth heads in for the year and winter appears, Greeks put long beach days away for long nights at bouzoukia and nightclubs. This is something that you need to experience first-hand to fully understand.

Famous Greek musicians sing their classics to devoted fans, flowers are thrown on the stage, bottles of wine are drunk, and everyone is having a great time. Even if you’re not familiar with the musicians performing, the fun energy is enough to feel a part of the collective experience.

Keep in mind that these performances typically start around 11:00 PM and can last until 3-4 AM, so if you’re someone that can’t stay up late, Bouzoukia probably aren’t for you.

Outdoor performance with a bouzouki

Day Trip to Meteora or Ancient Delphi

When searching for things to do during winter in Athens, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many wonderful day trips from Athens in winter. Athens may be a condensed and concrete city, but go outside of the city to one of the many surrounding areas and you’ll be in an entirely different world when in Greece’s rugged nature. 

These are the day trips that I recommend when on a winter visit to Athens:

Meteora is an impressive, otherworldly rock formation in central Greece with 6 different Orthodox monasteries built upon its different peaks. A UNESCO Heritage Site since 1989, Meteora is easily one of the most incredible places to visit in Greece and in the world.

Just staring at these rocks evokes inspiration, magic, and even spiritual feelings to those that visit and should be on your Athens winter itinerary. 

If you’re interested in taking a day trip to Meteora from Athens you’ll have a few options for transport. Either rent a car (you can browse Rentalcars.com for deals) and head there independently (it’s about three and a half hours away, and you’ll want to make your way to the town of Kalambaka).

Or you can take part in a guided tour leaving from Athens such as this full-day tour , taking you to and around Meteora and then back to Athens later at night. If you prefer to explore sites independently and would like flexibility for your day, driving yourself would be best.

But, if you’re someone who likes guides for site exploration and would like to skip the driving, a tour such is best. As it’s not the closest destination, I’d recommend even staying a night in the area to get the most out of your stay.

Meteora in winter

Ancient Delphi

Ancient Delphi is one of the most popular places to visit in Greece, the most popular day trip option from Athens, and with good reason. Located on Mount Parnassus, Delphi is home to the 4th-century BCE Temple of Apollo, which once housed the famous oracle.

The site itself has remains of the sanctuaries of both Apollo and Athena Pronaia, as well as an in-depth museum offering plenty more information and artefacts. The location itself is stunning, surrounded by the rustic Greek countryside and nature.

Delphi is an incredibly popular spot to visit throughout the summer but due to its lack of cover from the sun, it can become incredibly warm. This makes winter the perfect time to visit the famous Greek UNESCO site.

To reach Delphi from Athens , you can either rent a car (it takes about 2 ½ hours from Athens), take a guided tour such as this full-day tour , or get a ride on a public bus. If you decide to take public transport, it will take longer, but you’ll save money in comparison to taking part in a tour.

The bus will take around 2 hours and tickets can be booked here (the bus books up quickly so I recommend reserving in advance).

Apollo Temple in Delphi

Where to Stay in Athens

Athens Ivy Suites – This mid-range hotel is an excellent choice while staying in Athens . Centrally located to all the Greek capital has to offer. They have a number of comfortable rooms available and there is also an on-site bar and a wonderful terrace boasting views over Athens. Click here to see their availability

The Modernist Athens – For those looking for a luxury escape in Athens, this 4-star hotel is an excellent choice. It has a fantastic location for exploring the city, a number of plush rooms available and a range of amenities to ensure your stay is a great one. Click here to see their availability

101 Adrianou Apartments – This aparthotel is an excellent choice if you’d like to have your own, self-catering space in Athens while still enjoying the benefits of staying in a hotel. There are a number of comfortable and fully-furnished different flats available that range in size, so you can find the right on to suit your needs. Click here to see their availability

City Circus Athens – If you’re visiting Athens in winter solo or on a tight budget in Greece , this hostel is a great choice for you. They have both private rooms and dorm beds available along with great shared spaces perfect for meeting other travelers. Click here to see their availability

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Athens hotels!

Mainly known as a summer destination around the world, Athens is a good competitor to other popular winter destinations in Europe. From warm comfort foods, beautiful views in many directions, and rich cultural exploration, you’ll quickly be glad that you took the plunge and booked a winter trip to the Ancient Greek city. 

Are you visiting Athens in Winter? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

travel to greece in winter

Related Posts:

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The Perfect 7 to 10 Days in Crete Itinerary

Ancient Theatre in Epidaurus

The Perfect 7 to 10 Day Greece Mainland Itinerary

Sunny Mykonos

The Perfect 7 to 10 Days in the Greek Islands Itinerary

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About Olivia Ellis

Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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Greece in Winter: 5 Reasons Why it’s the Best Time to Go

Greece / ancient ruins , history and culture /

Sun-kissed beaches, ancient ruins and picturesque towns make Greece a popular choice for holidaymakers, especially at the height of European summer. Conversely, travelling to Greece in winter may not be the automatic choice for most people, but it could be the best one that you make. Here’s what you can expect.

What is the weather in Greece in winter?

Winter temperatures in Greece can vary a lot. You’ll typically see highs of around 15 and lows of 6 degrees Celcius in Athens between December and February. Things get colder as you head further north, and warmer in the various islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas.

However, don’t be surprised if the weather changes suddenly. There can be Halcyon days between Christmas and Valentine’s where the mercury can exceed 20 degrees Celcius, or even snowfall that brings everything to a standstill. It snowed in Athens in 2022 and 2023 , and it thankfully lasted only a day.

Winter is also the wettest season in Greece, with December to February seeing an average of nine rainy days each. In reality, you may not be affected that much. Our 10-day stay in mid-January saw only one wet day, and the precipitation lasted until the afternoon rather than coming down in a short and heavy thunderstorm.

Monastiraki Square, Athens, Greece in winter

The disadvantages of visiting Greece in winter

For people who cannot handle cold weather, the choice is clear. But there’s at least one other consideration one must make for a Greek winter holiday.

Fewer choices

Can you visit Greek islands in winter? Let’s get this misconception out of the way: the popular Greek islands like Santorini no longer officially close in winter to tourism. However, they will be relatively less convenient to get to. Fewer ferries run from Athens and between the islands since it’s mostly locals who use the service. You can use sites like Ferryhopper to check the schedules.

To visit the Greek islands in winter, you’ll probably need to fly from the airport in Athens because most international airlines operate direct flights from the rest of Europe to the islands only during the peak season. There can be up to nine return flights a day to Santorini and 13 to Heraklion on Crete from the capital on Aegean, Sky Express and Volotea.

Once you’re there, many accommodations do not take bookings for the season and use it to carry out repairs. The same goes for dining establishments, especially those that cater for the dietary needs of foreigners. The recommendations of your friends who visited in the high season will not be reliable because that restaurant they went to may be closed. You’ll also find the outdoor pools drained, and that hostel rooftop with a view of the Parthenon may be locked.

Acropolis in Greece in winter

Why visit Greece in winter, then?

Still, is Greece worth visiting in winter when places are going to be closed? I have way more reasons why

In my opinion, this is the biggest upside of visiting Greece in the winter. There will be far fewer tourists everywhere since the Europeans are not on their summer holidays and there are next to no cruise ships disgorging their passengers onto the narrow streets of Fira.

If you wake up early enough, you might get the Parthenon and other sites all to yourself. Even later in the day, there’s not too long a wait to get in and a healthy amount of space to the next person.

Ancient Agora of Athens Greece in winter

Perhaps the one exception that we encountered was the ceremonial change of the guard at Syntagma Square. The best viewing spots were filled up an hour before the start. I couldn’t imagine what it’s like waiting in high season, which leads us to the next point.

Safer weather

Greek winter is probably no beach lover’s idea of “good weather”. There’s no denying, however, that (aside from the freak snowstorm), Greece in winter is a lot safer. Temperatures in summer can exceed 40 degrees in summer, and there’s next to no shade at the top of the Acropolis, in the Ancient Agora or on Lycabettus Hill. The authorities went as far as closing the Acropolis at midday during a heatwave in 2023. Heat stroke is a real risk with all that smooth marble reflecting the sun’s rays. Waiting shoulder-to-shoulder with other sweaty people in queues to board cable cars or climb slopes is no-one’s idea of fun.

Lower prices

If you like the idea of saving money, then you’re in for a treat. Many accommodations, even the popular ones, that stay open through the winter in Greece, will be much cheaper, with nightly rates of 100 euros or even less.

The admission fees for Athens’ major attractions (the Acropolis , the Ancient Agora , the Roman Agora , Hadrian’s Library , the Temple of Olympian Zeus , the Kerameikos , and Aristotle’s Lyceum) * and the National Museum of Archaeology are also halved from November to March. At the Acropolis Museum , the tickets go for 5 euros less.

* There is no winter discount on the combination ticket that includes all seven of these ancient sites, so you won’t get your money’s worth if you visit only a few of them on that ticket. You could choose to buy it anyway, and consider the leftover change a donation.

Acropolis museum interior Greece in winter activities

It’s more sustainable

Some people will contend that there’s no way overseas travel by air is sustainable, but hear me out. Visiting Greece in winter means you bring income in the low season, mitigating the “feast and famine” phenomenon where businesses are reliant on their summer takings. If more people do it to make it worthwhile to stay open in winter, more locals in the tourism industry can stay employed year-round. Let’s not forget you’re also not contributing to the strain on millennia-old sites and resources when you don’t go when everyone else is there.

Get to know the locals

As mentioned earlier, fewer places operate through winter, especially on the islands. However, locals still live there, and what does stay open serves their needs. That means you get to go to the little taverns they go to, and eat what they eat, and experience the renown Greek hospitality.

Interior of Ouzeri Pappas Greek Tavern in Meteora

Things to do in Greece in winter

It would be stupid to promote visiting Greece in winter without suggesting where to go and what to do, so here are my suggestions:

Where to go in Greece in winter

Practically every inhabited Greek city, island and town remains open through the winter, and though the opening hours are shorter, you can still do almost everything you can do in the summer. If you are looking for real winter activities, Arachova is the country’s most popular ski resort and one of the best winter destinations in Greece. It’s the one place that still snows regularly, but that snowfall is getting later and thinner by the year.

Arachova panorama in Greece

What to do in Greece in winter

Take your chance to go on long hikes without breaking a sweat, like the route between Fira and Oia on Santorini, or up to the monasteries of Meteora. When your arms and legs are covered to stay warm, you won’t have to choose between the dress code in the monasteries and your comfort (though ladies wearing jeans or tights would still need to don a long skirt or a sarong). The slower pace lets you take in views that you’d miss in a car or a bus.

Great Meteoron monastery

Greek Orthodox Christmas falls on the 25th of December like in most of the rest of the world and it’s just as special a season to be in the country. The churches and streets are decorated and bakeries bring out seasonal specialties like kourampiedes (buttery almond biscuits). There isn’t a long tradition of Christmas markets like in Germany but you can find a few like The Christmas Factory !

Winter also a good time to try warm and hearty Greek dishes like moussaka (baked eggplant mash with minced meat) and kokoretsi (spiced lamb offal sausage). There’s also a plethora of vegetarian and vegan dishes in the taverns, like giant beans and stuffed tomatoes and vine leaves. Wash it down with Greek ouzo or even a Greek craft beer .

And if you encounter one of those rainy days, there are many indoor museums where you (and the children) can while your time away. There’s the Acropolis Museum (absolutely essential pairing with a visit to the Acropolis itself), the National Archaeology Museum, the Byzantine and Christian Museum , the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology (great for engaging the young ones), just to name a few.

Conclusions about travelling to Greece in winter

As long as you don’t need to dip into an outdoor body of water, when your schedule permits, visiting Greece in winter has massive advantages. You reaps real savings while enjoying your holiday without the crowds and benefiting the local economy in a more sustainable way.

Real Greek Experiences

Real Greek Experiences

Greek Culture, Travel Information, Itineraries, Life in Greece

What To Pack For Greece – Packing Lists For Every Season

A complete “what to pack for Greece” guide, covering all four seasons. Based on our personal experience of living and traveling in Greece for several decades!

What to pack for Greece - Summerwear

Packing for a Greek vacation

What you need to pack for Greece will depend on the time of year you travel! Greece is a country with 4 seasons, rather than a tropical destination. It will also depend on where exactly in Greece you are going, and what you are planning to do.

Most people take a Greek vacation in summer. However, the numbers of travelers who visit in the shoulder season are on the rise. Plus, thousands of digital nomads choose Greece as their base.

In this article, I will break down the items you need to pack for Greece for each season. I have included sections on clothes, shoes, personal items, and anything extra you might need.

What to wear in Greece in summer

Just to introduce myself quickly! I am Vanessa from Athens in Greece, and my partner Dave is from the UK. We live in Athens and travel extensively around Greece for 3-4 months a year. This article is based on our own experiences.

Let’s start with a quick overview of the weather in Greece.

What is the weather like in Greece?

Greece has a so-called Mediterranean climate. This means that our summers are hot and dry, while our winters are relatively mild and wet.

I’ll say this again: Greek summers are HOT . We get the warmest weather from mid-June to mid-September, and temperatures usually peak in the summer months, July and August.

What to wear in Greece in June

Chania, Crete, in June

During the summer, daytime temperatures here in Athens can easily go over 35C / 95F. In recent years, we’ve seen highs of around 43C / 110F, and it was quite unbearable.

The islands and countryside tend to be a little cooler, but are still warm by most people’s standards.

Greek summers are not humid like in tropical countries, so you generally won’t have to worry about sudden thunderstorms. You will actually find that locals welcome summer rain, after long periods of drought.

During spring and autumn , the weather in Greece can be a little hit and miss. There may be warm days and cool nights, plus some rainy / windy days here and there.

Packing list for Greece - Winter clothes

Voidomatis River, North Greece, in February 

Finally, winter weather in Greece is generally considered mild by most people. That said, we do get lots of rain and snow. It CAN get quite chilly, especially up in North Greece, where temperatures can drop to -20C / -4F! 

Let’s start with what to wear in Greece during summer, which is the most popular time to visit.

What to pack for a summer trip in Greece and the Greek islands

When it comes to packing for Greece in summer, things are fairly straightforward. Hat, sunglasses, swimsuit, a few lightweight clothes, walking shoes, beach bag, and you’re done!

My best advice for packing is this phrase: pack light . Try to fit everything in a carry-on if you can.

What to pack for July in Greece - Summerwear

Ithaca in July

Also, think about what you are likely to do. As an example, if you are most interested in our gorgeous beaches and nature, you will need loose, light-colored clothes.

If your main aim is to go partying and clubbing every night, you will want to bring a selection of clothes to choose from. Still, it’s possible to pack light, especially if you plan your outfits in advance.

Let’s break things down.

Bring lightweight clothes for summer in Greece

Given that daytime is hot, your Greece packing list for summer should mostly include light clothing.

Men will be fine with some  t-shirts  and a few pairs of  shorts  or  lightweight pants / trousers .

What to pack for the Greek islands in June

Milos in June

Summer dresses ,  light tops , and  shorts  or  skirts are the best choice for ladies. You can always style them with some accessories and jewelry. 

As a rule, you can easily get by in casual clothes. If you enjoy visiting places off the beaten track, like we do, you won’t even need any proper evening outfits.

With that said, what to wear in Greece also depends on your type of vacation. If you are going to upscale restaurants, bars and clubs on islands like  Mykonos  or  Santorini , definitely bring a few  stylish clothes .

Evening dress for summer in Greece

A wedding in September

Smart trousers and a nice buttoned shirt will work for men. Ladies will be fine in short or maxi dresses, or tops and capri trousers, and some nice accessories.

Do I need any warm clothes for summer in Greece?

Even though our summers are warm, I suggest that you bring a couple of warmer clothes. A  long-sleeved jacket  and a pair of  long trousers  or  leggings for ladies may come in handy.

We have many air-conditioned spaces, including museums, airports and, most importantly, ferries.

I always need a jacket when we are travelling on the Greek ferries , as the air-conditioning can be ridiculously cold. Some people don’t seem to care, but it doesn’t hurt to bring one.

Do I need warm clothes for summer in Greece?

Tinos in September

The islands can be a bit breezy as well, so bring something to throw around your shoulders. And if you are going to any of our mountain villages, definitely bring a few warmer clothes.

Don’t forget your swimsuit

Swimsuits are the absolute beach essentials for Greece. If you are a beach enthusiast like me, you may end up wearing a swimsuit for most of your time.

When it comes to  women’s swimsuits , pretty much anything goes in Greece. Some ladies, especially from the US, have commented that our bikinis are on the skimpy side.

Swimwear for Greece

Summer in Greece

While they are not nearly as tiny as Brazilian bikinis, they tend to be smaller than swimsuits you can get in other European countries. So you might prefer to bring your favorite swimsuit from home, along with a nice beach dress or two, or a cover up skirt . 

Note:  If you are taking a  volcano and hot spring cruise in Santorini , avoid bringing your favorite white or light-colored bikini. Bring a darker or older swimsuit which you won’t mind getting stained.

Men’s swimwear comes in many shapes and forms, but you will never see any really long ones in Greece.  Speedos are still fairly popular, especially with the older generations, which some people find amusing. Just bring normal men’s swimming shorts , and you’ll be fine.

What to pack for September in Greece

The Cyclades in September

It’s also important to know that we have many beaches and coves where a swimsuit is optional. Usually (but not always), they are a bit out of the way.

What to wear in monasteries in Greece

Another thing to consider as you are packing is our  religious culture  and our thousands of churches and monasteries. 

When you visit any of them, please be respectful. Avoid short and skimpy clothes , and definitely do not try to enter in your bikini.

What to pack for April in Greece - Meteora

Meteora Monasteries in April

Visitors should be prepared in advance for any religious sites, such as the  Meteora Monasteries . While there are usually  wrap skirts  that you can borrow at the monasteries, you can’t always bank on it.

Women would need to wear a long skirt , or perhaps bring a wrap-around sarong that you can wrap around the clothes you are wearing already. Also, if you are wearing a tank top, please bring a shawl to cover up your shoulders.

Men should wear  trousers that cover the knee, or otherwise they might not be allowed to enter. I’ve seen this happen in one of the Meteora Monasteries.

Best shoes for summer in Greece for women

What shoes to pack for Greece depends on your personal preferences, activities, and style of travel. One thing is certain though – you will walk a fair amount when you visit Greece.

My favorite summer walking shoes for Greece since I first discovered them in 2007 are Teva sandals . They have pretty good cushioning and are great to wear for most uses.

Best summer shoes for Greece

If you prefer to wear closed shoes, lightweight trainers or summer running shoes are ideal. I was happy to have proper hiking shoes when we hiked to Kleftiko Bay in Milos Greece , but other than hiking I only wear my Tevas in summer.

These suggestions are based on walking an average of at least 12-15 kms on a sightseeing day. I’m sure other ladies will have different preferences – please share them in the comments!

Also, a pair of flip-flops will always be handy for the beach. These are easily available in Greece as well so you can get them here.

Can I wear high heels in Greece?

As mentioned earlier, most of Greece is full of cobbled streets, uneven pavements and tons of stairs. So, to put it simply, high heels are quite useless during your Greek holiday.

At the same time, it’s best to avoid flat sandals with very thin soles. As they offer no support, your feet will end up hurting on our cobblestone streets. I’m not sure if Ancient Greeks found Greek sandals comfortable, but in my experience they are not all that great!

Again, the best shoes are the ones that you are comfortable walking in. 

Instead of heels, you can consider bringing a pair of wedges, platform shoes, or something similar. Just make sure that they have a sturdy sole. Walking in Greece gets worse if you’ve had a cocktail or an ouzo   too many!

What to pack for the Greek islands in summer

Hidden Peloponnese beach in September

Best shoes for Greece for men

Let’s face it, men are usually less fussy when it comes to choosing shoes for a Greek trip, or for any trip.

Just bring your favourite pair of comfortable, season-appropriate walking shoes . Also, bring a pair of flip-flops or other shoes that you can wear on the beach.

What shoes to bring to Greece

I should point out here that many visitors swear by  water shoes . These are ideal for our pebbly beaches, as you won’t hurt your feet while trying to go into the sea. They will also protect you from any sharp stones or sea urchins.

Bring a hat and sunglasses

The first things you will need in Greece in summer are a hat and  sunglasses – and not just for your beach days.

A good pair of sunglasses is essential to protect your eyes from the strong sun reflecting on the white marbles in the archaeological sites, or our white sand beaches.

What to pack for summer in Greece

Kalamata, the Peloponnese in late September

If you have a favourite hat, bring it with you. Or you can easily get a hat everywhere in Greece for 10-20 euro.

Some people might prefer large straw hats or otherwise wide-brimmed hats . Just be mindful when the strong Meltemi winds  appear, as they can easily be blown off.

Tip: Don’t worry too much about whether wearing a hat will make you stand out as a tourist. It’s more important to avoid a potential sunstroke and your face going pink. Plus, you will notice that many Greeks wear hats too.  

How much to pack for two weeks in Greece in summer

How much to pack is really up to you and how you prefer to travel. Some people like to travel light and do some washing now and then, as clothes won’t take long to dry.

This is what we do. We find this a lot easier than having to lug around a large case full of dirty clothes. Plus, we’ve found that most hotels / rooms we are staying at will do a proper wash for us.

Bring a sarong to Greece

Other people prefer to pack a lot more than they are likely to need, just in case. This way, they will always have a choice of what to wear in Greece.

I understand that not everyone wants to wash clothes during their holidays. However, heavy luggage can be very impractical, especially if your hotel has lots of stairs or if you are changing hotels every few days.

All in all, it’s really best to pack light enough so that you are comfortable with your luggage, particularly on the islands. Then on the way back you can fill the empty space in your luggage with Greek souvenirs!

Two weeks in Greece with hand luggage

If you are visiting Greece in summer, you can easily get away with hand luggage like we do. That said, everyone is different, so we are offering options for any type of trip.

What to wear in Greece in June

Secret place in Laconia in June

Here are the clothes that we normally take with us for two weeks in Greece in summer , or longer. In fact, we often don’t use all of these clothes!

For context, our days tend to be a mix of sightseeing, relaxing on the beach, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and having lovely Greek meals. We also prefer quiet places over touristy destinations, and are not interested in wild nightlife. Well, not anymore 😀 

Women’s Greek packing list for two weeks

This is what my summer packing list for 2 weeks looks like:

  • 4-5 tank tops
  • 4-5 t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of rayon shorts
  • 2 short skirts
  • 1-2 long skirts
  • 4 evening dresses
  • 1 light jacket
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 1 fleece jacket (for the ferries)
  • At least one pair of leggings (for the ferries)
  • 2 pairs of my Teva sandals (more on shoes below)
  • 1 pair of flip-flops
  • 1 wide-brimmed hat 
  • 1 sarong (rarely used)

As we usually travel with our own car , I might bring a couple of extra clothes so that I don’t have to wash them too often. But they always fit in a carry on 🙂 

What to pack for a Greek vacation in August - Summerwear

Close to Kalamata, the Peloponnese, in September

My personal travel gear always includes my  mask ,  snorkel  and  fins . Ok, I know the fins sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but I love swimming and snorkeling in Greece. We may not have the most colorful fish on the planet, but the water is crystal clear!

Men’s packing list for two weeks in Greece

Dave is a really light traveler, especially on his  cycling tours of Greece . So he travels with this list of items, at the most:

  • 1 dressy shirt
  • 2 pairs of cargo shorts
  • 1 pair of jeans (rarely used)
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair all-purpose walking shoes
  • 1 pair flip-flops

As long as he washes his socks himself, I don’t mind how many pairs he brings!

What if I don’t want to wash clothes?

I get it – when on holiday, you really don’t want to have to do any chores. In this case, you need to calculate how many days you have, and allow for a couple of extra outfits.

What to wear on the Greek islands

A very windy spot in Ithaca in July

In this case, you should bring at least one t-shirt and pair of underwear per day, a few pairs of shorts or other lightweight clothing, plus a few evening outfits.

As you realize, this packing list could get quite long. This is why I strongly encourage you to wash some clothes now and then.

Remember that if you need a certain item, you can always buy it here. We have thousands of cool shops and boutiques all over the country, and you’ll have a nice souvenir!

Hiking clothes for September in Greece

Hiking to Cape Tainaron, South Peloponnese, in September

Here are some more ideas for  souvenirs from Greece .

Sarong vs beach towels

If you visit Greece in summer, you will need a  beach towel . If you don’t want to bring one from home, you can easily buy one here.

Don't forget your beach towel for Greece

Some visitors prefer  sarongs , while others bring  travel towels . I’ve found that neither of those work great with salty water, so I always prefer to have a proper towel for the beach.

So that’s it for summer! Just a few light clothes and a couple of warmer items, and you’ll be fine. How about the shoulder season though?

What to pack for Greece in the shoulder season

The shoulder season in Greece are the months of March, April, early May, late September, October and November. The weather can be hit and miss, and packing can get a little tricky.

What to wear in Greece in March – What to wear in Greece in October

People visiting Greece in the shoulder season usually pass by Athens. Here is what Athens weather looks like then.

In March, our highest temperatures can exceed 25C / 77F, but it can get as low as 6C / 43F, and even lower some years. October is slightly warmer, with the lowest temperatures dropping to around 10C / 50F.

What to pack for October in Greece

Athens in October

For these months, make sure you bring some warmer clothes that can be worn in layers. Some long-sleeved t-shirts and a cardigan or other light jacket are essential, and I would suggest bringing a heavier overcoat as well.

March and April are too cold for most people to swim comfortably. On the other hand, if you are visiting in October, definitely throw in your swimsuit. You might get some lovely, sunny days, and the sea is still warm after a long summer.

Related: Warmest Greek islands in October

November is generally colder and rainier, but there are still plenty of sunny days. Bring a mix of clothes that you can layer, including a warmer overcoat .

What to wear in Athens in November

Athens in November

In terms of shoes, I personally suggest comfortable trainers like Skechers or any other similar brand. I’ve heard that Hokas are great, but don’t own any myself.

Note that simple trainers aren’t so suitable for challenging hikes, as they’ll be destroyed in very little time.

Here’s the proof! To be honest, these are some of my very old Skechers that I wore during a hike in Iraklia as I knew they were close to the end of their life. I’m glad they survived until the end of the hike.

Damaged shoes after a long hike in Greece

What to wear in Greece in April or May

April and May are two of the best months to visit Greece. People who like outdoor activities, like hiking or cycling, will appreciate the mild temperatures and blooming nature.

While some people will be happy to swim, others will find it too cold – however, it doesn’t hurt to bring a swimsuit . That said, you will need a warmer jacket for most evenings.

If you are planning your trip to Greece during those months, check my article on Greek Easter .

What to pack for Greece in September

September is another great month to visit Greece. On most days, you’ll get nice sunny weather, and the sea is much warmer than in spring. So, definitely bring your swimsuit and beach gear, but make sure to pack a few warmer clothes for the evenings. 

What to pack for Greece in winter

Winters in Greece are fairly mild, compared to most other countries in Western Europe. Still, they are not exactly warm.

The coldest months in Athens are January and February, when we often get sub-zero temperatures and maybe snow.

What to wear in Athens in February

Athens, 16 February 2021!

If you are visiting Greece in winter, bring with you some warm clothes. Again, it’s best to bring  layers , starting with basic long-sleeved or thermal t-shirts, and then adding on to that.

In Athens, I normally wear a light thermal t-shirt, a cardigan , and an  overcoat  on top. Northern Greece can get a lot colder though.

What to pack for February in Athens

Athens in February

Unless you are going skiing or hiking, technical clothing isn’t really necessary. That said, if you own a warm, waterproof jacket , by all means bring it. Alternatively, a waterproof shell coat might come in handy.

What to pack for January in Greece

Athens in January

Finally, bring a  scarf or neck warmer  – you’ll find it useful for those chilly nights. And don’t leave your sunglasses behind, as you may get some incredibly sunny days.

Best shoes for Greece in winter

In terms of winter shoes, I’m all up for leather boots. However, I find that hiking footwear is a lot better for sightseeing around the ancient ruins. So I recommend waterproof, anti-slip hiking boots like  Merrells   or  Salomons .

Some of our pedestrianized areas can get very slippery in winter. Pay extra attention if you are going to our ancient sites , like the Acropolis, on a rainy day.

Winters in Greece can get pretty cold!

Close to Metsovo, Northern Greece in February

Even if you are not visiting the monuments, make sure that you bring comfortable shoes with thick soles and good cushioning,  that are suitable for long walks on our cobbled streets. Otherwise, your feet will hurt at the end of a long day.

Personal items to pack for Greece

So now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s check out what else you need to pack for Greece. These can roughly be divided into five categories – toiletries, medication, electronics, luggage, and other personal items.

What toiletries should I bring to Greece?

You can easily get most types of toiletries everywhere in Greece. This includes supermarkets, mini markets, cosmetics stores, pharmacies and many souvenir shops.

Any hotel room will typically offer some form of shower gel and shampoo . More upscale establishments will also offer other products such as body lotions and dental hygiene kits.

Sunscreen with UV protection is a necessary item for Greece. It is widely available all around the country, at any time of year. 

Can I buy sunscreen in Greece

It tends to be more expensive on the islands and touristy places, so you would be better off buying it in Athens. As an indication, a 50 SPF pharmaceutical brand would cost around 10-15 euro (250 ml bottle).

Mosquito spray is also easily available everywhere in Greece. Don’t worry though – unlike Asia and South America, mosquitoes in Greece are very rarely dangerous. For the most part, they are just a nuisance. Here’s how to avoid mosquitoes in Greece .

In terms of  makeup , it’s really up to you. But remember that our climate is very warm. If your makeup is designed for colder weather it might not keep very well. Many women will find that mascara and lipstick are more than enough.

Finally, if you are traveling from the US, washcloths are not a thing in Greece. In fact, I never knew they existed until I read about them in a travel forum. If it’s something that you need, please bring your own.

Can I bring medication to Greece?

Overall, Greece is fairly relaxed with  medication  laws. You can buy many pills over the counter, though antibiotics need a prescription nowadays.

Pharmacists are very knowledgeable overall, and they should be your first contact point if you develop any health issues. They will usually be able to provide you with some medication, though they might sometimes refer you to a health center.

Medication in Greece

You can safely bring with you over-the-counter medication such as common painkillers. If your medication doesn’t need a prescription but is uncommon, you might want to check if the substance is allowed in Greece.

As an example, codeine isn’t allowed here, unless accompanied by a prescription.

If you need to bring your  prescription medication  from home, just get a note from your doctor. It’s also best to keep it in its original packaging.

It’s very unlikely that you will be checked, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ve never, ever heard of someone whose medication was confiscated or even questioned at the airport.

If you are taking the ferries in Greece, you could consider bringing some sea-sickness pills . Besides the traditional Dramamine pills, you can consider getting ginger tablets , which won’t make you drowsy. Of course all of those are easily available in Greek pharmacies as well.

Finally, if you have any allergies to gluten, nuts etc, make sure you bring your  EpiPen ! Also, check out my article on ordering food in Greece , where I’ve included a ton of info if you are allergic to common allergens.

What electronics should I bring to Greece?

No one travels without electronics anymore. Most people will have at least their phone and perhaps a camera , while others may have several different gadgets. This choice is personal and it depends on what you are planning to do in Greece.

If your only camera is your smartphone , all you need to bring is your phone charger and maybe a converter. Consider bringing a couple of extra memory cards, especially if you are here for long.

Bring your electronics to Greece

If taking photos is one of your passions, you will probably want to bring your  camera  and  lenses . Make sure, however, that you can store them safely when you go on a sailing trip or the beach.

A  waterproof case  is often recommended for your electronics, though I’ve never found it necessary myself. However, I like using an underwater camera sometimes.

If you have many electronics, consider bringing a  power bank  / portable charger. The most compact ones will be good to charge your phone once or twice, and they are a good backup in between charges.

If you are coming from outside the EU, check if you need a travel adapter . If you haven’t got one, you can get one at the airports in Greece, or at bigger electronic stores. Try asking at your hotel too, as someone may have left one behind.

Finally, if you are planning to read a few books during your holiday, don’t forget your Kindle . With that said, do not dismiss paper books, which you can always exchange or leave behind. Plus, if they get wet, they will just dry up! Even better? They never run out of power!

What type of luggage should I bring to Greece?

This is the million-dollar question. Should I bring a backpack or a wheelie? Should I travel with a carry-on, or allow for a bigger-sized suitcase?

Again, there is no right or wrong answer. Just use the style and size of luggage that you feel most comfortable with. Remember, however, that carrying a heavy suitcase with wheels can be rather impractical.

The best luggage for Greece

That said, backpacks are not for everyone either. If you have back problems, of cannot carry a backpack for any other reason, it’s best to avoid them.

As for us, we generally prefer smaller-sized backpacks which are rarely over 8-9 kilos each. It’s just that we simply find it easier to travel with less. If we can do it, you can do it too!

To keep your clothes tidy and organized, you can use packing cubes . I’ve been using these lightweight containers for a couple of decades now and I find them super useful!

Daypack for Greece

And now, let’s have a look at your daypack or handbag .

Many articles advertise expensive  travel daypacks , with hidden compartments and anti-theft properties. While I’m sure many people find those useful, I use the same, no-name, modestly priced items everywhere, whether in Greece or abroad.

In my opinion, a cheap, light  backpack is great. This is where you can keep your water bottle, paper books, case for sunglasses, sunblock, and other items like toilet paper , band-aids etc. It can also double as a beach bag.

Daypack for Greece

In addition to the day pack, you might find that an anti-theft cross-body bag is useful. This is where you could keep a small amount of readily available cash, maybe a travel card, and your phone or camera.

But what I would definitely suggest, especially if you are visiting Athens, is to get a money belt or neck wallet , where you can keep your passport , credit cards and any larger amounts of cash . 

This is not to say that Athens is a particularly dangerous city in terms of petty theft. However, quite a few incidents have been reported in the last few years, especially in tourist areas and the  airport metro . 

Pickpockets are generally very skilled, so you may not realize that you’ve been robbed until much later. And, even if you have travel insurance, it’s much better to avoid getting robbed in the first place.

FAQs about packing for Greece

Here are a few more questions people ask when preparing for a Greek vacation:

What should I pack for 2 weeks in Greece?

Assuming you are visiting in summer, the ultimate Greece packing list should include a few t-shirts, shorts and skirts / dresses for the ladies, 5-6 pairs of underwear, a warmer jacket and a couple of pairs of shoes.

How much money do you need for 2 weeks in Greece?

Being budget travelers ourselves, we usually travel outside the peak season. Our budget has never been more than 50 euro per person per day, including all our accommodation, transportation, food and sightseeing costs. Most people should allow for more, especially if they are interested in any tours.

How much cash should I take to Greece?

These days, you can pay for almost everything by debit or credit card. However, I recommend that you take with you a couple of hundred euros. They can be useful for tips, taxis, and buying souvenirs from street vendors.

Can I use my debit card in Greece?

You should be able to use your debit card in Greece, but it’s best to check with your bank before your trip.

Can I use dollars in Greece?

Greece is a European country, and our currency is the Euro. Though some Greek people might accept dollars, they are not preferred, and you may be offered a very bad exchange rate if you insist on using them. Please have some euros with you.

Can I drink the tap water in Greece?

This depends on where you go. For example, you can drink tap water in Athens, but you can’t drink it in Santorini. If you want to avoid plastic waste, consider bringing a portable water filter. Have a look at this guide: Can you drink tap water in Greece?

Our final tips for your Greek holiday

Packing for a trip is one of my favorite activities, as it sets the mood for our upcoming travels. At the same time, many people find packing for a trip abroad quite stressful.

It’s understandable, as you never know what the weather will be like. But also, and perhaps most importantly, most people don’t want to stand out as tourists.

What to wear on the Greek islands in summer

After several years of frequent and long-term traveling, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

First  – in most countries, you  will  stand out as a tourist, no matter what you wear. It will either be your facial features, your height, the way you look / speak / walk, or something else. So, just wear something that is weather appropriate and you feel comfortable in.

If it makes you feel better, I’m always mistaken for a tourist in my own country. Most people are very puzzled when they hear me speak Greek fluently! It used to annoy me, but I find it very amusing these days. 

Second  – if you have forgotten to bring something, you can usually buy something to replace it with. Sure, a few things like your smartphone are irreplaceable. It’s unlikely, however, that forgetting to bring your bottle of new perfume will spoil your holiday.

Vanessa and Dave from Real Greek Experiences

And with this in mind – ladies, leave your  hair straighteners  and  hair driers  behind. Yes, Greece is one of the best places to let your hair down!

More Greece travel tips

I hope this extensive guide on what to pack for Greece was helpful! Plus, you’ve now seen our travel wardrobe. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Here are some more Greek travel guides:

  • Itnierary for Athens, Mykonos and Santorini
  • What to do in Santorini in 4 days
  • Best time to visit Greece
  • 30 best things to do in Athens
  • Is Greece expensive? Our budget for a month  
  • Tips for staying cool in Athens and Greece
  • Best things to do in Greece in January

Hiking to Kleftiko beach in Milos Greece

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What to pack for a Greek holiday

17 thoughts on “What To Pack For Greece – Packing Lists For Every Season”

Thanks! So much. I was looking for info on what to wear on april and was very happy to find your great article. I had to postpone my Greek vacation since december 2019 because of the Covid situation i live in Puerto Rico. I hope i can visit this year. We are not sure how the omicron thing will be on april 2022 but we are thinking on going that month or in july (but we know it will be more crowded and expensive). Thanks again for all your info on greek culture and travel.

Thank you, a really well detailed article especially on the footwear. This helps a lot with my choice of items to take.

Glad I could help! I’m currently in Rhodes and am SO glad I’ve got my Skechers… Enjoy your holiday!

Great article! Your recommendations and information on Greece are very helpful. My first European trip from the US. Thank you.

So glad to hear that! Feel free to get in touch if you need any further info!

What do you think about navy linen separates in late March early April in Nafplio/Crete/Athens? PLMKWYT

Hi, thanks for your question! It really depends on what sort of weather you are used to… Nafplio and the coastal areas of Crete can be nice and sunny during the day but very damp in the evenings, I would personally bring an overcoat or warmer jacket just in case.

Hello. Thank you for the valuable information. I wonder what is. The transportation like in Greece? Is it mostly public transportation? Uber? Or…? Thanks

Hi, which areas are you referring to? For example, there are multiple options in Athens, have a look: How to get around Athens . Generally speaking, there are ferries, long distance buses, taxis, transfers. Have a look at this article too with useful apps to download before your trip

Thank you, thank you! I am experiencing packing anxiety and your list is helpful. Arriving in Athens last week in May then week in Paros. I am a confessed over packer but have vowed to do only a carryon suitcase. I am old and have never owned a backpack! Look forward to experiencing all your beautiful country has to offer!!!

No need for a backpack – a suitcase is fine if this what you are used to! I am sure you will be fine, end May / early June is on of the best times to travel in Greece! Enjoy!!

Thank you Vanessa. I visited Milos in the early 1970’s. It was so quaint and beautiful and had very few foreigners visiting. My husband and I had a marvelous and restful stay. We are planning a trip to Portugal in March of 2024 and would like to add an extension to our trip in Greece specifically Milos. Our time frame in Portugal is March 11-19, 2024. Would you suggest we travel to Milos on our to or from Portugal? Any suggestions would be appreciated. We will be traveling from Phoenix Arizona. Thank you Gigi Lentz

Hello! I am jealous that you visited in the 70s! March in Milos is very, very quiet – and definitely not swimming weather. So it depends a lot on what you are after – if you want to relax, it would be good! For that time of year I would personally recommend Crete or Rhodes, as they are bigger islands and more restaurants etc will be open. We were in Santorini a few days ago and it was hard to find somewhere decent to eat 🙂 All in all, it’s best to visit Greece towards the end of March, after Portugal, better chances of good weather!

Hi Vanessa! We have a ‘girls’ trip to Greece in October ’23, 5 ladies for 5 weeks. It will be my first time back since 1976. One of the ladies has friends on Santorini, so we’re all set for accommodations, travel, some other island hopping, etc. We’re driving around the Peloponnese areas for the first 10 days, can’t wait! My question is just something simple – when I’ve traveled in Europe, I’ve usually found street vendors selling “Pashmina” (not real) long scarves at cheap prices. Does that still happen and are those available in Greece, so we don’t have to pack any from home? I love the ones I’ve gotten in Europe over the years. SO looking forward to seeing more of your wonderful country!! Thanks for any info!!

Hi – this sounds like a fab trip! You will definitely find pashminas in Santorini, Athens and most other places you are going to – you might find them at street vendors in some areas. Peloponnese is great, have a look at these guides that will help you plan your trip! Definitely visit Ancient Epidaurus , one of my favourite sites in Greece! Enjoy and feel free to send more questions!

Hi! My husband and I are traveling to Greece in February. We are thinking of traveling to Santorini, Andros and Tinos. I expect that it will be cold. Will restaurants be open? Do you have other suggestions for us?

Hi! I’m sending you an email!

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The Best Winter Road Trips in Greece

travel to greece in winter

Arachova Photo Credit: Melinda van den Brink

It is only 2 hours from Athens, it is picturesque and famous for its beautiful winter landscape. It is a great destination for both families and couples. If you are a fan of snow and sports, then it is worth taking a walk to the ski resort of Parnassos which is very close to the center of Arachova .

Pelion is beautiful in all seasons and every season there is special. If you choose this destination, you will surely see that it has many options and many places to explore. The ideal would be to choose to stay in Portaria or Makrinitsa and of course to visit the surrounding picturesque villages.

Astraka Village - Zagorochoria

Astraka Village Photo Credit: Spiros Vathis

Ioannina-Zagorochoria

One of the most in destinations for winter is undoubtedly Ioannina which with its lake, wonderful market, good food and exquisite landscape will make you want to stay. If this is your destination for this winter, do not forget to take a trip to Zagorochoria , Metsovo , and Tzoumerka . They are all wonderful and worth spending a little more time visiting.

Elati-Pertouli

Endless nature, firs, rivers, stone bridges with waterfalls, delicious food are some of what you will see in Elati and Pertouli . Do not forget to explore the rich landscape of the area.

Trikala Korinthias

It is at most 2 hours away from Athens and the endless walks you will take in nature will reward you. You can walk around Lake Dassiou, Lake Doxa , or Stymfalia, eat at nice, traditional taverns of the villages and enjoy Greek coffee at a traditional cafe.

meteora, greece

Meteora Photo Credit: ZarMcKoopees

The huge rocks are the ones that dominate in Meteora . Their view is awe-inspiring, as they are seemingly floating. Of course, you will take a walk in Kalambaka with its tourist center, while in Meteora it is worth walking and discovering the surprises that it hides.

The organized ski resort, the historic steep gorge of Vouraikos , the monastery of Agia Lavra , and the countless historical sites are some of what you will see in Kalavrita. The sights there are full of culture and tradition that is worth learning if you decide to be there.

Contact one of our expert travel designers who will create the best personalized winter road trip itinerary just for you! Therefore, connect with us and we will make sure that it will be a winter road trip to remember!

Feature Image by  Spiros Vathis

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These top planning tips can help you prep for a trip to Greece, from health and safety to local etiquette © EMS-FORSTER-PRODUCTIONS / Getty Images

Get out your bucket list; it’s time to cross off a major line item: Greece . 

The fabled land remains tops for culture , food, outdoor travel, art and, of course, beaches and islands . As part of the border-free Schengen Area, it’s also incredibly easy to visit for many travelers worldwide. From advance booking to local etiquette – and health and safety issues when you're there – here's everything you need to know to plan a memorable trip to Greece.

1. Choose your season wisely

Your experience in Greece will be wildly different depending on when you visit . Summer is tops for action, family fun, and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, but prices are at their highest and pre-booking is necessary for everything since it’s all so popular.

The shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) are a delight – prices are lower, and rooms and resources are more readily available. Winter offers a moody and budget-friendly retreat, great for walking, hiking and sedate travels where you will often be the only visitor around. Bear in mind that some businesses will shut down completely during the low season.

2. Prioritize your wishlist and make a plan

Do you want a grand tour, taking in the not-to-be-missed highlights all over Greece, or would you prefer to focus your time on exploring your favorite islands  or regions, like the Peloponnese ?

The best way to choose from the dizzying array of options on offer is to focus on what is important to you – relaxing on beautiful beaches, learning more about Greece's fascinating history and culture , museums and archaeology, off-the-beaten-track wildlife, or partying until dawn – and plan accordingly.

Mykonos Greece, woman on vacation at the Greek Island Mykonos, girl in dress at the white streets of little venice Mykonos Greece Europe

3. Find the perfect island or region for you

Greece merits multiple trips as every island offers something different , and each of its regions is equally dazzling – you're never going to see everything on your first visit, and you'll ruin your trip if you pressure yourself to do just that. Also, don’t be fooled that the biggies are the only islands worthy of your attention. Though Mykonos , Santorini and the major names have plenty to offer, lesser-known islands (there are hundreds!) like Amorgos or Kythira are also a delight. They've also got the added bonus of smaller crowds and lower prices if that's a key consideration for you.

4. Athens isn't the only gateway to Greece

In many cases, you will find it useful to transit in or out of Greece via Athens , as its airport has connections with numerous international destinations, and the city itself is a gem . However, there are other international airports around the Greek mainland (such as in Thessaloniki ) and on some major islands (such as Mykonos , Santorini  and  Corfu ).

If you need any internal flights to get to your destination of choice, it's worth checking the price of these individually. Due to government subsidies, it can work out significantly cheaper to book each part of your Greek itinerary separately from your international flights.

5. Book everything in advance during peak season

In peak season , prices are high, and demand for car hire, accommodations and ferry tickets is even higher – this is not the time for ad hoc bookings on the fly. Greece is an incredibly popular summer destination, and the best options get snapped up well in advance.

Two women sit on the beach chatting in front of their parked four-wheel drive vehicle

6. Roads in Greece are for confident drivers

No one who has traveled on Greece’s roads will be surprised to hear that the country’s road fatality rate is one of the highest in Europe. Overtaking is listed as the greatest cause of accidents. Heart-stopping moments aside, your own car is a great way to explore off the beaten track if you are confident in your driving and keep a few key points in mind.

  • The road network has improved enormously in recent years; many roads marked as dirt tracks on older maps have now been sealed, and a lot of the islands have very little traffic.
  • There are regular (if costly) car-ferry services to almost all islands.
  • Greece is not the best place to initiate yourself into motorcycling. If you're not confident on a motorbike, it may be best to park this option until you have more experience.
  • All the big multinational car-rental companies are represented in Athens, and most have branches in major towns and popular tourist destinations. The majority of islands have at least one outlet.

7. Greece is not very wheelchair-friendly beyond Athens

Access for travelers with disabilities has improved somewhat in recent years, but the majority of accessible sights, hotels and restaurants tend to be located in Athens. While improvements are on the horizon for beach access,  much of the rest of Greece remains inaccessible to wheelchairs, and the abundance of stones, marble, slippery cobbles and stepped alleys create frustrating barriers for those with mobility issues. People who have visual or hearing impairments are also rarely catered for.

Careful planning before you go can make a world of difference. There are specific resources online that provide links to local articles, resorts and tour groups catering to tourists with physical disabilities.

8. Pack the right kinds of clothing

Athenians are well-dressed, and the younger crowd is trendy, so keep your smart clothes for the urban catwalk of clubs and bars. Nevertheless, in Athens and other metropolises such as Rhodes , Thessaloniki and Iraklio , everyday attire such as shorts or jeans and casual tops are just fine.

Bars or fashionable restaurants require more effort – the scene is stylish rather than dressy. Think tops and trousers rather than T-shirts and cut-offs. In out-of-the-way places, you can wear casual clothing, and in summer, the heat will make you want to wear the least amount of fabric you can get away with – bring quick-drying tank tops and cool dresses.

Sturdy walking shoes are a must for the cobbled roads, and proper hiking boots are key if you're exploring the countryside on foot . It's respectful to cover up before entering churches.

9. Learn some basic Greek phrases

Greek is a tough language to learn thoroughly, but mastering a few basic greetings and niceties will make a world of difference in how Greek speakers receive you. In touristed areas, many people speak English, so rest assured that you can get by as long as you know some key phrases.

A group of people sit around a wooden table at a beachside restaurant

10. Carry cash and don't rely on cards or ATMs

As part of the EU, Greece uses the euro. In restaurants, a service charge is normally included in the bill, and while a tip is not expected (as it is in North America), it is always appreciated. Taxi drivers normally expect you to round up the fare, while bellhops who help you carry your luggage to your hotel room or stewards on ferries who take you to your cabin normally expect a small gratuity of between €1 and €3.

ATMs are found in every town large enough to support a bank and in almost all the tourist areas. Be aware that ATMs on the islands can lose their connection for a day or two at a time, making it impossible for anyone (locals included) to withdraw money. It’s useful to keep some backup cash just in case this happens during your visit.

Credit cards are now an accepted part of the commercial scene in Greece, although they’re often not accepted on many of the smaller islands or in small villages. Don't rely on your cards alone, and check in advance when dining or drinking if it's your only option.

11. Make sure you have good travel insurance

Although medical training is of a high standard in Greece, the public health service is underfunded. Hospitals can be overcrowded, and relatives are expected to bring in food for the patient – often a problem for solo travelers. Conditions and treatment are much better in private hospitals, which are expensive. All this means that a comprehensive travel insurance policy is essential.

There is at least one doctor on every island, and larger islands have hospitals. Pharmacies can dispense medicines that are available only on prescription in most European countries. If the situation isn't critical, it's often best to consult a pharmacist first for minor ailments.

Woman on Mount Lycabettus which offers stunning views of Athens

12. Stay hydrated and remember how powerful the sun can be

Tap water isn't safe to drink on many islands – if in doubt, ask. Keeping a supply of bottled water to hand is essential for hydration as well as safety; many tourists underestimate how hot it can get in Greece, and heatstroke and serious sunburn are common on beaches with little shade.

Break up your sun-drenched siestas with time in the shade getting hydrated, and pack plenty of high-factor sunscreen. Mosquitos are an irritant rather than a danger – packing insect repellant is recommended.

13. Pickpocketing and other petty crime is common in busy places

The major risks of theft in Greece are pickpockets in the large cities and theft of belongings when lounging on busy, popular beaches (leave passports behind in hotel safes). Never leave your belongings unattended, and don't leave your bags hanging from the back of your seat where you can't keep an eye on them. 

The tourist police work in cooperation with the regular Greek police. Each tourist police office has at least one member of staff who speaks English. If you need to report a theft or loss of passport, go to the tourist police first, and they will act as interpreters between you and the regular police.

Some unscrupulous taxi drivers will try to charge you extortionate rates from the airports to the city centers. Always make sure the meter is running or pre-negotiate and agree on the price before you get in.

This article was first published Mar 1, 2022 and updated Mar 6, 2024.

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The Best Time to Visit Greece, According to a Local

T hink of a Mediterranean vacation, and Greece is sure to make your list of must-visit destinations. Its blend of seaside escapes, history, culture and mouthwatering cuisine make it one of the best places to travel for all types of tourists. And let's not forget its islands! They're prime honeymoon hot spots, consistently serving up some of the most romantic getaways . I can fully appreciate the draw—I loved it so much that I moved here, after all. And I'll tell you this: It pays to know the best time to visit Greece before booking your trip.

Greek vacations are more popular than ever. In fact, a recent report from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, found that Greece was one of only six member countries to receive more flights in September 2023 than it did in September 2019. In other words, Greece is bouncing back to pre-COVID-19 levels. And that means you'll have to contend with other tourists if you take a trip here.

As a local who's lived in and written about this eclectic country for more than a decade, I know from experience that it's impossible to avoid tourists entirely. It's all about timing. Whether you want to beat the crowds, bask in the best weather imaginable or travel on the cheap , here's the best time to visit Greece for the ultimate European vacation.

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What is the best time of year to visit Greece?

It's hard to pinpoint a single best time to visit Greece, and that's because it all depends on your priorities and how you weigh crowdedness, cost and climate. To spend the least amount of money, you may need to visit when temps are on the cooler side. For peak sunbathing weather, you'll shell out more cash and contend with greater crowds.

If you want to avoid a Greece overrun by tourists, skip the summer months. In June, July and August, beaches are typically crowded, though it's possible to find hidden coves even during this peak season—especially if you take a small boat tour from or around some of the islands or the Athens coastline.

No matter when you land on Greek soil, you'll have to deal with some tourists. According to Bank of Greece data, 5.76 million international travelers visited the country in the first five months of 2023, proof of Greece's ever-growing popularity. Still, there are quieter times to explore the country, such as during the shoulder-season months of September and October, early November and late March through May. Whether you're discovering ancient ruins, exploring mainland destinations or bopping around little-known islands, you'll find fewer crowds, mild temps and cheaper-than-high-season prices.

For me, the best time to visit Greece is from September until the end of October. The weather on a lot of the southern islands, such as Rhodes and Crete, is still warm enough to swim, with average daytime temperatures of 75 and 73 degrees respectively. Plus, the crowds are gone, as children have headed back to school.

Springtime is also a great option, and I recommend timing your visit so you can experience Greek Orthodox Easter. It usually falls in April or May (in 2024, it occurs on May 5), and it's the most important holiday on the Greek calendar—more so than Christmas even. Expect to eat plenty of delicious lamb and join in neighborhood celebrations and street processions to the local church.

What time of year is the cheapest to visit Greece?

While a Greek getaway isn't necessarily cheap, there are ways to save money when traveling to the country. For starters, avoid the high-season summer months of June, July and August. The winter off-season sees prices drop considerably, and this tends to be the best time to find hotel deals. On Tripadvisor, for instance, the same Athens hotel costs about $52 more in April than in January—and though summer rates aren't available yet, it's safe to bet that the price will rise in June, July and August.

Traveling during the winter will serve you well when booking your flight too. The cheapest airfare from the United States tends to occur during the winter months. When I searched Expedia for flights for a two-week vacation, I found a round-trip ticket from Newark, New Jersey, to Athens in early December going for $473. A round-trip ticket from Newark to Athens in June comes in at $992.

When is the weather the best in Greece?

Best weather is subjective, depending on where you're traveling from and if you like your vacation to be hot. Without a doubt, the summer of 2023 set records. As the Guardian reported, the country had the hottest July in 50 years, with temperatures in Athens repeatedly exceeding 104 degrees. So if you're here for the Mediterranean island sunbathing, you'll need to account for these levels of heat (and maybe plan some indoor activities, just in case).

As a local, I think the best time to travel to Greece for great weather is September, when daytime temperatures are a balmy 82 degrees and sea temperatures 77 degrees, making swimming still possible. The fall months of October and early November average 64 to 72 degrees, so it's pleasant to sit outside at a cafe, sipping the staple drink of a Greek frappe (cold coffee milkshake).

December through February are the country's coldest months, with daytime temperatures averaging 54 to 57 degrees. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, winters can be mild—but they're also wet. You may even see snow on the mainland in the mountainous areas to the north and on some of the islands, such as Crete. It creates good skiing opportunities, and while they can't compete with some of the world's more famous ski resorts, there are a handful of ski resorts in the country that locals (and in-the-know tourists) use yearly.

When packing your suitcase , think layers for all seasons. And be prepared for high humidity, which makes it feel sticky in the summer and chilly in the winter.

What is the best time of year to go to Athens?

The best time to visit Greece if you're planning to stop in the capital city is during the fall or spring shoulder seasons. In April, May, September and October, daytime and nighttime temperatures aren't uncomfortably hot or too cold. The spring and fall months offer plenty of opportunity to wander the Athenian streets, discovering the small neighborhoods. Plus, the cooler weather makes climbing up to the Acropolis a much more pleasurable experience.

It's also worth mentioning that crowds in the shoulder season and off-season are considerably smaller, so lines to enter the Acropolis are shorter. In fact, the wait to view this ancient monument gets so long in the summer that Greece had to set a cap of 20,000 visitors daily to shorten lines during the dangerous heat. By visiting in the off-season, you won't be waiting in line in the sweltering heat, and there won't be a mad rush to buy a ticket before the cap is reached.

If you're looking for even more things to do in Greece , visit on Ohi Day. The national holiday occurs on Oct. 28 and commemorates the day in 1940 when Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected Mussolini's ultimatum to have free passage through Greece for his Italian troops. You'll find street parades all over the country on this holiday, but the one in central Athens is particularly impressive, with its added military parade and marching band.

What is the best time to visit Santorini and the other Greek islands?

Greece is famous for its islands, especially Santorini, with its blue-domed churches and sugar cube houses, so atypical for the Cycladic island chain it's located within, and Mykonos, with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, cobbled alleyways and hidden coves. They tend to attract visitors during the summer months, but that may not be the ideal time to vacation here.

If you're looking for a beach vacation away from the crowds, my advice would be to book a trip for September. It'll still be warm enough to swim and get a nice tan, but you won't have to deal with a ton of tourists.

Don't rule out wintertime for your trip to the Greek islands. Admittedly, much shuts down in the off season, but you'll get to experience the real Greece, have frequent sunny days and still find places to eat traditional Greek food, such as souvlaki (the locals need to eat too!). The lack of crowds allows you to roam the islands at your own pace.

Besides, temps aren't too bad even in the winter. Santorini's caldera entices with morning mists floating over its surface. And with average winter temperatures of 55 degrees, it's not too chilly.

There are several flights from mainland Greece to the islands that are cheaper during the spring and fall, but my favorite way to travel is by ferry. The lack of competition on ferry routes means this method of transportation isn't cheap at any time of the year, but Greek ferries resemble mini cruise ships and offer lovely cabins on longer routes. Make it a part of the whole experience: Take a weekend break in Athens followed by a journey by ferry to the islands. Note that ferries have a reduced schedule in the spring and fall months, with more connections in the summer.

How many days in Greece is enough?

Just as you would when planning a trip to destinations like London and Hawaii , start by considering where you'll be flying out of. The ideal number of days to spend in Greece depends on where you're traveling from. If you're flying from the United States, you probably want to spend longer in the country than if you're adding a stop in Greece after visiting nearby Italy.

Also consider how much of the country you want to see and the type of tourism you're interested in. Do you want to stick to a few days in Athens exploring the ancient sites, then head to an island for some fun in the sun? Do you want to just connect in Athens before flying immediately to a Greek island, or would you rather make the city your home base for the entire trip? Or are you interested in heading to the Greek countryside to experience traditional villages?

Most trips start and end in Athens, where you can experience the city in at least three full days. Visitors then tend to hop on a ferry or fly to a popular Greek island like Santorini or Mykonos, either basing themselves there or ferry-hopping between two or three others. You can reach mainland destinations by train or by hiring a car—factor in travel times between destinations when planning your vacation.

For a decent taster of the country, plan for a 10-day trip: Athens, plus one or two islands. Two weeks can provide a lovely combination of a city break and countryside getaways, plus swimming and sunbathing around the Greek coast.

One thing's for sure: Don't try to see it all in one trip. Greece is a country to savor and explore at leisure, with time to wander the charming cobbled streets and sip a frappe in a local cafe, watching local life unfold around you. Greece and its monuments have been around for centuries—they're not going anywhere.

Places to stay in Greece

Most vacations in Greece will commence in Athens, and there are many neighborhoods to choose from when booking a stay. While not a sprawling city by U.S. standards, it is one of the bigger European cities.

If you've never visited Athens before, a hotel located smack dab in the center, near the Acropolis and its accompanying museum, is a great choice. The upscale Herodion Hotel attracts visitors with its rooftop-bar views of the famous monument. Plus, it offers airport transfers.

Boutique hotels such as Asomaton (don't miss its relaxing plunge pool) and Altar Suites have cozy vibes in lovingly renovated centuries-old buildings. They're within walking distance of all Athens's main sites, as well as the contemporary old gasworks district of Gazi, where you'll find nightlife, tavernas and the industrial museum.

Heading to Santorini, base yourself at either Voreina Gallery Suites or Zannos Melathron Hotel . Both properties were renovated to their former splendor in the less-busy village of Pyrgos. You still get the magnificent Caldera sunset views without the crowds.

In Mykonos, Mykonos Town makes the best base if you don't mind being in the thick of it all. Hotels such as Semeli and Myconian Korali Relais & Chateaux have sleek Grecian lines and unfussy furnishings. Both have pools and airport transfers.

Book your visit

  • Eurostat : "Commercial flights in the summer still below 2019 level"
  • Enterprise Greece : "Greek tourism on track for record-setting year"
  • Schengen Visa News : "Greece to Introduce Caps on Daily Visitors to Acropolis"
  • The Guardian : "Heatwave set to be Greece's longest as extreme weather continues in Europe"
  • World Bank Group : "Climate Change Knowledge Portal–Climatology; Greece"
  • Greek National Tourism Organisation : "Athens"

The post The Best Time to Visit Greece, According to a Local appeared first on Reader's Digest .

The Best Time to Visit Greece, According to a Local

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This Gorgeous Region in Greece Is Where the Greeks Go on Vacation — With Magical Blue Water, Friendly Villages, and Local Food

Take the ultimate road trip unveiling Greece’s best kept secrets.

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Thessaloniki

Sithonia peninsula, mount athos.

Sucheta Rawal/Travel + Leisure

If you feel outpriced for a vacation in the Greek Islands, you're not entirely out of luck — there’s a lesser-known alternative to experiencing the same magical blue waters, friendly village vibe, and fresh Greek food.

Greek-Macedonia, the country's northern region, offers a broader variety of experiences for history buffs, beach lovers, and road-trippers, and still has an ancient history that compares to Athens, dramatic coastlines similar to the Greek Isles, some of the most extensive spans of green olive groves in the world, and the country’s most spiritual sites — all within a few miles from each other.

Northern Greece is also easier and more affordable to navigate independently than elsewhere in the country. Rent a car or hop on a public bus; stay at a beachfront bungalow, a village guesthouse, or camp at a beach or inside a forested national park.

With milder climates, fewer crowds, and great prices (including many free attractions), it is no surprise that this is where the Greeks themselves prefer to go for their summer breaks and long weekends.

Top 5 Can’t Miss

  • Grab a drink, listen to live music, enjoy the nightlife, and people-watch in the vibrant Ladadika district of Thessaloniki.
  • Visit King Phillip II’s gleaming royal tomb, complete with delicate artifacts, discovered in the lost city of Aigai after 2,000 years.
  • Take a day cruise to the Athos Peninsula and admire the remote architecture of 1,000-year-old monasteries. The autonomous region is considered the spiritual center of Orthodox Greeks and is not easily accessible to travelers.  
  • Book a dinner at Hierion Restaurant at Athena Pallas Resort. You will feel like a Byzantine emperor as you taste a medieval menu with Mt. Athos paired wines inside a space replicating a portico of a Byzantine monastery. 
  • Take a scenic drive from the mountain town of Litochoro through winding roads overlooking the sea and mountains into Mt. Olympus National Park.

Sucheta Rawal/Travel + Leisure

Start your trip in Thessaloniki — Greece’s second largest city and trade junction, with a major airport and seaport along the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea. Named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Thessaloniki is where some of Greece’s best chefs experiment with traditional flavors and modern cooking techniques. Locals, known as Hellenes, will tell you this is where the Greek coffee culture originated. A common sight is friends and families lingering for hours at al fresco coffee shops, discussing everything from world affairs to office gossip over cigarettes and bitter coffee.

Visitors often overlook the modern European economic hub, but it offers many historical sites, quality restaurants, bustling nightlife, and plenty of shopping at a fraction of the prices compared to other well-known parts of Greece. The city’s extensive makeup of working professionals and university students provides a nonstop street party atmosphere. It is common to find otherwise quiet neighborhood streets and abandoned buildings transformed into temporary live music venues (without the high-priced cover charges) thumping beats until after midnight. Stay away from the crowds at the artfully-decorated Elisabeth Boutique Hotel , located in a historic building.

It's easy to explore the 2,300-year-old city on foot, uncovering layers of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history, especially around Ano Poli, the upper town. Among 15 Byzantine UNESCO monuments in the area, you can visit the catacombs at the Baptistery of St. John the Baptist near the sixth-century Hagia Sophia, the seventh-century Church of Hagios Demetrios, Aristotelous Square, the Archaeological Museum, Byzantine Museum, and White Tower Museum. In the evening, walk along Aristotelous Square and the bustling waterfront, where it feels as though the entire city is out running, walking, watching street performances, and enjoying happy hours around the lively areas.

For dinner, there are hundreds of traditional Greek, international, and even vegan restaurants along the narrow alleys of Old Town and Ladadika districts. Try Frutti de Mare for seafood, Roots for vegan Mediterranean, and Oval Bistronomy for modern Greek with a view of the tower. 

Drive about 45 miles west from Thessaloniki to Vergina to see one of the best-preserved moments in archeological history. From the outside, the grassy mound may not look like much, but once you go underground, your eyes will adjust to the bright gold objects stored in a dark and cool museum.

Here, you can see a glorious, shiny tomb of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, who died in 336 BC. The Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai, constructed by the Kingdom of Macedon at Aigai, was only identified in 1977, and the museum was completed in 1997. Inside, you can see silver and bronze vessels, carved ivory, gold armor, delicate jewelry, weapons, shields, and the king’s bones in the Golden Larnax. Entry tickets are half-price between November and March.

To continue on the trail of Alexander the Great, you can also visit nearby Polycentric Museum of Aigai in the restored part of Macedon’s  Royal Palace , which, in its day, was three times bigger than the  Parthenon .

Head further south to the region of Pieria, a quaint weekend mountain escape outside the big city of Thessaloniki. Many Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbians, and Albanians drive to the area for active adventures, fresh air, and quiet retreats. Litochoro is a charming 14th-century traditional village at the foothills of the mythical Mount Olympus, offering stunning views of the sea and the mountains.

Stroll around the cobblestone streets, and you will find adorable Macedonian-style houses decorated with rose, olive, and fig trees, rustic stone chapels, and a dozen tourist shops selling local wine, honey, herbs, and traditional sweets. A romantic dinner for two, including a bottle of Greek wine at one of the nicer restaurants — Hairi Green and Μεζέ Μεζέ — costs less than $30. Join local residents at one of the many taverna and ouzo bars to watch a game and spark a conversation.

Take the scenic 30-minute route from Litochoro village to Olympus National Park, the first national park in Greece established in 1938. Windy roads will bring you through 11,000 acres of alpine vegetation, including oak, black pine, beech, and white pine, to a monastery in Mount Olympus's heart. Visit the open-air Monastery of St. Dionysios, destroyed during World War II, and take a short hike along the icy Enippeas River to the holy caves.

Mount Olympus is a sacred place for Greeks and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its diversity of flora and fauna. You can book a day-long guided hiking, mountain climbing, or canyoning tour, or for a more leisurely pace, take the trail from the village to see the spanning gorge and Enipeas waterfalls.

In the afternoon, drive a few minutes south of Litochoro to the beach town of Plaka, where you can take a relaxing swim in the glistening blue waters, have drinks and snacks at an old train tunnel transformed into Galleria Café, or take in panoramic views from the Castle of Platamon.

Head east of Thessaloniki toward three legs of the Halkidi peninsula. Each has a different vibe, focusing on hiking, beaches, and religion. The middle — and the largest peninsula in northern Greece — is Sithonia, which resembles the Greek Isles without the whitewash. Instead, you will find red terracotta rooftops, quiet hamlets, and expansive hills filled with Cyprus and olive trees. Greek vacationers prefer to sprawl around laidback villages dotted with 100 or so Blue Flag-recognized Aegean beaches boasting milder climates and pristine beaches. In Vourvourou, teenagers and families rent small self-piloted boats and move the day-long party to the crystal clear water.

As you circumvent the 26-mile-long panoramic drive along the coastline, stop at ancient settlements, olive-tasting rooms, and beachside cafes. Make time for the old village of Nikiti, Neos Marmaras, the ancient ruins of Toroni castle, and the village and beach of Agios Nikolaos. Climb to the top of Mount Itamos for a coffee and panoramic peninsula views. Sithonia is dotted with affordable Greek restaurants where you can drink tsipouro and eat fresh-caught seafood with your feet still in the sand.

Catering to all types of travelers, the Sithonia Peninsula offers accommodations for as low as $50 per night, ranging from campgrounds and apartments to beachfront villas and luxury resorts. To experience part of the Byzantine era, stay at the family-owned and operated Athena Pallas Resort , where the food and architecture are inspired by Mt. Athos monasteries. Taste different aspects of Greek culinary history at one of the onsite restaurants and get access to the famous Elia beach.

Mount Athos is the third peninsula of Halkidiki, also known as the Vatican of Greece. There are 12 fully autonomous 1,000-year-old Byzantine monasteries currently operational on the peninsula. While the holy mountain is visible from many spots in Greek Macedonia, it is not easily accessible. Male pilgrims must apply for limited permits to enter the sacred Mount Athos region, while women are not allowed to enter.

From the water, anyone can enjoy the pristine natural beauty and grandeur of the monasteries' architecture. Drive to the village of Ouranoupolis and embark on a three-hour cruise with Athos Sea Cruises to sail along the peninsula. From your boat, you can see many of the Monasteries of Mount Athos, with their large campus and remote locations nestled amidst the lush mountains.

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Greece: Warning issued to tourists as 'high temperatures will be more and more frequent'

FILE - A woman takes a selfie in front of Parthenon temple atop of the ancient Acropolis hill during a heat wave in Athens, Greece, Friday, July 21, 2023.

There has been a spate of tourist deaths in Greece as temperatures hit 43 degrees.

Tourists and visitors to Greece have been warned not to "take unnecessary risks" in the wake of the deaths of Europeans during the recent heatwave.

Three tourists were found dead in just one week, more went missing and today a 68-year-old German man was found unresponsive on the Greek island of Crete.

Greece has been hit by its earliest ever heatwave, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. The Greek Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis put this down to the climate crisis saying, "People need to understand that climate change is happening and that they need to be very careful".

Greece's geography and proximity to Africa are some of the factors that make it particularly vulnerable to the effects of human-caused climate change. Read more on why Greece is warming so fast .

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Don't 'underestimate' the impact of extreme heat

The government minister said, "We have had cases of foreign travellers who lost their lives in Greece. They lost their lives because they underestimated the phenomenon [of climate change]".

He went on to say holidaymakers need to be "very careful" while visiting the country as it grapples with soaring temperatures, and to not take "unnecessary risks".

While tourist attractions such as the Acropolis frequently close to protect visitors, the tourists who have died had mostly gone out walking at the height of the day's heat.

Read our guide to expert advice on hiking in hot weather .

  • Body of missing UK health guru Michael Mosley found on Greek island of Symi
  • Greece heatwave: What travellers need to know as archaeological sites shut and wildfires loom

Watch out for the signs of heat stroke

Confusion, difficulty in making decisions and an altered perception of risk are a few of the warning signs that you may be suffering from the effects of heat.

According to experts, getting into the shade or a cool place, drinking water and seeking medical help are the best options.

There are certain populations who are especially in danger during heatwaves . Babies, young children, people with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly should take particular care to stay indoors.

See more of Greece's heatwave in the video above.

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In Greece, Another Tourist Found Dead Amid Scorching Heat Wave

At least 10 foreign tourists have gone missing or been found dead this year in Greece after going for a hike, often in scorching temperatures.

A woman fanning another woman in front of the Parthenon at the ancient Acropolis.

By Niki Kitsantonis

Reporting from Athens

Greek authorities said on Monday that the body of a missing German man was recovered near a gorge on the island of Crete, the latest in a series of fatal incidents involving tourists undertaking demanding hikes in the scorching heat.

At least 10 tourists have gone missing or been found dead this year in similar circumstances, according to Greek authorities. The country has experienced back-to-back heat waves earlier than usual this year, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in many areas for several days in a row.

The 67-year-old man’s body was found in “rugged and inaccessible terrain” near the Tripiti Gorge in southwestern Crete, the fire service said in a statement. It was first spotted by a drone on Sunday evening. Early Monday, the fire service sent a helicopter, though it took responders several hours to reach the body.

As of Monday, the man’s name and cause of death had not been released.

According to Constantina Dimoglidou, a police spokeswoman, the man had contacted his wife early Sunday afternoon, saying he had run out of water and felt ill. He did not know his location, but the authorities traced his cellphone signal.

The Tripiti Gorge is a demanding trek generally undertaken by experienced hikers, Ms. Dimoglidou said.

Monday’s discovery was the most recent in a string of tourist deaths in the past month.

An 80-year-old Belgian man, a Dutch man and a Frenchwoman, both 70, all died while on separate hiking trips on the island of Crete.

Another Dutch hiker, 74, was found dead on the Greek island of Samos.

On June 9, the remains of a well-known British medical journalist and documentary maker named Michael Mosley were found on the island of Symi, following his disappearance during a walk in extreme heat.

At least three more tourists are still missing after going on hikes, including Albert Calibet, a 59-year-old dual national of the United States and France who has been missing on the Aegean island of Amorgos since June 11. Authorities are still looking for two Frenchwomen, aged 73 and 64, who disappeared on June 14 on the island of Sikinos.

Any hopes of rescuing the missing hikers after so many days are ebbing, Ms. Dimoglidou said, while the prospect of even locating their remains becomes increasingly uncertain with each passing day as decomposition accelerates in the intense heat.

Hikers going astray is not a new thing, but they don’t often turn up dead in ravines, she added. “This year, it seems that more people became disoriented in the intense heat,” the police spokeswoman said.

On days when extreme heat is forecast, Greek authorities generally issue warnings to older citizens and those with health issues to stay indoors. Those are guidelines, however, and there are typically no bans on hiking or on entrance to historic sites.

However, because of the extreme heat, Greek authorities closed many schools in Athens earlier this month and restricted visiting hours to several ancient sites, including the Acropolis.

The search for missing hikers is occurring as the Greek fire service also scrambles to douse wildfires in several parts of the country. Days of sweltering temperatures, dried-out brush and strong winds have created tinder box conditions, fueling fires on the Greek islands and the mainland.

Niki Kitsantonis is a freelance correspondent for The Times based in Athens. She has been writing about Greece for 20 years, including more than a decade of coverage for The Times. More about Niki Kitsantonis

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COMMENTS

  1. Winter In Greece Guide

    Greece In Winter FAQs What are the best places to visit in Greece during winter? Greece offers a great winter experience with mild weather and fewer tourists. Some of the best places to visit include larger islands like Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Santorini, as well as historical sites in the mainland such as Athens and Thessaloniki.

  2. Top 11 Winter Destinations In Greece in 2024

    Metsovo is one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece. It is a large traditional village on the Pindus mountain range (1,160 meters high) in Epirus. In Metsovo, you can have a great time admiring the traditional architecture of the village that dates back several centuries. There are many cafes and restaurants to spend your day in ...

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    One of the most well-known and beautiful winter destinations in Greece is Meteora. Credit: Stathis floros /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0 Greece is known for its beautiful summers, of course, but many choose to travel to the country during other seasons, even in winter and for good reason.

  4. GREECE OFF-SEASON : WHAT TO DO IN GREECE IN WINTER

    3.1 Crete in winter. 3.2 The Cyclades Islands in winter. 3.3 The Dodecanese Islands. 3.4 The Sporades Islands. 3.5 The Saronic Islands in Winter. 4 Thessaloniki in Winter. 5 Thessaly and Meteora in winter. 6 Central and Northern Greece in Winter. 7 The Peloponnese in Winter.

  5. Why visit Greece in winter

    Explore ancient Greece in winter Athens. Visit Athens in winter, because few tourists do. Average temperatures are about 12ºC, but you get frequent sunny days. So take advantage of less heat and low crowds to explore over 3000 years of history. See the Acropolis and discover the Parthenon.

  6. Winter in Greece

    The average temperature on the mainland of Greece during winter is 13C (55.4F), although in the north, in such cities as Thessaloniki, the temperature can drop to 5.5C (41.9F). In the mountains, the temperature is even lower but for those who enjoy skiing, you will find some excellent ski resorts.

  7. Top five things to do in Greece in winter

    The mention of Greece brings up images of white arcing beaches and sparkling aqua waters under sun-drenched skies. But this nation actually offers some of its best features outside the tourist-crazed summer season. Greece in winter is a land of glorious walks with open vistas, uncluttered ancient sites and bustling city life.

  8. Winter Destinations in Greece: The Most Amazing Places to Visit

    Zagorohoria. Nestled in the rugged Pindus Mountains of northwestern Greece, the Zagorohoria region is a winter paradise for adventurers and nature lovers alike. With a cluster of 46 traditional stone villages, the picturesque Zagorohoria offers a unique blend of alpine landscapes, rich folklore, and warm hospitality.

  9. Greece in Winter: Where to Go, What to Do, the Weather & More

    Weather in Greece in December, January, and February. Santorini Island at sunset in Greece. Average Temperatures in Athens, Greece: 57°F High • 45°F Low. The weather in Greece in the winter varies across the diverse landscape, reaching cold, snowy temperatures in the northern mountains and warm, inviting temperatures across a number of ...

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    Winter Trips to Greek Picture-Perfect Towns. Seasons may change yet the beauty of some destinations remains undiminished, only to be enhanced in winter! Kastoria, Ioannina, Metsovo and Karpenisi are four towns that serve to prove the above. In Kastoria, one of Macedonia's gem towns, you will enjoy going on a tour of the lake's serene ...

  11. 12 Best Places to Visit in Greece in the Winter

    For a serene escape, head to the National Garden, a lush oasis in the heart of the city, where the winter light casts a magical glow over the ancient statues and quiet walkways. Athens in winter unveils hidden delights, making the ancient landmarks of Greece's capital feel uniquely alive and intimate. 12. Kastoria.

  12. Best Time to Visit Greece: Month-by-Month Guide (2024)

    On the other hand, low season in Greece runs from November to March when the tourists are sparse and the weather is cooler. Winter in the Mediterranean means grey, cloudy days and the occasional drizzle. Some shops and hotels close for the low season, especially in beachy destinations, but not to fear, there's still plenty open for a fun trip in Greece.

  13. Winter in Greece: 7 Beautiful Destinations to Explore

    Metsovo. 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 ...

  14. Winter in Greece 2024: A Local's Guide

    However, winter in Greece provides the opportunity for a different travel experience entirely. Grab the chance to snuggle up in cozy log cabins nestled high in the mountains. Alternatively, you can experience major Greek cities without crowds. Athens in Winter Greece in winter. Athens is a perfect place to travel to in Greece during the winter ...

  15. The Top 10 Places to Visit in Greece in the Winter

    1. Zagori - Pure Mountain Magic. When it comes to Zagori, superlatives fail. Across 1000 sq km of densely forested, mountainous landscape punctuated by deep gorges, pristine rivers, waterfalls, caves and more, 46 stone-and-slate built villages (the Zagorohoria ) complete what can only be called a mountain paradise.

  16. Winter and Off-Season Travel in Greece

    Winter Programs in Greece from Fantasy Travel: Athena. This package is suitable for those who would like to get their feet wet with the Greek experience while avoiding the hot Greek weather and the crowded islands. It includes all the "must" experiences for the first timers and can also serve as a stopover. Begin with Athens, a modern cultural ...

  17. The Most Enchanting Greek Islands to Visit in Winter

    Kalymnos. Fans of rock climbing put Kalymnos among one of the best destinations for that sport. Kalymnos, in the Dodecanese, is in fact a fantastic place to explore extreme sports and a serene pace of life. Although it can be hard to reach in the winter, the island of Kalymnos is well-worth the try.

  18. 10 Reasons You Should Visit Greece During Winter

    Another advantage of visiting Greece in the winter is the chance to admire its ancient landmarks without the tourist throngs of summer. In winter, the mainland sites are practically deserted, allowing you to explore and experience the sites thoroughly. Picture this: a beautiful shot of the Parthenon with an atmospheric sky and sun rays piercing ...

  19. Best time to visit Greece

    Greece in Winter: November to February. Some people believe the best time to visit Greece is summer, and summer only. However winter is a time to experience a different side to the country. With rivers, mountains and other wonderful natural landscapes, it's a haven for all adventure seekers. As the islands thrive in Summer, there are some ...

  20. The Essential Guide to Visiting Athens in Winter

    These are the day trips that I recommend when on a winter visit to Athens: Meteora. Meteora is an impressive, otherworldly rock formation in central Greece with 6 different Orthodox monasteries built upon its different peaks. A UNESCO Heritage Site since 1989, Meteora is easily one of the most incredible places to visit in Greece and in the world.

  21. Greece in Winter: 5 Reasons Why it's the Best Time to Go

    Winter temperatures in Greece can vary a lot. You'll typically see highs of around 15 and lows of 6 degrees Celcius in Athens between December and February. Things get colder as you head further north, and warmer in the various islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas. However, don't be surprised if the weather changes suddenly.

  22. What To Pack For Greece

    What to pack for Greece in winter. Winters in Greece are fairly mild, compared to most other countries in Western Europe. Still, they are not exactly warm. The coldest months in Athens are January and February, when we often get sub-zero temperatures and maybe snow. Athens, 16 February 2021! If you are visiting Greece in winter, bring with you ...

  23. The Best Winter Road Trips in Greece

    Ioannina-Zagorochoria. One of the most in destinations for winter is undoubtedly Ioannina which with its lake, wonderful market, good food and exquisite landscape will make you want to stay. If this is your destination for this winter, do not forget to take a trip to Zagorochoria, Metsovo, and Tzoumerka.They are all wonderful and worth spending a little more time visiting.

  24. 13 things to know before going to Greece

    5. Book everything in advance during peak season. In peak season, prices are high, and demand for car hire, accommodations and ferry tickets is even higher - this is not the time for ad hoc bookings on the fly. Greece is an incredibly popular summer destination, and the best options get snapped up well in advance. 6.

  25. The Best Time to Visit Greece, According to a Local

    The post The Best Time to Visit Greece, According to a Local appeared first on Reader's Digest. ... avoid the high-season summer months of June, July and August. The winter off-season sees prices ...

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  28. Greece: Warning issued to tourists as 'high temperatures will be more

    Greece has been hit by its earliest ever heatwave, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees. The Greek Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis put this down to the climate crisis saying, "People need to ...

  29. In Greece, Another Tourist Found Dead Amid Scorching Heat Wave

    At least 10 foreign tourists have gone missing or been found dead this year in Greece after going for a hike, often in scorching temperatures. By Niki Kitsantonis Reporting from Athens Greek ...