10 Winter Destinations in Greece | Greece Beyond Summer

Greece is without a doubt the ultimate summer destination. With its mild climate and one of the longest coastlines in the world, millions of people visit the Hellenic Republic of Greece every year. But Greece is more than sunny beaches and clear blue waters. Here are Greece’s top winter destinations.

10 Top Greek Destinations for the Winter

  1. Mount Olympus
  2. Arachova
  3. Northern Pelion
  4. Meteora
  5. Zagori
  6. Trikala of Corinthia
  7. Xanthi
  8. Mounts of Attica
  9. Athens
  10. Thessaloniki

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#10 Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the second biggest city in Greece and one of the most beautiful ones as well. Situated in the Greek region of Macedonia in northern Greece, the port city of Thessaloniki has been a cosmopolitan city for many centuries. Known for its unique architecture, relaxed lifestyle, and rich history, Thessaloniki attracts many visitors every year. The city is also one of the places that see some snow from time to time during the winter, with many Greeks visiting it for this exact reason!

Another reason to visit Thessaloniki is the fact that is considered the food capital of Greece. Do you like sweet treats? Try the traditional sweet-savory bougatsa pie with lots of cinnamon and you will instantly fall in love with the city. Do you prefer fine dining? You will find plenty of restaurants to choose from. Since the Greek summer can be quite hot, hence reducing people’s appetite, make sure to visit Thessaloniki in the winter.

# 9 Athens

The capital of Greece might be visited all year round, however, it is recommended to visit it during the winter. Just ask a tourist who did outdoor sightseeing in Athens in July. Athenian summers are always very hot, with the temperature reaching often 40 degrees Celsius during the day. Therefore, coming during the winter is more enjoyable.

The city of Athens is always sunny, and the temperature can reach 20 degrees Celsius even in December. Pack your lightest coat and a few thin sweaters (or your shorts if you are from Scandinavia) and climb up the Acropolis of Athens and the Filopappou hill. Walk around the ancient Agora and National Gardens and explore the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos. Visit the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, and Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center. Go thrift shopping in the second-hand markets of Monastiraki and Omonoia and order a nice cocktail in the bars around Square Klafthmonos.In the winter, there are also several theatrical plays. If you understand Greek at a basic level, watching a play in the birthplace of drama is a lifetime experience.

#8 Mounts of Attica

Athens is situated in Attica, a region with rich history. Attica is visited throughout the year by nature and hiking lovers because of its mountainous landscape. Try exploring Mount Hymettus, Penteli, and Parnitha. These mountains were considered “magical” since ancient times and there are often visited by paranormal investigators. A great example would be the “haunted” cave of Mount Penteli. If you love skiing, you can also visit Mount Parnassos ski center!

#7 Xanthi

Due to its geographic location, Xanthi is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Greece. Situated in the northern region of Thrace, Xanthi welcomes many visitors during the winter. The city is known for its unique architecture. Byzantine churches, next to Ottoman-era mosques, and neoclassical buildings from the 19th century. Every winter, the city celebrates one of Greece’s most popular events: the carnival of Xanthi. It is recommended to visit the folklore museum, the old town, and the nearby waterfalls.

#6 Trikala of Corinthia

In the North Peloponnese, Greece holds one of its greatest secrets: Trikala. The picturesque town is known for its beautiful landscape, traditional homes made out of stone, and numerous winter traditions. Many families visit Trikala during Christmas to see the “Mill of the Elves” – the most beautiful Christmas themed park in Greece (which is completely free of charge). Not only that, but Trikala is one of the few smart cities in the world! It has automated citizens service center, mobile check apps, wifi for everyone, smart lighting system, smart parking system, smart waste management, and many more advanced municipal services. Trikala was also the first city to use driverless buses!

#5 Zagori

Zagori is a region in the Pindus mountains in the Epirus region of Greece. The area is known for its magnificent landscapes that are very rare in southern Europe. Rare animal species such as the brown bear and the wolf reside there. Greeks visit the area during the winter months to hike or explore the 46 traditional picturesque villages, known as the “Zagorochoria” (the villages of Zagori). Zagori has two national parks, traditional arched stone bridges, crystal-clear waters, and numerous Byzantine churches. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Greece.

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#4 Meteora

If you love climbing, you might already know Meteora. It is a rock formation in central Greece, near the town of Kalabaka. The area is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is visited by people from around the world who are intrigued by its unique landscape. On top of some of the hills, there are Christian Orthodox monasteries that were built there during Byzantine times. Many climbers attempt to climb on top of the hills and countless film companies have asked for permission to film there. Meteora is one of the magnificent places to visit in Greece during the winter.

#3 Northern Pelion

Although South Pelion is a secret summer paradise, Northern Pelion – a mountain range in central Greece, is Greece’s winter hidden gem. Do you love skiing and winter sports? You can visit the ski resort of Chania. Do you love hiking? You can explore the cobblestone trails connecting Pelion’s traditional villages. Pelion is one of the few places where you can experience heavy snowfall in Greece.

#2 Arachova

The most well-known ski resort in Greece is the one of Arachova. It is situated next to one of the most picturesque villages of the entire country, Arachova. Located in the region of Boeotia, not very far from Attica, it gathers many visitors from Athens. The village is known for its woodcut creations, dark red wine, traditional carpets, and chylopites – a type of pasta that dates back to Byzantine times.

#1 Olympus

It was believed to be the home of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. The kingdom of Zeus and Hera. A magnificent mountain that reaches the heavens. How could it come second or third on this list? Mount Olympus is one of the most popular hiking and climbing destinations in Greece. It is also a ski mountaineering destination for avid skiers! On Mount Olympus you can find several beautiful villages, including some ghost villages such as Morna. The village was abandoned for unknown reasons and many urban legends have spurred over the years. The village was built on the “dark” side of Olympus, where sunlight is limited. Since ancient times, Greeks avoided this part of the mountain, since it was visited by chthonic deities, and not by the gods and goddesses who resided at the top.

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Four Things to Avoid in Greece | Greece Travel Advice

Some time ago I posted a video with do’s and dont’s in Athens, Greece. But I realized that there are other things that I did not mention and that do not apply only in Athens. So today I will discuss some things to avoid when traveling or moving to Greece. Before we get started, make sure to subscribe and stay till the end because the last two things I will mention are literally lifesaving.

Things to Avoid in Greece:

  1. Splitting the Bill
  2. Not Tipping
  3. Dress Appropriately When Sightseeing
  4. Showering When the Water Heater is On

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When Eating and Drinking in Greece, Avoid Splitting the Bill

You are eating out with friends in a restaurant in Greece and it is time to pay the bill. Although a lot of bars and restaurants nowadays offer the option of having each person pay individually, splitting the bill is considered bad etiquette and it is generally frowned upon. In Greece, restaurants are responsible for creating a bill for every single table and not for every single person who is eating there. Then, it is the responsibility of the people who sit on the table to find a way to pay for everything.

That is not only because it is way faster for the waiters and waitresses who need to attend other tables, but also because, in Greece, it is common to order food as a group and not as an individual. For example, Greeks usually order a bunch of different dishes that they agree upon and each person gets an empty plate to fill it up with anything they like. Just like a family would do at home.

It is important to remember that Greece is considered much less individualistic and much more collectivistic than countries such the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, without that meaning that people have less individual rights or anything like this. It is more about how well people integrate into groups and how easy it is to take decisions as a collective.

Tipping Might Be Optional in Greece But It Is Also Expected

Tipping in Greece is not mandatory, as it is in the US, and you definitely don’t have to do any calculations to make sure that you tipped an acceptable amount. However, unless the service was terrible, you are expected to leave a tip on the table that you deem appropriate for the service. That applies mostly in cafes, bars, and restaurants, rather than hair salons or other businesses that offer some type of service. Tipping taxi drivers or employees in self-service restaurants is less common. However, when ordering food, tipping the delivery man or woman is recommended.

There is no specified percentage of the bill that should be offered as a tip. Most people would agree that one euro for two cups of coffee and five euros for a 25-euro bill at a restaurant are acceptable. When the amount you have to pay is too small, it is preferred to round things down: giving 2 euros when the bill says 1,65. However, leaving 1-2  cents as a tip is worse than not leaving a tip at all.

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Dress Appropriately When Sightseeing

Most museums and archaeological sites around the world have dress codes or at least a few rules regarding what is not allowed to wear. The same applies in Greece. As in most European countries, the dress code in Greek museums is very relaxed – you don’t have to dress up formally or cover your entire body, but you might be asked to cover up if you enter without a shirt or with a crop top.

What most visitors do not know is that there are stricter rules when visiting archaeological sites. For example, the Herodion Theater of Athens does not allow the entrance to anyone wearing hilled shoes, since they can ruin the marble auditorium. Furthermore, if you are visiting historical churches and monasteries, you might be asked to cover your legs, whether you are a man or a woman.

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Avoid Showering When the Water Heater (Boiler) is On

Houses and apartment buildings in Greece have two different water heaters: one powered with solar energy and an electric one. The second is used only on the rare occasion that there is no sunlight for over 24 hours. Also, some old houses do not have a solar powered water heater installed.

If you have to turn on an electric water heater when travelling in Greece, note that you shouldn’t let it run for hours. It is extremely costly and the chances of starting a fire due to an electrical short circuit are high. But the most important part is to always turn it off when someone is showering. Many water heaters are not properly insulated and showering with the water heater on can lead to electrocution.

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