5 reasons to visit Greece in winter

Vathia village Mani
Vathia village Mani

Greece is considered one of the top summer destinations worldwide. What is not widely known, is that Greece is a great winter destination as well, with many sites worth visiting and many activities worth doing. Here are some reasons why you should visit Greece in winter.


Why you should visit Greece in Winter:

Greece in winter is cheaper

If you are traveling to Greece during winter you will see that everything is cheaper and especially in popular summer destinations. There are a lot of Greek islands that you can still visit in winter and although some hotels and restaurants do close,  there are always some that are still open with very low rates compared to summer. Also, the restaurants that stay open are the ones that the locals visit, so you are bound to eat some good food. So if you don’t have the Greek beaches in mind there are a few islands that can be easily visited in winter, for example, Santorini, Crete, Syros, Corfu, Rhodes and Hydra to name a few. During winter all the air fares are cheaper as well, both domestic and international. I have recently booked a return air ticket from Athens to Santorini with only 30€. Especially Santorini is great during winter as it less crowded and you will take the perfect photos.

old town of corfu from harbour

It is less crowded during winter in Greece

During the busy summer season, everything is crowded. The lines for the Acropolis are big. The little alleyways of the islands are filled with people. On the contrary, during winter you will have a more enjoyable experience having the site just for yourselves and a few more.  You shouldn’t worry about the weather either. Although it gets cold from December till February winters are usually milder compared to most countries.

me at lake Plastira - winter in Greece
me at lake Plastira

Nice cities to explore

Athens, the capital of Greece is a great destination all year round. You will see less tourists in winter and you will get the chance to observe the local life. Apart from Athens and its countless sites that you can visit there are other beautiful cities in Greece worth exploring, Thessaloniki in the north is a very vibrant city with many archaeological sites, a great food and shopping scene and a lively nightlife. Kavala located in the north of Greece as well is a very picturesque seaside town built amphitheatrically with many sites worth visiting.

Greece is linked to summer holidays, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and beautiful islands. What is not widely known is that Greece has some amazing places to visit during the winter as well. Imagine picturesque villages on the mountains, hiking paths in forests, beautiful lakes , vibrant cities, uncrowded archaeological sites and even snow.

Great winter destinations to discover

Apart from the big cities and the Greek islands that one can visit during the winter, Greece has many popular winter destinations as well, with great natural beauty. The beautiful villages of Zagorohoria and the town of Kastoria in Epirus, Pelion villages, Arachova and lake Plastira near Meteora in Thessalia. Kalavryta, Mani and Nafplio in Peloponnese to mention a few. All these areas and much more make the perfect winter destination with their picturesque scenery, archaeological sites, incredible nature and local cuisine.

Vathia village Mani - winter in Greece
Vathia village Mani

A variety of sports activities to do during winter in Greece

Did you know that you can ski in Greece? There are a few big ski and snowboards centres in Greece like the one in Arachova and Kalavryta. Other sports activities include hiking trails in the mountainous regions, rafting in one of the country’s rivers and horseback riding. One of the world’s leading athletic event takes place in Athens every November, the Athens Marathon, where athletes from all over the world come to run the original classic route.

outside Trikala
outside Trikala
Makrinitsa village in Pelion - winter in Greece
Makrinitsa village in Pelion

5 places to visit in Greece in winter

Pelion Villages

The mountainous area of Pelion is located in the East Thessaly region in central Greece. What makes this area unique is that is surrounded by the sea and the mountain top villages enjoy magnificent views either of the Aegean Sea or the Pagasitic Gulf. The area is full of picturesque villages with unique architecture, hiking trails in the forest, tasty local cuisine and a ski centre. The area of Pelion is the perfect destination for the nature lovers. For more inspiration, you can check my posts:

Pelion Greece: Villages of Tsagarada, Mouresi, Kissos

Pelion villages Portaria and Makrinitsa

The incredible view from Makrinitsa village Pelion
The incredible view from Makrinitsa village
Aghios Lavrentios, Pilio


The town of Kalavryta is situated in the mountainous area of North Peloponnese in Greece. It is a popular destination among the Greeks due to its close proximity to Athens. The area around Kalavryta is a place of unique natural beauty. There are many things one can do in Kalavryta like ride the rack railway called Odontotos, hike the Voureikos gorge, visit the ski resort or visit one of the many famous orthodox churches nearby. For more information on what to do in Kalavryta, you can read my post: Things to do in Kalavrita, Greece.

Planitero near Kalavrita
Planitero near Kalavrita
the town of Kalavrita from above
the town of Kalavrita from above


Arochova is a mountain village at the foot of Mountain Parnassus in Central Greece. The village of Arachova is a cosmopolitan destination with great food, fantastic hotels and bustling nightlife. There are many natural trails at the area and one of Greece’s most popular ski resorts. Nearby, you will find the archaeological site of Delphi part of the UNESCO heritage centres. You can read my post: A day trip from Athens- Delphi Tales from Greece.

Athena Pronaia Sanctuary Delphi
Athena Pronaia Sanctuary
Arachova village
Arachova village


Karpenisi is located in the mountains of Central Greece. The town of Karpenisi and the nearby villages with the traditional architecture are nestled in an area of unique natural beauty. The area is perfect for sports enthusiasts as one can hike the numerous trails, do mountain biking, rafting at Trikeliotis river, horseback riding and ski. There are also some culinary treasures in the area as one can taste trout from the river, local sausages and cheeses among others.

Megalo Chorio, Karpenisi
Megalo Chorio, Karpenisi

Ioannina town and Zagorohoria villages

The beautiful town of Ioannina is located in Epirus region in Nothern Greece. It is a town of a multicultural background drenched in history. Ioannina has been influenced over the years by the Christians, the Ottomans and the Jews. Within the castle’s walls, you will find the old part of the city filled with historical monuments, but what dominates the city of Ioannina is Lake Pamvotis with its small island in the middle. For more information about Ioannina you can read my post: Top things to do in Ioannina, Greece.

At the mountains surrounding the town of Ioannina you will find a complex of 46 stone built villages called Zagorohoria. These picturesque villages are built amphitheatrically on the top of the mountain and are surrounded by lush forest and arched stone bridges. The region offers a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, rafting and horseback riding.

walking at the banks of the lake in Ioannina
walking at the banks of the lake in Ioannina
the artificial lake of Aoos springs
the artificial lake of Aoos springs

These are just a few places one can visit in Greece during winter. Other options include the Prespes Lakes, the lake town of Kastoria, Metsovo, the town of Thessaloniki and Xanthi.

Now you know and you can too, arrange your winter visit to Greece.

Have you ever visited Greece in winter?

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  • Hello nice post, I am going to share it on facebook for sure! I work in Zakynthos during summer and I think Greece is definitely interesting destination to come to visit in winter! But tourists see it only like sun and sea destination and it is a pity.. there is so much to do and see during winter and like you said, the real life of locals and their culture can be experienced in winter much more than in crowded summer season..

  • Not to forget that north Greece has some nice places for skying. I live on Crete since 20 years next year! Even here you can go skying from January until March/April! Where else you can see mountains under a big layer of snow lying on the beach sun bathing?

    • That’s true Elisabeth Greece has a lot of ski resorts! I have witnessed what you said in Crete. That’s why it’s one of my fave places.

  • I visited Greece in winter – in 1984! It was as delightful then as you describe it now. It is certainly a place I would love to return to – one day.
    I wanted to sign in as Yasha from facebook, but I kept getting directed to Discus – hence I’m signed in as Dare2go from twitter…

  • For anyone interested in seeing the ancient sites of Greece, but wanting to avoid tourist crowds, I would highly recommend visiting in the winter! Whilst a clear, bright day is not always guaranteed, what can be assured, is that there are far less tour groups and crowds at places like the Acropolis and Delphi. I might even try a bit of skiing near Arachova early next year 🙂

  • That is a great idea! It looks like real mild winter, no snow. fewer crowds, cheaper prices…that’s a great combination. Was in Thessaloniki last month. Vibrant as you said!

    • The weather is generally good most of the time but you will find snow too in some areas, but the snow has its beauty too.

  • I love traveling on the off seasons! I go out of my way to avoid the crowds. However, I do love the beach and I think I would enjoy Greece a lot more in the summer. Can’t have the best of both worlds…or can I?

  • I only visited Greece for work many years ago, and was in Athens several times, not really a city I would like to go back. But I would be interested in exploring some of the Greek islands. Will follow your suggestion to visit off-season! 🙂

  • I only needed one! I visited Greece during the winter a few years ago and loved it! Way less crowded than previous visits, it was almost unreal!

  • This sounds great! I’m ashamed to say its never been on my radar for winter but this could change. Less crowds and lower rates always appeals. I love Greek mainland and islands. Thanks for the inspiration

  • It seems like it’s better to visit Greece in winter than in summer because of the weather and temperatures!
    I was in summer and it was scorching hot! Now I see it would be much better to choose winter – the sightseeing would be much more pleasant!

  • Hi Chrissy! Great blog, I’ve just discovered it. And lovely photos. I also write about Greece, but commentary, not travel, at:
    I would like to reblog this post on my blog, and introduce you to my readers, if you agree. I did a similar post a while ago and it got a lot of interest. X Marina

  • I wish I found your post earlier! I was looking for a place to hike in February and was considering Greece, but just couldn’t find enough information. In the end I decided on hiking Spain, but will think of going to Greece the next time.

    One of the things I considered was hiking on Crete or northern Greece, but wasn’t sure about the weather. I hike and wild camp (unless there is a campsite available) and couldn’t find information about it.

    Anyway – pinning it for later!

  • So many great destination ideas! Even though I have already had mine, I still like to get to know some nice destinations, even for holidays with my wife. I would also add one more place that we really like to visit, USA

  • A trip to Greece in February
    First of all, I apologize for my English
    My husband and I are flying in February for 8 nights in Greece, landing in Athens
    What places can we travel at February? I would be happy if you could help me build a trip route

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