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7 reasons to visit Greece in Winter

Greece is a destination primarily associated with summer, and while the Mediterranean is undoubtedly an excellent choice for soaking in the sun in summer, Greece should not be discounted as a winter destination too. In fact, winter is a great time to visit Greece, the weather – while not reaching the same heat as summer – can still see highs of up to 19°C in November and December. Plus, as Greece is at its most popular in summer, winter is arguably the best time for taking in the country’s ancient sites and attractions without the queues of tourists who flock to the Greece in summer. You’re also likely to come across a lot more locals in the winter who tend to vacate the country during the summer months, meaning you can enjoy an even more authentic and atmospheric experience when dining, drinking and island hopping (yes you can still visit the islands in winter!) If you’re planning a winter break in Greece and wondering what will be available to do off-season, have a look at our pick of the top Greece attractions and activities to enjoy in the winter. 1. Island hopping People often worry that the Greek islands close for the winter, but remember locals live on the islands so they are open and lively 24/7. While some of the bars and restaurants may be closed for winter you will find that those that remain open are indeed some of the best on the island, as these are the ones frequented by the locals year-round. Neighbouring islands such as the Saronics, are as easy to island hop between in winter as they are in summer, but there may be fewer connections between islands that aren’t on the same ferry line – such as Crete and Santorini. If you’re planning on visiting these islands it may be best to leave booking your ferry until you arrive in Greece – another advantage of the winter season in Greece is that the ferries are quieter meaning it is easier to book a last minute seat. island 2. Walking trails While winter in Greece may not be the best time for soaking in the sun on your beach lounger, it is the best time for hiking on the country’s many walking trails. One of the best islands in Greece for walking trails is the island of Kea which has many ancient walking trails, connecting the ancient cities to the island. Winter is also a great time for enjoying many other outdoor activities in Greece including horse-riding, biking, and white-water rafting. walking 3. Shopping Athens offers a shopping experience to rival New York and Paris, which is best enjoyed in the winter. Not only does the cooler temperatures make for a more comfortable shopping environment, but you can also enjoy the city’s January and February sales. As well as picking up a bargain, you’ll also find some unique buys that you wouldn’t be able to get back home. athens 4. The Peloponnese The Peloponnese was voted the number one place to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet. The region has until now often been overlooked in favour of other parts of Greece, but the area has plenty to offer including the ancient sights of Olympia, Mycenae and Mystra. Renowned for its beautiful rocky enclaves, sea views and unique settlements, it’s clear to see why the striking Peloponnese topped the Lonely Planet list. the-peloponnese 5. Skiing Greece may not be your first thought when it comes to a ski holiday, but the country offers many beautiful ski resorts – which shouldn’t be too surprising given that Greece is a country primarily formed of mountains. The country’s top ski destinations include the Peloponnese, Kalavrita, Delphi and Macedonia, with ski centres, mountain refuges and ski lifts which could easily be a luxury resort in the Swiss Alps. skiing 6. Ancient Athens One of the main draws to Greece, whether summer or winter, is of course the ancient sights of Athens. All of the ancient city’s famous sight, including the iconic Acropolis are open to visit throughout the winter – and as it is the quieter season you’ll unlikely be faced with any queues or large crowds, allowing for a more authentic atmosphere in which to take in the majestic architecture. acropolis 7. Christmas celebrations Christmas is a wonderful time to visit Greece as the country comes alive with Christmas celebrations. In Athens you can soak up a truly festive feeling with the streets full of Christmas shoppers, twinkling lights adorning the city and a giant Christmas tree taking centre stage in Syntagma Square, where you’ll also find entertainment including musicians, mimes, jugglers and of course, Santa. For something a little bit different head to the roof of the Ledra Marriott Hotel where you can ice-skate with a view of the Acropolis. christmas With so much going on in Greece year-round, there really isn’t a bad time to visit, but if you prefer sightseeing over sunbathing you may find that you prefer Greece in the winter months to the summer season. Christos Hajipapas is Head of Business Development & Strategy at Cyplon Holidays. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. Did you visit Greece personally during winter? I planned once in November but most of the comments on trip advisor were negative. Canceled and replanned South Africa.

  2. I’ve never been to Greece in Winter but it kinda figures that without the hordes you can enjoy the place a bit more. Plus there’s skiing, apparently!
    TripAdvisor is not infallible!

  3. I like that you talked about how you can enjoy a shopping experience in Greece during winter because of the comfortable shopping environment and unique items to buy. My husband and I are looking to find the best place to visit on our 10th wedding anniversary. One of the things that excite me in every vacation is shopping. For me, Greece can be an ideal place to visit for a vacation and to shop unique items because of its great environment. I will make sure to consider choosing Greece for our vacation.

  4. I traveled to Greece in December. It was magnificent. I was not there to sunbathe, or swim. But to experience the culture and visit amazing site, and of course enjoy the food. Can you believe I was the only one at the Acropolis? What a totally different experience than with hordes of tourists. You get the royal treatment in hotels, which are about half the price you would pay in high season. There is no need to make reservations far in advance, for some place you know nothing about. You are actually among locals going about their lives, eating in their favorite places, friendly, and a bit curious why you are there at this time. Sure some places are closed. They are the super touristy ones that locals seldom go to. I would definitely go again off season!

  5. For the first time in my life I skied in Greece this year and it was great. Even though it was a really small ski area in Pieria Mountains, the views at Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea while skiing was an incredible experience.

  6. It’s great to read these comments on how much people have enjoyed Greece in winter. I’m not a hot weather person at all. To me sunbathing is hell. I feel uncomfortable and then I burn-up and look like a particularly red lobster. But I know from friends who’ve visited that there is so much to see and do in Greece, I just don’t want to do it when it’s so hot that I’m hardly able to breathe. Another thing is that I’m not good in big crowds. It seems an open and shut case. I should go to Greece in winter.

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