As far as destinations go, Greece is universally accepted to fall under the 'summer destination' category, right? Wrong!
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Unbeknownst to most, the country of 6,000 islands is actually a pretty cool winter destination as well. We have ski centers, warm chalets, and quaint mountain villages, not to mention the vivid nightlife the Greeks are so famous for, which stays very much alive during the winter months as well.
Take a look at our favorite ski resorts in Greece, as well as our pick of what to combine your favorite extreme sport with.
Parnassos Ski Center
A sunny day with snow at mountain Parnassos - credits: Αndreas Tselios
Parnassos ski center is an all-time favorite winter destination for Athenians and visitors alike and for a good reason; it's comfortably situated two hours away from the city and it has a reputation for its flawless organization and top-notch activities services.
On top of that, the impressive archaeological site of Delphi, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, is very close to the resort and is open all year round due to the numerous visitors it attracts.
During your visit to Parnassos ski center, you will pass by the picturesque mountain village of Arachova, yet another reason why we love this resort. The coziness and traditional beauty of this village, along with its lively atmosphere, is why visitors usually prefer it for their lodgement.
Ski resorts in Greece - credits: pixabay.com
As for the resort itself, it boasts 19 ski runs, 7 ski routes, 10 trails, and three mini beginner runs, with a total length of 36km. Here, you can rent ski and snowboard equipment, if you don't own it already, and get a teacher if it's your first attempt at it.
Afterward, you can relax in one of the two cafés-chalets or eat something in the restaurant. In case you are traveling with family, there is also a playground for young children. For the hard-core ski lovers, every Saturday it's possible to ski non-stop for 12 hours, if the weather allows you to, as the opening hours extend from 08:00 to 20:00.
The Parnassos ski center, just like the vast majority of the ski centers in Greece, remains open from December to early May every year, since this is when the weather gets too warm for skiing.
Kalavrita Ski Centre
Kalavrita ski center - credits: xionodromika.gr
Kalavrita Ski Center is the second biggest ski center in Greece and still within a comfortable driving distance from Athens -approximately 2,5 hours away.
It's situated in the mountain Helmos in the Peloponnese, and it's named after the beautiful little town of Kalavrita nearby, where people usually take lodging, go shopping, eat and go out to experience the Greek winter nightlife.
The service and activities offered here are exceptional due to the popularity of the destination. Kalavrita Ski Centre boasts 12 slopes of varying levels of difficulty, 7 ski lifts as well as facilities for extreme sports and snowboarding.
Ski resorts in Greece - credits: pixabay.com
You can rent your ski and snowboard equipment here and get a teacher if it’s your first time or if you just need to refresh your memory and skills. There's is a cozy chalet and a canteen to relax in after the activities as well as a playground for children.
The reason we love this resort is the opportunity to combine your skiing adventures with a ride on the famous funicular railway, called 'odontotos', that takes visitors from Dikopto to Kalavrita, following a marvelous one-hour route through the mountains and impressive Greek landscape.
Another reason is the impressive natural beauty of the Cave of Lakes, situated 17 km from Kalavrita, as well as the historic monastery of Aghia Lavra built on a steep side of Helmos mountain. Don't miss it for the world!
Ski Resort Voras Mount Kaimaktsalan
Kaimaktsalan ski resort - credits: web- Greece.gr
This ski center is more popular with people living or visiting Thessaloniki, the second biggest city after Athens in Greece, due to the fact that it is situated on the borders of Greece with Macedonia.
Still, a lot of ski enthusiasts from the southern part of the country will choose to drive the extra mile, due to the fact that Kaimaktsalan resort boasts the highest altitude for ski in the country that reaching 2500 meters!
In numbers, here you can expect to find six ski lifts and 13 ski runs, as well as a snowboard park and a snow tubing park if you would like to try something different. Just like in the previous two places, you can rent equipment and hire a tutor for the day.
You can combine your trip to the ski center with a visit to the beautiful city of Edessa, famous for its waterfalls, and afterward to the Pozar Thermal Baths, at the foot of the mountain, to relax and get pampered.
While you are in the area, make sure to try the local xinomavro, a wine with a deep red color and a rich, fresh taste.
Elatochori ski center
Elatochori Ski Centre - credits: xionodromika.gr
Elatochori ski center is found on the northeastern side of the Pieria Mountains, at the location "Papa Chorafi", and at an altitude of 1450m. It is located in a privileged location with amazing views of Mount Olympus and Aliakmonas. It is only 8 km from the picturesque village of Elatochori, 36 km from Katerini, 474 km from Athens, 105 km from Thessaloniki, and 120 km from Larissa.
Although it is a relatively new ski resort, it has become popular with winter sports enthusiasts, who are flooding the slopes. This is due to the perfect infrastructure of the center and the wonderful nature that surrounds it.
The facilities of the ski resort include 10 slopes with variable altitude differences and with different degrees of difficulty to satisfy both experienced and demanding skiers, as well as beginners who are experiencing their potential in the most popular winter sports.
Snow in Greece - credits: pixabay.com
There is also a snowboard and a sleigh rink. The total length of the slopes and the network of snow corridors that connect them exceeds 12,000 m.
At the base of the ski center, there is a new two-story chalet, which is distinguished for its modern aesthetics, which harmonizes with the environment. There are also shops selling and renting equipment and ski equipment and a ski school.
It is worth mentioning that in the ski center there is a fully equipped first aid clinic with a permanent doctor on a daily basis.
Metsovo Ski Center
Metsovo Ski Resort - credits: xionodromika.gr
Located in the Pindos Mountains, the Metsovo Ski Resort is located at 1650 m Profiti Ilias about 4 kilometers from the town of Metsovo, and is actually composed of three resorts with three lifts and 10 kilometers of slopes.
The center is closed from November until March and is equipped with an artificial snow system that can be used whenever it is deemed necessary.
Velouchi Ski Resort in Karpenissi
Velouchi Ski Resort - credits: gtp.gr
Velouchi Ski Center in Karpenisi is 284 km from Athens, 78 km from Lamia, 368 km from Thessaloniki, and 12 km from the city of Karpenisi.
It sits at 2200 meters from Mount Tymetfristos. Despite its adage "Little Switzerland", many people compare the region of Evritania Karpenisi belongs to with North Carolina's mountain range.
At the Ski Center, there are a total of five ski lifts and 18 slopes of which 4 are off-piste and 2 for snowboarding.
Snowboarding in Greece - credits: pixabay.com
Also operating is the warm and welcoming chalet in which are housed the shops that rent ski, snowboard, and sleds equipment, the store with ski equipment and souvenirs, and the ski school for children and adults, for beginners and advanced skiers.
The cafeteria of the chalet is where you can enjoy your hot chocolate and coffee, while the 'Snow Bar- Ice Bar' puts life into the ski resort with unique parties and DJs.
3 – 5 (Tria - Pente) Pigadia Ski Resort
Tria - Pente Phgadia Ski Resort - credits: thessaloniki.travel
The Ski Center "3-5 Pigadia" is located on the west side of Mount Vernon at an altitude of 1430-2005 m. It is 17 km. from the city of Naoussa and 107km. from the city of Thessaloniki.
The resort has four ski lifts and five slopes. The perfect infrastructure of the ski center, in addition to winter sports, offers a variety of activities (mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking, gliding, paragliding).
It has also been established as a training center for many sports clubs, federations, and national teams. The ski slopes of every degree of difficulty, meet the requirements for sports and tourist skiing.
The experienced and specialized staff of the ski center makes sure that the slopes are always properly designed to offer you safety and unique emotions. The artificial snow system, one of the few ones can find in ski resorts in Greece, ensures excellent snow quality throughout the winter season.
Mount Pelion Ski Center
Pelion ski centre- credits: tourism academy
Pelion is an area in Greece you should definitely put at the top of your bucket list for Greece. It's both a winter and a summer destination, equally rich in aquamarine-colored beaches and green mountains with traditional stone houses.
We love this ski center because it's comfortably located between Athens and Thessaloniki and because it gives us the opportunity to discover the beautiful region of Pelion while practicing our favorite winter activity.
It's smaller than the other resorts on our list, with 5 ski slopes, 4 lifts, and an altitude of 1421 meters. Due to that fact, prices tend to be lower here, which is great if you are a beginner and don't want to spend a fortune on your early tries.
There is equipment for sale or rent and the possibility to get a lesson from a professional. Afterward, you can relax at a lovely chalet or take a room at the refuge and spend the night in the peace and quietness Pelion's nature has to offer.
Make some room in the evening for a stop at the sea town of Volos, famous for its numerous tsipouradika, where the locals go to enjoy the characteristic strong alcoholic drink called tsipouro and eat some mezedes -small plates of scrummy starters- while discussing politics, current affairs, and life in general!
Menalo Ski Centre
Mount Menalo - credits: oreivatikos
Mount Menalo is situated in the region of Arcadia, in the Peloponnese, and the drive is a little over two hours from Athens.
Menalo ski resort has three ski lifts taking you to 7 slopes of various levels of difficulty, as well as a snowboard fun park. The facilities also include a ski and snowboard school, shops for your ski and snowboard needs, and of course equipment for rent. There are two cozy chalets where you can spend the night, eat, or enjoy a hot beverage.
The reason we love Menalo most than most ski resorts is the beautiful traditional villages of Vytina, Dimitsana, and Stemnitsa situated within half an hour's drive from the mountain. The river Lousios nearby, where a lot of people go rafting, kayaking, or just for a hike is another reason why this cute ski center is in our top five.
This ski resort is highly recommended for beginners who want to take their first steps in this world-favorite winter activity, and don't wish to spend more money than they have to.
A boy skiing in Greece - credits: pixabay.gr
Where does it snow the most in Greece?
Northern Greece has snow every year and you can see the northern slopes "dressed" in white. Snowfall may be seen from November until November unless the weather is particularly bad when the snow period can extend to April or May. You can see snow everywhere from Thrace to Macedonia to Epirus.
What is the most popular ski resort in Greece?
Mount Parnassos Ski Resort is one of the best and most popular ski resorts in Greece. Its popularity is due to being the closest ski resort to Athens and the excellent infrastructure of the ski center. What's more, there is more than 36 km of ski slopes on the highest peak of Parnasso.
Do I need to buy ski and snowboard equipment to enjoy the Greek ski resorts?
No, thankfully, you don't. If you're a beginner, unsure of whether you will ever ski again in your life, or just cannot afford your own equipment, there are ski and snowboard equipment rental shops in every ski resort in Greece that will provide you with everything you need to have in order to have as much fun as possible during your ski holiday.
Ski resorts in Greece - credits: pixabay.com
Keep in mind that Greece's favorite ski resorts, especially the smaller ones, rely heavily on the weather and the number of visitors to operate properly. As a result, opening hours can be prone to changes.
Your safest bet to prevent anything from going wrong is to phone ahead of your visit to make sure of the situation on the particular day that interests you and avoid any unpleasant surprises. That's all folks, enjoy the snow!