Arachova - credits: Vagelis Pikoulas/Shutterstock.com
Arachova - credits: Vagelis Pikoulas/Shutterstock.com

Now that the temperature is down, and the mountains of central Greece are covered with fresh snow, it is time to put on your snowshoes and explore Arachova.

 

The small town of Arachova is the gem of mount Parnassus. Located in Boeotia county, at an altitude of 970m, it’s one of the most alluring places of mainland Greece, only 2 hours away from the Greek capital, making it the perfect getaway destination from Athens. The picturesque landscape and the rustic architecture combined with the town’s sophisticated character, make the ideal scenery for a perfect vacation. If you want to explore the winter side of Greece, Arachova won’t disappoint you!

The region’s history is long and fascinating. The oldest archaeological records are traced back to the Neolithic era at the Corycian Cave, which was later considered as a place of worship for god Pan and the Nymphs. During antiquity, the famous sanctuary of Delphi stepped into the spotlight, while the region was inhabited by the Phocians, one of the many ancient Greek tribes. However, the actual town as we currently know it was built around 1300 in the late Middle Ages and the people of Arachova became significantly active during the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans. 

Today, with perfect winter weather and an average minimum temperature of 7.0°C (44.6°F) in December, Arachova is one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece characterized by the diversity of its travelers. Its magical vibes and fairytale aura will charm you right away and make you realize that Greece is way more than just its islands. Here are some of the best things to do in Arachova, Greece:

Winter sports

Parnassus Ski Center - credits: Andreas Tselios

If you visit Arachova during winter, you should definitely go to the Parnassus Ski Center, which is actually the largest and most popular ski center in Greece. Modern facilities, up-to-date equipment and ski classes for everyone are some of the resort’s advantages. Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, a casual skier or even an amateur, a day trip to the Parnassus ski resort is essential; you could always enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the cafeteria while overlooking the mountains. Benefit from the snowy winter setting and hit the slopes! 

5-Day Athens, Meteora & Delphi Exploration Trip
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Hiking

National Park of Parnassus - credits: www.itinari.com

In case you’re not really into sports and weather permits, you could try hiking. Mount Parnassus has many hiking trails, depending on your fitness level. A good option for your hiking experience would be the National Park of Parnassus, the second largest in the country. Parnassus’ forest vegetation is remarkably rich, including pines, oak trees as well as various local herbs and flowers. Its diverse fauna consists of foxes, wolves, hares, badgers, falcons, and many more. The scenery, as you can imagine, is breathtaking and intriguing.  Explore the mountain paths and keep your eyes peeled for potential wildlife encounters! 

Delphi

Delphi - credits: elgreko/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to ancient history and Greek archaeological sites, the sanctuary of Delphi is one of the must-sees, especially when you are staying in Arachova. According to ancient Greeks, Delphi was the navel of the Earth; or in other words, the center of the world. Therefore, its significance throughout antiquity was huge. People from all over Greece and beyond would visit Pythia, the highest priestess, in order to get guidance and advice for their questions. Pythia’s answers were characteristically enigmatic and controversial and fortunately, many of her prophecies have survived until today.  Some of the site’s attractions are the temple of Apollo, the temple of Athena Pronaia, the theatre, the gymnasium, and of course the archaeological museum. Delphi is undoubtedly among the most charming places in the world, hence rightfully one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. So, there are no excuses for skipping it! 

Join us on a day trip from Athens to Delphi and discover the archaeological site with the help of an expert!

Folklore museum

Folklore museum of Arachova - credits: www.gnoristetinellada.gr

The region also has a very rich folk tradition and the folklore museum of Arachova is the perfect proof. A fun fact is that the building hosting the museum is an early 20th-century primary school. As a visitor, you’ll get a taste of everyday life in the region during the past few centuries. The exhibits include agricultural and weaving equipment, toys, costumes, etc. The best part is that you can attend traditional craft courses, like embroidery and iron/stone crafting workshops. 

St. George’s church

St.George's church - credits: www.greekguide.com

Located on the edge of the town of Arachova, St. George’s church is for sure one of Arachova’s highlights.  According to local historical sources, the church was built in 1833 on the ruins of an older one that dated back to the 17th century. In order to get there, you’ll need to climb 264 stairs but don’t get discouraged!  The route goes through the town’s picturesque alleys and as soon as you reach the church, the amazing view will definitely reward you.

Monastery of Saint Luke 

hosios loukas monastery yiannisscheidt shutterstockHosios Loukas Monastery - credits: yiannisscheidt/Shutterstock.com

Located on the picturesque slope of Helikon mountain, the monastery of Saint Luke is worth a visit while you are in Arachova since it's one of the most important examples of Byzantine art and architecture in Greece. The main building is an octagonal church with a dome, which houses the relics of St. Luke and on the north side is a smaller church, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, which was built in the 10th century. It is the earliest known example of the four-column, cross-in-square type of church and the 'katholiko' is the earliest preserved example of the octagonal cross-in-square type of church, built in the first half of the 11th century. Today the Katholikon also functions as a museum. 

Eat and drink like a local

Friends eating - credits: monkeybusiness/Depositphotos.com

Arachova is countrywide known for its authentic Greek products that can be found in any traditional grocery stores; pasta, formaela cheese, and honey to mention a few. Also, don’t forget to stop by a traditional kafeneio (=café) for a cup of Greek coffee.

At the local taverns, you can find a large variety of vegetable soups and meat dishes (lamb, pork, beef, even roe deer). Last but not least, the local Greek spirit, tsipouro, is something you should certainly try. If you’re not familiar with the term, tsipouro is a strong, crystal clear alcoholic drink served at a particular type of Greek tavern, named tsipouradika. Always accompany your tsipouro with nibbles or mezedes as they’re called in Greece and don’t be afraid to experiment and test your gastronomic limits!

From Athens: Delphi Day Trip with Arachova Visit
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From high snowy mountain tips perfect for ski lovers, dense forests for hiking to a beautiful traditional village for the culture hunter, Arachova truly deserves its title as the best winter destination of Greece. Waste no more time, plan your own trip to Arachova, or perhaps check out one of our Greece tours.