Find out the best ski resorts in Greece - credits: greekreporter.com
Find out the best ski resorts in Greece - credits: greekreporter.com

As destinations go, in the grand scheme of things, Greece is universally accepted to fall under the 'summer destination' category, right? Wrong! Unbeknownst to most, the country of 6,000 islands (wait, whaaaat?), is actually a pretty cool winter destination as well. We have ski centres, warm chalets and quaint mountain villages, not to mention the vivid night life the Greeks are so famous for. Take a look at our favourite ski resorts, as well as our pick of what to combine your favourite extreme sport with.

Parnassos Ski Centre

A sunny day with snow at mountain Parnassos - credits: Αndreas Tselios

Parnassos ski centre is an all-time favourite 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 organization and top-notch activities and services. On top of that, the impressive archaeological site of Delphi is very close to the resort, and open all year round due to the numerous visitors it attracts. On your visit to Parnassos ski centre, you will pass by the picturesque mountain village of Arachova, yet another reason why we love this resort. The cosiness and traditional beauty of this village, along with its lively atmosphere is why visitors usually prefer it for their lodgement when they come here. As for the resort itself, it boasts 19 ski runs, 7 ski routes, 10 trails and three mini beginner runs, with a total length 36km. Here, you can rent equipment if you don't own one or get a teacher for ski and snowboard if it's your first attempt at it. Afterwards, you can relax in one of the two cafés-chalets or eat something in the restaurant. In case you are travelling with family, there is also a playground for young children. For the hard-core ski lovers, every Saturday it's possible to go non-stop for 12 hours (weather permitting), as the opening hours extend from 08:00 to 20:00.

Useful Info: Open from December to early May

Kalavrita Ski Centre

 Kalavrita ski center - credits: xionodromika.gr

Kalavrita Ski Center is the second biggest 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. The service and activities offered here are very good as this is a popular destination for Greeks and tourists alike. Kalavrita Ski Centre boasts 12 slopes of varying levels of difficulty, 7 ski lifts as well as facilities for extreme sports and snowboard. You can rent your equipment here and get a teacher if it’s your first time. There's is a cosy 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 ('odontotos') that takes visitors from Dikopto to Kalavrita, following a marvellous one hour route through the mountains. Another reason is the impressive natural beauty of the Cave of Lakes, situated 17 kilometres 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!

Useful Info:Open from December to early May
Tel.:+ 30 26920 24452

Meteora & Delphi Splendour
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Ski Resort Voras Mount Kaimaktsalan

Kaimaktsalan ski resort - credits: web- Greece.gr

This ski centre is more popular with people living or visiting Thessaloniki, the second biggest city after Athens, due to the fact that it is situated in 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 (2500 metres!). In numbers, here you can expect to find 6 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. As in the previous two places, you can rent equipment and hire a tutor for the day. You can combine your trip to the ski centre with a visit to the beautiful city of Edessa, famous for its waterfalls, and afterwards to the Pozar Thermal Baths, at the foot of the mountain, to relax and be pampered. While you are in the area, make sure to try the local xinomavro, a wine with a deep red colour and a rich, freshaste.

Useful Info:Open from December to early May
Tel.: + 30 2381032000

Mount Pelion Ski Centre

Pelion ski resort - credits: tourism academy

Pelion is an area in Greece you have to visit no matter what. It's both a winter and a summer destination, equally rich in aquamarine-coloured beaches and green mountains with traditional stone houses. We love this ski centre because it's comfortably located between Athens and Thessaloniki and because it gives us the opportunity to discover Pelion while practicing our favourite winter activity. It's smaller than the other resorts on our list, with 5 ski slopes, 4 lifts and an altitude of 1421 metres. 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. Afterwards, you can relax at a lovely chalet or take a room at the refuge and spend the night in the peace and quietness the pelian 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 food) while discussing politics, current affairs and life... Not so different from their ancestors, these Greeks, are they?

Useful Info:Open from December to early May
Tel.: + 30 2428089021

Menalo Ski Centre

Mount Menalo - credits: oreivatikos

Mount Menalo is situated in Arcadia region, in Peloponnese, and the drive is a little over two hours from Athens. The ski center has 3 lifts taking you to 7 slopes of various levels of difficulty, as well as a snowboard park. The facilities also include a ski school, shops for your ski and snowboard needs, and of course equipment for rent. There are two cosy chalets where you can spend the night, eat, or enjoy a hot beverage. The reason we love this resort is the beautiful traditional villages of Vytina, Dimitsana and Stemnitsa situated within half an hour 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 centre is in our top five. Highly recommended for beginners who want to take their first steps in this world-favourite winter activity, and don't wish to spend more than they have to.

Useful Info:Open from December to early May
Tel.: + 30 698 5063909

 Last but not least, keep in mind that some of the resorts above (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. A good advice 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!