Greece in Winter

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Key Takeaways

  • In northern regions and mountainous areas of Greece, temperatures can drop significantly, and snowfall is possible. Coastal regions and islands tend to have more moderate temperatures in winter.
  • Popular destinations in Greece in winter include Athens, Thessaloniki, Delphi, Meteora, and the island of Crete.
  • Some tourist sites, hotels, and restaurants may have limited operating hours or may even be closed during the winter months, mainly on the islands.
  • Despite the cooler temperatures, Greece still offers opportunities for outdoor activities. Depending on the region, you can enjoy hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and even visiting thermal baths.

ancient theater of delphi isidoros andronos shutterstockThe ancient theater of Delphi - credits: isidoros_andronos/Shutterstock.com

Did you get “cold feet” after considering a vacation in Greece during winter? Are you visiting Greece to celebrate a special date, but your anniversary is in January?

Or are you simply up for a good time, and your friends think it’s a pity to visit a Mediterranean country and not go sunbathing? 

Don’t think twice! Book your winter holidays in Athens and have an unforgettable time! You will be amazed by the number of things you can do in Greece in winter.  

Things to do in Greece in Winter  

  • Travel to Athens for a Cultural Trip to Greece in the Winter
  • Seek Nature Outside the City When you Visit Greece in Winter
  • Give Way to Winter Sports When Visiting Greece in Winter
  • Try the Seasonal Treats of Greece in Winter

Travel to Athens for a Cultural Trip to Greece in Winter

Panathenaic Stadium - credits: Anastasios71/Shutterstock.com

When looking for a place to spend the weekend, disconnect from work or go on a quick adventure with friends, most of us spend much time on search engines, making -usually unrealistic- plans, when really, the answer is quite simple: Athens

Athens is the perfect combination of nice weather, breathtaking history, vibrant nightlife, and fun options. 

Discover more than 2.500 years of history in less than 24 hours: from ancient ruins, such as the Roman Agora or the striking Parthenon, to the highlights of modern Greek life, like the Panathenaic Stadium, and local Athenian neighborhoods like Monastiraki and Psirri.

You cannot leave Athens without wandering around Syntagma square and letting its neoclassical architecture take you back to the 18th century.

The Acropolis - credits: S.Borisov/Shutterstock.com

If you are unsure where to start, join us on our 7-hour best of Athens tourWe won't let you miss a thing! 

Greece is said to be one of the cradles of western civilization, so it’s no surprise that the most impressive museums are to be found in Athens.

If you walk up Vasilissis Sofias Ave., visit the Benaki Museum, the Byzantine Museum, and the Athens War Museum.

If you are not keen on museums, let our professional guides take you on a private Acropolis tour and change your mind forever!

If you are the party type, Athens, Greece, won’t let you down. Take the blue metro line up to Keramikos station and let the celebratory vibe surround you.

Gazi is full of cozy cafes, restaurants serving all kinds of food, from seafood to souvlaki, and music clubs.

If you want to keep partying, Psirri and Monastiraki are the next places to visit: we can show you around on our night walking tours! 

When visiting Athens with kids, you can be sure they’ll have a great and educational time on the mythology tour that will take you around the most impressive ancient sites. Remember, we can design a custom tour according to your family preferences!

Seek Nature Outside the City When you Visit Greece in Winter

Cape Sounio - credits: Aerial-motion/Shutterstock.com

Did the rush of the airport or metro stress you out? Would you like to take a shot of tranquility before exploring Athens city center?

Let’s go hiking in Greece! It will take you half-day to get an inkling of Mt. Ymittos ―no need to climb its 1,026-meter summit to enjoy the most breathtaking views of Athens.

Walk a small bit from the National Technical University (30 minutes away by bus from Evangelismos station). If you fancy a combination of outdoor sport and culture, join our guided tour to Sounio.

Located 70 km away from Athens, Sounio hosts the fascinating Temple of Poseidon, the ancient God of the sea.

The hike to the top will whet your appetite, making you eager to visit Sounio's seaside tavernas.

On your way there, as you travel along Athens Riviera, you can even make a stop at Lake Vouliagmeni, a natural thermal spring that will stun you with its beauty.

Give Way to Winter Sports When Visiting Greece in Winter

Arachova - credits: Vagelis Pikoulas/Shutterstock.com

Snow-covered roofs, uphill streets, infinite views, luxurious shops, and modern ski facilities. It may not sound like it, but we are talking about Greece. A paradise for ski resort lovers under a blue sky. 

The enchanting village of Arachova stands two hours away from Athens. Its romantic accommodations, striking views, and upscale shops make this village Athenian’s favorite winter destination

Arachova allows you to ski close to the Olympian Gods: the worldwide known Oracle of Delphi is actually 10 km away.  

The myth explains how Apollo went to Delphi to kill the Python and took his revenge on Hera’s plot to kill his mother.

Would you like to hear the story? Take advantage of your off-season visit to Greece and let our archaeologists guide you through the archaeological sites of the Oracle, the Ancient Theater, and the Athens Treasury.

 Don't worry; if you are not keen on skiing, we can take you on a one-day trip to Delphi directly from your Athens hotel.

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, take the train to Nea Peramos and enjoy the coastline from above.

The mild weather allows the paraglide experts to jump with you even during winter. If you are traveling with kids, take the green line to Neratziotissa

Next to the Olympic Stadium, you’ll find Snow Land facilities and The Mall Athens. Let the children enjoy the open-air skating rink, Christmas activities, and Fun House while your partner chooses holiday gifts at one of our biggest shopping centers.

Try the Seasonal Treats of Greece in Winter

Traditional kourampiedes and melomakarona - credits: photo stella/Shutterstock.com

Food is one of Greece's highlights in every travel guide, there is an enormous variety of Greek restaurants in almost every city, and most travelers know the word moussakas.

If plain Greek food is good, can you imagine what Greek Christmas food is like?  

If you spend Christmas in Greece, stop at the bakery shops and ask for vasilopita (a cake with a hidden coin and an amazing origin), kourampiedes (butter cookies with icing sugar), and melomakarona (honey cookies).  

If you always wonder about the secret behind magic tricks, you’ll enjoy our Athens Food Tour, and our fun Athen Night Food Tour, ―a completely different experience that will give you the most unique and useful souvenir, knowledge!

The Weather in Greece in Winter

The Numismatic Museum of Athens, Greece winter weather- credits: Baloncic/Shutterstock.com

Compared to some European countries, Greece's winter weather is mild and pleasant. A trip to South Greece is the best solution when wishing to escape the cold weather for an overnight stay.

Winter is Greece's rainy season. Therefore, bring raincoats and waterproof shoes, mainly if you want to go on a winter hike. Northern and mountainous areas are much cooler compared with southern lowlands.

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For snow-capped mountains, Greece in January or Greece in February is the coldest. If you head up the mountains, you will most certainly see snow there. 

All in all, the winters in southern Greece are mild and sometimes warm.

Central and Northern Greece in Winter

pelion fakistra beach Giannis Papanikos shutterstockFakistra Beach, Pelion - credits: Giannis_Papanikos/Shutterstock.com

The sandy beaches and vibrant nightlife often come to mind when people think of Greece, but most people don't know about ski resorts, winter destinations, and mountain villages in Greece and the fun they offer to winter travelers of the country. Especially if they haven't read our Greece travel guide.

If you love skiing and want to see some beautiful snowy landscapes, you should explore the central/northern part of Greece and marvel at its amazing winter landscape.

A ski holiday on the Greek mountain slopes is really rewarding, and you will have more than 20 ski destinations to choose from!

castle of monemvasia Nick K shutterstockThe Castle of Monemvasia - credits: Nick K/Shutterstock.com

Mount Parnassus, for example, is located around 2 hours northwest of Athens and has one of the most popular ski resorts— a place you need to book ahead, especially on weekends. 

What's more, you can visit the Pozar thermal lake for a therapeutic swim that will warm you up from the inside out.

At the same time, you can find mountain biking and horseback riding activities or even a wild bear sanctuary to visit, which is perfect for nature lovers that decide to spend winter in Greece and support winter tourism.

Thessaly and Meteora in Greece in Winter

Meteora clifs Killinson depositphotosMeteora cliffs - credits: Killinson/Depositphotos.com

Thessaly is the region between the Aegean Sea and Sporades Island. It's a land of myths: The Plain of Thessaly was the scene of an epic war against Olympian tycoons.

Carrying a rich history and culture, this region can now be explored a few thousand years on, and it is at its best during the cold winter months.

Of course, the UNESCO world heritage site of Meteora needs no introduction, and it is Thessaly's top attraction.

The imposing cliffs of Meteora, with the scenic monasteries perched at the top, have an eerie beauty that comes to life in the winter months. 

The temperatures in the area are significantly low. However, this shouldn't deter you from visiting.

With snowfall being a possibility, especially in high-altitude areas, the opportunity to marvel at Meteora while they're dressed in white should not be missed.

Thessaloniki During Winter Season in Greece

thessaloniki white tower Ververidis Vasilis shutterstockThessaloniki - credits: Ververidis_Vasilis-shutterstock.com

Thessaloniki, the co-capital of Greece and one of its most romantic cities, has some of the coldest winters in the country, with January being the colder month and often sporting below-zero temperatures.

As a northern suburb, Thessaloniki gets some occasional snowfall as well. But it only enhances its undeniable charm.

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It is even more attractive when it is not filled with tourists as it is in summer and sprinkled with snow it is a sight to behold. 

The waterfront area in Thessaloniki becomes a snow-laden walkway. The town becomes entirely different and seems as if it has jumped out of a children's fairytale.

Additionally, you can visit the region of Lagadas in Thessaloniki to revel in a soak in its thermal lake.

The Greek Islands in Winter Weather

Serifos Milan Gonda shutterstockSerifos - credits: Milan_Gonda/Shutterstock.com

To be honest, we wouldn't suggest travelers visit the islands of Greece in winter.

In our opinion, the true beauty of the Greek island gets highlighted under the summer sun.

During winter in Greece, you will find most tourist facilities and businesses closed, while most islands, especially the smaller ones, get deserted with people returning to the Greek countryside for the winter season.

Of course, there are islands that are worth visiting year-round, as they never lose their liveliness.

A great example of an island like this is Crete, the largest Greek island that has a great number of permanent residents that breathe life into it. 

Many locals live on the island, and although many large resort hotels – even some restaurants and bars – are closed during the low-season months, the island remains welcoming to travelers who want to experience the Greek islands in a more original and non-touristy way.

What is a Greek Christmas Like?

christmas ship kanvag shutterstockChristmas ship - credits: kanvag/Shutterstock.com

If there is anything you need to know about Greeks, it is that we will grab any opportunity for celebration and live it to the fullest.

Christmas is no exception. On the contrary, it is the perfect excuse to regain some of the lost carefreeness of the summer season.

The Greek Christmas has everything you would expect and more. Therefore, if you visit Greece at Christmas, you will have the opportunity to listen to Greek Christmas songs and admire the unique Greek Christmas decorations.

According to Greek tradition, the locals are meant to decarbonate fishing boats instead of trees.

Dimitsana village ollirg06 depositphotosDimitsana - credits: ollirg06/Depositphotos.com

However, Greek homes have been decorating Christmas trees for decades, and the decoration of boats has become a novelty. Moreover, instead of Santa Clause, Greeks celebrate the Roman-Christian Saint Basil. 

Don't miss the chance to enjoy the fun-filled local customs of the town you choose to visit. As we have already mentioned, the weather in December is considered mild in comparison to other countries in the world.

Although the mountains may be snowy, the south of Greece and the Greek islands have fairly comfortable temperatures, perfect for celebrating the holiday season.

Final Thoughts

mount olympus S F shutterstockMount Olympus - credits: S-F/Shutterstock.com

Whether you fancy a dynamic or a relaxed holiday, you have a week or just two days off, you travel with children or friends, and don’t wait until summer to make the most out of your time in Greece.

Visit Greece in winter for an eye-opening experience during the off-season!

Planning your trip to Greece? Get in touch with our travel specialists and design your tailor-made vacation plan!

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

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