When you think of Greece, the first things that come to mind is the endless blue of the Aegean sea with cloudless sky, white villages of Santorini and famous beaches of Zakynthos and Crete. But be honest, you imagined it all in the summer, right? Although it’s true that the best time to visit Greece is during the summer season (May to October) there are many things to do and places to visit during winter too.

With the first snow the landscapes of mountain villages become like a Christmas card. Imagine a picture: snowy cypresses as if sprinkled with powdered sugar, fresh, clean air, fire crackling in the fireplaces, smoke smoothly raising from chimneys, the smell of fresh baked sweets. And of course, the gentle sun of the Mediterranean climate, which will accompany you during walks through the picturesque landscapes and delight with its warmth and light at lively celebrations in the cities, villages and islands of hospitable Greece.

Santorini, being one of the most popular summer destinations in the world, is mostly closed during the off-season. But it comes to live during winter holidays, with some restaurants and hotels opening their doors for people who choose to celebrate Christmas in the South Aegean. The streets and shops are lit with festive lights and people decorate their houses with traditional ornaments. And if you don’t have a Christmas tree, decorating the palm tree is also an option :)

The temperatures vary from 12 to 17 degrees Celsius (53 – 62 F) and it’s usually sunny or partly cloudy. It rarely, if ever, snows. It may rain, but usually January and February are know for being colder months with more precipitation. So many activities that are available will depend on your luck with the weather. There is a Christmas market in Karterados or Fira, some special tours of the island. Also the hike from Fira to Oia or up the hill to the highest point of the island does sound more appealing in this milder weather. Check out my blog post on things to consider when traveling to Santorini in the off season.

Athens is always happy to welcome the arrival of Christmas celebrations. In the  lively central squares and streets of the city, festive music plays and an atmosphere of joy and fun reigns. Hotels, shops, cafes and restaurants in all parts of the city are decorated with numerous colorful lights. A huge Christmas tree and attractions for children are installed in Syntagma Square, Christmas markets sell traditional delicacies, and numerous entertainment events take place all over the city. The National Garden turns into a wonderful adventure land that enchants both children and adults.

Patra during the Christmas holidays is a dream come true for any child. A delightful fairy-tale village is built in the port, so be sure to visit this amazing place filled with  Christmas magic and familiar characters.

Kalavrita. This colorful old town invites everyone to ride the famous cogwheel railway, walk along the lovely narrow streets enjoying the fresh mountain air and, of course, experience the adrenaline rush while skiing or snowmobiling down Mount Helmos.

The unique beauty of Pelion captivates visitors during any time of the year, and Christmas is no exception. With the first snow, this place turns into a real wonderland. Here you can endlessly admire the picturesque villages and dense forests.

Lake Plastira, with its clean, pristine blue water and light fog dancing above the surface, is one of the most mysterious and captivating places in Greece, perfect for a romantic Christmas getaway for two. This is a real paradise for nature lovers.

If you want to celebrate Christmas surrounded by delightful snowy landscapes, then the small cozy village of Agios Athanasios with houses built in the traditional Macedonian style is a great choice. The Kaimaktsalan ski base offers all lovers of outdoor activities an unforgettable experience and a lot of positive emotions on the snowy mountain slopes.

Whether it’s skiing on the snow-capped slopes during the day and entertainment in local bars and clubs at night, or relaxing and leisurely walks in the fresh air amid delightful countryside, Arachova town will captivate your heart and give the best experience.

So, as Greece has something to offer for any taste the only thing left is to make a choice and book that flight!

Few photos from a rear Santorini snow days :) Happens once in 5 years.

Santorini Photographer Anna Sulte

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