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I am sure you hadn't even considered this possibility. If you think Greece is just a summer destination, let me show you another aspect of this beautiful country. Surprise your friends and try something new. Greece has a lot more to propose than a summer cliche and Christmas time is best time to travel Greece and discover that it is also the perfect winter holiday destination.

Actually, Greece has it all and you can organize any type of winter break you wish. If skiing is a must for you, did you know that more than 25 very good ski-resorts are waiting for you? Their assets? There are much cheaper than the overcrowded ski-resorts you will find in France or Italy, all have breathtaking views, some of them to the Aegean sea.

Christmas Holiday: Greece In The Winter

1. Places to Visit near Delphi


About 180 kilometers northwest of Athens is another of the traveling destinations par excellence of the Hellenic territory, Delphi, the mythical archaeological site dedicated to Apollo. It is a small town on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, and next to the Gulf of Corinth, with a great history behind it.

For many centuries Delphi represented the spiritual and religious center of ancient Greece, which the Greek mythology identified as the Center of the World and which was the famous Oracle of Delphi. According to Greek mythology, Zeus released two eagles from the ends of the universe so that, wherever they crossed their flight, they showed the center of the world.

It was during the 8th and 7th centuries BC when its sanctuary began to take shape with the construction of the first temples dedicated to the cult of Apollo and Athena.

Christmas Holiday: Greece In The Winter

2. Places to Visit near Mount Parnassos


There are places like Mount Parnassos, Kalavrita in the Peloponnese mountains, Karpenisi in the Pindus Mountains, Mount Olympos, Mount Pelion. Enjoy about 200 kilometers of slopes for all levels. Arachova is one of the most cosmopolitan destinations and popular with Athenians to spend a weekend during the winter months. There is located the Parnassos ski resort, the largest in Greece.

Where can you ski in the morning, have lunch along the shore, visit an archaeological site in the afternoon, party in a trendy bar in the evening and sleep in a boutique hotel in a picturesque village all in the same day? The answer is Mount Parnassos. Its stunning views to the Gulf of Corinth and to the Gulf of Euboea make it one of the most spectacular mountains in Greece and it is very close to Delphi.

Mount Parnassos has many attractive points. It is located near Athens (about 2 hour drive) and therefore, easily reachable. It ranks among the highest mountains in Greece with an altitude of 2260 meters. In my opinion, Mount Parnassos has another great asset. It is only 24 km from Arachova, a picturesque cosmopolitan village clung to the mountain.

Its steep narrow cobblestone streets, its grey stone houses with their red tile roof, its dozens of steps leading to spectacular views, but also its trendy bars, its traditional restaurants, and its boutique hotels make it the place to be for an exciting after-ski or even non-ski life!

The Parnassos Ski Center, located on the peaks of Kelaria (1750m), Fterolakas (1950m) and Gerondovrachos, operates from December until the beginning of May. It is probably the biggest and best-organized ski-resort in the country with nineteen runs, named after Greek Gods like Hermes or Aphrodite.

With a total of 36km, there are seven ski routes, ten trails and three mini beginner runs, two cafe-chalets and a restaurant, ski and snowboard schools, stores for ski and snowboard equipment rental and a playground for children. Who could ask for more to fully enjoy a ski holiday in the country of Gods!

Here some other ski resorts are Tymfristos in the Karpenissi area, Helmos in the town of Kalavrita, Mainalos in Vytina, Peloponnese, Vasilitsa in Grevena and Kaimaktsalan in Edessa.

Christmas Holiday: Greece Winter

3. Places to Visit near Meteora


Very close to Arachova is its prized archaeological site that can be visited from Arachova to Kalambaka and the Meteora Monasteries with its colossal rocks and monasteries that seem to be suspended in the air over the Meteora valley, in the region of Thessaly.

Meteora is a set of sandstone boulders formed under the sea 30 million years ago. These fascinating sculptures formed throughout history were discovered when the sea level dropped. The nearest towns where you can stay are Kastraki and Kalambaka.

And then, I could not miss Game of Thrones. Once again, after Northern Ireland and Girona, we saw a location of the famous series. Meteora appears in the landscape that Tyrion Lannister sees from his cell in the prison in the Eagles Nest, in the first season. Actually, it is a digital reproduction of Meteora's landscape, since they were not allowed to record there.

4. Places to Visit near Crete


Crete is the largest Greek island. Full of legend and mythology is the land of the Minotaur, the land of Zeus and its beauty is incomparable. Halfway between Asia, Africa and Europe is the cradle of European civilization. The people of Crete will tell you that it is cold, but you will always find it to be above 15 degrees in winter, it will be quite pleasant.

And there is so much to see on the island that you would never be able to discover in the summer because of the heat and the tourists! You will be in the cradle of Ancient Greece, so you will get sick of seeing museums, temples and ruins, which you can combine with hiking or cycling routes through the beautiful and green hills of the island.

The blue of its waters contrasts with the white of its mountains. The sun is the best of its claims but the possibilities that the island offers the traveler are endless. Do not forget to visit the Balos beach, considered the most beautiful in the country, or the Samariá Gorge, the largest in Europe.

It has a length of 16 kilometers and an altitude of 1200 meters and can be visited from mid-April to the end of October, it will delight lovers of nature and hiking. You can find around 10 archaeological sites in Crete, the most famous being Knossos in Heraklion, the capital.

You can visit the Venetian fortress that is preserved in perfect condition and protects the entrance to the port, the medieval Agia Ekaterini Church, which displays a large collection of icons, the archaeological museum in Eleftheria Square, the center of the city that houses pottery, miniatures, jewels and frescoes of the Minoan culture, the Historical Museum, to the west of the port, where you can admire the view of Mount Sinai.

The province of Rethymnon, situated between the area of ​​Chania and Heraklion, is bathed, to the north by the Cretan sea and to the south by the Libyan sea. The small town of Rethymno keeps much of its Venetian, Byzantine and Ottoman past on the one hand through its small Venetian port and on the other hand visiting the multitude of small Byzantine churches there.

And of course, do not stop tasting their food, for something it is said that Cretan cuisine is the kitchen of the gods. You can taste the virgin olive oil and the Cretan wine of Manoliopulo and Kissamos, in Xamoudochori, Omalos and Sfakia, enjoy the local liquor Tsikoudia, taste the aromatic honey and traditional Xirotigana breads from Sirili or walk through the picturesque chapels and stop to rest in the cool Dere.

Chania occupies the western end of Crete and is the second largest city of Crete. At the western end, next to one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete are the extraordinary ruins of ancient Phalasarna. It is safe behind the strong Hellenistic walls and has a protected harbor that transformed it into one of the largest naval forces and a city of corsairs of Crete.

You can make the excursion to the beginning of the Samaria gorge. You will reach the picturesque village of Omalos and visit the lake Agia, Alikianos and from there you can explore the beginning of the Samaria gorge.

5. Places to Visit near Corfu


Corfu is one of the most beautiful islands and the second largest in the archipelago of the Ionian Islands, at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea off Albania. It is the second largest island of the Ionian group after Kefalonia. If you travel to Corfu in winter, it is best to bring a coat or thick jacket, a raincoat or umbrella, lip protection and shoes with non-slip soles.

The Greeks know her as Kerkyra and her name is related to the Greek legend that when the god Poseidon fell in love with Korkyra. He abducted her and took her to the island, baptizing her with her name. The island is mountainous and in the northern center rises Mount Pantocrator, the highest mountain in Corfu.

The island is rich in history as it participated in conflicts between Athens and Sparta and was under the control of Venetians, Ottomans, French and English. It was the latter who left Corfu its architectural heritage which can be seen in its monuments and buildings. The island was the target of battles and conquests which led to the construction of the fortresses that surround Corfu, making it the only fortified city in Greece.

Corfu is characterized by its exuberant vegetation and beautiful beaches bathed by the Ionian Sea giving it the nickname of Emerald Island. Corfu was the first island to open its doors to tourism offering important sites such as the Basilica of Paleopolis, one of the most important Byzantine monuments, as well as the church of Agios Spyridonas which is one of the best known on the island.

Spianada is a French-style square cataloged as one of the largest in Greece where you can see Liston, a building built during the French occupation which houses the best known restaurants and cafes. In this square you can also visit the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, known as Palaia Anaktora, dating from the time of the British occupation.

Corfu has narrow streets, squares, shopping streets, Venetian fortresses and museums such as the Archaeological Museum and the Asian Art Museum, among others. For these historical attractions, Corfu was declared in 2007 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The cuisine of Corfu is very famous for the numerous and tasty dishes it offers, excellent combination of Greek cuisine and Venetian cuisine. Sample of it are: Strapatsada scrambled with tomato, butter and a little brandy. It is served hot. Sofrito is a venetian dish of beef with a sauce of garlic, salt, pepper, white wine and vinegar.

Pastitsada is the most famous dish on the island. It comes from the Venetian Spezzatino. Kumquat is the fruit of a Japanese tree similar to lemon and is very popular in Corfu.
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Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author