December. The most wonderful time of the year. The month of the holiday season, of the Christmas vacations and memorable winter getaways.
But if you are one of those people who leave decisions to the last minute, then allow us to give you a few ideas and suggestions for winter destinations over Christmas and the New Year.
So fill your suitcase with warm clothes, gather up your friends and choose one of our 10 own favorite winter destinations which can put the “X” factor into Xmas!
Shall we begin?
Whether you love skiing or relaxing with a mug of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace, Arahova is a good choice because it combines both. Enjoy the thrills and spills of the slopes by day, sit down to eat at one of the many traditional restaurants in the late afternoon and enjoy a drink in one of the many thronging bars in the evening. Arachova guarantees a magical Christmas every year!
If there is one place where the emerald greens of nature blend so harmoniously with gleaming white snow, it is none other than Elati. Fir trees, meadows dusted icing-sugar whiter, the ski resort of Pertouli and warm Herbal infusions make up the perfect setting for your winter holiday. And for the more adventurous of the group, the Red Rock awaits for a climbing adventure that definitely puts the adrenaline in the red zone!
If you have more than four days on your hands then Zagorohoria is the perfect destination for you. 46 villages with well-preserved architecture, unique natural scenery and hospitable people waiting to get acquainted. Stone mansions, cobbled streets, the Christmas atmosphere and enticing aromas wafting from every tavern provide the ideal setting for walks just as nature intended. Our own favourite Zagorohoria: Vikos, Dilofo Grammeno, Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Aristi and Monodendri. If you like walking, the gorge of Vikos is definitely something you should not miss!
Ioannina and its lake is a classic and popular destination at any time of the year. However, in winter the area takes on an, even more, atmospheric and festive aura. The beautiful lake invites the visitor to delve into secrets, some of which are millions of years old! Meanwhile, the Castle, the citadel of Kale, the Byzantine monasteries and museums will have history buffs purring with delight. The area is ideal for walks or hikes in its natural parkland, followed by hot chocolate or rakomelo in the lakeside cafes and bars.
Kalavryta, In the Peloponnese, is a winter destination ideal for your festive holiday. The perfect combination of nature, history and winter sports! A ride on the famous rack-and-pinion railway, hiking through the gorge of Vouraikos, a visit to the Monastery of Agia Lavra, delicious food in the traditional taverns and of course skiing on the slopes of Helmos are just some of the highlights in and around this historic town.
If your idea of a winter holiday is crisp air, clear skies, happy mood, delicious food, great company and beautiful views, then Kastoria is your destination! Wander around the city center, especially Doltso and Apozari, the most princely of neighbourhoods. Take a lakeside walk by the shores of Orestiada, which is surrounded by the imposing mountains of Macedonia, Grammos and Vitsi. And when all that has taken your breath away, sit down to eat in one of the many traditional taverns where ouzo is generously supplied with every order.
After Mount Athos, it is the largest and most important monastic centre in the heart of Thessaly. Built atop the magnificent natural rock formations, the Meteora monasteries are both awe-inspiring and alluring. Choose to stay in the beautiful village of Kastraki in the imposing shade of these towering monoliths and organize day trips to Trikala and the surrounding area. In the evening, take a trip into Kalambaka for tasty food and drinks at one of the many restaurants and bars.
Traditional and beautiful Metsovo enchants its visitors at Christmas with the beauty of its snowcapped mountains and authentic atmosphere. It stretches out across the mountain side with its tiled roofs and wooden porches amongst beech and fir trees. A walk around the big plane tree of the central square with the remarkable sculpture of the two bears is a must! Naturally, do not forget to try … Metsovone, the local cheese of the region.
With beautiful Nafpaktos as your springboard organize one or two-day road trips to Mountainous Nafpaktia, one of the most fascinating mountain destinations in Greece. Through a magical journey amidst oak, fir, beech and chestnut trees you will discover the traditional villages of the area and will be charmed by the beauty and the local dishes. Elatou, Ano Hora, the most touristically developed village in the region, Ampelakiotissa with the monastery by the same name, and Platanos are just some of our favorites.
Pelion is attractive all year round but at Christmas it is captivating. Dressed in white, it is ideal for walks in the picturesque villages with traditional taverns, blazing log fires and delicious local dishes based on original Greek recipes all made with local meats and vegetables from the gardens and orchards of the region.