If you’re planning a trip away to Greece during winter, then you’ll enjoy the benefit of sparse crowds and lower prices – but that doesn’t mean that you need to compromise on the activities you’ll be doing, especially if you’re a couple.
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Why is Greece a good couple’s getaway?
There’s an enormous amount to see, explore, and do during your holiday in Greece. You might spend your trip lazing on the beach or getting involved in more high-octane sports out on the water. Even during winter, the weather is favorable for both activities.
There’s also considerable variation in the locations themselves. If you’re thinking of a romantic seacoast getaway, you might take a trip to Santorini. If it’s a trekking type of activity, the mountains of Pindus, Mount Olympus, or the mountains in Peloponnesus can be good options.
Winter in Greece
In Greece, winter is the low season. There are fewer tourists, almost empty beaches and tourist attractions, and usually lower prices.
But what is the weather like in Greece during the winter?
Greece is located in the subtropical geographical zone. Climate is humid in all seasons, including winter. Normally, temperatures are around 10-15°C, sometimes even above 20, but sometimes down to 0 and even below, depending on the location and elevation that you are located.
Usually, the weather is sunny and cool. But there is a typical climate condition called a Mediterranean cyclone. It normally forms in the Western Mediterranean Sea and comes in series. When these cyclones cross Greece, they usually bring a lot of cold rain and snow to the mountains.
And if they are combined with the cold Siberian anti-cyclone from the north, snow can fall even on the lowlands.
But again- it is rare. In general, most of the time, the weather in Greece is nice, sunny, and cool- perfect for exploring this amazingly beautiful country.
What to do and where to go
Given all of your options, you’ll have plenty to think about during your stay in this part of the world. It’s worth sitting down in advance, deciding on the kind of trip you’d like to have, and then planning it accordingly. In some cases, you might want to focus on one particular kind of activity; in others, you might look to enjoy a combination. But let’s get into detail.
Exploring the seacoast
At the Greek seacoast, winters are cool but not cold, and snowfalls are rare, especially in the south of the country. Sometimes air temperature can be enough high for a beach. But the problem is the water is too cool. Unless you are physically trained to enter cold water, it is not proper for swimming.
However, you can still enjoy the beauty of the Greek seacoast. Beaches in Greece are mostly small, many of them are stony, but there are some areas, mainly in the north, with long sandy beaches, like those of Keramoti, Paralia Maganon, Asprovalta, Ierissos, Agios Mamas, Katerini, and more.
And what is the best part of it? These beaches are (almost) empty! You can walk on the seacoast, hike on sand, rocks, and cliffs, along small pristine bays and promontories and enjoy the fantastic coastal landscapes alone.
Greece has more than 6000 (!) islands, islets, and reefs, most of them scattered in the Aegean Sea. Of them, only 227 are inhabited. Most of the islands are grouped in archipelagos: Argo-Saronic Islands, Dodecanese (including Rhodes and Patmos), Cyclades (including Santorini and Myconos), Sporades, and Northern Aegean Islands (including Thasos, Lesvos, and Samos. In the Ionian Sea, you can visit Kerkyra (Corfu), Zakynthos, and more. And the easternmost island of Greece is Kastellorizo, located just in front of the Turkish town of Kaş.
Most of these islands are reachable by ferry, and this is the most exciting way to explore them. You can start from Athens and jump from island to island, like making giant steps across the Aegean Sea. There are a lot of ferry routes that include at least 3-4 islands and more. Thus, your journey can combine floating with exploring the local nature, culture, and ancient history of these pieces of land.
Mountain hiking and trekking
This is a very different experience. In winter, you enter another world- a world of snow, and even alpine landscapes in the highest mountains of Greece.
The highest mountain in the country is Mount Olympus (2917 m)- the second highest in the Balkans. The hiking route to the top is challenging even in summer, and in winter is a serious adventure that requires good experience and winter hiking equipment.
Other high mountains with alpine landscapes are Smolikas (2637 m) in Pindus, Kaimaktsalan (2524 m) at the border with North Macedonia, Ida (2456 m) on Crete Island, and many others. Even the lower mountains between 1200 and 2000 m altitude are covered by snow, sometimes almost 2 m deep. But again, with good winter hiking gear, you can enjoy some great snowy adventures. I would recommend the mountain range of Rhodopes near the border with Bulgaria, where you can find the best coniferous forests in Greece.
Finally, you can enjoy the winter mountains in Greece just by skiing. The best ski resorts in the country are Parnassos, Falakro, Chelmos-Kalavrita, and Elatochori-Katerini. And all of them are located in places where you can combine skiing with hiking.
Greece is famous for its history. It has more than 4000 years of history, and the earliest historical periods have contributed a lot to Western civilization. The ancient Greek myths, the classical philosophers and scientists, the Greek democracy, and the ancient Greek arts are popular throughout the whole world. And needless to say, there are a lot of historical remains to explore.
The most famous historical site in Greece is the Acropolis in Athens. But there are a lot more- the ruins of Corinth, Delphi, Philippi, the Agoras, and ancient theatres of many other Greek cities- all of them are full of secrets, bringing you far back in time.
And again, do you know what is best for these sites in winter? While in summer the ruins are full of tourists under the hot burning sun, in winter they are almost empty and the weather is pleasant.
But there is something important- don’t just wander on ruins. First, get more historical information from books and the internet. Second, include visiting archaeological and historical museums. And finally- don’t focus only on ancient Greek history, don’t skip the later history from Medieval, Ottoman, and modern times to get a full image of the country’s timeline!
More activities in Greece during winter
While the activities described above are essential for couples who love geography and adventures, you can also include something more, to enrich your stay in this unique country.
Kayaking as a couple
If you’re naturally an early risers, then kayaking is an excellent way to explore what the coastline has to offer. This provides the benefit of time on the water, and just a little bit of physical activity, too. If you aren’t experienced kayakers, you’ll need some professional guidance – make sure that you investigate your options in advance, here – whilst the demand for instruction is lower during the winter, so too is the supply.
Eating like a local
Greek cuisine is enjoyed throughout the world. But the kebabs you might have had from your local takeaway might not do the nation justice. If you’re going to be in Greece, and you enjoy quality food, then you owe it to yourself to track down quality Greek food.
Do your research ahead of time, identify the best-rated restaurants in the area, and book your tables. You don’t have to spend a huge amount to enjoy the best authentic local cuisine.
Want to sample the local culture? There are few better ways than with the help of a festival or two. There are some great ones on offer during winter. If you’re there over Christmas, you might stick around for the uniquely Greek take on the Epiphany. If you’re in Kastoria, you’ll find that this kick-starts a three-day festival called Ragoutsaria, which features dancing, singing, and parties that culminate in the center of the city.
Finally- you can combine all of these activities in a colorful winter journey, in the low season, when Greece becomes an off-the-beaten-path country. Everywhere in the world, every season has its own unique beauty. It can be a “low season” for many tourists, but for those who want to taste everything from a country, every season is great. So, discover winter Greece and enjoy its best!
Take a look at this video for more impressions from Greece in the winter:
Check some travel books about Greece:
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Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.