Majestic Greece is famous not only for its wide beaches and gentle sea, but also for the fact that it remains interesting to visit even after the end of the summer season. In the winter season, tourists come to Hellas to get in touch with the fascinating history and extraordinary culture of the country and its inhabitants, visit local attractions and get aesthetic pleasure from architectural monuments.
Benefits of visiting Greece on New Year's Eve
Winter in Greece, although warm in the Mediterranean, is still not conducive to a beach holiday. In December, it is often rainy and windy, and the air temperature at night can drop to 2°C in some regions. You can’t swim in the sea, but for a city tour it’s an ideal option!
Traditional winter lovers can enjoy the snow and outdoor activities with skiing and snowboarding in the high plains and mountainous areas where the harsh alpine climate prevails. The most famous ski resort is Parnassus in the central part of the country. On one of its slopes are Delphi with the temple of Apollo. According to legend, it was here that the center of the whole world was located. To get acquainted with the remains of the ancient city and excavations is available to everyone.
On Mount Parnassus, you can ski on 20 different slopes, climb on 14 lifts. It is located at a distance of 180 km from Athens. The cost of resort entertainment for one day is from 20 euros for adults.
The second ski center of the country is considered to be Seli on Mount Vermio. Cross-country skiers will find trails of varying difficulty. The total length of roads is 22 km. There are 8 lifts, 3 of them are designed for children. A card for 1 day will cost from 10 euros and equipment rental from 15 euros. The distance to the resort from Macedonia airport is 96 km.
For beginners, the ski resort of Elatohori, located on Mount Olympus, is perfect. Here you'll find a long green slope surrounded by snow-covered fir trees. There are also a couple of blue slopes and cosy cafes. It's about an hour and a half drive from Thessaloniki.
In Thessaloniki in December, the temperature can vary from +2°С to +12°С with a small chance of snow, though it is a rare thing. In Athens, it is much warmer, but here could be raining. Days please with warmth up to +14°C, at night the temperature does not fall below +6°C.
In addition to the comfortable temperature conducive to walks, in winter you will not meet crowds of tourists on the streets, which makes it much easier to access the city's attractions. In addition, the prices for all tourist services, accommodation and transfers are much lower.
What to do in Greece in December?
In December, preparations for the Christmas holidays begin in the cities of the country. A series of festive events starts on the Day of St. Nicholas, which the Greeks celebrate on December 6th. Each city in Greece has its own traditions of celebration. For example, in Thessaloniki, a Christmas themed amusement park for families with children opens on this day. The main holiday for the Greeks is Christmas, which is celebrated here on January 25th. Interestingly, Orthodox holidays here are celebrated according to a different church calendar, which is why Christmas is celebrated 2 weeks earlier than in our country. Orthodox Greece celebrates the New Year, like everyone else, on December 31st. This holiday is celebrated in noisy and cheerful companies, walking along the evening streets under the volleys of colorful salutes and fireworks. As for taverns and restaurants, not all establishments are open that night, so you should check in advance if you want to celebrate the holiday at the table. However, bars and clubs are open and invite you to celebrate the New Year.
New Year's fairs, festivals of traditional festive cuisine, bright illumination of the streets, shop windows - all this gives an incredible atmosphere of joy and fun, which will remain in the memory of the country's guests for a long time.
Winter activities and excursions in Greece
In winter, it is best to visit the south of the country with thematic excursions, where the weather is more favorable for this. You should definitely visit:
- Meteora - the monastery complex. It is placed on the rocks, therefore it was called soaring in the sky. Previously, 24 monasteries functioned, today there are only 4 male and 2 female monasteries. Each of them contains the values of the Greek region, ancient manuscripts and unique icons. The monks hospitably talk about their life and help to enrich themselves spiritually. There are monasteries near the villages of Kastraki and Kalambaka.
- Legendary Sparta. Today it is possible to see the remains of the sanctuary of Artemis, the ruins of the Acropolis and the Temple of Athena. You can stay here absolutely free. Sparta is located in the southern part of the Peloponnese, 153 kilometers from Athens, 49 kilometers from Tripolis. You can get here in 45 minutes by bus that runs from Tripolis.
- Athenian Acropolis. This building is the hallmark of the capital. The main temple of the Parthenon was famous for the huge statue of the goddess Athena. The legendary Eicheron with statues of six beauties fascinates. Unfortunately, only a part of the buildings have survived to this day. The attraction is open in December until 15:00. The cost of visiting is 20 euros. Attention, the 25th and 26th is a day off there.
Hydrothermal springs, which are located 80 kilometers from the capital in Loutraki, are very popular among tourists who prefer winter holidays. A large spa complex provides an opportunity to improve your health, drink water saturated with minerals and other beneficial substances.
Thermae are generally popular with Greeks for winter vacations. Read about the main locations in our article Thermal Springs in Greece.