Winter is the least-visited time of year in Greece, as many opt for warmer climates. While winter weather may be unreliable, it offers visitors the chance to explore a different side of Greece and accommodation is often much cheaper. The exception is in the mountains where snow sport enthusiasts can look forward to snow-covered slopes, some of which are as high as the famous Rockies or Alps.
The Weather in Greece in Winter
Lasting from December to February, winter is the coldest time of year in Greece but has varied climates in its different regions. Coastal areas, especially in the south, tend to be milder whilst inland and mountainous areas are much colder. The temperature in Greece in winter can range from 46 to 59°F on the coastline, but in the mountains, this can drop below freezing.
Fortunately, afternoons in Athens typically reach the mid- to upper-50s, though the mercury may climb as high as 65 on an especially nice day. This means you can still spend time exploring the legendary capital on a winter trip to Greece. Just ve sure to pack some layers and a warm coat for chillier days.
The Best Things to Do in Greece in Winter
While skiing here is relatively unknown to most outside of Europe, winter brings the opportunity to enjoy a weekend of skiing or snowboarding along with sightseeing in Athens and dining at seaside taverns, perhaps along the Athenian Riviera.
Head to Mount Parnassos, just two hours from Athens near Delphi, one of the country’s most important ancient archaeological sites, which features multiple lifts, runs, routes and trails for everyone from beginners to the experts, typically open from December through early May. The capital city can be particularly charming in the wintertime and it’s unlikely to be too chilly.
It’s the perfect time to enjoy food tours and climb Acropolis Hill – if a storm hits you can always duck into one of the world-famous museums. Of course, there will be plenty of enticing restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs to take advantage of as well.
Events in Greece in Winter
Visiting Greece in the winter not only allows you to avoid the crowds, but there are also a handful of wonderful events which make it a particularly festive time. While Christmas is widely celebrated, there are also some insightful cultural events which allow visitors to engage with locals in a more meaningful way.
One of the best times to visit Greece is around New Year’s Eve. Cities all over Greece celebrate the coming of the new year with fireworks and parties, which allows visitors to experience Greek nightlife outside of the peak tourist season. This is a great way to rub shoulders with the locals and take part in the thrilling atmosphere.
From February to March, Greece gears up for Carnival which is a prominent festival period. It is held during the lead-up to Lent and features vibrant parades, masquerade parties, music, dance and various cultural performances. Some notable destinations in Greece that have the best Carnival celebrations are Xanthi and Rethymno.