Winter In Greece Guide – What To Do & Weather

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Written by our local expert Guru

Written by a local specialist we know and trust to bring you the most up-to-date travel information.

Written by Marco Santos from Travel Boo and updated by the Chasing the Donkey team.

Are you heading to Greece this winter? You’re in for a real treat! Winter in Greece is all about cool experiences without the crowds (unlike in the summer months). In winter, you’ll be wandering around ancient ruins and world-famous archaeological sites, and guess what? You’ve got them almost all to yourself.

The weather’s a mixed bag – sure, there might be some gray skies, but don’t be surprised to find plenty of sunny days, especially around the Aegean Sea. If you’re into skiing, the resorts are top-notch. And let’s talk about the villages – they’re straight out of a postcard with their traditional architecture, even more charming in the winter light.

So, whether you’re up for outdoor adventures or want to soak in some history and culture, a winter vacation in Greece is the perfect time to explore with fewer crowds.

Greece Travel Blog_Guide On Things To Do In Winter In Greece

When most people think of Greece, they immediately envisage crystal-clear turquoise waters reflecting off white-washed Greek buildings, gorgeous sandy beaches, and fabulous Greek cuisine. It is no wonder that Greece is often considered a ‘summer-time’ holiday destination.

But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. For a country so rich in history and culture, Greece should not be dismissed when considering a European winter getaway.

As such, I’ve put together this guide on what you can do in Greece in winter to inspire you to visit this beautiful country, even in the colder winter months!

Is Greece Worth Visiting In Winter?

Greece With KIds - What to do in Greece with kids - Athens - Parthenon, Akropolis

So, when is winter in Greece? The months of December through February make up the winter season in Greece.

Winter in Greece is certainly not the country’s popular season – that award goes to July and August. 

Visiting Greece in winter, you will find that the beaches are quiet, the islands are a little deserted, and the weather is undoubtedly chillier. But that doesn’t make it a wrong time to visit. In fact, in many ways, winter is the best time to experience this ancient nation’s culture, history, and versatility.

With many incredible attractions and destinations, Greece has much to offer the winter traveler. Fewer tourists mean shorter queues to get into major attractions, less crowded restaurants, and better pricing and travel deals to take advantage of.

Whatever kind of vacation you’re looking for, a Greece winter is a brilliant time to visit.

Greece Winter Weather

How To Visit The Greek Islands From Turkey In One Day - Rhodes, Lindos bay

You may be wondering if it gets cold in Greece. Compared to most European countries, the weather in Greece has mild winters and is pleasant. So, a trip to southern Greece is the perfect option if you want to spend a week away from the biting cold.

If milder temperatures are what you’re after, southern Greece is not only mild but frequently quite warm in the winter. You’ll definitely want to pack a pair of shorts for the sunniest days. In January or February, Greece does not offer laze-on-the-beach weather. Still, it is a great time to explore the country’s many ancient sites without dripping with sweat and being surrounded by other over-enthusiastic tourists.

Winter is Greece’s rainy season, so pack a rain jacket and some sturdy waterproof shoes, particularly if you plan hiking. The northern and mountainous regions are a good deal colder than the southern lowlands. If you’re keen on snowy peaks, January and February are the coldest months. And if you head to the mountains, you’ll likely find snow there.

We’ve dedicated a whole post on what to pack for Greece travel for those seeking more inspiration.

Greece In December – What Is A Greek Christmas Like?

Wondering if you should spend your Christmas in Greece? For anyone interested in cultural traditions and incredible cuisine, you can’t go wrong with this decision.

Listen to Greek Christmas carols. Admire the decorations, including lit-up boats celebrating a Greek Saint Basil and jolly older men representing another saint that’s undoubtedly not Santa. And enjoy the merry local traditions of whichever city or village you’re in.

How is the weather in Greece in December? As mentioned above, December weather in Greece can be surprisingly mild. Although the mountains may have snow and cold weather, southern Greece and the Greek islands boast pretty comfy weather. Visiting Athens in December, Crete in winter, or Paros in winter are all excellent choices for a warmer Christmas holiday.

Winter In Greece Temps

For a general idea of what temperatures to expect, the average temperatures in December range between a high of 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit) and a low of 6 degrees Celsius (43 Fahrenheit). Again, however, the average weather in Greece in December varies drastically between the inland mountainous region and the coasts and islands.

Region Winter (Dec – Feb) Spring (Mar – May) Summer (Jun – Aug) Autumn (Sep – Nov)
Mainland (Athens) 8°C / 46.4°F – 13°C / 55.4°F 15°C / 59°F – 20°C / 68°F 28°C / 82.4°F – 33°C / 91.4°F 17°C / 62.6°F – 22°C / 71.6°F
Crete 10°C / 50°F – 15°C / 59°F 15°C / 59°F – 20°C / 68°F 25°C / 77°F – 30°C / 86°F 18°C / 64.4°F – 23°C / 73.4°F
Greek Islands (Santorini) 11°C / 51.8°F – 14°C / 57.2°F 16°C / 60.8°F – 19°C / 66.2°F 26°C / 78.8°F – 29°C / 84.2°F 19°C / 66.2°F – 22°C / 71.6°F
Northern Greece (Thessaloniki) 5°C / 41°F – 10°C / 50°F 12°C / 53.6°F – 17°C / 62.6°F 25°C / 77°F – 30°C / 86°F 15°C / 59°F – 20°C / 68°F

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Best Things To Do In Greece In Winter

Winter in Greece - Small town Oia on Santorini

There is so much to enjoy during a Greek winter. In winter, the colder (relatively speaking) Greek weather has some unique attractions and activities, making it an excellent time to explore.

These are our top picks for what to do in Greece in winter.

1. Go Museum-Hopping In Athens

Christmas in Greece - Sintagma Square

There are some incredible things to do in Athens, but the famous ancient city’s top draws are the historic sites and the world-class museums. The best thing about visiting Greece in the winter is that the small crowds make museum-hopping so much easier and more enjoyable.

Two of the best museums in Athens are the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. Both showcase phenomenal historical artifacts from up to eight thousand years ago! If you’ve ever seen ancient Greek art in your history textbooks, chances are you’ll find it here.

The Byzantine and Christian Museum and Benaki Museum are two other fantastic options for those spending more than a weekend in Athens. You’ll learn so much about Greek history and culture and see some mind-boggling things, too. All with hardly anyone around you, which museum lovers will confirm, really elevates the experience.


2. Go Skiing In Arachova

Greece may not be well-known for its skiing, but the Hellenic country has some great options. The mountain town of Arachova is close to Mount Parnassos, which has some excellent ski slopes for all skill levels.

While we don’t recommend choosing Greece over the more famous destinations for a ski holiday, it is lovely to add to your Greek winter vacation. Not only can you ski here, but Arachova also offers world-class resorts and spas, fantastic nightlife, and some genuinely once-in-a-lifetime views.

3. See Meteora In Snow

Winter in Greece - View of the mountains and monasteries of Meteora

If you’re visiting Greece in January or February, you have a chance of spotting Meteora surrounded by snow. This one-of-a-kind monastery is magical in all conditions. The snow adds another layer to the beauty.

Throughout winter, snow or none, Meteora is a brilliant destination. The monastery complex is built on six natural pillars and massive boulders, making for a unique destination. The surrounding landscape is lush and green in winter, benefitting from the seasonal rains and significantly reduced crowds.

The structures were initially built so the monks could live in isolation, far from civilization and nearly inaccessible to outsiders. Today, the monastery is one of the best places to visit in Greece in November, December, January, and throughout the entire year really.

4. Explore Mount Pelion From Volos

Base yourself in the magnificent city of Volos, only 27 kilometers from one of Greece’s most famous ski centers: Mount Pelion (1500 m). Probably among the most stunning landscapes in Greece, Mount Pelion Ski Center is a year-round destination that you can also visit, even if skiing is not one of your interests.

As a matter of fact, besides forests, you will find spectacular beaches, quaint mountain villages, and — of course — the renowned Mount Pelion.

The ski center features five ski slopes, four lifts, and a chalet with restaurants, cafes, and accommodations. There is also a ski and snowboard school.

In the nearby area, visitors can explore the magnificent city of Volos, which is only 27 kilometers from the ski resort.

5. Get Off The Beaten Path In Zagorochoria

An inspiring region about a 5-hour drive from Athens, the area is an outstanding winter destination featuring the most incredibly gorgeous mountain villages you could ever imagine.

Located in the region of Epirus, on the northwestern side of Greece, the local villages boast picture-perfect stone houses with grey-tiled roofs on charming narrow alleys.

Still somewhat virgin to international tourism, Zagorochoria can quickly become your favorite European winter destination if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track place to discover.

6. Go To The Christmas Markets Of Thessaloniki

Christmas In Thessaloniki - Aristotelous Square

Located in northern Greece, about a five-hour drive from Athens, this important city is a great winter destination and the best place in the country to explore its Christmas markets and other events related to the merry season. 

As is the tradition in Christmas Markets, you will find an assortment of Christmas trinkets and souvenirs, tree decorations, lights, and delicious treats — do not forget that Thessaloniki has the reputation of being the city that produces the best sweets and desserts in the country!

7. Take A Hiking Trip Through The Wild Mountain Landscapes

The mainland of Greece is covered with mountainous hiking trails. Most are not for the faint of heart and can take days or even weeks to complete. They’ll be some of the most memorable days of your life, but you do need to have quite a high fitness level.

Hike along a scenic riverside path on the Samaria Gorge Trail, which takes you through Byzantine ruins and spectacular nature. Or find one of the many trails on beautiful Mount Athos.

For those keen on a multi-day hike, the seventy-five-kilometer Menalon trail will take you through the heart of the Peloponnese. Explore charming mountain villages, deep canyons, and striking mountains. It should take you around three days to complete, with time to stop and enjoy your surroundings.

8. Head To Nymfaio, The Capital Of Silversmithing


Regarding mountain villages, you should include Nymfaio in your itinerary. The village, famed for its silversmithing industry and local warriors, is a pretty town in Western Macedonia with a rich history. Founded by Vlach travelers in the 14th century, Nymfaio quickly became known for its skillful smiths.

The town of Nymfaio features many museums where visitors can see religious silverware, jewelry, and gold artifacts made by the town’s master artisans. Besides its cultural riches, Nymfaio has a wealth of architectural and natural beauty. Visitors can bask in the picturesque scenery from the village’s old houses or wander through the scenic streets.

There is also an environmental protection center run by the Greek ecological organization Environmental Centre ARCTUROS; at the center, visitors can see rescued bears and wolves that are too weak to survive by themselves.

9. Taste Greece’s Unique Winter Cuisine

Christmas in Greece - Homemade Hot Pork Tenderloin

Greece is particularly well-known for its summer foods. Greek salads, light meals, and rich yogurts with berries are all country staples. But the food goes through a substantial shift when the weather gets chilly.

Expect meatball and bean soups, hearty stews, stuffed cabbage leaves, and oven roasts. Greek winter food is healthy and delicious, guaranteed to warm you up and keep your energy high.

If you’re visiting Greece in December, try traditional Christmas treats like spinach, cheese pies, and roast pork. Of course, Greek coffee with a slice of baklava is the perfect way to end any summer or winter meal. But its rich flavor is best suited to winter.

10. Swim In Thermal Lake Vouliagmeni

Lake Vouliagmeni is just outside of Athens, making for a great day trip from the city. It’s a beautiful, brackish lake with pleasant temperatures at any time of year. The minerals in the large lake include potassium, ammonium, calcium, and iodine. Together, the water’s minerals relieve several health issues, including bone and muscle stresses, eczema, and arthritis.

The lake also has a happy doctor fish population, which provides natural (and ticklish) exfoliation. The spa facilities also include sunbeds, a restaurant, and nearby accommodation options.

11. Visit The Greek Islands

Ideas For Things To Do In Corfu In Winter For Everyone - Paleokastrisa Resoirt
Paleokastritsa Resort

Modern Greece is most well-known for its gorgeous Greek islands. People come in droves to laze on the beaches, explore wild paradises, and enjoy the laid-back island vibe.

Winter on the Greek Isles is slightly different and may not be your obvious choice, but it should be considered nonetheless. The local population settles back into everyday daily life, and the tourism industry hunkers down till the subsequent summer season. You may find this to be your favorite time to visit the islands.

Get to know the locals, play backgammon, and embrace the late-night cafe culture. Explore the islands, hike, and cycle across the green landscapes. Winter is also when you’ll have some of the best cultural experiences, including live performances and art shows.

If you’re unsure about the weather on the Greek island in December or January, rest assured you’ll be able to enjoy many comfy and sunny days. Although obviously much less warm than summer, winter allows for outdoor activities like sunbathing, which would be drenched in sweat in summer.

Corfu is one of the best options for a Greek winter escape, with a “vibrant local tradition, a beautiful Old Town, and lots to keep you busy. Crete and Lesvos are also terrific options, with mountain villages you can hike between and frequently mild winter weather. Another option that becomes more budget-friendly in the winter is Santorini.

Tip: Do note that most ferry operators and flights connecting the mainland to the Greek Isles operate on a much more reduced schedule during these off-peak winter months. Be sure to plan and book in advance to avoid running into any schedule issues.


12. Wander The Snowy Streets Of Ioannina

This charming city is the perfect combination – with cobblestone streets, snow-capped mountain peaks, and a serene lake, making for a picturesque winter escape. 

From taverns and museums to the city’s famed castle and stunning views, this lovely city has so much to offer.

Don’t forget to take a boat ride across Lake Pamvotis to take in the scenery.

13. Explore Kastoria’s Historical Buildings

Most Beautiful Cities in Greece - Cityscape of Kastoria

Another Greek winter gem, Kastoria, is a crucial mountain settlement close to the Albanian border in West Macedonia. Perched on Lake Orestiada, Kastoria boasts a unique historical collection of ancient Byzantine and Ottoman mansions and buildings with characteristic wooden balconies and over fifty awe-inspiring ancient Byzantine churches, everything surrounded by the impressive mountainous landscapes of the Macedonia region. With a dusting of snow, these buildings become enchanting.

Kastoria is also known for the old stone bridges characteristic of the local architecture; the best known is the arched Bridge of Zouzouli, dating back to 1880. The bridge is about 7 meters high and was built over the waters of a stream carrying the same name.

14. Enjoy Winter Sports In Karpenisi

The city of Karpenisi is located in the valley of the river Karpenisiotis in the southern part of the Pindus Mountains.

This enchanting small town is surrounded by the mountains of Kaliakouda, Helidona, and Timfristos, and it has often been dubbed the small Switzerland of Greece.

The place is a popular tourist destination during the winter months and is a favorite of locals at Christmas. Yet, its incredible pine tree forests and rugged landscape make it a fantastic destination all year round for those fond of the outdoors.

15. Take In The Alpine Atmosphere Of Metsovo

Metsovo, Greece in winter - pretty cities in Greece

Surrounded by the imposing Pindus mountain range and at about 1200 meters above sea level, Metsovo is not only a beautiful Greek city but also one of the most popular winter destinations in the country. Popular for its gorgeous buildings made of stone, including mansions, monasteries, bridges, cobbled streets, and squares.

The town has managed to preserve its traditional character, remaining home to old traditions. The city offers many cultural events and sports opportunities, as well as cozy tavernas and streets filled with the smells of roasting chestnuts all winter.

Greece In Winter FAQs

What are the best places to visit in Greece during winter?

Greece offers a great winter experience with mild weather and fewer tourists. Some of the best places to visit include larger islands like Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Santorini, as well as historical sites in the mainland such as Athens and Thessaloniki.

Are there any ski resorts in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece has excellent ski resorts, such as Mount Parnassus near Athens, Arachova, and Mount Olympus. These resorts provide a perfect place for skiing enthusiasts and offer breathtaking views.

Is winter a good time to visit the Ionian Islands?

While the Ionian Islands may experience occasional rain during winter, they still offer a great place to visit. You can explore beautiful beaches, coastal areas, and picturesque villages with fewer tourists.

What is the weather like in Greece during winter?

In winter, Greece experiences mild and sunny weather, especially in the southern regions. While the coldest month of the year varies, the average temperature in mainland Greece during winter is around 13°C.

Are there any small villages worth visiting in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece is known for its quaint villages with narrow streets and traditional charm. Places like Arachova in central Greece and Oia in Santorini are just a few examples of picturesque villages worth exploring.

What are some travel tips for visiting Greece in winter?

When traveling to Greece in winter, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast and plan your activities accordingly. Hotel rates are generally lower during this time, making it an ideal place for budget travelers. Be sure to try the local Greek cuisine and immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of the country.

Can you recommend any other larger islands to explore in winter?

Apart from Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, and Santorini, you can also consider visiting the larger islands of Kos, Mykonos, and Zakynthos. These islands offer a variety of attractions, beautiful landscapes, and cultural experiences.

What is the weather like in northern regions of Greece during winter?

The northern regions of Greece can be colder and experience more frequent rainfall during winter. However, if you don’t mind the occasional rain, you can still enjoy the beauty of the area, as it offers unique cultural attractions and stunning natural landscapes.

Are there beautiful beaches to explore during winter in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece boasts a multitude of beautiful beaches along its coastline. While swimming might not be suitable due to cooler temperatures, you can still enjoy long walks, beachcombing, and the sheer beauty of these coastal areas.

How are the hotel rates during winter in Greece?

Hotel prices are generally lower during winter in Greece compared to the peak tourist season. You can find excellent deals and enjoy comfortable accommodations at more affordable rates.

What are some smaller islands worth considering for a winter trip?

If you’re looking to explore smaller islands during winter, consider destinations like Hydra, Naxos, Paros, or Skiathos. These islands offer a more relaxed atmosphere and a chance to experience local life.

Are historical sites and archaeological sites open during winter in Greece?

Yes, most historical and archaeological sites in Greece remain open during winter, with less crowded conditions. You can enjoy exploring iconic landmarks like the Acropolis in Athens or the Palace of Knossos in Crete with more opportunities to interact with guides and curators.

Is Greece a good winter destination for those from Northern Europe?

Yes, Greece is a popular choice for people from Northern Europe seeking a winter getaway. The warm weather, sunny days, and the vibrant local culture make it an ideal place to escape the colder temperatures of the northern regions.

Can I find live music and entertainment in Greece during winter?

Absolutely! In larger cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, you can find plenty of live music venues and cultural events happening throughout the year. Additionally, during the Christmas season, there are various concerts and festivities to enjoy.

Is it possible to go on road trips and explore Greece during winter?

Yes, winter is a great time to embark on road trips and explore the diverse landscapes and quaint villages of Greece. Just ensure to check the weather conditions and plan accordingly for occasional rainfall.

Are there any winter festivals or events in Greece?

Absolutely! Greece offers various winter festivals and events. Some notable ones include the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Christmas celebrations throughout the country, New Year’s Eve festivities, and the Patras Carnival, known as one of the biggest carnivals in Greece.

What are some traditional Greek dishes to try during winter?

During winter, you can indulge in a variety of delicious Greek dishes. Some popular choices include traditional bean soup (fasolada), hearty stews like stifado, and the traditional delicacy of Clean Monday, a day where people enjoy vegetarian dishes and kite flying to mark the beginning of Lent.

Is it a good idea to visit Athens city center during winter?

Visiting Athens city center during winter is definitely a good idea. With fewer tourists around and pleasant weather, you can explore iconic sites like the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, and enjoy the charm of the city’s historical and cultural attractions.

Is Greece a good destination for a winter getaway?

Absolutely! Greece is a perfect place for a winter getaway. It offers mild weather, fewer tourists compared to the peak tourist season, and a chance to explore the country’s rich history, beautiful landscapes, and picturesque villages.

What are the best ways to experience the local culture in Greece during winter?

To experience the local culture in Greece during winter, try visiting traditional tavernas where you can enjoy authentic Greek cuisine and local music. Engage with the locals, participate in traditional festivals, and explore the narrow streets and quaint villages to truly immerse yourself in the Greek way of life.

Can I expect good weather in Greece during winter?

Greece generally enjoys good weather during winter, especially in the southern regions. While occasional rain is possible, you can still experience sunny and pleasant days throughout your visit.

Winter In Greece Wrap-Up

Whether you prefer spending your Greek winter holidays sightseeing in the city of Athens, decide to explore the Greek islands in December, January, or February, want to indulge in a thermal baths experience, or prefer to go hiking instead, you will no doubt be pleasantly surprised by all that this fantastic country has to offer, even during the much quieter Greece winter months.

So, why not try Greece in the off-season and book your next winter getaway to this magical country instead?


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