When one thinks of Greece, images of blisteringly hot summer days, picture-perfect islands, and breathtaking lengths of sandy coastline are likely to come to mind. This Mediterranean location is without a doubt a favorite among tourists during the summer months, but it also has a significant amount to offer visitors during the winter months.
If you like the idea of trading in your shorts and summer dresses for cozy layers — and having the country’s most iconic heritage landmarks almost entirely to yourself — then you will love Greece in the wintertime.
Now that you know what the best stuff to do in Greece is in December, you can go ahead and reserve a flight during the off-season to take advantage of the lower prices, pack your bags with cozy cardigans, and get started planning your trip to the Mediterranean.
Although many tourists only spend a day or two in Athens before moving on to the islands, winter is an excellent time to travel throughout mainland Greece, particularly the country’s contemporary capital city.
Athens is a vacation spot that never fails to amaze tourists, and the month of December is no exception thanks to its pleasurable winter conditions, appealing ancient ruins, and vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. You could spend your days here touring archaeological treasures, having dinner at well-known restaurants, and shopping at vibrant street markets and stylish designer shops. All of these activities could be done in this area. In the event that the weather appears to take a turn for the worse, you are never too far from a museum that is on par with the best in the world.
It is possible to travel to significant historical locations within a day’s journey of Athens, such as Mycenae, Delphi, and Epidaurus. The city of Thessaloniki, which is located further to the north, is a seaside city, and the monasteries of Meteora, which are mesmerizing, are both well worth a trip in the winter.
Take a Trip to Iconic Ancient Sites (Without the Tourist Hordes)
Do you want to take breathtaking pictures of Athens’ incredible ancient ruins, but you don’t want any tourists in them? That is doable if your trip takes place in December.
Visiting a city during the winter is a completely different experience than going during the high season when the city’s most popular attractions are swarmed by a never-ending stream of tourists. This means that you won’t have to wait in frustrating lines or navigate your way through masses of tourists and hordes of selfie sticks to get a peek at the Parthenon. It’s pretty much a given that you’ll have a good time sightseeing and get some great pictures without too many other people in them.
Fill Up on the Hearty Wintertime Staples of Greek Cuisine
One more advantage of traveling to Greece during the winter? You have the opportunity to sample a variety of classic dishes that are not typically available during the warmer months. Fresh, scrumptious, and bursting with flavor are the hallmarks of Greece’s hearty winter staples, which, like the nation’s most lauded dishes, rank among the country’s culinary highlights.
Lahanodolmades, which are stuffed cabbage leaves offered with an egg and lemon sauce, fasolada, which is bean soup, and giouvarlakia are some of the Greek comfort foods that will satisfy your cravings. Then, after you’ve finished eating, wash it all down with rakomelo, which is the Greek version of mulled wine and is also known as a powerful drink made with a mixture of raki, spices, and honey.
Explore the Greek Islands From a Different Perspective
We have all seen pictures of the Greek Islands during the height of summer, and in each one, the sun is still shining, the whitewashed communities are always making us want to swoon, and the coastlines always look like they belong in a storybook. Even though this is not exactly what the Greek Islands look like in December, it does not change the fact that they are breathtaking.
If your ideal vacation involves lots of walking and hiking during the day and snuggling up with a good novel and a glass of vino in the evening, you might just fall in love with the Greek Islands in the winter. Yes, it will be windier and much calmer, especially in contrast to the summer months, but if your ideal vacation involves lots of walking and hiking during the day, then this is your place to be.
Larger islands, such as Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu, are excellent choices for a winter trip in Greece because they are more likely to maintain some life all through the off-season months. If you are interested in visiting Greece during the winter, consider one of these islands. Because of the island’s geographical position in the southern Aegean Sea, Crete enjoys milder and sunnier winters than neighboring islands like Santorini and Mykonos. If you want to maximize your chances of having a good time outdoors, consider visiting Crete.
Get Into the Spirit of the Celebration, Greek-style
You are in for a real treat if you happen to be traveling to Greece around the time of Christmas. Athens is a location that gets into the holiday spirit during the most wonderful time of the year, even though cities all over the mainland and the islands will be embellished with glittering decorations.
You can get into the holiday cheer in the capital of Greece by gazing up at the enormous Christmas tree that is located in Syntagma Square, going ice skating at one of the numerous rinks that are located throughout the city, or grabbing a mug of hot chocolate at Little Kook, an eatery in Psyrri that feels like a Christmas fairy-tale come alive during December.
You are probably going to get hungry from all of the holiday celebrations and sightseeing, so go to the closest bakery to satisfy your cravings for traditional Greek holiday pastries and cookies. Both melomakarona (biscuits flavored with honey, cinnamon, orange, and clove) and kourabiedes (creamy shortbread-type biscuits encased in powdered sugar) are two of the most well-known desserts, and they are both pleasantly delicious.