Having said that, it might come as less of a surprise to, also, learn that during the winter there’s snow on the highest peaks; sometimes even quite a lot of it.
So, unless you are only signed up for the typical Greek summer with cruises around the islands and meals of grilled octopus at seaside taverns, you might start considering a weekend of skiing or snow-boarding, combined with a visit to the Acropolis, a journey to the nearby ancient sanctuary in Delphi, or even Athens’ famous nightlife.
Here are five of the most well-known ski resorts in Greece:
Mountain Parnassos Ski Center
Mountain Parnassos is the country’s most popular ski center. It has two peaks, Kellaria which reaches 1750m, and Fterolaka at 1950m; it features 13 lifts to 19 pistes, 7 ski routes, 10 trails and three mini-runs for beginners.
There are also two cafés and a restaurant in the center, ski and snowboard schools, special stores where you can rent equipment and, quite conveniently, a playground for children. It’s located about 25 kilometers from the town of Arachova, where most hotels are located, while at the same time it is the undisputed nightlife hub of the area – also known as “the Mykonos of winter” .
Kalavryta Ski Center
The Kalavryta Ski Center is the next closest resort to Athens and the second largest in Greece with 12 slopes. It features snack bars, cafes, restaurants, shops for renting or buying ski equipment and a ski school. Most people stay at Kalavryta, a town quite famous for the small rack railway that climbs up the Mount Helmos, ending at the town of Diakofto, after passing through the Vouraikos Gorge.
Ski Center of Menalon
Next up, the Ski Center of Menalon, is located on 1600m-high Mount Menalon in Arcadia, Peloponnese. It has 4 lifts that take you to 8 slopes and includes a ski school, ski and snowboard equipment renting shops, and a chalet with a guesthouse, cafés and restaurant. The area is also ideal for hikers and those who prefer kayaking in the Lousios River.
Mount Pelion Ski Center
One of the undeniably most beautiful areas in Greece, Pelion, is home to the Mount Pelion Ski Center, at an altitude of 1500m. There are 5 ski slopes and 4 lifts in total, as well as a chalet with restaurants and accommodation.
If you come and find there’s not much snow don’t be disappointed. You will be rewarded by the proximity and variety of options offered in the city of Volos, located just 27 kilometers away, quite well known for its tsipouro – a grape pomace-distilled spirit – and the culinary cornucopia that revolves around its consumption: the original meze teats.
Velouxi Ski Resort
About 4 hours away from Athens and in the wider area of Evrytania, stands the Velouxi Ski Resort with 6 ski-lifts that will take you to 18 different slopes of ranging difficulty. Open from December until April, the center is located on 2200m-high Mount Tymfristos,10 km from the town of Karpenissi, where you will most probably – due to its proximity and availability of amenities – look for accommodation.
So, leave your swimming suit behind, pack your scarf, mittens and ski boots and come see for yourself that the true essence of a Greek holiday – great food, unspoiled nature, hospitality and fun – goes on even under the cover of snow.
Cover Photo Credits: Trip & Travel Blog