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Greece in December
Written by Siddhi on May 27, 2020 Share on

Don’t Worry To Pack Your Bags To Visit Greece In December!

Yes, the weather can be cold and rainy—but when the sun shines, it’s simply glorious. December is the best month to experience Greece along with the Greeks and at its most authentic. This destination is a perfect wintertime venue, especially for nature lovers, skiers, and gourmands.

Weather

Wintry weather sets in, with plenty of rainy and dark grey days. Biting northerly winds sweep the islands. But crisp sunny days can be crystal clear, with bottle-blue skies and delightfully mild temperatures. And the mountains are by now dusted with snow—perfect for skiing. Pack plenty of cold-weather clothing, plus rainwear, as temperatures in Athens reach an average high of 59 Fahrenheit. Northern Greece is significantly colder, requiring gloves and maybe even a woollen hat.

Santorini in Greece
Image Credits: Google Images

Where to Go In Greece

Explore Athens and other key historical venues while you have the Acropolis, museums and archaeological sites virtually to yourself. If you delight in the wild side, which is lush and green in December, explore the gorges and stone villages of Zagori. The snow-capped mountains are gorgeous too, so head to Mt. Parnassos. And Meteora never looked so majestic and mysterious as in winter.

If you want to explore the islands, know that the Aegean can be bitterly cold, and ferry service will be limited. But this is a great time to sample the islands in solitude, and the colours are prime when the sun shines. The Saronic islands are still lively with Athenians taking mini-vacations or making second-home visits. And Crete has heaps of cultural sites, great culinary adventures, and winter activities such as hiking and biking.

What to Do In December

Even on the sunniest day, it’s hardly likely to be warm enough to enjoy beach time. Instead, take a city break in Athens and ditch the refreshing beer for a warm rakomelo. Christmas week in Athens is fabulously festive! For an active vacation, take a hot-air balloon ride then warm up with mountain biking at Meteora. The ski resorts of Mt. Parnassos should be open for skiing, and if soaking in thermal springs and an indulgent spa treatments appeal, head to Pella in Macedonia.

December Events

  • Feast of St. Nicholas: On December 6, Greeks head to church for ceremonies and festivals to honour St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors.
  • Kladaries: Each December 23, shepherds are honoured with feasting, plus dancing around bonfires, in the village of Siatista, Macedonia.
  • Christmas Day: It is the second most important festival after Easter in the Greek Orthodox calendar, and December 25 is celebrated with church services, street carolling, and family parties; and every town will be festooned with traditional decorations.
  • New Year’s Eve: Towns throughout Greece launch fireworks, children carol in the streets, and it’s a reason for parties.

Things to do in Greece in December

Booming Athens and Sleepy Peloponnese

Peloponnese in Greece
Image Credits: Google Images

Athens cafe culture, zippy late-hours and partying nightlife is the best in winter keeping the locals in town and not out on the islands. Athenians in general love ouzo-soaked lunch or a multi-hour chat over coffee as much as they love to do all-night bar crawls and sparkling bouzoukia nightclubs. By day, the visitor can take in a much less impeded Acropolis and other ancient sites, as well as uncrowded world-class museums, such as the Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum, the Benaki Museum and the brand new Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation.

So close to Athens, the Peloponnese is the most accessible. It is a beautiful country with lanes lined by stone walls, olive groves, and ancient sites spanning aeons. You can visit Nafplio, a charming seaside Venetian city topped by a fortress. The city has tiny streets with various creative craft shops, boutique hotels. Visiting this place in December you can visit the Fougaro cultural centre that hosts a winter programme of arts and musical events.

Island hopping – Yes, They Are Open!

Islands in winter are really special so, don’t miss this out from your list! Convivial locals make for interesting, friendly visits. Moody skyscapes and changing light conditions make for dramatic and wonderful walks. Larger islands remain the most vibrant, with their substantial local populations.

Corfu is an old town with a rich cultural life, starting from orchestras to art shows. It has beautiful palaces like the Palace of St Michael & St George. Crete sprawls from quaint, eye-dazzling harbour towns of Hania and Rethymno to its myriad mountain villages. Lesvos (Mytilini) has ouzeries and almost 11 million olive trees where you can watch the harvest. These large islands have some of the best local cuisines in the country, with fresh local produce and creative recipes.

Island Hopping in Greece
Image Credits: Google Images

Walking Trails

Larger islands such as Crete, Corfu and Lesvos are blessed with regional walking trails that connect villages to mountain churches and windswept sea coast. There are also smaller islands like Hydra which has no cars at all. Stone stairways radiate out from the beautifully preserved old harbour, and earthen trails wind along the unspoilt, dramatic coast, with views across the Saronic Gulf.

Ancient Sites

Winter is the best time to see Greece’s ancient sites where most are iconic in the world and the major foundations of western civilisation. These sites are deserted in comparison to summer months, the mainland sites range from Athens Acropolis and Ancient Agora to Delphi, Meteora with its pinnacle-topped monasteries; and the awe-inspiring Macedonian tomb treasures of Vergina, outside Thessaloniki. In winter, the Temple of Poseidon on dramatic Cape Sounion actually resembles its photo on local postcards: epic, rising from its deserted seaside bluff.

Crowds & Costs

Parthenon in Athens
Image Credits: Google Images

Most of the visitors don’t visit Greece in December. Their loss but your gain! Greece feels personal without the crowds of summer. Plus, prices of airfares and hotels are at their lowest, with some real bargains. While most tourist restaurants will be closed (especially in the islands), those serving Greek patrons will be open.

Reasons outnumbered for you to kick-start your bookings to the vibrant country. Greece in December is going to be a delightful experience for you filled with adventure, luxury and tasteful experiences. We at Pickyourtrail ensure our best travel experience is put into planning your vacation with lots of excitement. Start planning and Happy travelling!

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