Greece is a surprisingly fabulous mountain destination, combining the best of the classic ski holiday, enchanting traditional villages and, of course, the ever-present sea. The Greek mountain experience is truly magical – in addition to the stunning landscapes and winter sports offerings, this is also a true taste of Greece. Greece’s mountains remain something of a local secret, retaining a traditional character and a warm mountain welcome.
Greece is blessed not only with thousands of kilometers of dazzling coastline, but with several dramatic mountain ranges. Of the many mountains, over a dozen mountains exceed 2000m (the tallest is the Mountain of the Gods- Olympus, at a glorious 2917m). There are several excellent ski resorts offering first-class facilities combined with authentic charm, plus easy access to the sea.
Kalavrita and Corinth
The Peloponnese is a wonderful destination in every season, and in winter it offers some of Greece’s finest skiing. An excellent Ski Center offers access to the powdery slopes of Mt. Chelmos. In addition, the center offers snowboarding, ski-biking, and snowmobiling.
Skiing at Kalavrita
The Kalavrita Ski Center has twelve pistes, offering 20 km of runs for every level of experience. Two trails, of 1400m and 22000 meters respectively, offer paths for cross country skiing, off-tail skiing, and snow tubing. The lodges are magnificent; the higher one, at 2440m, offers stunning views over the Gulf of Corinth.
Staying and Dining
Meanwhile, the mountain villages of Kalavrita are enchanting. After the slopes, you can relax in boutique accommodations in traditional villages. Superb, hearty cuisine offers a taste of regional sophistication, with wild game and excellent wines – the fine PDO Nemea Agiorgitiko wines are made close by.
Hiking is also superb in any season, with trails for every level of expertise and stamina through routes of unparalleled natural beauty. A unique rack railway also scales the mountain, ascending from Diakofto to Kalavrita.
There are also wonderful cultural excursions. Kalavrita is among the most storied mountains in Greece, and dear to the hearts of Greeks. It is here that the first revolutionary flag in the Greek War of Independence was first raised, at the Monastery of Agia Lavra. Mycenae, the Bronze Age site associated with Homer’s Agamemnon is close by, as are the Asklepieion and the Theater of Ancient Epidaurus.
For a prime seaside destination, there is nearby Corinth. Ancient Corinth ranks among Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. The site is complex, featuring the ruins of Ancient Corinth as well as Acrocorinth, with its fortified Acropolis with ruins from the 7th Century BC through the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian eras. Ancient Corinth is also a significant site for Christianity and those following in the footsteps of St. Paul. A splendid museum rounds out the experience.
The narrow dramatic Corinth Canal is an engineering wonder, not to be missed. And seaside Corinth on the shores of the gulf offers plenty of charm. For a unique après-ski indulgence, there is also neighboring Loutraki, a seaside spa town known for its thermal therapeutic waters, a prized wellness destination for generations.
Arachova and Itea
On the other side of the Gulf of Corinth awaits another of Greece’s finest ski resorts. Arachova has long been the ski destination of choice for Athenians. This beautiful town on Mt. Parnassos is the perfect blend of rustic charm and urban sophistication, with shops carrying the newest looks for the slopes. Excellent restaurants and bars offer a range of memorable après-ski delights. The local gastronomy features hearty mountain specialties featuring local meats and produce, such as classic lamb fricassee, slow roasted meats, and hearty hand-made pastas, or more sophisticated flavors such as beef with truffles. Excellent boutique accommodations guarantee a delightful stay with plenty of local character.
Skiing on Mt. Parnassos
Serious skiers will be pleased with the facilities, with four pistes certified by the International Ski Federation. The superb ski center of Mt. Parnassos has two ski areas, offering a total of 34 kilometers of pistes of various lengths, up to 4 km, plus five trails and four mini pistes for beginners. With the descent beginning at 2260m, the views are simply breathtaking.
A Winter Seaside Holiday
The nearby seaside village of Itea on the Gulf of Corinth is a marvelous destination in winter also. This lively port town offers a wonderful seaside experience, with traditional caiques in the harbor and tavernas serving classic seafood specialties fresh from the waters. Itea offers easy access to Delphi, among the most famous archaeological sites of Ancient Greece. The image of the round temple of Athena will be familiar to many visitors, as are the legends – this was the place of one of the most famous Oracles of Greece, a place of mystical and religious significance.
Slopes and Sea in Sunny Greece
Have you ever experienced a Greek winter holiday? The combination of natural splendor, warm hospitality, excellent gastronomy, and cultural excursions is a rare treat.