What are the Alkyonides Days in winter in Greece

winter in Greece. Family Experiences Blog

Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Celeste.

The Alkyonides Days in winter in Greece are a couple of unusually warm and sunny days. During this time, the days typically have intense sunshine, with no clouds or wind, and heightened temperatures for the season.

The Alkyonides Days in Winter in Greece

Nearly every winter in Greece, after New Year, there is a non-interrupted period of days with clear blue skies and warm temperatures. In Athens and its region, this can reach more than 20 °C over the day! This meteorological phenomenon of the central Greek climate is called AlkyonidesThe Alkyonides Days take place from December 15 to February 15, and most often between January 16-31.

Why are they called Alkyonides Days? 

I knew that the Alkyonides Days had something to do with the halcyon or kingfisher. But I never really looked into it. Until this week, when my daughter brought home a handcrafted kingfisher. I was curious to find out the meaning behind this warm winter phenomenon.

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Alkyoni in Greek Mythology

I found several Greek mythology stories related to the legend of Alkyoni. According to many of these Greek myths, the Alkyonides were the seven daughters of Alcyoneus. When their father was slain by Heracles, they threw themselves into the sea and were transformed into halcyons (kingfishers) by Amphitrite.

The most common Greek myth is the story of Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind. In this tale, Alcyone was the wife of Kyokas. She had a happy life with Kyokas and their love was a model for everyone.

One day, Kyokas went fishing in the sea. Alcyone did not want him to go because she had a bad feeling. When the weather turned bad, Kyokas boat turned over and sank. Alcyone witnessed his death from far away and threw herself from the rocks.

The Gods admired their strong love and regretted what had happened. They transformed the couple into a bird and a fish. However, these two animals could not live together because one lives in the water and the other on land. So kingfishers were created.

The kingfishers make their nests in the rocks near the sea. Their eggs hedge in the wintertime. But because it was too cold for the eggs, Zeus gave them 10 days of sunshine, so it would be like it was spring. These warm days in the winter of Greece are called Alkyonides Days.

Greek Islands named Alkyonides

Did you know that the Alkyonides are also small rocky islands? They are located in the Gulf of Corinth, near the Attica coast and central Greece, also taking their name from the mythological figures.

Bird watching in Greece

Winter in Greece is great for bird-watching. The Greek kingfisher can be found all around Greece and even in the coastal areas of Athens such as Varkiza and Vouliagmeni.

For more information about birdwatching in Greece, check out Natural Greece. This green tour company introduced me to the birds of Greece. Together we traveled to the wetlands of Pfitsa near Poros island last year. I went back this summer with my kids to admire the flamingo birds there.

Have you spent winter in Greece, or are you planning a winter holiday this time of the year? The Alkyonides Days of the central Greece climate can make your winter holiday unforgettable. They are ideal days for a city trip to Thessaloniki or Athens too. They are warm and sunny and always remind me of the Greek summer lying ahead!

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The Alkyonides Days in winter in Greece

The featured photo of the Kingfisher above this post is by photographer Andrea Bonetti. Bonetti is a photographer and biologist, famed for his wildlife and travel photography in Greece. 

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