Greece is not just about golden beaches, blue seas and picturesque sun-drenched islands. Greece is a 365 days per year destination and winter in Greece is wonderful. Due to its soft climate, its safety and its kids- friendly atmosphere, there are some great family places to go.
Winter destinations for families in Greece
Think of uncluttered ancient sites in cooler weather and pretty towns and traditional villages to discover with your kids. The Greek cities are at their best in winter. The soft sunny weather of Athens and Thessaloniki make them an ideal winter escape. Explore the monuments and sights without the long waiting lines. But there are other cities too: Patras, Naoussa, Veria, Volos, and Ioannina have much to offer in winter. Did you know that the carnival in the Greek city of Patras is renowned throughout Europe? Families can combine a visit to Volos city with a ski vacation in the Pelion peninsula.
Perhaps one of the biggest secrets is skiing in Greece. Greece is almost completely covered with mountains and has excellent ski centers and mountain hotels. The mainland of Greece has the most popular winter resorts. Here are the top snowy winter destinations for families in Greece.
5 Best winter destinations for families in Greece
The first one that comes to my mind is Arachova. It is one of Greece’s most popular ski resorts and closest to Athens (180 km). Arachova is a mountain village at the foot of Mount Parnassus in Central Greece. It is a cosmopolitan destination with great food, some nice shops, and family-friendly luxury hotels. Think of Mykonos in winter. Your family can combine a winter ski vacation in Arachova with a visit to the world-famous archaeological site and UNESCO heritage Delphi. The slopes in Arachova are suitable for beginners and advanced skiers. There is also a spa in Arachova and the area is suitable for hiking and walking because of it many natural trails. What I remember most from our stay in the village of Arachova is the healthy and fabulous local food in the many taverns.
Kalavrita is a small mountainous town and municipality in the West of Greece, at the northwest side of the Peloponnese. Kalavrita town is located on the right bank of the river Vouraikos. It is a very popular winter destination in Greece and excellent for skiing. Its ski center on Mount Helmos is at an altitude of 2,340m and it is the most important ski resort in the Peloponnese and the second largest ski resort in Greece. The ski facilities are excellent. There are 12 ski runs, snowboarding grounds a, d other winter games. Kalavrita has an organized ski school and a first aid station. But there is more to Kalavrita than skiing. You can discover the famous Monastery of Mega Spileo, carved beautifully against the mountains, the historic Monastery of Agia Lavra (Greek Independence was first declared here) or the mysterious Cave of the Lakes. The paths in the gorge of Vouraikos are great for hiking. And last but not least, you can show your kids the wine production process during a cellar tour in the vineyards of Achaia and Katogi/Strofilia.
Pelion is a large mountain in the southeastern part of Thessaly in central Greece forming a hook-like peninsula in the Aegean Sea. The highest peak is 1,610meterss. The varied landscape and the combination of mountains and the sea make Pelion a place of great natural beauty and ideal for holidays in summer and winter. In summer, Pelion reminds us of a traditional Greek island with whitewashed houses with blue doors. In winter time, Pelion is a true winter worthy place because the mountains of Pelion are considered among the most beautiful in Greece. In Pelion you can find exotic beaches with turquoise seas as well as traditional mountain villages. The largest close town is Volos with a small airport and a port. Pelion is ideal for hiking, the hiking trails and stone paths pass from springs, gorges, streams, coves and green hills.
Pelion also has a ski/snowboarding center with 7 slopes that operates from December until April. There are ski lessons for children and there is a special beginners slope for the little ones. The highlight of the Pelion ski center is its amazing view that is overlooking the Pagasitic Gulf from one side and the Aegean Sea from the other side. A must visit for your family. I went to Pelion last winter and found out that it is one of my best winter destinations for families in Greece. I loved the combination of beach and snow, in one day we had both options! For an authentic affordable family accommodation in Pelion, you can check my post on Hotel Aglaida Apartments in Pelion.
Other family activities in Pelion are a visit to the traditional villages of Makrinitsa, Portaria, Milies, and Tsagarada. Here you can show your children the typical Pelian architecture: stone multi-storied houses, grey stone roofs, and paved paths. Milies Museum of Folk Art is definitely worth a visit. You can also take a ride on the little Pelion train, another must-do activity for visitors to Pelion. The train stops at all the important villages and historical hot spots and the amazing landscape of the area.
Zagori is not very familiar with tourists from abroad. The name of the region and municipality in the Greek Pindus mountains in Epirus in Northwestern Greece. It has an area of some 1,000 square kilometers and contains 46 famous picturesque villages known as the Zagori villages or Zagorohoria. Zagori is an area of amazing natural beauty with a very interesting geology. The 46 secluded villages of Zagori were interconnected by mountain roads and traditional arched stone bridges until modern roads were opened. The remains of the old system are still visible. Zagoria and its villages are a place where time seems to stand still. And there is plenty to do there. Families can choose between mountain activities such as rafting, canoe-kayak, horse riding, hiking, climbing and mountain biking as well as skiing. Zagori is also great for hiking because there are easy hiking routes for kids. If your children are older and more experienced, you can hire a guide for the remote hiking trails and forested areas. Interested in culture? You can visit the site of the ancient oracle of Dodoni, one of the oldest archeological sites in Greece (!) dating back to 2500 BC. Zagoria hosts two National Parks. The Vikos Gorge is one of them. The other one is Valia Kalda (Warm Valley) National Park. Both are a must visit for your family, your children will enjoy the natural beauty and its excellent views.
Metsovo is considered one of the best destination for families in winter in Greece. Metsovo is a town in Epirus, in the Pindus mountains. Metsovo is a large regional hub for several small villages and settlements in the Pindus region, and it features many shops, schools, offices, services, museums, and galleries. Metsovo is as pretty as Zagoria (if not prettier) and has more to offer than just snow sports and skiing. Biking and hiking are very popular here and there are family friendly trails. There is lots to see in Metsovo due to its rich history; public buildings, bridges, churches, and schools. Metsovo is the cultural and tourist center of the region. Don’t miss the Metsovo main square, the nearby artificial lake at the Aoos River and the Pindus National Park. For skiing, you can go to Politses ski resort. A small but complete resort for amateur skiers. The ski resort is located at an altitude of 1,400m, and has 5 pistes and 3 lifts.
A ski or summer vacation with young kids can be a challenge. If you want a helping hand during your winter or summer family vacation, check out my article about the benefits of hiring a ski nanny or a holiday nanny here.
Have you ever been skiing with your kids in Greece? I haven’t, but it’s wishlist now. These places look amazing!! What is your favorite destination for families in winter in Greece? Let me know!
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**The featured photo above this blog post is Mount Taygetos, the highest mountain in Peloponesse, Greece. Photo credits for featured photo and ski/sleigh photos: Pixabay.**