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Greece in Winter

Greece in Winter

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Old Apr 25, 18, 7:52 am
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Greece in Winter

Let's say you were to visit Greece for a bit more than a week in winter (around Christmas and New Years). You're well aware that you can't expect beach weather. But you appreciate natural beauty, hiking, good food (especially vegetarian), and a bit of history (archaeological sites and museums). Where would you go within Greece and what would you do?
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Old Apr 25, 18, 8:08 am
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I would focus on Athens and the Peloponnese. Island travel can be a bit tricky in the winter ( weather delays and most of the islands shut down). Spend a few days in Athens and then head to Napflion... a lovely seacoast town about 90 minutes from Athens with great archaeological sites near by.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 8:33 am
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The above is a great idea, especially if you consider the additional amazing sites and sights on the Peloponnese (e.g. Olympia, Messini, medieval castles such as Methoni, Coroni and Monemvassia, etc.). Of course, after Athens one could visit Crete as an alternative to the Peloponnese, ot the Northwest of continental Greece Meteora, then over the mountain to Hepirus and, why not, a short ho by ferry to Corfu before going back to Athens.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 10:53 am
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Thanks. Staying on the mainland does make more sense than dealing with unpredictable ferries. Larger islands do have several flights per day from Athens, though, and you can't beat Santorini for spectacular views (and some hiking and archaeology thrown in). So I'm thinking maybe a few days on Santorini and the rest of the time in Napflion as a base for exploring the Peloponnese.

Where would you want to spend Christmas - Athens, Napflion, or Santorini?
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Old Apr 25, 18, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by snic View Post
Thanks. Staying on the mainland does make more sense than dealing with unpredictable ferries. Larger islands do have several flights per day from Athens, though, and you can't beat Santorini for spectacular views (and some hiking and archaeology thrown in). So I'm thinking maybe a few days on Santorini and the rest of the time in Napflion as a base for exploring the Peloponnese.

Where would you want to spend Christmas - Athens, Napflion, or Santorini?
Athens! But be careful with Santorini. It will be very empty (which is not so bad), thus many places will be closed (which can be bad). Also, the weather that time of year is completely unpredictable. If you are there when the weather's bad, it will be very, very bad: cold, windy, wet! The only islands where you're sort of safe even with bad weather are the big ones (Crete, Euboea, Rhodes, Corfu, Lesbos).
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Old Apr 25, 18, 11:39 am
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Cold is no problem. Empty is a feature, not a bug. (There will be places to stay and restaurants open on Santorini - just not all of them.) It will be warmer than NY, almost certainly. Wet and windy is typically a miserable combination, but it really depends on whether it's incessantly wet and windy, or instead there are just a few stormy days on which you'd rather just sit inside by the fire but most of the time the weather is fine for outdoor activities.

For those who've sampled both climates: how does Greece's weather in winter (particularly the islands and the Peloponnese) compare with that of Northern California or coastal Oregon? I have to say, I love that region's weather despite the rain - or, perhaps more accurately when thinking about tourist activities, I love that it doesn't typically rain incessantly and usually there will by at a few not-rainy (if not outright sunny) days for every rainy day.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 1:11 pm
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I disagree with staying on the mainland. They can get snow in Athens you know.

Ferries are indeed a problem but there is no problem with flying to one of the larger and more southern islands. Rhodes and Crete would be the obvious choices there. It can be 20C with blue skies and sunshine on either on Xmas day. I know, I've experienced it. The average however is more like 12-15C Both can offer scenery and hiking. To find vegetarian food is never a problem in Greece. It is one of the birthplaces of vegetarianism you know. You'd have a much harder time finding things to eat if you were a vegetable hater. LOL
https://www.urbanadventures.com/blog...de-athens.html

As a confirmed meat eater, my diet when I lived in Greece became much closer to vegetarian than I would have believed it could be. I wish I could find a good spanakopita (spinach pie) where I live now. It was one of my favourite quick lunch time choices and I hated spinach as a kid!



I would say weatherwise, you can expect more middle California weather on either island. Yes it could rain for your entire stay but it isn't that likely. Also, when it does rain it tends to pour down for several hours and then stop. So looking at average rainfall numbers can be misleading in terms of will it rain all day.

Santorini is not an island I would visit in winter. Frankly, there is nothing much there beyond the scenery and the tourism it generates. The bigger islands farther south give you much more scope to work with in all ways.
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Old Apr 25, 18, 2:17 pm
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Thanks! That's great info.
I think one reason mrs. snic wants to go to Greece is because spanakopita is her favorite food. It's good to hear she won't be disappointed.
She's also got her heart set on Santorini (and after looking at all the dazzling pictures online, I can't blame her). I could see us spending a couple of days there and then the rest on Rhodes or Crete (although the flights would be more expensive than ATH-JTR-ATH). So many choices... But this is really helpful as a starting point.
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Old Apr 26, 18, 2:36 pm
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Just bear in mind that many restaurants in the more popular tourist areas cater to tourists, not locals. The food is not the same as in say a small village up in the hills somewhere. In winter most of the tourist oriented restaurants will be closed fortunately, so your chances of truly authentic Greek food are increased. LOL

One of my other favourites is Greek village bread. There are variations by region and island but on Rhodes it is Psomi. Another variation is called Daktlya (fingers). What you are looking for is a small restaurant in a village where you see an outdoor oven and the family Yaya (grandmother) makes the bread in that oven once a week.


No 'enriched' white flour or preservatives in sight here.

When I lived on Rhodes, I would visit a village restaurant that served this bread to locals and to me. Tourists got the usual 'white pap' as I call it. I'd go for lunch and tell Maria, 'I'll have whatever the family is having today Maria' and she would smile and start bringing us all kinds of things that I had no idea of what was in them. She always sent me home with a loaf of her Mother's bread.

One other favourite I always asked her for were her Revithokeftedes (chick pea patties). She used to give me some sometimes in a plastic container to take home and semi-deep fry in olive oil. Has your wife tried those?

I'm missing Rhodes just writing about this stuff.
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Last edited by dulciusexasperis; Apr 26, 18 at 2:45 pm
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Old Aug 4, 18, 9:49 am
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Great replies so far, thank you everyone.
Can someone also advise what to expect during Christmas day itself (in Athens if it makes a difference)?
- Would restaurants be open?
- Would shops be open?

I also highly appreciate any idea for an activity or a day trip from Athens on Boxing day (Dec 26). We like hiking and nature sightseeing if it makes a difference.

AX
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Old Aug 4, 18, 9:30 pm
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All shops and most restaurants will be closed on X'mas day, with the exception of the ones catering to tourists in tourist areas (e.g. Plaka). As for a day trip on Boxing day, Northeast Peloponese, Delphi and the island of Euboea (easilly reached by car) come to mind.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 11:31 am
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No advice for Xmas day in Athens to offer. I suspect KLouis has it right.
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Old Aug 9, 18, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by david55 View Post
I would focus on Athens and the Peloponnese. Island travel can be a bit tricky in the winter ( weather delays and most of the islands shut down). Spend a few days in Athens and then head to Napflion... a lovely seacoast town about 90 minutes from Athens with great archaeological sites near by.
Totally agree about archaeological sites, there are plenty of them. Go for it!
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:19 am
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Time to resurrect this thread, with thanks to all those who replied last summer. We're leaving soon, and have decided to visit Athens, Santorini for a couple of days, and then a few days based near Nafplio. So far the weather report says cool (50s, even low 60s) and partly cloudy to sunny, so I'm optimistic that we'll be able to spend a lot of time outdoors (especially walking from Fira to Oia - this looks like a real treat, and exactly the kind of thing that's better to do when it's cool rather than murderously hot!)

Does anyone have recommendations for restaurants in Athens and Nafplio? Preferably the kind of places locals go, that aren't on the tourist radar. And we'd like to do one splurge dinner - what's a good gourmet restaurant in Athens with a creative chef? (Keeping in mind that some of my group are vegetarians.)
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Old Dec 17, 18, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by snic View Post
Time to resurrect this thread, with thanks to all those who replied last summer. We're leaving soon, and have decided to visit Athens, Santorini for a couple of days, and then a few days based near Nafplio. So far the weather report says cool (50s, even low 60s) and partly cloudy to sunny, so I'm optimistic that we'll be able to spend a lot of time outdoors (especially walking from Fira to Oia - this looks like a real treat, and exactly the kind of thing that's better to do when it's cool rather than murderously hot!)

Does anyone have recommendations for restaurants in Athens and Nafplio? Preferably the kind of places locals go, that aren't on the tourist radar. And we'd like to do one splurge dinner - what's a good gourmet restaurant in Athens with a creative chef? (Keeping in mind that some of my group are vegetarians.)
The best website for Greece and information without a doubt is Matt Barrett's. Up to date and filled with proven recommendations on nearly every destination. Start there...... https://www.greecetravel.com/

On his FB page he just posted this today:

https://www.greektravel.com/winter/?...pAnR0b-feEkNfA

Curious to hear about Santorini.....I'm afraid it will be quite cold, wet and windy.
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Last edited by david55; Dec 17, 18 at 8:38 am
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