Category: Winter sports (page 2 of 2)

Wild winter weather wallops Greece

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Skopelos Greece after snowfall

Photographer Costas Andreou captured this photo of Skopelos after a winter storm left the island covered in a blanket of white. On December 30, snow fell on Skopelos and the neighbouring islands of Skiathos and Alonissos.

 

Winter wonderlands: I was envious when a friend in Athens told me it was sunny and 17 degrees Celsius there on Christmas Day. But I didn’t feel jealous just a few days later when I logged into Facebook to find my news feed filled with reports and photos of wild winter at places all over Greece — including several islands.

Beginning this past Monday (December 29),  storm systems blasted many parts of Greece with a wide mix of severe weather conditions that included icy cold temperatures, gale-force winds, rain, sleet, and snow.

On Tuesday (December 30), friends in Athens posted pictures of snow-dusted mountains near the city, while numerous individuals and Facebook groups like Amazing Greece/Incroyable Grèce posted links to websites and Instagram pages featuring photos of snowy scenes on the islands of Skopelos and Crete, and such mainland locations as Attiki, Kastoria, Meteora, Florina, Tripoli and Arachova.

Online videos showed gale-force winds pummelling island coastlines and harbours with relentless tall waves, while photos showed pretty Christmas card scenes of snow-covered mountain villages in Crete.

 Tripoli Greece

This photo shows the city of Tripoli (in the Arcadia region of the Peloponnese) following a snowfall on December 28. It was posted on the Amazing Greece/Incroyable Grèce Facebook page.

 

 Ancient Theater of Epidaurus

This pic of snow at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus was circulated on numerous Facebook profiles and pages, including Amazing Greece/Incroyable Grèce 

 

A January 1 report on the Newsbomb website said fierce winds caused power outages at such diverse locations as the cities of Chania on Crete, Mytilini on the Northeast Aegean island of Lesvos, and Ioannina on the western Greece mainland. Heavy snow caused power failures and road closures at numerous spots on the mainland and in northern Greece, where temperatures plummeted to -10 Celsius and colder. A January 1 report on Protothema News also described how the New Year got off to a frigid and snowy start in many parts of Greece.

Some of the most-shared items on social media were reports and photos of snow and brutal winds at Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonissos in the Sporades island group. Many people seemed surprised that it snowed on Skopelos and Skiathos, which they’re familiar with from the hit movie Mamma Mia!, where many scenes were filmed.

 

Achliades beach on Skiatho

A dog plays on snow-dusted Achliades beach on Skiathos in a photo posted on the theseus.aegean Instagram feed.

 

Alonissos island

Another widely shared image was this shot of snow-covered fishing boats in a harbour at Alonissos island

 

 However, it’s not unusual for snow to fall in the Sporades, or for the mercury to plummet to bone-chilling temperatures on other Greek islands, too. This fact often comes as news to many people, like someone in the United States whose December 30 post on the TripAdvisor Santorini forum asked why the Bahamas are more popular in winter months than Greek Islands like Mykonos and Santorini. After several people explained that Greece doesn’t have a tropical climate, the poster replied: “I guess I got the wrong feeling from looking at the postcards and watching the History Channel as I had the impression that the “eternal summer” is the norm in the islands!!”

They aren’t alone in thinking that way — as I noted in my December 15 2013 post, Greece gets winter, too!, many friends and acquaintances of mine in North America think Greece is a balmy beach destination all year round, too.

Although winter is off-season for travel to many parts of Greece, especially smaller islands, the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki are year-round tourist destinations, as are many locations on the Greece mainland. And as a December 29 2014 CNN Travel article pointed out, winter is an excellent time to visit Greece for “romantic escapes,” “city breaks,” “dramatic scenery” and more.  “Falling temperatures sprinkle new magic on stone-built villages lost in deep forests and medieval castles built into that beautiful Greek coastline,” the CNN feature story says.

 

Ippokrateios Politeia in Attiki

The Amazing Greece Facebook page posted this photo showing a dog in the snow at Ippokrateios Politeia in Attiki on December 31 2014

 

sheep in snow on Crete

Michael Kokkinos posted this Facebook image of a long line of sheep trudging through deep snow near Psiloriti on Crete

 

 Should you be interested in taking an off-season holiday to Greece, be sure to read the article Top 5 winter destinations on VisitGreece, the official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation. It provides information about visiting Mount Pelion, the Zagorochoria villages, Arcadia, Arachova and Karpenissi.

For information about skiing and snowboarding, the Discover Greece website offers advice on where to enjoy mountain ski holidays.

If you’d rather just view winter scenes in Greece, you can see more photos of snow on Skopelos on the Potami House photo blog and on the Skopelosnews blog, as well as on the Facebook page for photographer Costas Andreou. On Instagram, check out the theseus.aegean page to see several pictures of snow falling on Achladies beach on Skiathos. There’s a few photos and a couple of video clips of storm scenes elsewhere in Greece in a December 31 post on the Protothema News website, too. And for those of you who use Facebook, don’t miss the excellent photos in the album White…snowy vineyards all over Greece!, posted by New Wines of Greece.

Below is a Winter in Greece videoclip from VisitGreece.

Keep warm and enjoy!

 

 

Greece gets winter, too!

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Mykonos after a snowfall

Even the Greek Islands experience snowfalls on occasion, as this 2004 photo of Mykonos confirms. It’s one of several stunning Mykonos winter scenes that M. Koubaros has posted on the Panoramio.com photo sharing website.

 

 

Winter wonderland: “I’ll bet you wish you were in Greece right now!”

Actually, I wish I had collected $1 each time someone told me that this week — I’d have enough money to treat myself to a hearty meal of pastitsio or moussaka at one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto’s Greektown neighbourhood tonight.

Like many places in North America, we suffered through five days of miserably cold temperatures this past week, followed by a severe winter storm that dumped more than seven inches of snow on our downtown neighbourhood yesterday. Whenever friends and acquaintances saw me bundled up and shivering in the wintry weather, they inevitably asked if I’d rather be relaxing on a Greek Island beach instead.

But all were surprised to hear me say that Greece doesn’t bask in scorching hot temperatures and clear sunny skies every day — and especially not during December.

 

Greek Islands get cold weather in winter

They, like many people, have a misconception that Greece is a semi-tropical destination that draws sun- and sand-seeking vacationers to its magnificent beaches all 12 months of the year. But Greece is not like Hawaii. Most people are surprised when I tell them the travel season for most Greek Islands extends only from late April until early October, and they’re stunned when I say that Greece gets winter, too. Few of them  realize that islands like Mykonos and Santorini can experience bone-chilling cold temperatures or light snowfalls, and none knew that there are more than a dozen ski areas in the mountains of mainland Greece (of which Parnassos Ski Resort is the largest, boasting 23 trails and 13 lifts).

On December 11, for instance, the Mykonos Winter Facebook page reported that it was only 9 degrees on Mykonos — with gale-force winds reaching a brutal Force 9 on the Beaufort scale. Not a pleasant day to spend outside, by any means!

However, even though Greece does get cold weather during the winter, my friends are absolutely right — I would much rather be there. As I write this post, it’s overcast and 11 degrees below zero here in Toronto, compared to 12 degrees above zero under partly cloudy skies in Athens. And though a dinner of moussaka or pastitsio would certainly be a great way to warm up here tonight, a meal at an authentic Greek taverna in Greece would be so much better.

To give you an idea of what winter can be like in Greece, below are photos of snow scenes from Mykonos, Paros and Santorini plus one of the Parnassos Ski Resort, along with a brief videoclip entitled “Winter’s Beauty in Greece,” posted online by YouTube member TheAmazing Greece. You can view more winter scenes from Greece on the Amazing Greece Facebook page.

 

Snow on Paros

This view of snow on Agios Pantes on Paros was posted on the ΠΑΡΟΣ like Facebook page. Neither the date nor the photographer are identified, but a tiny watermark on the picture appears to read “Christos Skandalis Photography.”

 

 

Mykonos windmills

The famous Mykonos windmills are seen following a storm in 2004. This photo was posted on the Facebook page for Andriani’s Guest House.

 

 

This YouTube upload by Dimitris Koutsoukos displays a variety of photos that various Mykonos residents and others have captured over the years following snowfalls on the island.

 

 

Winter snow on Santorini island Greece

This photo shows a light dusting of snow around the town of Fira on Santorini island. It and three more winter scenes from Santorini were published in a post on the cassettes blog on February 22 2008.

 

 

Parnassos Ski Resort Greece

Snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts can enjoy winter at more than a dozen mountain resorts on mainland Greece. This photo of the Parnassos Ski Resort is from the Parnassos Ski & Snowboard group page on Facebook.

 

 

 This videoclip of winter scenes in Greece was posted online by YouTube member TheAmazing Greece

 

 

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