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Top places to visit for a winter holiday in Greece

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Arachova Greece

The alpine town of Arachova in Central Greece, seen during our visit in June 2017. The website Greece Is has ranked Arachova one of the country’s Top 10 places to visit in wintertime 

 

Off season delights: Are you trying to pick a place to visit for a unique winter getaway? Have you considered going to Greece?

If you’re like many of the people reading this post, you probably picture Greece only as a summer destination, primarily because of the immense popularity of its world-famous beach-blessed islands.

However, Greece is more than just islands and beaches — it’s a year-round travel destination with activities and attractions that appeal to everyone, from outdoor sports enthusiasts, to foodies, to history buffs, nature lovers and more.

As for what makes Greece special during the off-season winter months, here’s a nicely succinct description by one of my favourite food, culture and travel publications,  Greece Is:

“Winter is the time to swap the sandals for hiking boots, and the cold beachside beer for a brandy or warm rakomelo by the fireplace. Hearty, slow-cooked stews replace light summertime salads, and a whole host of different seasonal products begin to appear: wild mushrooms, juicy oranges, fat chestnuts. This is a time to experience a different sort of Greece – one of rivers, mountains and glorious natural landscapes as yet undiscovered by mass tourism. One that is emptier, wilder but also comforting in its own way, insulated from the rush and chaos of the modern world.” 

Although there are scores of places in Greece that would be wonderful to visit in the off-season, Greece Is compiled this list of The Top 10 places to visit in Greece in winter:

♦ Zagori

♦  Arachova

♦  Kalavryta

♦  Meteora

♦  Tzoumerka

♦  Metsovo

♦  Loutraki – Pella

♦  the mountains of Corinth

♦  Pilio (also known as Pelion), and

♦  the mountains of Arcadia

What I particularly like about the Greece Is Top 10 list is that it includes descriptions of each destination or area, and outlines the winter activities that are most appealing at each place. The listing also includes links to additional insightful articles and practical information about each location, as well as photo galleries. I found it a great starting-point for researching a trip to Greece not only in winter (though that’s the focus of the ranking), but really for any time of year — all the destinations would be marvellous to visit in spring, summer or fall, as well.

To get some Greece travel inspiration for yourself, click here to read the full article.

 

 

Greece 2017: Our 4-day road trip in the western Peloponnese

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Voidokilia beach

Omega-shaped Voidokilia, in the western Peloponnese, was one of many beautiful beaches that took our breath away in 2017

 

All-new experiences: Two trips to Greece in 2017 gave us opportunities to expand our horizons and see diverse regions we had never visited before, including parts of the Peloponnese, one of the Ionian islands, Central Greece and southwestern Crete.

Our first vacation, from May 22 to June 7,  gave us impressive introductions to the western Peloponnese, Kefalonia, and Central Greece. The second holiday, from October 19 to November 6, took us along the spectacular southwestern coast of Crete.

With the exception of our arrival and departure days in Athens, plus a 4-night stay in Chania (which we had seen briefly during our first trip to Crete in 2004), every place and region on our itinerary was completely new to us, offering a tremendous variety of first-time experiences for accommodations, activities, dining and sightseeing.

Our travels took us to several spots we would absolutely love to revisit, along with many more we would be happy to see a second time if we find ourselves in the area once again. As for the few places that didn’t quite catch our fancy, our mixed feelings were simply due to the time of season we happened to be there — now we know when to return to enjoy them better. Happily, there wasn’t a single destination we disliked.  

 

 

Our spring vacation began with a  4.5-day road trip, with friends, through the Messenia and Elis regions of the southwest and northwest Peloponnese. We covered considerable ground in that time, moving at a much faster pace than we usually travel, but the goal was to give us a peek at a number of different places so we could find favourites to revisit for longer periods in future. After the Peloponnese segment of our holiday, a week-long visit to Kefalonia island and six days in Central Greece gave us time to relax and to comfortably explore towns and sites on foot rather than by car. 

On page 2 of this article, I have posted photos and brief descriptions of the main locations and key attractions we got to see during our car tour in the Peloponnese.  Pictures of the places we explored on Kefalonia and in Central Greece, and those we visited during our fall holiday on Crete, will appear in separate posts. Future articles will spotlight specific destinations in greater detail, and will profile hotels we stayed at and restaurants where we dined.

Please click on the link under the next photo to continue reading on page 2.

 

Kyparissia

Red-roofed houses in the attractive mountainside town of Kyparissia

 

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Instagram snapshots from our autumn trip to Crete & Athens

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Perivolakia beach on Crete

Striking scenery abounds at Perivolakia beach near Loutro village in southwestern Crete

 

Photo highlights:  When an opportunity to return to Greece arose somewhat unexpectedly last month, we couldn’t resist the allure of an autumn holiday — even though we would be travelling in off-season.  So we booked our flights to and from Athens and hurriedly began researching possible destinations to visit.

After considering a shortlist that included Lesvos, the Peloponnese and the Saronic Gulf islands, and heeding the advice of friends and online contacts who are knowledgeable and experienced with travelling in Greece in the late fall, we chose Crete for a 15-day island getaway. We followed that with a short stay in Athens prior to catching our flight home.

Technical issues including a broken laptop monitor prevented me from blogging during the holiday, but I did post dozens of photos and a few short videoclips on Instagram, and I have been adding more each day since returning from Greece.

You can view the images, even if you’re not an Instagram member, simply by clicking over to the MyGreeceTravelBlog Instagram page.

I’m planning to post further photos plus reports of the trip here on the blog once I’m recovered from jet lag and caught up on personal business.

 

Agia Roumeli village on Crete

Mountains rise behind Agia Roumeli, a small village at the foot of the world-famous Samaria Gorge in southern Crete

 

Sunset view from Paleochora

The gorgeous November 2 sunset, seen from Limnaki beach at Paleochora

A monumental aerial view of the Athens Acropolis at night

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Take a  night-time flight over the Acropolis in this 1-minute-long video by MStefanops

 

Acropolis aglow:  I have seen the Acropolis in Athens numerous times at night, but always from ground level while walking around the city’s historic center. Although the street views of the illuminated Acropolis and its monuments have always been incredibly impressive, I have often wished I could get a better look from higher up. Now I finally have, thanks to a short but sweet film published August 24 on Vimeo.

Posted by MStefanops, the drone video is only one minute long, but it provides some breathtaking views of the Acropolis and the centuries-old structures atop it, including the Parthenon,  the Propylaea, the Erechtheum, the Old Temple of Athena, and the Temple of Athena Nike, all aglow with their special night lighting.

If you have managed to see the Acropolis only in daylight, this video will show you that the monument is equally enthralling after dark.

A journey above the scenic coasts of the southern Peloponnese

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Reflecting on Peloponnese, by Vimeo contributors Nestoras Kechagias and Athanasia Lykoudi, features aerial views of amazing coastal sites and scenery in the southern Peloponnese

 

Captivating coastlines: Two back-to-back trips have made us big fans of the Peloponnese, and its extensive, awe-inspiring coastlines in particular.

In 2016 we spent most of our time in the eastern Peloponnese, staying in the scenic seaside towns of Nafplio, Monemvasia, and Tolo, and driving along the beautiful coast in the Laconia region between Nafplio and Leonidio.

Much of this year’s trip took us to umpteen beautiful spots on the western Peloponnese seashore, including Pylos, Methoni, Voidokilia beach, Marathopoli, Kyparissia, Katakolo, Kyillini, Patras and many places in between.

It was an incredible visual feast of destinations, but it left us hungry for more. Luckily, there are many miles of spellbinding seasides we haven’t yet explored, including the southern Peloponnese coastline from the Mani peninsula all the way east to Elafonnisi island.

By chance, I found the film, Reflecting on the Peloponnese, shortly after returning home from our latest sojourn in Greece. With its captivating aerial views of such now-familiar places as Monemvasia, Methoni and Voidokilia, it instantly brought back vivid memories of our two most recent vacations. At the same time, it stirred our desire for another trip to the Peloponnese, so we can try to see the other fascinating sites shown in the video, including Kardamyli, Limeni, the Dimitrios shipwreck near Gytheio, Elafonissi, and more.

The film runs less than 3 minutes, but you’ll find it’s a wonderful aerial journey across an amazing part of the Peloponnese.

 

 

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