Things to do with the family during Christmas and New Year in Athens 2019/2020
It is not for nothing that Athens has been named a top destination by Trivago, a big online search engine for travel. The Greek capital offers everything from city vibes, an ancient old vibrant culture and arts scene to hospitable family activities and outdoor fun along the Athenian Riviera.
Athens is gaining more and more popularity as a winter destination too. With its soft winters with sunny skies, Athens is a great city for Christmas Holidays. Here we have listed our favourite family things to do in Athens during Christmas and New Year!
1. Explore the century-old city
Visiting the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum is a must for anyone on vacation in Athens. This Christmas season, the streets around these two spots are part of a festive illumination display making these important sights even more magical. Other important hot spots during this Christmas are Syntagma Square with its Christmas tree and the changing of the guards, a ceremony performed by the evzones, the presidential guard, standing watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You will also have an opportunity to explore Plaka, the core of the city of Athens 200 years ago and wander the narrow streets of Anafiotika, perched at the foot of the Acropolis.
2. Get acquainted with Ancient Greece sites
The Christmas holiday is perhaps the best time to visit the numerous archaeological sites of Athens. Forget the long hours standing in line under the blistering sun, you are sure to discover the wonderful myths surrounding the Acropolis without hordes of tourists tagging along or visit the Ancient Agora without having to wait for a group to move away to take your family photo. The Temple of Poseidon in Sounio in winter means that you will get that perfect sunset shot without too many tries.
3. Explore Athens by bike with the family
Take a fun bike ride through the heart of historic Athens and seeing Athens by bike with one experienced local guides is perfect for active families. If your family is looking for a fun way to see Athens, the private family Athens by Bike Tour is for you. Fully customizable, you will bike around the main historic sites, stops at a local coffee shop, and reveals some hidden secrets.
4. Sample the best of Christmas treats
Christmas may be second to Easter in terms of celebrations, yet, the season comes with its fair share of treats and delicacies, including the scrumptious Christmas desserts, the kourabiedes, a style of almond shortbread cookies and melomakarona, syrupy cookies dipped in honey, which you will find in any bakery. Even better, why not take a Christmas Cooking Class or take part in a Christmas Food Tour in Athens? It will surely be a fun experience for the whole family.
5. Get into the Christmas spirit
In true spirit of the holidays, Athens has a few family-friendly activities and festivals happening around Christmas. A season favorite is the Christmas Factory, hosted in Technopolis, in Gazi. There, the wee ones will get their fun with Christmas-themed activities, music and theatrical performances, rides and games while the older ones can enjoy a tour around the Christmas market. Another highlight is the Santa Claus Kingdom, a theme park in Paiania, near the airport, which includes games and rides, food stands and more importantly, an ice-skating rink.
6. Do some Christmas shopping
Christmas shopping is definitely a great excuse to go on a (souvenir) shopping binge in Athens. Opt for a fun walk on Ermou street, the festively decorated pedestrian street descending from Syntagma square to Monastiraki. But you can also take advantage of the several malls dotting the city to combine it with some fun activities such as ice-skating, since many malls host pop-up ice skating rinks throughout the winter. Our favorites are the Mall Athens in Maroussi with a small Christmas village, McArthurGlen designer outlet in Paiania, the Athens Metro Mall, exactly by the Agios Dimitrios metro station or the Athens Heart Mall, in Tavros with ice skating rink!
7. Christmas celebrations at the Niarchos Cultural Center
Every year, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center goes full on during the holiday season. With a rich calendar filled with activities for young and old, it surely knows how to satisfy everyone. Including circus shows, Christmas readings, games and workshops, as well as live music performances and concerts, the program also includes the screenings of the best Christmas movies for children and adults.
8. Take a family ski trip
You may not be aware but Greece is home to a dozen ski stations definitely worth checking out. The closest to them is on Mount Parnassos. Located only two hours from Athens, the Parnassos Ski Center boasts 19 ski runs, 7 ski routes as well as 10 trails and three mini-beginner runs. Spend a relaxing après-ski evening in Arachova, a picturesque mountain village nearby and visit the nearby archaeological site of Delphi the next day.
9. Plan a day trip to Nafplio
Located in the Peloponnese region, Nafplio is a charming little town with a picturesque historic center. The former capital of the newly established state in the 19th century, Nafplio boasts a rich history visible through its medieval castles, its monuments, as well as its several Ottoman and Venetian fountains and neoclassical buildings. Mythology has it that it was founded by Nafplios, son of god Poseidon. Furthermore, it is conveniently located near the ancient site of Mycenae and the ancient city of Epidaurus.
Need more inspiration? The team of KidsLoveGreece will be more than happy to help you shape your family agenda and explore the things to do with the family during Christmas and New Year in Athens this year!
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