Greece might not be a natural first choice for a winter holiday, but there’s more to it than meets the eye! Here’s some great vacation ideas for family winter holidays in Greece.
The temperatures may be lower in Greece during the winter than they are in the summer, but the sun never seems to stop shining. There’s an abundance of clear, crisp and bright days throughout the winter months which seem to reveal the landscape at its most splendid. It’s a great time to explore the countryside and see a different side to Greece than you might normally get on a sun, sea and sand holiday. Wondering where you should start? Here’s our top suggestions of places to visit in Greece during the winter with the family.
Athens and Thessaloniki
The two largest cities in Greece can be visited all the year around, and there is always plenty to see and do! The main archaeological spaces such as the Acropolis may have slightly shorter opening hours, but the flip side is that there are also far fewer tourists. Kids Love Greece operate private family tours all through the year in Athens and Thessaloniki, and our local guides can show you some hidden as well as seasonal gems.
Arachova and Parnassos
Many people are completely unaware that Greece has some excellent skiing facilities dotted around the country in the rugged, mountainous areas. Mount Parnassos is perhaps the most famous, and it is a favourite with Athenians who head to the slopes during the winter for skiing and snowboarding. If you’d like to try skiing in Greece during the winter with your family, we can arrange accommodation at the nearby town of Arachova, as well as organising access to the slopes.
Such is the popularity of Santorini, that we would suggest avoiding it altogether during the peak month of August if at all possible. The winter months, on the other hand, are a great time to visit. The number of tourists is considerably fewer at this time of year, which is perfect if you want to take your photos without anyone else in them! All of the main attractions are accessible, and some good deals can be found on luxury family accommodation in Santorini during the winter.
Unlike many Greek islands, Crete does not close down during the winter, but stays open for tourism all the year through. Whilst there are no guarantees on the weather, the later weeks of winter can often be surprisingly warm, and a stark contrast to visitors from more northern countries! The winter months in Greece are ideal for all types of outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling, and our network of local guides can arrange unique family adventures for you as you explore this most special of the Greek islands.
Plan your family vacation in Greece
If you would like to find out more about planning a family vacation in Greece, contact our friendly team of experts today. You can either get in touch with us through the help box on this website, or fill out this contact form. As Greek moms who take our kids on vacation in Greece during all seasons, we can make some suggestions of the best places to visit and pass on some of our inside knowledge!
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If you’ve visited Greece before, the chances are that you’ve already been to the big three destinations of Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. There’s a lot more waiting to be discovered though, and so here are 5 alternative Greek destinations for 2018.
Planning a Greek Vacation for 2018
2017 was an incredible year for tourism in Greece. As one of the safest destinations for families in the world, visitor numbers were up across the board. Many of those visitors are planning return trips to Greece for 2018, and are looking for alternative Greek destinations tos spend their vacations. Here are 5 we know your family will absolutely love!
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is an ideal destination for a family vacation. It has that perfect mix of beautiful beaches, ancient sites, natural wonders, and friendly people. If your family is looking for a genuine and authentic Greek experience, this is the island to visit! One of the best ways to get a real feel for Crete, is by taking a road trip. If you would like help in planning a road trip in Crete, get in touch with us today – we’ve got endless ideas for you!
This popular Greek island is often thought of as the family-friendly alternative to Mykonos. Ringed by beautiful beaches, there is a great range of accommodation from luxury hotels through to boutique guesthouses, and plenty to see and do when there. Venetian castles, unique architecture, watersports, outdoor activities, and day tours to agritourism hosts mean that you can do something new and exciting each day. In our opinion, Naxos is a much more suitable destination for families than Mykonos.
Some parts of the Peloponnese such as Nafplio can be visited on day trips from Athens, but the best way to experience this part of Greece is to spend a week or two there. Even if you are unfamiliar with the geography of Greece, you will have probably heard of Sparta, Olympia, Corinth, Mycenae, and Agamemnon. If your family loves Greek mythology and ancient history, the Peloponnese is a dream destination! And let’s not forget the beaches. There are some stunningly long stretches of sand dotted in between Venetian castles and other places of interest. Interested in seeing the highlights of the Peloponnese? Kids Love Greece can help you plan the ultimate vacation!
Well known to Greeks, the Pelion region is something of an unknown factor for visitors from other countries. In one way, it’s a shame because there is so much that people are missing out on. In another way, it’s a great thing, as the region is as authentic as you can get! This mountainous peninsular is an ideal year-around destination. In the winter, the ski slopes open for winter sports, and in the summer, the seaside resorts cater to families seeking to enjoy a sun and sea vacation. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to try as well as traditional local villages to explore.
The second largest city in Greece doesn’t quite receive the amount of overseas visitors it deserves. It’s certainly worth spending a day or two exploring though, and there’s plenty for all the family to see and do. The seafront promenade area is wonderful for taking a walk or bike ride, and there are historic monuments such as the White Tower, and Hagia Sophia. Many people choose to stay at Thessaloniki for a night or two before heading to Halkidiki.
Are you interested in finding out more about any of the areas listed above? Contact Kids Love Greece today, and we’ll help you plan your next family vacation to Greece!
With the United States enjoying Thanksgiving, we thought we’d write a post about the different festivals in Greece. Here’s all you need to know about the major festivals, celebrations and holidays.
Holidays in Greece
In a country where you get two birthdays (your official birthday and a name day), you might be right in thinking that the Greek calendar is overflowing with festivals and celebrations throughout the year! Many of these are based around key religious dates in the Orthodox faith, whilst others are holidays of national importance. If you’re planning your family vacation to Greece around any of these dates, be sure to include seeing these celebrations in your itinerary!
Celebrations, Festivals and Holidays in Greece
January 1st – The year starts off with the Feast of Agios Vassilis (Saint Basil, who is the equivalent of Santa Claus). In addition to church services, there is the vassilopita cutting. The person who finds the coin inside the cake gets good luck for the year!
January 6th – Celebrated across Greece, the Blessing of the Waters is followed by a priest throwing a cross into the waters of rivers, lakes and ports, where brave young locals dive in to retrieve it. Swimming at the time of year is only for the brave!
February-March – Carnival. “Apokries” as it is known in Greek is celebrated with parties, feasts and parades three weeks before Lent Monday. The best places to see parades are Rethymno, Corfu, and Patra. Note – The exact date varies from year to year, according to the Orthodox Calendar.
March 25th – Independence Day. Expect celebrations marking the declaration of the Revolutionary War against the ruling Ottomans, with military and school parades up and down the country. People also eat a special dish of fried bakaliaro (cod) and skordalia (garlic sauce) on this day!
This is the most important yearly festival in Greece, and the exact dates change from year to year according to the Greek Orthodox calendar. There are different events held during Easter week, and then on Good Friday, a candlelit procession follows the Epitaph on a procession from every church – of which there are many in Greece! After the procession, people head home to crack red-dyed eggs and eat Magaritsa soup (don’t ask what’s in it!).
On Sunday, the long fast is broken, and the smell of roast lamb hangs in the air. One place to truly experience Easter is the town of Arachova near Delphi. Another is Nafplio.
April 23rd – The Feast of Saint George (Agios Georgios). Again, there are celebrations throughout Greece, with those in Arachova being perhaps the most well known. On years when Greek easter coincides with St. George’s Day, you can expect major festivities!
May 1st – May day, Labor day, or the Feast of the Flowers.
May 21st – St. Constantine and St. Eleni. Two major Saint days, which also coincides with fire walking festivals in Agia Elleni near Serres and at Langada near Thessaloniki.
August 15th: The day of the Panagia (Virgin Mary). Celebrating Mary’s ascension to heaven, many pilgrimages take place during this period, especially on the islands of Tinos, Paros, and Patmos.
October 28th – Known as ‘Ohi’ day, or ‘No’ day. On this day, Greeks celebrate saying no to the Italians who had asked for their surrender during World War 2. Some military parades take place, as well as parades by representatives of schools. In Athens, the parade marches past the Parliament building.
November 17th – Celebration of the Polytechnic uprising against the Junta (military dictatorship). In recent years this day has been somewhat hijacked by fringe left and anarchist groups in the Exarchia district of Athens. We would suggest to stay out of the centre of Athens during the evening and night on this date.
December 24th – Traditionally a day when children go from door to door singing Christmas carols.
And these are only the main dates! There are dozens more, varying from region to region. If you are planning your family vacation in Greece, and would like to know which festivals are happening during your visit, contact Kids Love Greece today. We’ll be able to let you know what events are happening during your visit, so you can really get a taste of Greek culture!
How would you prefer to get around on your mythological tour in Greece? Would you love the chance to experience driving in a foreign country, or be happier taking private transfers? Let’s take a look at both options so we can help you plan the ultimate family mythological tour in Greece!
The Highlights of Mythological Greece
No trip to Greece is complete without seeing some of the mythological highlights. Some families make it the basis of their entire trip. Some spend just a few days at key places before jetting off to one of the fabulous Greek islands for the beach. Which mythological highlights would you choose to visit? There’s the world famous sites such as the Acropolis, Delphi, and Knossos of course, but also dozens more waiting for you to discover them. You’ll soon find that there is a lot more to Greece than you at first thought!
For this blog post, we’ll assume that you already know what you want to see, so we’ll concentrate on the ‘how’ instead. The two best options are going to be to self-drive between places, or using private transfer services. We’ll give you the pros and cons of each so that you can make your own minds up. Maybe you could even ask the kids to vote on it!
Self-drive in Greece
If your family is willing to take the adventure, you are going to find that Greece is a great country to go on a road trip! There’s tiny rural villages nestled in the hillsides, local tavernas serving tasty traditional cuisine, and friendly folk all around willing to help you out if you’ve missed a turn or need directions. Taking a driving holiday around Greece is certainly an amazing experience, and a fun way of getting to places connected with Greek mythology. Is it for you though?
Set your own agenda and schedule
Get off the beaten track
Be fun and adventurous!
You will need to do all the planning
Parking in some towns and cities is challenging
The system of road signs is not the best!
If you are the type of family who have fun on the road, embrace adventure, and are truly independent, driving yourself on a Greek road trip is perfect! You’re still going to want to use an experienced local guide who is knowledgeable about the site you are visiting, but getting there and away again is all in your own hands. Want to find out more about driving in Greece? Have a chat with one of our team using the chat function on this site right now. We’ll be more than happy to help!
Driving in a foreign country has a set of challenges that can sometimes be difficult to cope with, especially when travelling with younger kids. Some people simply prefer knowing that their transport is pre-arranged. That way, they can concentrate on the important things, like relaxing and enjoying the vacation. This is why private transfers between mythological sites in Greece is the most popular form of transport. Here’s some of the positives and negatives.
No need to plan routes, worry about fuel, or worry about where to park
The driver can offer door-to-door service between destinations
The hassle free approach!
The driver will know where the hidden gems, and will stop for photos!
It is a more expensive option
Little or no flexibility once transfers have been arranged
Private transfers are ideal for people who have little time to plan their routes, and would prefer to leave the transportation in someone else’s hands. Depending on the tour, a driver may also be an officially licensed guide who can show you around the archaeological sites and help bring them to life. Especially important for the kids!
Find out more
Contact the Kids Love Greece team today to start planning your next family vacation in Greece. We’re expert locals who are passionate about Greece, expert locals, and know all about traveling with families!
If you thought that Greece was just beaches and ancient sites, think again! Here’s the most popular outdoor activities to try during your next Greek vacation.
Outdoor Activities to try in Greece
Greece is developing a growing reputation as a great destination for active family holidays. How does kayaking in the morning, followed by lunch at a waterpark and a cycle ride through a forest in the afternoon sound? All this and more is possible during a family vacation in Greece!
If your family loves watersports, then Greece is one of the best countries in the world to take your next vacation. Many of the popular holiday destinations such as Mykonos and Naxos provide facilities and services for watersports, including kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and scuba diving. Top up your tan whilst your kids enjoy their windsurfing lessons, or join them for fun on the waves. The warm waters of Greece invite you to play in them!
Hiking in Greece has really taken off in recent years, and there are a number of interesting places to explore on foot up and down the country. Pelion offers some great day hiking opportunities, particularly during the autumn and summer months, whilst hiking around Mount Olympus is perhaps for the more experienced. When visiting Crete, one hike that we recommend is through the Samaria Gorge. It can be challenging at times, but the plunge into the ocean at the end of the walk is worth all the effort!
Would your kids like to embark on their own odyssey? Sailing between the Greek islands is a wonderful way to combine all the elements of a relaxing vacation with a hint of adventure and excitement. Take to the sea on a short sailing trip, or set off on a 2 week voyage to discover little visited Greek islands. Kids Love Greece offer a range of sailing vacations, and we’re sure the little ones would love the opportunity to be a Captain for a day!
Many people associate Greece with a sun, sea, and sand holiday, without realising it is also possible to ski there during the winter. It might not have the same high profile as other European destinations, but the slopes are world class all the same. Parnassos ski resort near Delphi is perhaps the most popular destination to visit, but there are dozens more up and down the country. Try your hand at skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating during the day, before warming yourself by an open fire in a mountain lodge hotel at night. A winter vacation in Greece is like no other!
Find out more
Would you like to find out more about family friendly outdoor activities in Greece? We can recommend which areas to visit based on your interests, and provide you with some great suggestions so put some adventure into your next holiday in Greece. Contact the Kids Love Greece team today, and we’ll help you plan the perfect family vacation in Greece!