Greece might not be a natural first choice for a winter holiday, but there’s more to it than meets the eye! As we are entering November, this is the perfect time to think of a winter stay in Greece. Here are 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. But do not forget about other Greek cities such as Volos. A city trip to Volos can be combined with a ski trip to Pelion.
Arachova and Parnassos
Talking about a ski trip; 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 Crete 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!
If you haven’t already, you should also sign up for our newsletter. This is the best way to receive the latest news, deals, and travel inspiration for taking family holidays in Greece.
Greek yogurt is one of the most famous “Greeks” around the world, it’s also a staple in the Greek diet and used both in savory and sweet cooking creations. Here is how to make a healthy family favorite that all kids will love shared by Health Coach Aspasia Provou:
In case we’re making a banana-chocolate version we’ll need 4 ts cocoa powder & possibly a little extra honey
We wash, peel (if needed) and slice ripe fruits, like bananas, strawberries, mangos, apricots, and cherries. We lay the slices on parchment paper, on a tray, and we put it in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours. Store-bought frozen fruits will work just fine, too! We blend the yogurt and the honey very well before we add the frozen fruits into a blender or food processor and blend till smooth. We can either eat right away or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for another 2-3 hours. Alternatively, we can pour the mixture in a tray with parchment paper and break into pieces when it solidifies. Lick away!
1 cup = 250mltbs = tablespoon ts = teaspoon
Health Coach Aspasia Provou, brings a Whole Life approach to her coaching, addressing every aspect of individual – and family life starting with nutrition. She is the creator of Kids In The Kitchen! (παιδιά στην κουζίνα!), featuring inspiring cooking and nutrition workshops for children. She now develops adult workshops for both corporate audiences and family groups and 1-to-1 personal coaching. Her interactive coaching empowers action towards better health and better life all around.
Visiting Athens over the Halloween period? Here are two great places you can celebrate Halloween in Athens with kids.
Halloween in Greece
Halloween will soon be upon us, and if you are planning to travel to Greece over that period, you may be looking at ways to enjoy Halloween whilst there.
We’ll be honest, Halloween is not a big deal in Greek culture although this is slowly changing. Trick or Treating does happen, but on a pretty low key basis, with perhaps the kids of each apartment block knocking on the doors of their neighbours. It’s certainly not on the scale it is in the United States though.
In some ways, adults are more into it than the kids, with bars and nightclubs holding special event nights for people that want to dress up and get into the spirit of things.
Still, we do have some suggestions for families visiting Athens during the Halloween period.
The Little Kook
The Little Kook is our favourite quirky little cafe in Athens. They redecorate the shop with different seasonal themes such as Christmas and Easter, and of course Halloween is no exception!
They do a great line in tasty witch and spider cakes, and eating there is a real experience. We’re sure your kids will love taking photos outside even if you decide not to take a break inside!
A real witch is walking around the store and lots of scary corners will bring you into the Halloween spirit.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Athens
The Athens branch of this famous chain is a popular place for families to visit no matter what the time of year.
The Hard Rock Cafe does also put on yearly Halloween special events. Kids will love the Kids Halloween party:
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM Special Events – Dress up your little Monstars – and join us to celebrate Halloween:- Themed handcrafts from our animator- Halloween Face painting- Halloween Doughnut activity- Halloween decoration, music and candies Kids menu + participation fee: 15 € per kid
This Halloween party enjoy a special menu, a Halloween Freakshake and a spooky decoration with pumpkins and scary costumes from our staff.
We fully expect this to be quite popular with overseas visitors to Athens. So, if you want to reserve tables or find out more at www.hardrockcafe.com
Halloween at the Ranch
For a Halloween celebration at the countryside, head over to the Ranch. The Ranch is a beautiful farm concept near Athens in the Peloponnese with programs for Greek and foreign families. On 2 and 3 November, a special Halloween event will take place. Have a look at https://ranch.gr/en.
Would you like more information on planning a city break in Athens or trip to Greece? Contact the Kids Love Greece team today through the online chatbox.
At Kids Love Greece we have a great network of food bloggers, family travel experts, chefs and other passionate professionals. Each month, we will be featuring an interview with one of these people, under the section “Meet our Bloggers”. Through these experts, you will get exclusive tips on food and travel in Greece, learn more about Greek culture and get to know passionate locals.
Get ready to “e-meet” this month’s Food Blogger! We proudly present to you Lauren from Laurenaki Food Blog!
Interview With A Food Blogger: Meet Lauren From Laurenaki Food Blog
Welcome to the first edition of Interview with a food blogger! Today we’re chatting with Lauren Wadowsky behind the blog Laurenaki Food Blog. We love Lauren’s blog because she shares easy and healthy Greek family recipes and home-cooked family food. Her beautifully designed blog is a great place to find delicious meal ideas that you and your kids will love. Let’s get to know her better through 10 Kids Love Greece questions!
1. What is the story behind your blog’s name?
I named my blog Laurenaki Food Blog because my husband, who is Greek, nicknamed me Laurenaki when we first started dating in the US. I found it very sweet that he tried to make my name a little Greek. When I started blogging, I thought Laurenaki would work well as the name of a blog about food written by an American with a strong Greek influence.
2. What is your favourite Greek family dish?
Gigantes plaki. It’s a tasty vegan dish that tastes like summer with its roasted tomatoes and fresh parsley. It feeds a crowd at very little expense and is a great dish to serve guests who want to try a traditional Greek meal. I usually make a double recipe and freeze half. It’s a healthy, meatless option to have during the week.
3. What are your cooking inspirations? A famous chef, your mom, a cookbook, a blog etc?
There are so many! Mostly my influences are family. My paternal grandmother was a wonderful home cook who often let me help in her kitchen. She taught me how to bake and I always aspired to be a great all-around cook like her.
My mom is an interior designer who brings her creative talent to the food she prepares. When I was young she often cooked with interesting spices and unique ingredients. She and my dad tried to expose my sister and me to a variety of ingredients and cuisines. They encouraged us to be adventurous eaters which, I suppose, landed me where I am today.
Then of course there is my mother-in-law, Christina Panteleimonitis, who founded Ta Mylelia Watermill, one of the first all-natural pasta companies in Greece. Her recipes are always delicious, healthy and easy to prepare.
In terms of food bloggers, Molly Wizenberg’s blog, Orangette, inspired me to begin blogging myself. I loved how she wrote about life through food. Other blogs I admire include Smitten Kitchen, David Lebovitz, Food Wishes, Cookie and Kate and Oh She Glows. Mostly, I gravitate to bloggers who are also good writers and whose food philosophy is similar to mine.
4. You are based in Athens and you have travelled around Greece. What’s the best food you tried here?
The food in Greece is amazing everywhere but I find the cuisine on Lesvos particularly special since it features both amazing agricultural products and seafood. Some famous foods from Lesvos include olive oil, ouzo and ladotyri (a cheese that’s cured in olive oil). I also love how Lesvos’ cuisine changes depending on the season. In the summer, the traditionally cured sardines are typical fare and in the spring, a lovely, sweet baby cabbage is really not to be missed. In the fall and winter, visitors to Lesvos should try the revithada, chickpea soup, with hunks of crusty bread.
5. What should every foodie try in Greece?
Something seasonal that they wouldn’t find at home. So in the summer, this might be an octopus with pureed fava. In the fall, the moustokouloura (spice cookies flavoured with grape molasses) is a special treat. In the winter there’s soothing goat or chickpea soup. And in the spring, the vegan Lenten dishes like hortopita (greens pie), prasorizo (leek pilaf) and fasolada (bean soup) are healthy as well as delicious.
Finally, food lovers shouldn’t leave Greece without sampling its excellent wines, especially those from Nemea, Naoussa and Santorini.
6. What is your dream destination regarding food in Greece?
I still haven’t visited Crete and have heard wonderful things about its food, history and culture. I love dakos, the traditional Cretan salad of tomatoes and barley rusks and would love to try one in its proper location.
7. You have two beautiful girls. What’s your go-to kid-friendly recipe and do you have any advice/ tip for parents on weaning?
I mostly cook Greek food at home because it includes a lot of vegetables and flavours that are pleasing to all ages. A recipe I keep going back to when I’m cooking for kids is kimadopita or ground beef pie. The recipe I use features a cheesy, meat mixture enclosed in a wheat dough that few adults and kids can resist. In terms of weaning tips, something that worked well for me was introducing vegetables early on and sticking with it. So even if my oldest didn’t like peas, I’d keep serving them to her, maybe trying some different preparations, until she learned to like them. Now she gladly eats many types of vegetables.
8. If you had to share one kid’s favourite Greek recipe with us, what would you choose?
9. According to you, which place is Greece has the best food?
Again I’m going to say Lesvos for its agricultural products and seafood. The island also has a sizable year-round population that is rather discerning. For restaurants to be successful, they must please the local clientele. This usually works out well for visitors, too.
10. Being an American mom of two young kids in Greece, could you share any tips for people visiting Greece in relation to food restrictions or allergies?
I don’t have much personal experience with food restrictions but I believe food businesses in Greece do a good job of catering to special dietary concerns. I would encourage families on restricted diets to ask for what they need at restaurants and other eateries around Greece. Greek food services take great pride in being able to provide delicious food for all of their guests. So most should be able to cook to your needs.
A specific establishment that I can recommend is Slim Bites, a Greek pastry shop franchise that prepares a range of gluten-free, egg-free, and vegan sweets. They also sell regular sweets that are a bit lighter than what you might find at the typical Greek pâtisserie. They have a branch in Kolonaki in Downtown Athens that is a lovely place for parents to stop and enjoy a dessert or ice cream with kids.
For the phyllo dough:
1 2 lb. package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed or 250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour 250 grams (2 cups) whole wheat flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar 1 cup warm water
For the beef filling: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 800 grams (1.7 lbs.) ground beef salt and pepper, to taste 5 crushed garlic cloves 1 cup beef stock or broth 1 cup chopped parsley 4 large eggs ½ cup heavy cream or evaporated milk 1 cup grated kefalotyri (provolone, white cheddar, parmesan or a combination could also work)
For the phyllo dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Create a well in the centre of the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon and pour the vinegar, olive oil and warm water. Combine the ingredients in your electric mixer, preferably using a dough hook attachment. As you can see in my photos, I forgot to do this. It’s not a big deal, but the dough hook combines the ingredients more thoroughly. Mix until everything is well combined.
Turn the dough out onto a wooden cutting board and knead a few times. Then divide the dough into four portions. Place in a bowl and cover with a towel until needed.
For the beef filling: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook until browned, breaking up any large pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant then pour in the beef broth. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley; set aside to cool a little. Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs, heavy cream, and cheese; stir into the meat mixture.
Lightly oil a 9x 13-inch glass baking dish.
Roll each piece of phyllo dough into a thin rectangle, thin enough to cover the bottom of your pan and to slightly come up the sides. Line your baking dish with half of your rolled homemade phyllo dough (or with half of your thawed packaged phyllo dough, covering the dough with a moist towel when you aren’t using it as commercial phyllo dries out very quickly); brush with olive oil between layers. Then spread the meat mixture on top. Cover with the rest of the phyllo dough, again, brushing with olive oil between layers. Crimp the phyllo overhang then brush the top liberally with olive oil.
With a sharp knife, score the pie into eight large pieces. Bake in a preheated 200oC (390oF) oven for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Greece might be associated with sun, sea, sand and hot islands, but Greece is a year-round destination. Fall is a wonderful time to travel to Greece. Tourist crowds are thinning, prices and temperatures are dropping, and the food is fantastic. Let’s have a look at what Greece has to offer in fall, reveal the reasons why you should consider a Fall-break with your family and things to do in fall in Greece.
6 reasons why you should travel to Greece in Fall with your family
Find lower airfares and accommodation prices
Travel and walk without the heat of summer
Visit tourist attractions and towns without big crowds
Attend fall festivals and cultural events
Experience the dramatic beauty of Greece in fall
Enjoy fall foods like truffles and wild mushrooms
Fall is very pleasant in Greece. Sunny warm days, occasionally a few clouds, a nice breeze and cooler evenings. Fall is colder inland, especially in the mountains. October generally brings crisp, cool mornings and evenings but again, many sunny days and often hot enough for swimming until the end of October, especially on the islands of Rhodes and Crete. November is one of Greece’s wetter months, but there are usually still many sunny days. Athens is dry and sunny during the fall with a few cloudy days.
Visit tourist attractions and towns without big crowds
Athens and Thessaloniki are less busy during fall meaning you get to admire world-famous monuments and landmarks without the crowds and waiting lines. A stroll around the city centre with kids becomes more pleasant without the thousands of tourists on the pavements in the summer months. Athens in fall is especially great for visiting the Acropolis, the ancient Agora, and to see the Temple of Zeus. The autumn is a wonderful season to visit some parks both in the city itself and in the surrounding area. A must-visit for fall colors are the National Gardens. With comfortable temperatures, autumn is the perfect time for families to try an urban adventure in Athens. Take your pick from a number of walking tours that highlight contemporary cultural aspects of Athens. Although there are fewer sunlight hours, earlier sunsets mean more time to enjoy cities after dark. Athens lights its historic monuments at night so strolling through the city after dark is beautiful and romantic.
Around the 3rd or the 4th week of October, lots of international schools in Europe and especially the ones in the UK have half-term breaks. During these weeks, Kids Love Greece have extra dates for our popular Percy Jackson tours small group. More specifically, in Athens on October 14, October 18 and October 20 and in Delphi on October 21.
Fall is also a great time to visit the world-famous monasteries of Meteora. Without the crowds, you will truly absorb the impressive rocks and stunning nature at this UNESCO world heritage site. You can combine your visit to Meteora with a mushroom hunt with the Meteora Mushroom Museum.
Unlike many of the other Greek islands whose tourist industry seems to close in October, the season in some island carries on in fall. As such, we’d recommend Crete and Santorini. In fall, when the tourist numbers drop, it is a little easier to find family accommodation in Santorini, and the temperatures on this volcanic island are a lot more tolerable. One of the bonuses of visiting in fall is that the waters might still be warm enough to swim in.
Attend fall festivals and cultural events
Most of Greece’s local festivals tend to be in the fall. These festivals are often related to food because of the harvest months. Think of festivals dedicated to truffles, chestnuts, mushrooms, grapes and wine. In Aegina, a pistachio nuts festival takes places each September including gastronomy events, workshops, live music, theatrical events and creative activities. Chestnuts grow all over Greece and many communities hold chestnut festivals, such as the one in Crete in the scenic village Elos. You’ll find music, folk dancing, eating and drinking and chestnut delicacies. The Chestnut festival of Agios Demetrios near Nafpaktos takes place at the beginning of October. Throughout the festival, roasted chestnuts are served to the visitors along with local traditional dishes and desserts.
In Elassona in the Thessaly region, one of Greece’s most important feta-cheese-producing regions, a Feta Cheese Festival takes place in September. You can also find wine and beer festivals around Greece such as the Corfu Beer Festival in September. Wines of Peloponnese is a fall festival featuring 30 wines from the region.
An important cultural event in Greece is the national holiday of 28 October with parades, marching bands and folklore dress all over Greece. In November, the Authentic Marathon takes places in Athens. The race is one of the most unique sports events in the world and attended by thousands of runners and spectators from all over the world. Finally, Halloween is increasingly popular in Greece over the past years and lots of interesting Halloween parties are being organized in Athens.
Greece’s stunning nature in fall
Greece’s colors are magical in fall. Nature transforms itself from fresh green into many shades of red and orange as the trees change colour. Hiking and biking are just a few activities that will allow your family to enjoy Greece’s magnificent mountain landscape. One of our favorite fall activities is hiking. Ideal destinations for hiking are Crete, Meteora and Pelion because nature is truly at its best at this time of the year. Kids will love the picturesque villages of Pelion with their apple trees and acorns. Crete is a paradise destination in fall with lots of organized outdoor activities in its stunning nature and colourful landscape.
Greece Food in Fall
Fall is an interesting time for food-loving families. Besides Greece’s year-round delicacies, fall offers products that are not available in other seasons. What can be better than fresh truffles? Truffle hunting, as well as mushroom picking, are some fall activities that are being organized after the summer. Have a look at the Mushroom Museum in Meteora that organizes truffle hunts for families. There are lots of fresh mushrooms in fall so many restaurants will feature them in special dishes. Wine and olive harvests are another great aspect of fall in Greece. If you want to discover all the goodies that Greek fall offers, we recommend joining one of our food experiences for families. Have a look at our food tours in Nafplio and Chania, both excellent destinations to visit in fall.
If you would like help to plan your fall vacation break in Greece, contact the Kids Love Greece team. We would love to create the perfect vacation itinerary for you and your family!