A picturesque little town with a central square famous for its Christmas decoration, tiled stone houses and the impressive Mount Parnassos in the background with its endless snow and pines - that’s what Arahova is all about.
Arahova is one of the favourite winter escapes for Athenians and is the perfect choice for a family holiday as it is conveniently only a two and a half hour drive from Athens.
The town is famous in many ways and the picturesque alleyways full of traditional shops that sell food products, woolen carpets and wooden house furniture, as well as modern shops with trendy clothes are all very alluring.
There are also plenty of tavernas that serve traditional food including the famous Arahova cheese called ‘formaela’, and ‘hilopites’ – a type of noodle which is very popular in Arahova. Do try also ‘kokora krasato’ – cockerel cooked in wine, and also try the yummy pork ribs. Go to Kaplanis, Kaliva or Dasargiris tavernas for lunch or dinner. These are at Araxova and Zahos in Livadi, next to Arahova on the way to Mount Parnassos. The traditional deserts at the ‘Papastathis’ patisserie are also a must try.
The little town square with its Christmas decorations has many cosy cafeterias where you can indulge in a hot chocolate or cappuccino while your kids play freely in the square. ‘Poliko’ and ‘Paramount’ at Livadi are also good choices for a coffee stop.
Regarding accommodation, Elatos Resort & Health Club is definitely one of our top choices followed by Santa Marina at Livadi. They both have a playground and Elatos also has a heated pool that your kids will love. Elatos is a bit more expensive but you will soon feel at home in the luxury wooden chalets on the mountain slope. The pines trees give a wonderful feeling of serenity. At a lesser cost is Anemolia at Arahova which is more conveniently located for getting around at the town. However, the hotel has not recently been refurbished and does not have child specific facilities.
You should also visit Ai Giorgis church in Arahova. You can walk there starting from the town though it is quite a long walk, but of course you could always drive there. Whichever way you choose one thing for certain is that once you get there you will love the church and its beautiful surroundings.
The area has plenty of activities for families. First of all, there’s the relatively new ice skating rink that your little fellows will love, especially at night time when it is lit up. If you are lucky you might get to join in on one of the Christmas events that are organised at the rink. Weather permitting there is also a ranch with horses near the ice skating rink.
Visiting Parnassos’ ski resort, one of the biggest ski resorts in Greece, is a definite ‘must’. Going up in the lifts (or ‘eggs’ as they are called) from the base of the resort to the slopes can be quite fun. The view on the way up is breathtaking, particularly when the weather is good and it is a sunny day. Ski lessons for are children available. You can also try sleigh rides if you don’t fancy snowboarding or skiing. Sip a hot chocolate at the chalet for a perfect end to the day.
If you decide to stay at Arahova a bit longer make a point of visiting the oracle of Delphi. It is less than an hours’ drive and is definitely worth the visit. Feel the energy of the place that was once considered to be the centre of the world in ancient times.
You might want to visit Agoriani, a small village at the west side of Mount Parnassos. The area is verdant and also less developed than Arahova. It is famous for its picturesque houses and amazing food. Try the pork ribs and call at Mrs Athanasias bakery to buy some of her famous spinach pies. Seeing as you have made it this far then call in at the St. Anargiri springs where you feel the calm and peace of the surroundings. Light a candle in the isolated monastery of St. George before your return to trendy Arahova.
Families should know
- Arahova is a popular destination during the Christmas period and therefore gets busy so booking in advance is highly recommended
- The temperature in Arahova is much colder than the nearby Athens so make sure you have plenty of warm clothes, hats, scarves and gloves. Greece might have a reputation for sea and sun but Arahova sure does get cold in the winter
- Unfortunately most tavernas and cafes in Arahova do not have a non smoking area
- The Greek supermarket AB in Arahova has all the essentials you might need and there are plenty of pharmacies
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