Arachova: Alpine Grace
Often referred to as the Mykonos of the winter, Arachova is what Gstaad would look like if it were Greek. Perched on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, a mere 2 hours from Athens, the tiny mountain hamlet of Arachova sits pretty. With a ski center in the vicinity and a plethora of traditional food, Arachova ticks every box. And it does so effortlessly. That’s upside!
Naturally, the architecture and disposition are rustic. The landscape is dominated by lots of big stone structures, with big chimneys and idyllic corners with charming northern European character. You could easily be in some Swiss chalet were it not for the delicious scent of slow cooked pork and formaela cheese (we’ll get to that too, you heathens) whizzing up the village to remind you that this is in fact a Mediterranean country. Wehey! Enjoying the sweet life without paying an arm and a leg.
Because Arachova is associated with mountain sports, we feel it’s our duty to give you the heads up. And it’s really not that much of a heads up as much as it is an insistence. Because the ski center in Parnassos is as close as you’ll get to winter heaven this side of the Alps.
With 21 slalom courses, 7 snow concourses, 5 connecting trails and 4 beginner mini slopes totaling a whopping 34 km, Parnassos ski center sets the bar. In addition, one can find comfort in the fun park and the chalet at the foot of the slope, ideal for snuggly hot cocoa situations.
Unsurprisingly, Arachova has history. It is said that the race of the original Helenes, or Ionians was created here in the Korykyon Antro-a 100 meter cave with stalagmites that dates back to the Neolithic period. Various fragments of bones and scattered artefacts have been discovered in the digs, and one should definitely make the effort to visit, if nothing else, for pure exercise (and for making the feast you’ll be tucking into a lot more savory).
When the day ends, and your legs have giving it all they got, the only place for you is a local tavern. Preferably surrounded by a carafe of the local wine and an assortment of local delicacies such as the amazing formaela cheese, which is prepared like saganaki in a circular cut. There is an abundance of local meats, too. Obviously. Which make for insanely delicious sausages and cuts.
But of course, we don’t need to oversell it, do we? I think by now, the secret is out. Greece is tasty as it is beautiful. Come and get yourself a slice of the good life.