When thinking of ideal Christmas destinations, Greece, admittedly isn’t one that springs to mind. Greece is associated with endless blue and white sea and sky, summer beach holidays and island retreats. Switch those beaches for ski slopes and the blue and white takes on another meaning. Greece isn’t just the islands. Greece has mountains, lakes, gorges and a really long list of nature reserves and quaint mountain hamlets. Winter months see a different side of Greece. One that still parties and enjoys life to the fullest-with more layers of clothing. But with the same zest and joy de vivre.
And if you’re a fan of Greek food, which we’re guessing you are, you are in for a veritable treat. Or treats. Christmas sees a plethora of traditional foods being rolled out. Anathema for auntie Katerina who has to feed a gazillion guests, but hooray for us who get to pillage and maim the Christmas delicacies such as melomakarona and kourabiedes with reckless abandon. And come New Years, the vasilopita is cut between the menbers of the family to reveal a hidden coin that will bring you luck for a year. Or 3 years in a row if you’re my jammy sister. Yes, Christmas in Greece will see you eat your way through countless dinner parties, playing cards and boozing it up with the rocket fueled rakomelo or the equally potent oinomelo. They are honey infused raki and wine liquors served warm. Great for that nagging cough… Oh and the hangovers are just as mellow.
In most cities around Greece, free concerts spring up on the main squares. Some with traditional and folk music, others with modern. It’s a great way to get the community involved and participating in events that bring people together. And it’s a great way to meet people and learn new things about the culture.
And if that isn’t enough, then consider the possibility of a Swiss style holiday in a chalet with all the trimmings. But one you can actually afford. Greece boasts a dozen or so ski centres, scattered round the 4 corners of Greece. And the cherry on top? A lot of them have thermal spas in and around the area. Which means that your day can conceivably consist of breakfast by the chalet fireplace, followed by a long hike and a slalom or two, followed by a nice relaxing thermal spa, followed by a carnivalesque banquet of local delicacies and alcohol-fuelled Bachannality.
Christmas in Greece is just as magical as Greece in summer. Change the beaches for the slopes and the ouzo for the rakomelo and you’ll be hooked for life.