Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in Greece, and we were lucky enough to be there while Christmas festivities were in full bloom!
After spending a month in the Middle East, it was a wonderful feeling to visit Athens in mid-December in the midst of the holidays! It was much cooler (temperature wise) than our previous destinations, and it was ornamented with Christmas decorations everywhere!
If you’re considering a visit to Greece, think about visiting over the Christmas holiday. Don’t be mistaken that Greece is only a destination to visit in the summer. Greece has so much more to offer than beautiful beaches and Islands.
Here are a few reasons why you should spend your next Christmas in Greece.
Christmas Markets and Bazaars
No matter the town you’re visiting in Greece, there are sure to be amazing Christmas markets close by. Ask your hotel or do some research online for markets and bazaars happening while you’re there. Some of these events kick off earlier in the season — November and early December — so even if you’re not there right around Christmas you may still be able to visit some great holiday bazaars.
Christmas markets and bazaars come in all shapes and sizes. In Athens, for example, you can visit small Christmas markets in Omonia Square, or in the National Garden. And if you prefer a much larger Christmas market, you can visit something like the Christmas Factory in Technopolis. The Christmas Factory features rides, music, games and much more to put your whole family into the holiday mood.
While we were visiting Greece, we drove North from Athens to the Mt. Olympus area for Christmas and spent an afternoon in the Christmas market of Katerini (as recommended by our hotel). This market was set up more for young kids, but still had booths to shop and eat at and Christmas music playing for all to enjoy. We had an unforgettable time visiting the markets in both Athens and Katerini.
Music, and Shows, and Tours, Oh My!
At the Athens Concert Hall you can catch an entire lineup of choral singers, symphonies, etc., playing all your favorites for the holiday season. Check out their events calendar and plan accordingly! Around the holidays you can also see shows that will really put you into the holiday spirit! Shows like the Nutcracker or the Snow Queen, for example. Tickets can sometimes sell quickly around the holiday season, so be sure to book in advance.
There are many, many tours you can take in Athens. Everything from historical tours, walking tours, general sight seeing tours, and even Christmas tours! Yes, you read correctly, Christmas tours! These tours take you sampling some of Athens best Christmas foods that are only known by locals. What better way to eat through the holiday than on a Christmas Food Tour!
If you are staying somewhere outside of Athens, check with your hotel or online before you go for local shows and events going on. For more ideas of things to do in Athens, check out our post on How to See Athens in Two Days.
Sometimes the best way to feel in the holiday spirit is just to walk around and enjoy the lights and the people.
Syntagma Square in Athens is fully decorated with lights and a Christmas tree, and the fancy hotels around the square are covered in decorations as well. This is a great place to enjoy the lights and the sights, and of course comes with great people watching.
You might consider shopping in Greece during the holiday season… but be aware that everyone else is considering that too! Popular bazaars or shopping streets, like Ermou in Athens, can become incredibly crowded the closer you get to Christmas. But if you really want to shop, try going earlier in the day since most Greeks start their day a little later.
Greek food is really the best, and around Christmas time it somehow gets even better! Everyone is putting out their best holiday dishes and desserts, so try as much as you can! It is an absolute treat!
In Athens, Little Kook is a must if you want Christmas food overload! And if you decide you don’t want to wait in line to get in, it’s still worth checking out from the outside.
During our trip to Northern Greece for Christmas, we stayed at the Ktima Bellou near Mt. Olympus. The food offered there was an organic farm-to-fork experience like no other. We ate like royalty! Our mouths still water thinking back on some of the meals we had there! An excellent place to stay, or just to eat at, if you are in the area (Christmas time or otherwise).
For some, snow-covered mountains are a must during the holiday season. And snow-covered mountains Greece has! There are a number of ski resorts only a couple hours from Athens, including at Mt. Helmus, Mt. Parnassos, Mt. Menalon, Mt. Pelion, and Mt. Tymfristos, to name a few.
Greece is a beautiful country year round, with beauty extending far beyond its islands and beaches. There’s no shortage of activities to partake in, sights to see, or delicious food to eat! The country is full of great people and has a wonderful atmosphere, especially around the holidays. We loved spending our Christmas in Greece and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Consider spending your next Christmas in Greece!
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