For travelers, Greece conjures up images of sandy beaches and ruins from antiquity, but the country is also home to rugged mountains perfect for winter vacations. Tourists will find a number of excellent winter resorts that provide impressive slopes for skiing and snowboarding, with options for people of all skill levels. While Greece has become a popular winter sport destination among Europeans, international visitors are now recognizing its unique appeal, especially in the winter months when it’s possible to go from the beach to the slopes in less than a day.
Some of the top ski resorts in Greece include:
Mount Olympus Elatochori Ski Center
Mount Olympus, famous for being the mythological home of the Greek gods, has emerged as one of the most popular choices for winter sports among tourists. Elatochori Ski Center is located on the northern peak of the 2,917-meter mountain. Individuals will find six slopes served by two lifts, as well as a run specifically for snowboarders and another reserved for sleds. Beginners can choose to take lessons from two different ski schools, and several nearby villages provide affordable lodging and restaurants. In addition, the Ski Center has a chalet where people can take a break and warm up during the day. Any travel mates who do not want to ski can opt to climb Mount Olympus instead.
Parnassos Ski Resort
Among Greeks, Parnassos Ski Resort has become the most popular choice for skiers, especially because it’s close to Delphi and only a couple of hours by car from Athens. Mount Parnassos actually consists of two different peaks: Fterolakas at 1,950 meters and Kellaria at 1,750 meters. One of the largest resorts in the country, Parnassos features 19 runs, 10 trails, seven ski routes, and three smaller slopes meant for beginners. Children will enjoy a special playground if they do not want to take to the slopes, and novices can take skiing and snowboarding lessons. The resort is open from December until May, and most visitors choose to stay at the nearby town of Arachova. Generally, skiers should make a reservation as quickly as possible since the passes do sell out, especially on the weekends.
Mount Pelion Ski Center
Mount Pelion is easily one of the most gorgeous regions in Greece—and one that provides a rich cultural experience as well. The area around the mountain is dotted with charming villages, as well as beaches and thick forests great for hiking. Here, especially in the village of Volos, travelers will find the traditional spirit tsipuro, similar to ouzo but without the anise flavoring. The resort itself does not always have snow, so it is important to check beforehand; when operating, it has five slopes and a chalet with both food and accommodations. The Ski Center also has clearly marked trails that take hikers to great vantage points.
Kalavrita Ski Center
Another option not far from Athens is Kalavrita Ski Center on Mount Helmos, which is 2,340 meters high. Kalavrita boasts 12 slopes, half of which are rated as easy. While skiers and snowboarders with less experience will enjoy these options, two of the runs are marked as difficult, so experienced athletes can still have fun. In addition, two of the runs are specifically for beginners, and there are separate areas for snowboarders and skiers who like doing tricks. Most visitors will stay in Kalavrita, a quaint town known for its small train that transports people to the mountain from the waterfront town of Diakofto through the Vouraikos Gorge. At certain parts of the year, it is possible to go skiing in the morning and then swimming in the sea that same evening by a short train ride alone.
Velouxi Ski Resort
Located in Karpenissi, Velouxi Ski Resort has 18 different slopes of varying difficulty, as well as a snowboard park and a shop for renting skimobiles. The resort is on Mount Tymfristos, which is 2,220 meters high. The greater region, called Evrytania, is known as Little Switzerland, although travelers from the United States have also compared it to the mountainous part of North Carolina. While most visitors stay in Karpenissi, a number of other villages nearby also have accommodations. Plus, the tavernas in this part of Greece are famous for their grilled meat and dishes made with fresh trout.
Kaimaktsalan Ski Center
One of the most luxurious ski resorts in Greece, Kaimaktsalan Ski Center sits on the northern slope of the 2,480-meter Mount Voras. Individuals will find 13 different runs, as well as four ski trails, a park for snow tubing, and a designated area for snowboarding. Kaimaktsalan has earned the name “Winter Mykonos” because it attracts a wealthy, affluent crowd. Travelers who want to stay in a less ritzy town can look into Edessa and Florina, two charming villages. The resort is also not terribly far from the major city of Thessaloniki.