Greece

3000 year old heritage, unique local customs and picture-perfect scenes

Overview

3000 year old heritage, unique local customs and picture-perfect scenes

You can’t blame 10 million people for wanting to flock to sunny Greek shores during the hot summer months. It’s the long accumulation of 50 years of hard work on behalf of the Greek tourism authorities to attract high season holiday makers to the enjoy the sunshine, cultural heritage, and unique landscape of this diverse mythical destination. Since the opening of the very first hotels in the late 1960s, they’ve successfully built a viable infrastructure, developed an inter-island ferry schedule; and created many thousands of jobs in hospitality from up market venues to tiny tavernas, all for this express purpose.

But….there is another way. Visit during the low season October to April and you’ll find still warm temperatures, at least compared to northern Europe, although you’ll need to bring a jacket. While the winter may see more grey skies and some rainy days, there are some fabulous opportunities to live like a local, explore the Acropolis without the crowds and hike through an incredible environment without fear of heat exhaustion. The sprawling capital of Athens in particular can be overwhelmingly stifling during the summer, but makes for a special low season city break complete with world renowned ancient landmarks and cuisine to die for.

Island Hopping

The 6000 Greek Islands are awash with diversity, each with its particular history, culture and personality. Some 227 are completely uninhabited and many with a small tourist scene will shut up shop totally once the summer is over. Even medium-sized islands will have a much reduced ferry schedule and many shops, restaurants and bars close.  Idyllic for some, but others may find this limiting. Plus, if you are on a set schedule, be aware that your route off some islands might be restricted. This is particularly true in the Aegean where high winds mean cancelled crossings. A good low season bet is to visit islands with a large resident population, such as Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, or Zakynthos, which retain a sound infrastructure with winter activities. Alternatively, pick islands which are close to the mainland, like Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses which exude a charming authenticity but offer the convenience of facilities for locals taking a winter break away from Athens.

Adventures in Nature

It’s famed for its islands and beaches, but the majority of Greece is rural mountainous landscape filled with a plethora of certified hiking routes, many of which are at their best in the low spring and autumn season. Although there are many beautifully scenic island trails, some of the very best are found on the mainland, particularly in the Peloponnese, the southern peninsula. The Vikos Gorge takes in bays, cliffs, caves, springs and a monastery. Or try the 75km Menalon Trail. It’s split into sections of varying difficulty, so choose an option that’s right for you and take time to relax as well. Bird watchers will be in their element with chances to spot beautiful species such as pelicans, flamingos, cormorants, vultures and several different types of eagle. At Lake Kerkini many thousands of migrating birds overwinter and it’s possible to take a boat onto the water for an unforgettable wildlife experience.


Low Season Saving

From 50% versus Peak Season


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

3:1
1:1


Major Airport

Athens International Airport ATH

Low Season Months

Jan
10°C
57mm
5hrs
Feb
10°C
47mm
6hrs
Mar
13°C
41mm
6hrs
Apr
16°C
31mm
7hrs
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
20°C
53mm
6hrs
Nov
15°C
58mm
4hrs
Dec
12°C
98mm
3hrs

Hotels

Coming online very soon

Top Experiences

Athens

The capital makes an ideal city break in low season. International flights continue from all over Europe so you can wander without the heat, exploring ancient culture, the food and arts scene and maybe take a road trip to nearby Delphi.

Ioannina

With a little more time, this fortified town in north-western Greece, also known as Yannena, is a fabulous place to explore the picturesque lake, caves and castle. There are great hiking trails around here and hearty local fare.

Santorini

Somewhat overcrowded in the summer, a winter break is a chance to see this isle revert to a more authentic way of life. The sea might be cool, but the beaches are perfect for a stroll. It’s a chance to really relax, meet the locals and indulge in a spot of wine tasting.

Insider Tips

  • 28th October Oxi Day celebrates Greek resistance to Mussolini while National Day 25th March marks Independence from the Ottomans. Both days are marked by big parades and lots of delicious food, and most tourist sites are closed.
  • Feeling lost? Connect spiritually with the powers of the ancient Greeks at outstanding classical sites each with its own fascinating stories. Spend full days finding your inner god or goddess at Delphi, Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae, or Knossos.
  • Never stop exploring Greece, there is always something new to discover. A great portal to help you research is www.VisitGreece.com. Here you’ll find top tips to help you find the right island or region for you and keep you up-to-date on events.

Good To Know

  • Greece’s plethora of ancient sites and museums remain open year-round. Stay all day and really absorb the atmosphere, but be aware that many close at 3pm in winter. Some, like the Acropolis Museum, don’t open on Mondays.
  • Car hire is pretty straightforward. Take a wonderful road trip throughout the Peloponnese, Central Greece and Epirus areas, visiting remote villages, less frequented classical sites, and connecting with the local people and culture.
  • There are great low season film and arts festivals, such as the Thessaloniki Film Festival held each November; and the Deste Exhibits of Contemporary Arts which hosts exhibitions from a wonderfully renovated slaughterhouse in Hydra.

Food & Drink

Psirri District, Athens

££

This hip and cool neighbourhood close to the historic centre is home to boutiques, cafes, ice cream shops, and restaurants. Many offer tradition Greek fare, with a twist. Wander with the locals day or night time, and find your favourite.

Alevropita Pies, Epirus

£££

The traditional taste of north-western Greece. More of a tart than a pie, Alevropita is deliciously simple, consisting of a thin, unleavened batter crust filled with creamy feta cheese. Locals are known to add a touch of vodka to the filling.

Indigenous Wines

££

While away the time with some homemade beverages. The wine is delicious, and do try the local moonshine - anise infused ouzo, tsipouro, and the fruit liqueurs. Enjoy the warm rakomelo, made from raki and honey, by a wood fire as the sun goes down.

Reviews

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