Dec 8, 2017

Reasons to visit Greece during Christmas

Dec 8, 2017

The reasons to visit Greece during Christmas will have a common denominator and that is the great weather the country enjoys. Not to say that it is warm, but winter temperatures in Greece tend to mild and very bearable, making winter strolls and exploration absolutely enjoyable!

The fact that Greece is often associated with being a summer destination makes winters in Greece much less crowded, although thinking that Greece is only for summer antics is a misconception. Although the islands are not popular during the winter, due to the basic fact that people cannot enjoy the swimming and sunbathing aspect they so generously offer, Greece has a wonderful winter side to it. Let’s see the top three reasons to visit it even during Christmas.

The outdoors

The aforementioned mild winter weather makes it possible to saunter around the historic centre of Athens quite comfortably, even on foot! Athens city centre has so much antiquity to discover from the iconic Acropolis rock, to the newest development of the Acropolis museum. However, a walk around will reveal much more! From the Temple of Olympian Zeus to Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the ancient Agoras and galleries. Our Athens walking tours can guide you through the top attractions with an added bit of history information that will bring each landmark to life. Of course, the crisp Athenian days will instill a sense of adventure within you. So a venture into the outskirts is calling. A beautiful scenic journey is a tour to Cape Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon. During the winter Arachova and mount Parnassus are a popular hotspot for Athenians, with the riveting Delphi site located nearby. Why not explore the ambiance that lures the Athenians with our Delphi tour from Athens?

The food
Greece is a country full of deliciousness. Fueled by the goodness of the Mediterranean cuisine there is not only something for everyone, but we are convinced one of Greek dishes will become a favourite of yours. Whether one of the most popular such as the moreish Moussaka, the fluffy Pastichio, the zingy Tzatziki dip or the tasty Gyros or perhaps one of the more refined dishes like Giouvetsi or Gemista, one thing is for certain: you will want to taste every dish on the menu! This is why we have devised some Greek food tours for you to discover as may as possible, and maybe learn a few tricks to take back to your own kitchen with cooking lessons too! Over Christmas, Greece has its own set of special dishes that include slow cooked veal with caramelised dried fruit and nuts and puff pastry pie with sausage and green apple! On the sweet side, every household will typically make their own Christmas cookies such as Melomakarona (honey glazed with crushed walnut) and Kourambiedes (sugar coated, shortbread with toasted almonds).

The traditions

Technically the Christmas treats already mentioned are traditions too, however spending Christmas in Greece you will get a true sense of the Greek way to celebrate this winter holiday. Although the western tradition of a Christmas tree has taken over the more traditional alternative of decorating a wooden miniature boat, the Christmas boat is quite popular around the islands, as it signifies the closeness of the Greeks to the sea. The 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas eve until the 6th of January, also known as Epiphany day. During these 12 days it is believed that the evil spirits can enter the households to tease and tempt the inhabitants in an attempt to make them succumb to sin. This is why the most traditional way to deter them is to keep a fire burning with two logs in the shape of a cross. On Epiphany day, which is when Jesus Christ is said to be baptised, these evil spirits are banished to the underworld once again until next Christmas eve. This day is very special for Greeks; so important that the priests bless the sea waters by throwing in a cross with a chain. The faithfuls dive into the cold sea in a swimming race to grab it. The successful candidate is considered to be blessed for the entire year. This tradition happens all around Greece so even if you are on a Greek cultural tour you are bound to see this live if you find yourself close to the sea.

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