Greece, renowned for its sun-kissed islands and ancient ruins, offers a different charm in December. The weather takes a milder turn, the summer crowds have dispersed, and the country embraces the festive spirit. But what can you expect from the weather in Greece during this winter month? Let’s explore the climate, what to pack, and the unique experiences that await you in Greece in December.
In mainland Greece, including cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, December brings cooler temperatures ranging from 9°C to 15°C (48°F to 59°F). Rain is more common, and the days are shorter, but snow is rare except in the mountainous regions.
The islands, such as Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, experience milder winters compared to the mainland. Temperatures hover between 12°C to 17°C (54°F to 63°F), and while rain is possible, there are still many clear and sunny days.
If you’re planning to visit the mountainous areas like Meteora or Mount Olympus, be prepared for colder temperatures, often dropping below freezing, and snowfall. These regions offer a winter wonderland experience, with opportunities for skiing and other winter sports.
What to Pack
- Warm Clothing: Layering is key. Bring sweaters, scarves, a warm coat, and thermal wear if you plan to explore the mountains.
- Waterproofs: An umbrella and a good pair of waterproof shoes will come in handy.
- Sunscreen: Despite the cooler weather, the sun can still be strong, especially in the islands.
- Festive Attire: If you’re staying through Christmas or New Year’s Eve, you might want to pack something special for the celebrations.
Experiences and Activities
Exploring Ancient Sites
With fewer tourists and mild temperatures, December is an excellent time to explore Greece’s archaeological sites like the Acropolis, Delphi, and Knossos. The cooler weather makes for a comfortable and leisurely exploration.
Skiing and Winter Sports
Mountains like Parnassos and Pelion transform into winter sports destinations, offering skiing, snowboarding, and picturesque snowy landscapes.
Greek cities and islands are adorned with lights and decorations. Athens, in particular, hosts vibrant Christmas markets, concerts, and festive events. Traditional Greek Christmas treats like melomakarona and kourabiedes are a must-try.
While some islands are quieter during winter, others like Crete remain lively. Ferry services are reduced, so planning is essential, but you’ll enjoy a more authentic and peaceful experience.
Spa and Wellness
Consider a relaxing spa retreat. The thermal springs in areas like Loutraki and Edipsos are perfect for unwinding and enjoying the therapeutic benefits of natural mineral waters.
Greece in December offers a blend of winter charm, cultural festivities, and serene landscapes. Whether you’re strolling through ancient ruins without the summer heat, skiing down snowy slopes, or enjoying a peaceful island getaway, December brings a unique and enchanting side of Greece to life.
Remember to pack appropriately for the weather, embrace the local Christmas traditions, and take the time to explore Greece’s diverse regions. From the bustling cities to the tranquil islands, Greece in December is a destination full of surprises, warmth, and winter magic.