5 islands – winter destinations you haven’t thought of

17 Nov

The Greek islands are not “closed” during winter time, time does not stop there! Although some of you might think they disappear shortly after September, they still stand over the blue waters all year round. Apart from those with very small population even during summer, all the rest enjoy a relaxed rhythm of life and a mild winter, with a bit more wind but little rain.

For some, the off season period is perhaps the best period to visit a Greek island because:

  • Many cafes and restaurants might be closed but the ones that remain open usually offer services of quality above the average since they serve fewer people than in the summer and mostly locals.

  • Prices for all services could be lower.

  • Museums and archaeological sites are working properly and without the hundreds of visitors one can enjoy them better.

  • It is easier to meet the authentic culture of each island which is probably the most enchanting experience one could live.

  • Joining locals in their gatherings is almost certain to happen and true friendships are more than possible to happen!

1. Crete

Rethimno during Winter via www.pinterest.com , Barbie

Rethimno during Winter via http://www.pinterest.com , Barbie

The largest island of Greece is waiting for you to visit throughout the whole year. The vibrant atmosphere in the 4 major towns guarantees that you will live a full experience even during the coldest times of winter. Head to Heraklion and pay a visit to the two archaeological sites located nearby: Knossos and Phaistos are the remaining of one of the oldest civilizations in Europe, the Minoan.

Explore the White Mountains (the greek name is Lefka Ori or Madares) near the town of Chania, stay in a mountain refuge, play with the snow and taste the authentic Cretan cuisine in front of the fireplace.

Leuka Ori via forum.snowreport.gr

Leuka Ori via forum.snowreport.gr

Admire the Venetian architecture and the famous Fortezza fortress in the town of Rethymnon and then practice some winter sports in the ski resort of Psiloritis, located in the Nida plateau, 70 km away from Rethymnon.

Fortezza Rethimnon via Leuka Ori via forum.snowreport.gr

Fortezza Rethymnon via forum.snowreport.gr

Psiloreitis ski resort via forum.snowreport.gr

Psiloritis ski resort via forum.snowreport.gr

Finally, visit the town of St. Nikolas to enjoy stunning panoramic view of the lake and the sea from the town’s waterfront!

Agios Nikolaos, Crete via www.thomson.co.uk

Agios Nikolaos, Crete via http://www.thomson.co.uk

2. Evia

The second largest island of Greece is located just an hour away from Athens and you can reach it by crossing a bridge within seconds. The island offers you numerous experiences. In the north of the island you will find the village of Edipsos, with the most famous thermal spa in Greece, whose fame dates back to the ancient times.

Edipsos via travelphoto.gr

Edipsos via travelphoto.gr

Thermae Sylla Wellness & Spa Hotel, Edipsos via www.greece.com

Thermae Sylla Wellness & Spa Hotel, Edipsos via http://www.greece.com

Located also in the northern part of Evia, the beautiful village of Kimi offers an astonishing vista over the Aegean sea.The whole island is well known for its physical beauties turning it into an ideal destination for sports in the nature like hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Dimosari’s Canyon, Evia via www.anastasiahotel.com.gr

Dimosari’s Canyon, Evia via http://www.anastasiahotel.com.gr

Visit the town of Chalkida and observe the strange movement of the waters beneath the old bridge, result of a rare tidal phenomenon.

Chalkis bridge via www.flickr.com

Chalkis bridge via http://www.flickr.com

3. Corfu

Corfu, one of the most cosmopolitan islands of Greece, has an amazingly stylish town, great example of Venetian architecture. Walk to its famous alleys, visit the museum of Asian art to find wonderful exhibits and try the local cuisine.

Corfu via melissokomos.gr

Corfu via melissokomos.gr

Do not miss the chance to pay a visit to Achillion, once being the palace of Empress of Austria-Hungary Elisabeth of Bavaria, better known as Sisi. Achillion that has served as a casino in the past and now as a museum offers a beautiful vista over the Ionian Sea.

Achillion Palace via travel-around-greece.blogspot.com

Achillion Palace via travel-around-greece.blogspot.com

4. Syros

Being one of the most beautiful islands of the Aegean Sea, Syros is at the same time the commercial, administrative and cultural centre of the Cyclades islands. The Catholic and Orthodox elements that coexist harmonically on the island form its particular character. Ermoupoli, Syros’ largest town and capital of the Cyclades, is amphitheatrically built and stands out for its beauty with impressive neoclassical style mansions and magnificent churches.

Syros via www.cycladia.com

Ermoupoli, Syros via http://www.cycladia.com

Wander around the narrow streets of the upper part of the town and admire the unique Miaoulis Square with the impressive Town Hall designed by the German architect Ernst Ziller in the lower part. Visit the archaeological museum of the island where you can find exhibits dating back to 3,000 BC and attend a theatrical play or a concert at the Apollo Theatre, a miniature of La Scala in Milan.

Miaouli square via www.syroumelathron.gr

The Town Hall at Miaoulis square via http://www.syroumelathron.gr

5. Rhodes

Rhodes via https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=rhodes+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x14950ae9895f8bfd:0x586d9037b4e902ad,Rhodes&gl=uk&ei=aLKIUuDwMIiJ4gTapYHoDg&ved=0CCwQ8gEwAA

Rhodes via rhodesmarket.blogspot.com

 The capital of Dodecanese islands is a famous destination year round. Rhodes, often called as the emerald island or the island of the sun, will welcome you warmly even the coldest days of the winter. You can find places of great interest all over the island: medieval and ancient castles, the valley of the butterflies and several museums. The medieval town of Rhodes, selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, combines Late Gothic architecture with local Aegean features and Muslim elements added later by the Turks, thus creating a blend that makes this medieval town triple special.

Grasp the opportunity to visit the baths of Kallithea, hosted in a magnificent restored building – unique combination of nature, incomparable monumental architecture and history.

Kalithea baths via www.travel-rhodes.com

Kallithea baths via http://www.travel-rhodes.com

Labros Psomodotis

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2 Responses to “5 islands – winter destinations you haven’t thought of”

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  1. The best 10 places to discover the ancient Greece | diskaverins - December 8, 2013

    […] Knossos Knossos is another major archaeological site of Greece, located in the island of Crete and it is considered to be the oldest city of Europe. Walking through the ancient ruins, which are […]

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