Surrounded by lovely alpine scenery as it is in the heart of the Pindos mountain range, Metsovo is a popular and rewarding stop-over for skiers heading to Mt Parnassos. Metsovo is also a cultural hub where you can visit the Tositsa Folk Museum, Averoff Gallery and the Averoff Winery. There are an abundance of traditional shops, taverns and cheese shops (the area is famous for its smoky Metsovone cheese) and strolling around to enjoy its quaint 18th and 19th Century architecture is also enjoyable.
At Mt Parnassus, you’ll find Greece’s largest ski centre, with two sections – Kellaria and Fterolakka, at an altitude of 1,600-2,250m. You’ll find 19 pistes, seven routes, 10 paths and three mini beginner pistes of 36km total length. There are also 12 off-piste routes for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Another wonderful town that Parnassos skiers love to stay in is glamorous, picturesque and cosmopolitan Arachova. With its high-end boutique hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops selling everything from designer clothes to traditional local goods to concept décor items there is certainly plenty to keep visitors busy and entertained.
A huge plus factor of spending a few days in this area is the quick and easy access to the stunning ancient site of Delphi (20 minutes’ drive from Arachova). Visit the Delphic Oracle, the Temple of Apollo and the rest of the sprawling ancient site with its majestic mountain views, as well as the modern and highly impressive Delphi Museum.
Karpenisi in Evrytania is central Greece’s most impressive and beloved wintertime destination. The mere mention of the location’s name conjures images of snowcapped mountains, cozy meals by the fireside and reviving walks in lush nature. At Velouchi Ski Resort you’ll find 18 slopes for all levels of experience, while night skiers can visit the floodlit on Takis Flegas and Thiseas slopes. But there’s much more to do than skiing- head to the Valley of Karpenissi to traipse in forested land along the river and visit the scenic Mikro and Megalo Koryschades villages.
Take day trips exploring other pretty nearby villages of the Evrytania region with small, welcoming communities like Krikelo and Domnitsa or in the opposite direction the lake villages of Frangitsa and Viniani.; go to the village of Fikadia to get the best view of Lake Kremaston. If you own a four by four drive into Agrafa and drive around the network of dirt roads in Karditsa Prefecture until you reach Lake Plastira.
Another great place for skiing is Elati Ski Centre on Koziakas mountain near Trikala. Stay in the lovely Pertouli village only 7km away which is known for its natural greenery, natural springs (and the calming sound of running waters that goes with them), tasty local food, crisp alpine air, and pretty architecture. Go for a hearty trek to the river of Pertouliotiko which is abundant with natural wildlife and a variety of fauna. Not far is the river Achelos where you can go white water rafting and visit the picturesque nearby villages of Aspropotamos, Dessi, Pyrra or Doliana, where the Monastery of the Holy Cross with its 13 domes can be admired.
Between Ioannina and Arta in Epirus in stunning, mountainous Tzoumerka, which is the lower part of the massive Pindos mountain range. Canyons, waterfalls, springs and Arachtos river (where you can try whitewater rafting) make up the verdant, snow-covered landscape, where you can relish hikes in its National Park. Visit the traditional villages of Kalarites and Sirrako or explore the settlements of Pramanda, Katarakti, and Melissourgous on the other side of the river.
Kaimaktsalan ski centre is favoured by less experienced skiers as it has softer, easier slopes. If you don’t know how to ski rent a snowmobile or warm up with a hot chocolate at the stone chalet. Stay in Aghios Athanasios village where you’ll fine lovely guesthouses, old villas, tavernas, and bars. Take day trips from there to Prespes or Florina, Nymphaio or the villages around Lake Vegoritida. Don’t miss out on the restorative and curative Pella hot springs, which are surrounded by greenery.
If you’re looking for winter wonderland, head to the Zagori region, where there are 46 beautifully maintained stone-house villages known as the Zagorochoria. Except for the stunning six-kilometre Vikos Gorge, the deepest in Europe, there is an endless choice of fantastic walking routes to enjoy through thick forests, mountainsides and rivers. Stay at a cozy B&B or a small boutique hotel like Mikro Papingo 1700 and visit the monasteries, kafeneia where you might find yourself sipping Greek coffee by a woodstove with the village priest, the drakolimnes (dragon lakes) and traditional crafts stores.
With seven slopes and mesmerizing seaviews across to the Pagesitic Gulf, the Pelion ski centre is Greece’s smallest but also most loved by experienced skiers. The villages of Pelion are gorgeous throughout the year, surrounded by lush greenery and full of natural springs, rivers, and fountains. The architecture differs from village to village but generally you’ll enjoy the sight of beautiful, rustic old houses, cobblestoned village squares, and pathways into and through marvelous natural landscapes. Stop at local taverns to eat warming winter foods by the fire, like thick fasolada (bean soup), sausages and other homemade-style dishes.
Kalavrita ski centre and its neighbouring town are amongst the most popular and busiest ski locations in Greece. Here you’ll find everything from touristy tavernas to cool cafes. Nature lovers can escape to the Vouraikos gorge for an invigorating trek and food-lovers visit the plane-tree forest of Planiterou to eat fresh river trout.