Greece has always been identified as a summer destination.
Photos of golden beaches and blue lagoon waters create the image of a country worth visiting only during the summer season.
Only few know though about the treasures hidden in the mainland of the country.
High mountains, luxurious ski resorts, gorges, lakes, waterfalls, beautiful forests and small traditional villages with stone built houses create the perfect scenery for lovely winter days that you do not want to miss capturing with your camera.
Take a look at some of these locations!
Arachova is a traditional mountainous village in Parnassus mountain 2 hours driving from Athens.
Apart of its beauties, the village is mostly known for the well organised ski resorts offering plenty of winter sports activities and the high quality hotels located around the village.
During Christmas holidays, Arachova floods with tourists, mostly coming from Athens, who spend their time in the village doing ski and snowboard as well as other activities such as hiking as there are designated hiring trails in the area.
For the less adventurous, there is also the option of walking around the village, admiring the traditional architecture and enjoying the breathtaking view.
Arachova is considered as the most cosmopolitan winter destination as among the other attracts the wealthiest and most famous Athenian residents.
It is also famous for its byzantine monasteries and churches, such as the Church of Agios Ioannis and the Monastery of Osios Loukas but also its exquisite food.
In the various restaurants of the village, visitors can taste traditional dishes, local products and of course the formaela cheese, which has been designated as a protected designation of origin.
Only a few kilometres from Arachova, marvel at the stalagmites and stalactites of the Corycian Cave, named after the nymph Corycia.
Another option in the area is the Parnassos National Park, the second largest greek national park, where one can find all the Greek traditional herbs and products such as oregano, water-thyme, cedar, laurel and arbutus.
2. Plastira lake
The dazzling beauty of lake Plastira makes it one of the best place shoot.
Plastira is an artificial lake, formed in 1959 and created by human intervention. It is surrounded by forests and traditional villages while it is ideal for a variety of activities.
Must-see is the dam of the lake from where the visitor can enjoy the spectacular view of the lake.
It’s worth mentioning that it is considered as one of the few cases in which the landscape was actually improved by a human intervention.
After the construction of the lake, tourism has started booming in the area and the nearby villages have been revived with the opening of small hotels and traditional guesthouses.
Horse-riding just before Krioneri village, shooting at the firing range of “Neraida”, archery, mountain-biking, water-biking and other lake sports, canoeing, rod-fishing near Pezoula and Botanical Garden are just a few of the forest and lake activities one can enjoy in the area.
Villages around Plastira lake are also ideal for relaxing wandering around their narrow streets and enjoying their delicious cuisine and especially the homemade sausages of Karditsa city.
3. Agios Athanasios
One of the most famous resorts in Greece is located in the northern part of the country.
Agios Athanasios is a picturesque mountainous village with stone built houses of Macedonian architecture, and it is close to the popular ski resort of Kaimaktsalan on Voras mountain.
Kaimaktsalan is considered as one of the best ski resorts of the country. It has trails for all levels, from bunny to advanced but it also has a nice, warm chalet for the non-skiers.
Apart from skiing, the area is brilliant for other activities such as hiking, horseback riding, climbing and rowing at Lake Vegoritida.
One of the major attractions in the old Agios Athanasios village is the church built in late 1700.
Half an hour driving from Agios Athanasios, there is the city of Edessa where visitors can enjoy a walk around its impressive waterfalls.
If you are looking for an idyllic scenery, that is straight out of a fairy tale, for your shoot then you should go for Zagorochoria.
Zagorochoria is a cluster of about 46 villages in Pindos range with a long history as there are proofs that people have been living there since the 10th century BC.
A unique experience is crossing the Vikos gorge, one the biggest gorges in Greece. Walk along the Voidomatis river and see the arched stone bridges of the 18th century.
A 40-minutes hike, will lead to a quite plateau surrounded by trees, flowers and birds singing.
Between the mountains of Zagoroxoria, there are also the Dragon Lakes (Drakolimni). They took their name after their size and location. The myth says that the place was home of dragons who created the lakes by throwing stones one to each other when they were angry.
The place is appropriate for a wide range of activities, apart from hiking, such as rafting, mountain-biking, horse riding and archery.
In the area, there is a variety of accommodation options for visitors; from cozy guesthouses to luxurious 5star hotels.
Aristi, is one of the biggest and most characteristic villages, which is also known for the findings from the Paleolithic period that have been discovered there.
Foodies, should definitely pay a visit to the co-ops, where women living in the area produce and sell homemade traditional food products made of organic ingredients from the area.
Pelion is one of the rare places in Greece combining the beauty of the mountains and forests with the blue lagoon beaches.
Located in Thessaly, it is a great option both for relaxation and adventures.
In the villages of Pelion, one can walk through the stone paths, admire the exquisite architecture of the traditional houses built with stone, and taste the delicious gastronomy of the area.
No one can leave the place without trying the homemade “spoon sweets”, eat the tasty dishes based on meat, and buy some herbs.
In almost every village, there are little nice squares where visitors can join the locals drinking the traditional “greek coffee”. In the middle of such squares, there is always a big plane tree, while village of Tsagarada hosts the oldest plane tree of the area, which counts now more than 1.000 years!
In the area there are many trails for hiking while visitors can also attend classes on how to prepare the “spoon sweets” but also knitting classes in order to prepare their needlework!
Close to the Chania village, there is also a ski resort, appropriate for all levels of skiers.
One of the most unique attractions in Pelio is Moutzouris (aka Smudgy, The little steam train of Pelion) which travels between Milies and Lehonia villages and crosses the mythical routes of the Centaurs and the Dodecatheon as, according to the Ancient Greek Mythology, Pelion was the summer habitat of the twelve gods of Olympus. The train is a "must see" experience for all visitors to Pelion, and is a truly unique way to explore and appreciate the immense natural charm and beauty of Pelion. (source: trainose.gr)
Karpenisi is the capital of the regional unit of Evrytania and it is located in Central Greece.
It is characterised as a mountainous area, and as such it offers a variety of recreational activities and winter sports.
A few kilometers north of Karpenisi lies the famous Karpenisi ski center, one of the largest and most spectacular ski resorts in Greece. Starting at 1800 meters and ending up to about 2100, the area is ideal as it contains sufficient snow quantities for quite a long time.
Karpenisi is blessed with the wild beauty of its valleys, rivers, waterfalls and caves.
Climbers don’ t lose the chance to visit the Black Cave where they can combine hiking with climbing while for water sports lovers there is always the option of rafting or canoeing/ kayaking in the Trikeriotis and Tavropos rivera and Kremaston Lake respectively.
There are many though who prefer to spend their time horse-riding along the rivers, or mountain biking in the forests.
The area is also known among those who love paragliding flights, as Karpenisi offers this opportunity as well.
As it is no exception to all the destinations above, Karpenisi has a a very long history which the visitor can learn by visiting the monuments of the area such as the churches and the monasteries of Byzantine era.
When it comes to food, Karpenisi is famous for its sausages, local pies, river trout and top quality organic prosciutto made of a black indigenous breed of swine, a delicacy which was known as ‘akrokolion’ in antiquity. Prouso village, is known for the delicious cheese.
Article by: Alexia Kalaitzi