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Ski and snowboard in Greece are the best winter activities to do during your holidays!
Although winter aficionados have long known that Greece has some potential for alpine tourism, it is only in the recent past that a concerted effort has been made to highlight the natural assets of the immaculate mountains and the exceptional landscapes through winter sports.
Nearly 4/5 of the country is covered by mountains – in fact, Greece is surprisingly the most mountainous country in Europe – and most of the mountain resorts have a respectable altitude ranging from 1,400 to over 2,400 m.
The snowed mountains that stretch across the country, starting from Mount Olympus to the expansive ranges of the Pindus Mountain range (that extends from Epirus to Crete) have become winter favorites for snowboarders, nature lovers, families, skiers, and honeymooners who dash to the mountains to experience snow adventures and have a good time. The snow season in Greece starts in December and continues until March.
Wild mountain slopes bathed in soft white snow, wooden chalets perched in mountainsides and spectacular landscapes have been attracting more and more tourists to the ski resorts of Greece. The main advantage of the Greek slopes over their North European counterparts lies in the fact that a majority of them are managed by the municipalities or local alpine clubs that have been operating under the Hellenic Ski Federation. The country’s pristine mountains and their snow-covered slopes are also renowned for their rich flora and fauna, with many of them having been declared as natural parks in order for their unique biodiversity to be preserved.
Another advantage of ski and snowboard in Greece is the variety of travel experiences it comes with, as most ski resorts are situated close to interesting historical sites. The famous archeological site of Delphi, for instance, is near Parnassos ski center and many resorts are close to some of the most picturesque mountain villages that they have kept their traditional identity and have been designated as heritage centers.
This ski center is located in Central Greece, on the slopes of Parnassos Mountain. Constructed in 1976, the resort, regarded as the best resort for skiing in Greece, has two sites, Fterolakka and Kelaria, both of which offer some of the most adrenaline-pumping and extreme skiing experiences in the country. The resort is open every day from December through March.
The installations in Fterolakka are located at an altitude of 1600 meters, while Kelaria starts from 1750 meters. Both the ski sites terminate in Toumborachi, at an altitude of 2300 meters. There is a total of 17 ski sites on the resort and they offer different levels of difficulty to suit both the amateur as well the highly experienced skiers. There are 13 lifts commuting between the base and the chalets.
The resort is about 2 hours drive from Athens. Take the national road connecting to Lamia, passing from Thebes. Then follow the route towards Livadia and then to Arachova, which is 25 km from the resort.
Sitting on the northwestern slopes of Helmos Mountain in Peloponnese, the Kalavryta ski center is regarded as one among the top class resorts in the country. The resort opened in 1988 and operates every day during the winter season, from December through April. Equipped with modern facilities, it offers a variety of sporting options including night skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, and snowmobiling. The center is at an altitude of 1700 meters at Xerokambos (its lowest point) and 2,340 meters at Neraidorachi (its highest point).
The Slalom in Styga is its best descent and also happens to be one of the biggest ski sites in Greece with an enormous length of 3200 meters. There are 8 ski lifts and 13 ski runs that afford different levels of difficulty. There are three skiing schools that teach you everything there is to know about skiing. They also stock all kinds of ski equipment to sell or rent. The center is located at a distance of 250 km from Athens and 14 km from Kalavryta. The duration of the trip is about 3 hours.
The resort of Pelion sits at an altitude of 1471 meters, near Chania village, and is enticingly close to the sea, with a splendid view of the Aegean Sea and the town of Volos. There are seven skiing sites stretching over a total length of 12 kilometers serviced by 5 lifts, including a baby lift for beginners. Kentauros site, a recent addition, is ideal for the experienced skiers and it has a front desk at the base of its lift to provide information, tickets and route maps. Night skiing is organized on weekends.
A ski school that has been in operation ever since the resort came into existence imparts training and it also rents out all kinds of ski equipment. The resort is about 350 km from Athens, 27 km from Volos and 2 kilometers from Chania village. The trip from Athens takes about five hours.
Located at an altitude of 2113meters in the middle of Pindos Mountains, there stands the ski resort of Vasilitsa. Regarded as one of the greatest snowboard destinations in south-eastern Europe, the ski center is spread over two mountains and has 16 ski runs that have every conceivable type of terrain. The longest run is just over 2000 meters and there are two chairlifts, one of which takes you close to the summit, at an altitude of 2200 meters.
Near the main peak, there is a little golden zone from where one can enjoy spectacular views of Mount Olympus seen at a distance of 200 kilometers. At the small snowboard shop, near the car park, one can hire pieces of equipment. There are two chalets in the resort offering overnight accommodation and meals and there is a small bar overlooking the local snowboard scene. The resort of Vasilitsa is 45km to the west of Grevena town, in Macedonia.
The Velouchi Ski Resort is located on Mount Tymfristos, near the town of Karpenisi, in Central Greece. Open from mid-December till the end of March, the resort has 11 ski sites stretching across 8 kilometers and is equipped with 6 lifts, as well as a baby lift leading to the skiing site for beginners. The best and most challenging descent is Hercules 1, beginning at an altitude of 800 meters and winding down to the bottom of the lift with the same name. Perched at an altitude of 1850 meters, there are chalets which can accommodate about 30 people.
Other facilities include a restaurant, a cafeteria, a snack bar, a shop for ski accessories and a store selling locally made traditional products. The resort is about 300 km from Athens and 12 kilometers from Karpenissi and can be accessed by taking the national road connecting Athens to Lamia and then taking the turns leading to Tymfristos village. The trip takes about four hours.
Kaimaktsalan ski center is located in Central Macedonia, on the Voras Mountains, the third highest mountain in Greece. Sitting at an altitude of 2018 meters, the resort is well-known for the spectacular views it offers. Even with a naked eye, one can enjoy the views of the Thermaikos Gulf, the summit of Olympus Mountain as well as the Tria Pente Pigadia Ski Center in Naoussa, which is just across the peak. There are 14 skiing sites in the center, covering a total length of 15 kilometers and serviced by four lifts.
The chalet, a beautiful three-storied building made of wood, glass and rock houses a restaurant and a cafeteria with a playground on the ground floor and seven luxurious mini-suites on the second floor. At the entrance of the resort, there are two private ski schools. Special services include snowmobiling on a specially-designed course. The center also boasts the first Speed Trap in Greece. Set in a special slope at a height of 1200 meters, the trap provides information of the maximum speed the skier has attained as he descends the slope. The resort is 660 km from Athens, 140 km from Thessaloniki and 45 km from Edessa town.
Located on Falakros Mountain in Northern Greece, the resort offers 20 exciting sites, ranging at an altitude from 2232 meters to 1650 meters. The plateau surrounding the resort is magnificent, particularly during spring when the mountain slopes are covered with rare wildflowers. There are two beautiful chalets with large fireplaces at the base of the resort. From a third chalet at the terminus of the four-seat lift, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the slopes. In the surrounding areas, like Volakas, Granitis, and Nevrokopi, there is plenty of scope for lodging and dining and the neighboring town of Drama is a perfect getaway for the night owls.
Four schools on the premises offer training to all levels of skiers and there is a ski shop close by, selling and renting out ski gear. A well-equipped medical center covers the emergencies. For those looking to do something beyond skiing, there is plenty on offer including trekking, jeep safari, riding and cycling in the area surrounding Nestos River. The resort is 668 km from Athens and 170 km from Thessaloniki.
The Pisoderi ski resort is situated on Mount Verno western Macedonia, close to Vigla area. The ski center offers spectacular views of Prespes Lakes, which form a natural border between Greece, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Standing at an altitude of 1939 meters above sea level, the resort has 12 ski runs of Olympic dimensions serviced by 5 lifts.
The resort's latest addition, called Oxia, with a length of 2500 meters is, by far, the best drop in the resort and is also regarded as one of the most challenging routes in Greece for experienced skiers. The chalet is right in front of the resort and skiers can relax, have a drink or eat something. Skiing equipment is on rent at the chalet and ski lessons are provided by experienced teachers. The resort is well equipped with a medical center on the premises. The resort is 590 km from Athens, 178 km from Thessaloniki and 19 km from Florina.
Located on the slopes of Vermion Mountain, northern Greece, the Tria Pente Pigadia Ski Center is surrounded by lush vegetation due to the abundance of water in the area. The alpine landscape is sprinkled with oaks, beeches, chestnuts and fruit groves. The ski center is open from October to April. The most challenging slopes are the "Phillipos", which has been designed to meet international standards. The resort has seven lifts including two baby lifts of 200 meters. The chalet, at a height of 2005 meters, offers a panoramic view of the area. There are also rooms to spend the night. Ski instructors teach all levels of skiers. The enthusiastic can participate in night ski races held at the lighted Aristotelis slope. The resort is 560 km from Athens, 110 km from Thessaloniki and 17 kilometers from Naoussa town.
The winter sports resort of Seli is located on Vermion Mountain, northern Greece. Standing at an altitude of 1890 meters, the ski center has 18 trails covering a total distance of 16 kilometers, serviced by 6 lifts. There are trails suitable for different levels of difficulty. The small village of Seli, sitting at the base of the ski center, only 100 meters from the parking lot, is a traditional Greek village with old and timeless charm. It remains sparsely populated in summer but becomes quite busy in winter with its coffee shops, taverns, hotels as well as ski schools and stores selling or renting ski equipment. The resort is 520 km from Athens, 95km from Thessaloniki and 20 km from Naousa.
The ski center of Metsovo is located on the mountains of Pindos, northwestern Greece. For the lovers of winter sports, Metsovo is the perfect getaway you can experience alpine ski and cross country ski on slopes set amidst outstanding natural beauty. The Profitis Ilias Ski Center is 4 kilometers away from Mestovo and is situated at an altitude of 1360-1620 meters. Open from November to March, the center has easy ski runs of short length making it ideal for the inexperienced and average skiers.
The center of Profitis Ilias is highly modernized and is equipped with an artificial snow system, tubing run with synthetic taps and a snow-plow. There is a picturesque chalet in the ski center, fairly large and made of rock. It has a restaurant and a coffee shop. The resort also has on its premises a ski school, an equipment rental shop and a snow truck with two wagons which takes people on snow rides around the slopes.
The Elatochori Ski Center is located on the Mountains of Pieria, on the northern slopes of Mount Olympus. The ski center is situated 8 kilometers from Elatochori, a village where nature is at its best. Standing at an altitude of 1450 meters, the center overlooks forests of beeches, oaks and fir trees. The ski center is run by the Katerini Alpine & Ski Club and has 6 ski trails stretching for over 10 km.
There is also a track for snowboarding, its course running through the forest, and another for sleds. There is a modern 3-floor chalet at the base of the ski center capacity to accommodate 400 people. Two ski schools train the skiers and there are shops selling and renting ski equipment. The center has a Snowboard Fun Park, an area specially designated for snowboarding. It is found about 300 km from Athens and 12 km from Elatochori village.