Most people think of Greece as a summer destination. The sea, the islands, guaranteed sunshine. But in the summer one is too hot and lazy to do much. You get into a routine of late breakfast, swim, lunch, siesta, swim, dinner. You can’t be bothered to move.
In the winter, you still get plenty of sunny days. Athens is a lively, bustling city, and it is easily accessible from most European countries. So, if you have a free weekend, book a flight.
There are plenty of things to do, even if the weather is bad (we do have a winter, and you might just be unlucky). Here are some ideas:
Walk in the streets. Window shop, sit in cafés and people watch, sample street food. Plaka, the old town beneath the Acropolis, is stunning. Wander around the stalls in Monastiraki market.
Visit. The Parthenon and the Acropolis Museum should be on everyone’s bucket list. But the city is full of antiquities, beautiful museums, Byzantine churches and art galleries.
Eat. There’s something for every taste, from luxurious gourmet restaurants to neighborhood tavernas. Great fish, in many places with a view of the sea. And ethnic: sushi, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican…
Take in a show. Films are not dubbed in Greece, and sometimes there are plays in English. Concerts, classical music, jazz, rock… Dance, classical and modern.
Athens is famous for its nightlife. Bars, discos, Greek bouzouki music.
If you like sports, you can indulge: Sailing, windsurf, golf courses. A lot of people don’t know this, but you can ski on Parnassos, two hours out of Athens. The trails are not huge, and on the weekend there are queues, but if you go midweek on a sunny day, it’s brilliant. The mountain is beautiful, the ski instructors are great. You can ski until two, then go down the mountain and have a late lunch in Arachova. Or you can stay in Arachova and visit the temple of Apollo at Delphi the next day. In the spring, you can ski in the morning, then drive down the mountain and through a lovely olive grove to swim in Galaxidi.
If you can stay more than a few days:
Rent a car and get out of town (or join a bus tour) for a day trip or overnight stay. The are so many stunning places to visit: Delphi, the Metéora, Nafplion, Korinth, Epidaurus, Olympia.
On a sunny day you can take a day trip to one of the nearby islands. Within an hour or two, you’re in another world. The islands are different in the winter, green and covered in wild flowers. It’s calm, the locals go about their business. At lunch in one of the tavernas, you’re likely to come upon the local policeman eating with the village priest. The owner’s kids will run in after school, and sit at a nearby table to have their lunch and then do their homework. The pace of life is slow and relaxing.
So, take a look at the weather report, and book a flight!