Sofia Adventures

Welcome to Sofia!

Sofia is an intriguing city, with corners that show at various times a glint of the splendor of Vienna, the charm of Istanbul, the quirkiness of Budapest, and the brutalism of Moscow. You’ll find Roman ruins in our subway stations, medieval icons in the church basements, and Thracian relics in the former presidential palace. Yet Sofia brings all of these seemingly disparate traditions together into one magical, inspiring city.

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11 Dreamy Things to Do in Ljubljana in Winter

11 Dreamy Things to Do in Ljubljana in Winter

 

For those of you who don’t know Ljubljana, you’re missing out on a really special place, especially in winter.

Centuries, even thousands of years old (think Roman era), this little town still provides a lesson when it comes to amazing food, even better wine, and fairytale-like architecture. 

The small capital of the equally small nation of Slovenia has a magical Christmas feel in December and plenty of cozy winter amusements. With the picturesque old town and the heavenly Ljubljanica River, the city is a gem to stroll around.

Every season is special in itself, but the wintertime draws many tourists. Even though there are lots of visitors, the crowds aren’t a problem – the more the merrier is the rule during the winter time: everybody is socializing outdoors, strolling under the romantic Christmas lights, and shopping for decorations at the Christmas markets.

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Where to stay in Ljubljana

Slovenia - Ljubljana - Aerial panoramic view of Ljubljana decorated for Christmas holidays. Roofs covered in snow in winter time. Slovenia

We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Slovenian cities, but for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since this is a popular time to visit the city.

Winter Weather in Ljubljana

Slovenia - Ljubljana - Snow on Ljubljana at New Year's Ljubljana, Slovenia

It does get cold between November and February, with the temperatures ranging from -5° Celsius to above 5° Celsius (23°F to 41° F), but with some sunny days, some foggy ones, mainly days with think, thick, cotton-like fog (which magically disappears at noon and then bam, sunshine!), and also some snowy days.

Yes, it does snow in Ljubljana, the first snow coming to put a magical blanket over the special Christmas decorations is in December, but not a lot and not for a long time.

But when it does, the little parks and streets and statues turn into a scene straight from your classic fairytale children’s books. Combine that with Christmas time and you get something that seems to come out straight from a Hollywood movie!

How Long to Stay in Ljubljana in Winter?

Slovenia - Ljubljana - View from the train from Zagreb to Ljubljana

Due to the small size of this picturesque city, it takes you only one prolonged weekend to enjoy most of its sights. You can maybe take a week of your time and you’re in for a real treat in Ljubljana and its surroundings.

The Most Inspiring Things to Do in Ljubljana in Winter

In no particular order…

Celebrate the Christmas Season in Ljubljana

Slovenia - Ljubljana - Preserens square, decorated for Christmas and New Year celebration, Ljubljana, Slovenia

So for starters let’s talk about the holiday season. Even if you don’t celebrate the traditional version of Christmas, the Christmas markets all across Europe leave no soul indifferent.

Imagine a small, southeast European version of Vienna, Prague, or Budapest –  that’s Ljubljana for you. From mulled wine and warm gin to the little Christmas markets and an amazing display of lights and shining Christmas trees all across town, experiencing the Christmas Markets in Ljubljana is one of the best things to do in Ljubljana in winter.

Combine that with sales at the best boutiques in the city center –  think Galerija Emporium – and you’re in for a great time. 

See the Lighting of the Ornaments

Slovenia - Ljubljana - Advent December night with Christmas decoration lighting in Ljubljana's city center at dusk.

The mayor of Ljubljana ceremoniously lights the ornaments every year in the beginning of December during a special event that draws people from all over Slovenia and Europe.

It marks the beginning of this cheerful holiday time of the year. You can decide to party and sing along in one of the squares during live concerts by local artists or go to the ballet to attend a performance of Christmas Nutcracker or Swan Lake.

Either way, people around you will be joyful and happy to include you in the collective holiday craziness. While strolling along the crowds holding mulled wine, buy some roasted almonds or toasted chestnuts to keep your hands warm. The whole holiday cheer peaks with the New Year’s Eve and the traditional fireworks.

Across town you have outdoor celebrations and concerts, for kids there is the Santa parade during the day. Restaurants and discotheques invite regional stars to perform and dinner tables collapse under a variety of local and international food. Don’t forget to kiss a stranger on midnight! 

On the next day, to survive the famous Maček – that’s what the Slovenians call the hangover (it literally means cat and nobody knows why!), eat something hearty and cleansing.

Think Sarme the first day of the New Year, this dish is made of minced meat rolled into sour cabbage leaves, seasoned, and then cooked in the oven. Pure comfort food after a night of partying!

See Ljubljana Castle Lit Up and Sparkling

Slovenia - Ljubljana - Fireworks above Ljubljanas castle for New Years celebration, Ljubljana, Slovenia - Image

Towering above Ljubljana, the centuries-old Ljubljana castle on top of its little hill, glowing in Christmas lights every holiday season.

There is a small Christmas market there and very good restaurants, serving hearty and tasty meals to battle the winter wind on the hill. 

It provides spectacular views during the opening ceremony in December where you can watch the whole city being lit up with Christmas decorations. Go by foot or avoid the icy path using the funicular with its amazing ascending views.

Enjoy Ljubljana’s Restaurant Scene

Slovenia - Romantic medieval Ljubljana's city center, the capital of Slovenia, Europe. Night life on the banks of river Ljubljanica, where many bars and restaurants take place. Franciscan Church in background.

When you’re done with your outdoor drinking and activities, you can warm up in one of the plentiful high-quality restaurants that the city has to offer.

From high-end venues to your local fast food neighborhood joint, there is something for everybody. They don’t forget about vegetarians or people with different food needs or preferences – you can get it all in almost every café or restaurant.

If you like to see and to be seen, don’t forget about the restaurant CUBO. The short trip by taxi from the city center is worth it – this modern design restaurant offers high-class gastronomy a la carte, but they also do love to suggest their best seasonal offerings.

Try Balkan Fast Food

Slovenia - Balkan grill. B-B-Q. Rostilj, Balkan cuisine. Street food. Food festival

On the other end you have the popular street fast foods – yes, they are out in the open (and therefore not so warm) but, again, worth it.

From kebab to burek, you have to try all the famous Balkan delicacies. Tozd, As Aperitivo, Pop’s Place etc… these are a few of the most popular fast food spots in Ljubljana.

If you’re looking for a modern, chill vibe and great burgers you’re in for a treat. The burger culture in the city is strong with various small and big restaurants serving anything from the classics to truffles and vegan varieties. 

One of the wintery things that has rows of people waiting in front of it, is the famous Jesensek “šmorn”. Dough for pancakes, baked together with rum and sugar and then cut into little pieces, covered with powdered sugar and chocolate/strawberry jam. Yummy! 

The hearty national Slovenian dishes are perfect for the winter. Beef soup with noodles; black pudding sausage with sour cabbage and baked potatoes; sweet štrudl and potica, strong cooked wine and gin, and strong shots made of various flowers and trees which should heal anything from your headache to the common flu.

Be prepared – that winter liquor, brewed in the fall when the fruit is plentiful, is really strong, invented decades and decades ago when the winter in Ljubljana included two meters of snow and frost all over the place.

Indulge in Sweet Flavors in Ljubljana’s Best Bars

Slovenia - View of lively river Ljubljanica bank and Tromostovje in old city center decorated with Christmas lights at dusk. Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe.

Treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate or a strong, home made coffee in one of the many cafes around the old town city centre. Daktari provides you with a homey, bohemian feeling with mismatched chairs and couches.

Daktari is the place to go for local homemade ginger tea or to listen to a gig, from singing to instrumental and several other performances and readings.

Of course, you can indulge your senses in other locally famous and fancy bars. For a feeling of Vienna-style sweets check Menagerie, and for the guaranteed best ice cream and macaroons in the city –  Zvezda (both the oldest one in the hotel Slon and the one on the corner of Zvezda park right in the heart of the town). Whichever you choose, you will end up having a lovely time.

In the mood for beer? Don’t miss the only real English pub in the city, the CuttySark, famous for its never-ending beer varieties served in all forms of cans, glasses and “krigl” (think large, bavarian Octoberfest kind of monster glasses).

Other Entertainment to Enjoy in Winter in Ljubljana

Slovenia - Slovenian National Opera and Ballet Theatre is an opera house in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It serves as the national opera building of the country.

Although January and February can be gloomy and sleepy, you can still find some activities to amuse yourself. Apart from the amazing restaurants, cafes and shops to explore and enjoy, you can visit the movie theatre or decide to watch some opera or theatre. 

Let’s not forget the various museums and galleries you can visit, explore, and spend a couple of hours in. From national to international history and arts, you can find interesting shows in every one of them.

They are all situated around the old city centre and you can walk in between them, checking them in also from the outside, since the buildings and architecture are also remarkable works of art. For a fun afternoon go to the House of illusions to turn your perspective upside down.

Check the Great Outdoors

Slovenia - Snowy sculptures, Slovenia Ljubljana park Tivoli

Moving on with the outdoor activities – the biggest park in Ljubljana is called the Tivoli park. Modelled with the Austro-Hungarian influence in mind, the park offers various paths to stroll along, a pond, cafes, places where artists gather, and more… Even a small castle!

Although we have to admit it is best looking in spring and perfect for relaxing in summer, the park is also beautiful in winter. Especially when it is covered in snow or early in the morning, immersed in mist and a white glow combining with the first sunrays. Winter is the perfect time to feed the local friendly and used-to-humans squirrels in the park and enjoy some fresh air.

All around Ljubljana, there are have little hills and trekking paths and forests… and even in the cold season, they are perfect for a little exercise and some outdoor fun.

Šmarna Gora Hill offers sweet specialties, there is a bar and even a restaurant on top of this little hill. When it’s foggy in Ljubljana, go to this little gem on the outskirts and hike up to see the spectacular views of Ljubljana under the fog.

You can get there with the bus or by car since there’s a lot of parking space available. Stop by Dvor Tacen coffe place on the way back to city centre (situated just on the outskirts of the parking lot) and enjoy some hot chocolate. 

Just a short distance from Ljubljana you can ice skate, ski and enjoy other winters activities involving snow and hot tea. The recreation centres usually provide the necessary equipment for you to rent by the day. You can also rent a car simply and cheaply across Ljubljana or even use the city’s car-sharing service.

One of those activities is cross-country skiing. Even during the snow-free days of winter in Ljubljana, you can go cross country skiing in Medvode on the outskirts of Ljubljana  – providing it is cold enough, of course, that artificial snow does as melt like the real one.

slovenia - Top of the legendary ski track Njivice

Treat Yourself to a Local Spa

If you’re here for a little bit longer than a short weekend, make a trip to a spa. You can definitely do it in Ljubljana without moving out of town at all; for example the spa in hotel Union or the spa in hotel Austriatrend.. or maybe the spa/pool/aqua-land center in the shopping zone.

The spot is ideal for families and couples alike, with water games and slides for the little ones and a sauna zone for the older members of the family. And there are a ton of pools included!

While you’re in that part of town go shopping – that’s the place for it. BTC shopping district offers shopping malls, boutiques, from Zara to Prada, and Italian brands, you have it all. Either way, that part is perfect for a couple of hours or a whole day of spending time and money. 

But for a really great spa day go to Rimske Terme or Terme Orhidelia in other parts of Slovenia (all doable in about 2 hours, though). You can stop along the way to check a good local restaurant, and then finish the evening in Ljubljana at the city center.

Finish the night the best possible way in places like the trendy cocktail bar Kolibrij on Rimska Ulica, with a variety of cocktails, a piano, and a rustic-chic atmosphere. It’s super tiny but exclusive – there you can’t go wrong with a sour. 

Slovenia - Beautiful spa composition on massage table in wellness center

Karneval Time in Ljubljana

At the figurative end of winter immerse yourself in yet another festive time – the Pust or Karneval time. The legend says that the Kurenti (national masks) are there to scare the winter away.

They patrol and make noise in the city streets from Friday to Tuesday on carnival week. Go along with them – dress up into anything you like! Just like the famous carnival in Venice and its Italians in masks, the Slovenians have smaller versions in different towns, also in Ljubljana. The clubs and bars transform into masked parties for all age groups alike.

Do not forget to dress up on Saturday and Tuesday! And of course gain some more weight (that’s the common side effect of Ljubljana in wintertime) eating Krofi, local versions of donuts filled witty apricot jam or try the modern version – chocolate and vanilla. Try to get your hands on some homemade grandma versions if you can!

Slovenia - Traditional carnival on shrove Saturday with traditional figures, known as kurent or korent and close-up of a mask in Ljubljana, Slovenia

All in all,  Ljubljana is the perfect destination to visit during winter. If you can, try to visit it in December to get the real holiday cheer and spirit going on. Taste the mulled wine, enjoy a rich dinner, and go for a classic Christmas concert afterward.

On the next day, check the museums, and some of those Christmas parties in the local club and you’re all set. You can do this also as a part of a bigger Christmas market tour – don’t forget to include the sister cities of Budapest and Vienna.

Discover the great works of the famous Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik in Prague and come back to Ljubljana for another prolonged weekend in May, for some sunbathing, amazing ice cream and, the green flowery boom in the city.

So winter in Europe, winter in Slovenia and winter in Ljubljana have a ton to offer.

Don’t forget to bring your winter hat and gloves and a warm scarf. Be prepared to drink lots of hot lemonade and you’re all set! Battle the wind and flu season like the locals – with ginger, mint, lemon juice all blended together with honey into vitamin bombs. After all, if those Slovenians manage to survive freezing outdoors, you can too! Immerse yourself in the cold an enjoy a great winter time in of the smallest capitals of Europe! 

What to Pack for Slovenia in Winter

Slovenia - Lake Bled - Man in Winter

We have a full Slovenia packing list, but in case you just want the quick version, here are a few essentials you shouldn’t forget to pack!

A good guidebook: While travel blogs are great, we still think a good guidebook is always handy. We suggest Lonely Planet Slovenia if you’ll be traveling quite a bit around the country, or if you are planning a multi-country Balkan trip, Lonely Planet Western Balkans includes Slovenia and many of its neighbors.

One or two swimsuits: While swimsuits may not come to mind for ski season, if you’re staying in a ski resort with a sauna, indoor pool, or steam room, you’ll likely want one! We suggest bringing two so you never have to put a cold wet one back on. We love this one.

Plenty of winter clothing: You can check our packing list above for our full winter packing suggestions for men and women. At a minimum, you’ll want to bring a warm winter jacket (I love this North Face parka), cozy snow boots, warm wool socks, touch-screen friendly gloves, a scarf, and a winter hat.

Any ski equipment and clothing: We’re not skiers ourselves, so we don’t have specific ski gear equipment, but special ski clothes — waterproof pants and jackets, goggles, etc. — and ski gear obviously should be on your packing list, unless you have decided to rent it all when you arrive at your Slovenia ski resort.

Moisturizer: Travel will beat your skin up in the best of times — and winter travel in addition to skiing will really do a number on it! If you use a moisturizer at home, bring it. If you’ve never used a moisturizer before, you really should start. You’ll be happy to give your face a boost before heading outside in the cold all day.

Sunscreen: We strongly suggest wearing sunscreen when you spend time outdoors, no matter the weather outside. The higher altitudes combined with the reflection of the sun off the snow can lead to unexpected sunburns. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen – it’s mess-free, works well in carry-ons, is ultra-protective, and blends in well.

Read Next: Essential Slovenia Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Slovenia

More Slovenia Travel Resources

Slovenia - Piran - View of Piran and Coast Stephanie

If you’re just starting to prepare for your trip to Slovenia, read our guide to planning a trip to Slovenia which features an 11-step checklist!

If you know you’ll be coming to Bled near Christmas, check out our guide to the Lake Bled Christmas Market, the best things to do in Bled in winter, and how to celebrate Christmas in Bled. And check out the best things to do in Slovenia in winter if you’ll be seeing more of the country.

If you’re an avid photographer, you’ll find our Instagram guide to Bled helpful (Ljubljana on the way!). 

If you need more Slovenia travel inspiration, check out the best places to visit in Slovenia, the best Slovenian castles, the most breath-taking Slovenian waterfalls, and what Slovenian souvenirs you should bring home.

We publish new content nearly every day! Bookmark our pages on Slovenia and the Balkans so that you don’t miss out on any new info or resources that we publish before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Slovenia (or really, any part of the world)! Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.

While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel – especially during the winter! – so it’s better to play it safe.

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin this Guide to What Things to Do in Ljubljana in Winter for Your Trip!

Unforgettable Things to Do in Santorini During Winter!

Unforgettable Things to Do in Santorini During Winter!

 

Are you still uncertain about visiting Santorini in winter? Or maybe you just made up your mind about getting to the island during the cold months but are looking for some winter inspiration. You’ve come to the right place!

Traveling to Santorini in winter can be a great way to enjoy a milder winter climate and discover the island without the crowds!

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Where to Stay in Santorini

Not sure where to stay in Santorini? If you want to be around the best nightlife, your first choice should be Fira, followed by Imerovigli.

Greece - Santorini - Pixabay

Where to Stay in Fira

Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Fira. Generally, budget means hotels for around $50 a night a, mid-range is from about $70-100 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Fira without spending too much, check these two places, Alizea Villas & Suites or Villa Anto.

Mid-Range: If you want a nicer hotel in the capital of Santorini without breaking the budget, we recommend either of these two cute design guest houses Sweet Pop or Villa Galaxy Santorini.

Luxury: Do you want to splurge in a beautiful cave hotel with unique vistas towards the caldera? Then check any of these two superb places in town: Aura Cave or Volcano View.

Where to Stay in Imerovigli

Budget: If you are looking for budget-friendly accommodation and the typical dug-out-looking cave studios and suites that Santorini is famous for, then Caldera Premium Villas is a wonderful place to stay.

Mid-Range: For a comfortable place to stay, with great views and impeccable service, check both Ilioperato Hotel and Ayoba Santorini.

Luxury: Imerovigli is one of the best places to stay in Santorini, therefore not short of luxury hotels and suites, our favorite ones are Afroessa and Seven

What is the Weather Like in Winter in Santorini

Greece - Santorini

The weather can be quite unpredictable when it comes to winter in the Cycladic islands, however, it’s still not as cold as in the rest of Europe, or some other countries in the northern hemisphere.

Temperatures can range from 18 °C to 12 °C, although they can get as low as 4 °C on very cold days. It’s not common to find snow but has happened in the past.

The skies are not as clean and blue as you would find in summer, since it tends to be cloudy or at least partially clouded, although you’ll definitely find sunny days too. Rain is not uncommon, so keep all these details in mind when you pack for a winter holiday in the Greek islands.

Pros and Cons of Visiting Santorini in Winter

Greece - Santorini - Pixabay

The best thing about traveling to Santorini in winter is definitely the quiet atmosphere that you’ll find on the island. 

Although Santorini does not really close for the season, there are far fewer tourists around. That also means less time spent waiting in lines for museums or archaeological sites as well as less crowded roads. 

Walking along the tiny alleys of the beautiful town of Oia or the capital of the island, Fira, will be much more comfortable during the winter.

On the other hand, the hotel choice will be more restricted, there’ll be fewer open bars and tavernas too. But you don’t really need to consider this as a disadvantage. It’s the local’s favorites the ones that remain open through the year, guaranteeing excellent food at very convenient prices.

In fact, when it comes to prices, everything is cheaper during the low season. You will pay less for accommodation, food, transport, tours, and souvenirs too. 

So, if you’re trying not to spend that much, or if the summer price tags on the island don’t fit your budget, there’s no better moment in the year than winter to visit Santorini.

The Best Things to in Santorini in Winter

Greece - Santorini - close up view of church bells with bare tree in the foreground oia santorini greece

You won’t probably be swimming in the fairly cold waters of the Aegean during winter, and in any case, Santorini is not really known for its heavenly beaches, like other islands.

And still, there’s so much to do to discover Santorini in winter that you can have a hard time choosing what’s best for you.

See Oia’s Famous Whitewashed Landscape

Greece - Santorini - Golden Light over Santorini, Greece

Oia is probably the prettiest town in the Aegean, and it’s certainly the most photographed one due to the unique views that combine pristine white houses perched on the border of the volcano, the deep blue of the sea, and the azure color of domes in most churches. It’s also the best place to see the sunset in Santorini!

Oia is sadly packed during summer, making it impossible to discover every hidden angle of it. Besides, since the town is full of winding paths and stairs, paying a visit to Oia during winter will save you the fatigue of climbing steps under the scorching sun of the Greek summer. 

Visit the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri

One of the most fantastic places to visit in Santorini is the archaeological site of Akrotiri, located directly south of the small village with the same name. It is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Greece. Here, it’s possible for you to truly understand the high level of development that the ancient civilizations on the Greek islands reached in the past.

The site reached our days in a great preservation state thanks to the volcanic ashes that covered the whole area after the great volcanic explosion sometime during the 16th century BC.

It’s also a great place to visit during winter since the whole site is housed under a bioclimatic roof that not only protects the ruins from being exposed to the elements but also makes it a great place to visit on a rainy day.

Take a Walk Along the Empty Coast

Greece - Santorini - Beach of the island of Santorini in winter. Greece.

Despite Santorini being better known for its idyllic whitewashed houses and fairy-tale landscape, some of the beaches on the island are great to take a walk and soak in the bizarre volcanic landscape. 

You can discover some unique hidden coves and deserted shores with surreal landscapes. You can hike until you reach the spectacular Red Beach and even get a glimpse of the White Beach in the southern tip of Akrotiri.

You can also drive all the way to Baxedes, on the opposite coast of Oia, and marvel at the unique landscape on this hidden corner of the island.

Alternatively, enjoy a walk on the black sand of Perissa and Kamari and stop for a dish of traditional Greek food in one of the few tavernas that remain open in winter.

Check Santorini’s Museums

Greece - Santorini - Ancient Akrotiri settlement at Santorini island in Greece. Detail of a house wall fresco.

Nothing beats some time spent in a museum during a cold or cloudy day, so if the weather on the island is not giving you a break, head to Fira, the capital of the island, and visit the two most remarkable museums in Santorini.

Inside the Archaeological Museum of Fira, you’ll find all kinds of objects that had been found during the excavations made in Akrotiri. The museum also hosts impressive sculptures of the Hellenistic period, Byzantine works of art, and even some remains of prehistoric times, including objects from the Geometric to the Hellenistic periods.

If you’re a sucker for history, visit also the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, which features frescoes and ancient objects found not only in Akrotiri but also in some other areas of the island. It presents the artifacts divided by different eras and civilizations making it quite easy to get a clear picture of the past of the Aegean islands.

Different elements including vases, figurines, and objects of daily use are eloquent proof of the grade of the degree of development reached by the ancient peoples of Greece.

Shop for Souvenirs in Fira

Greece - Santorini - traditional streets of Santorini

The capital of the island, Fira, is the right place to go if you want to find a more alive atmosphere during winter. There are many good tavernas open for locals and some souvenir shops still open in the colder months.

Winter is the perfect time to hunt for bargains. The island can be pretty pricey during summer, so there’s no better chance to get that unique black volcanic soap from Santorini to take back home.

Although you won’t find every single shop open, prices will be certainly more affordable than in summer.

In Santorini’s capital, you’ll also find some of the finest art galleries in Greece, prices might be a bit high for your taste, but you will definitely enjoy admiring the art exhibited during your visit.

Hike from Fira to Oia

A popular activity that tourists enjoy in summer is hiking the long coastal path that from Fira passes through the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli to take you directly to Oia, on the northern tip of the island.

The hike, however, can be extremely long and exhausting when you also have to endure the hot temperatures that hit the island in summer.

Winter is one of the best moments to live this adventure and to marvel at the breathtaking views of the Caldera without any rush.

Explore the Hinterland Villages

Greece - Santorini

There is much more to Santorini than just Oia and Fira. In fact, there are lesser-known villages scattered around the island, usually also forgotten during summer, where life keeps more or less the same pace all year round.

Head to Karterados to visit a relaxed town with just a few inhabitants. Wander along the empty streets and let your sight get lost in the immensity of the sea that can be spotted in the distance.

Pyrgos Kallistis, one of the prettiest villages in Santorini, was also the capital of the island in the past. The village, nestled on the slope of a soft hill is a perfect spot to learn about the traditional architecture of the island and to try local specialties, such as Greek yogurt with honey and nuts, or fava spread with freshly-baked bread.

Discover the Pretty Churches on the Island

Greece - Santorini - Greek Orthodox church in Santorini island, Greece.

The most iconic churches in Santorini are indeed located both in Oia and Fira, but that does not really mean that other small chapels in Santorini lack in charm or are less interesting.

You can definitely take some time to check the unique white church in Karterados or the blue-domed church in Perissa. 

In Akrotiri, while you walk your way to the Red Beach, take a look at the unique church that rests on the side of the rocky hill. The white walls of the chapel produce a striking contrast against the reddish slopes of Akrotiri

Book a Wine Tour

Greece - Santorini - Glass of wine in Santorini

Santorini is also known for the great quality of its wines. The island hosts several prestigious wineries that you can visit and where you can learn how to pair the local wine with the traditional dishes of Greece.

Go for a glass of Assyrtiko if you’re willing to taste one of the best-known Greek wines on the market or sip a small glass of Vinsanto, the world-famous dessert wine from the island.

A wine tour is also a great way to learn about the unique way that the grapes are cultivated on the island as well as about the characteristics that the volcanic soil confers to fruits and vegetables grown on Santorini.

As you can see, the island of Santorini has a lot to offer to those visiting off-season, there are fun things to do for every taste and traveler.

You will also enjoy mild winter weather as well as discounted fees for accommodation, car rental, and dining, as a matter of fact, winter can indeed the best time of the year to discover Santorini.

READ MORE: 25 Beautiful Greece Quotes To Inspire Your Greek Travels 25 Gorgeous Quotes about Athens & Instagram Caption Inspiration

5 Things to Bring with You to Santorini

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

If you’re planning a trip to Santorini, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.

– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.

– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in Santorini is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places on the island where the water tastes like minerals.

We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.

– Motion sickness pills. Santorini roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.

– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.

 Travel safety items. We think Santorini is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie nor I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.

It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

More Greece Travel Resources

Greece - Santorini

Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip.

First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more.

Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.

If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on where to go in Greece, the best places for island hopping in Greece, and when is the best time to visit. 

If you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!

We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.

Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!

Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.  While Athens is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” and we think it’s true!

>>Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.<<

Pin this Guide to the Best Things to Do in Winter in Santorini for your Next Trip to Greece!

The Most Unique Things to Do in Corfu in Winter!

The Most Unique Things to Do in Corfu in Winter!

 

Corfu belongs to the so-called group of big islands in Greece, the same as Rhodes, Evia, and Crete. This means that life goes on in winter as much as it does in summer since many people live on the island all year round.

Although Corfu can be considered a rainy place for a winter holiday, the fantastic green landscapes of the island, as well as the tranquil pace of life, transform Corfu into one of the most magical places in Greece that you can discover in winter. Let’s take a look!

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Where to Stay in Corfu

We have a full post on where to stay in Corfu Town here, but if you want our quick and easy top 3 picks, you can find them below.

Budget: Local Hostel & Suites

This brand new hostel (with private rooms available) is small, offering an intimate and personal experience with only 10 rooms. You can choose from a dormitory-type room or a private room with an ensuite bathroom.

Location is the name of the game here: it is very close to the port (great for doing day trips to other islands or even Albania!), yet it’s also located just 10 minutes from the heart of Old Town.

While it’s easy to walk to the Old Town, there is also a nearby bus stop that can get you back and forth from the town easily — great as taxis in Corfu are crazy overpriced, similar to many other touristic Greek islands. The facilities are all brand new because they just opened around August of this year, so you’ll enjoy comfortable and modern amenities.

All of their rooms have clean and crisp minimalist styles. They have a minibar that serves snacks during the day, and every morning, they offer coffee (with refills)! Past guests commended the cleanliness of the place – calling it squeaky clean! The only issue some guests found was that there can be some noise from the kitchen in the morning or at night.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Local Hostel & Suites ««

Mid-Range: Corfu Mare Boutique Hotel

Despite being a short trip by bus or taxi to the heart of the Old Town from this hotel, it still gets plenty of guests for its phenomenal amenities. In fact, you should hurry if you see there’s a room available – virtually every past guest of this hotel says that it is 100% worth staying here!

Corfu Mare has multiple room types and configurations (with a total of 51 total rooms). For a more modern room, look to their junior suite for stylish vibes. Most of the rooms have simple, classic decor elements to make each room look elegantly fabulous. Their beds use Coco-mats for the mattresses: they’re made out of natural fibers, and they’re also very comfortable and sturdy.

All of their rooms and suites are fully equipped with all the best features you can expect for a mid-range priced hotel. Interconnected rooms are also available if you are a large group of travelers. The hotel is tucked away from the main streets of Corfu Town. You will love how enclosed and exclusive the entire property is, and the fact that there’s also free and secure parking.

Just be reminded that there’s not much in the way of shops and restaurants nearby, so you’ll have to head into the heart of the Old Town for more action. The main views of the hotel are its private pool, garden, and the sea nearby, so if you want Old Town vibes, other Corfu Town hotels may be a better fit. Still, it is a wonderful, classy, and affordable place to stay in Corfu Town — and that’s one reason of many that so many guests return.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Corfu Mare Boutique Hotel ««

Luxury: Bella Venezia

Bella Venezia is a luxury hotel in the Old Town of Corfu that showcases what a typical mansion looked like during the 18th century. It stands out from the other buildings in the town due to its peach-painted exterior. The location is also perfect, both nearby to the attractions in the Old Town plus easy access to a local beach.

It was recently renovated in just 2016, transforming it into the modern hotel is it now. It’s a cozy hotel, with just 30 rooms and 1 suite, so service is individualized and personal. In terms of style, the interiors are decorated with exquisite furniture and embellishments. The lobby showcases pure elegance and class with its style choices.

Their rooms have parquet floors, and some bed frames are made out of wood and others from iron. One thing’s for sure: the mattresses are soft and comfortable, and many of their past guests raved about it! The hotel mixes and matches different classic pieces to create that romantic and sophisticated style for all the rooms. Most of their rooms have a balcony and the views are mesmerizing!

Check out the fridge in the room for a complimentary bottle of wine or champagne, plus a bunch of gorgeous roses to welcome you on your first day! A/C and heating give you choice over the climate control to keep you comfortable regardless of the season.

You will love how they put tealight candles in the ensuite bathroom to make it even cozier, and toiletries and towels are for your disposal here as well. It also has an enclosed shower to keep the toilet area dry and comfortable.

»» Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Bella Venezia ««

What’s the Weather Like in Corfu in Winter

Greece- Corfu - Four sun umbrellas on a golden beach (Saint George, Corfu)

The island is located towards the north of the Mediterranean, closer to continental Europe. That makes the climate colder than what you could find in Rhodes or Crete. 

Corfu is also known for the copious rain it receives from November until March, so bear that in mind when it comes to getting your luggage ready. However, the temperatures can be pleasant and higher than what you could experience in most European countries. 

The average temperature is around 11°C, but it can go up to 15°C in the early afternoons. These make the weather quite enjoyable for sightseeing, driving around the island, or simply walk the streets of the old town, enjoying different outdoor activities.

Pros and Cons of Visiting Corfu in Winter

greece-  Corfu  Scenic view of the beach on a rainy day, Sidari, Corfu island, Greece

As with any other Greek destination, and most of all, as with any other Greek island, traveling to Corfu in winter provides excellent opportunities to explore a lesser-known side to it. Crowds are long gone leaving the island all to yourself, to a small bunch of other tourists, and to locals going about their daily life. 

Just like many of the bigger Greek islands, Corfu remains pretty much alive during the whole year. Oftentimes only touristic shops will be closed, leaving you free to enjoy authentic gems not geared for tourists. Could it get any better?

There will be a more reduced offer when it comes to accommodation, yet it will also be easier to get super-convenient fees for that room with a view that looks impossible to afford in Summer.

You will find bars, restaurants, cafeterias, and tavernas all year round, while prices will be more affordable. Undesired touristic traps will usually be closed off-season, leaving you with much less of a risk of coming across a bad dining experience. A trip to Corfu during the cold season guarantees that you’ll save on accommodation, car rental, food, and more. 

The Best Things to Do in Corfu in Winter

Greece - Corfu - Pontikonisi (Mouse Island). A Greek islet near the island of Corfu. Its prominent feature is a Byzantine chapel of Pantokrator, dating from the 11th or 12th century. Corfu. Ionian sea. Greece

Corfu is a fairly big Greek island with activities taking place all year round. Choosing the capital of Corfu as the place to stay when visiting the island can help you pack your winter holiday with many things to do, taste, and enjoy during your trip.

Discover the Old Town of Corfu

The Old Town of Corfu is one of those amazing traditional settlements in Greece you don’t want to miss during any time of the year. 

The city, which tends to be overcrowded in summer, portrays a completely different vibe. There’s not the heavy traffic you might encounter in August and streets are often empty. You can get lost walking the romantic alleys, visiting the Jewish quarter, or exploring the two unique fortresses that overlook the coast of the island.

Those willing to go shopping will be happy to discover authentic artisan shops that sell products made in Corfu using the island’s raw material, including soap made from local olive oil or koumquat liqueur, one of the best-known local souvenirs.

In winter, you won’t be required to book a table at any restaurant and you will be often offered a small variety of dishes to choose from. Rest assured that they are all extremely fresh and completely authentic.

Immerse in the Green Corfiot Nature

Greece - Corfu - Corfu, panorama on a picturesque mountain landscape with blue bays.

There’s nothing like winter to immerse in the marvellous green landscapes that the island offers. Although the weather can be rainy, you just need a good pair of rain-boots, an packable umbrella, and a comfortable raincoat to explore the lush, green scenery of the island, the nostalgic cloudy skies, and the deep blue sea in the distance.

Don’t let the rain prevent you from venturing along the fantastic mountain trails of Corfu to explore the local trees, bushes, and herbs that grow on the island.

If you’re the romantic type, you’ll most definitely enjoy the solitary beaches on Corfu. And although it does rain on the island, that does not mean that you won’t find sunny days during your trip. Pack a good bottle of Greek wine, some local cheese, and other winter veggies and head to one of the many famous beaches of Corfu for a unique picnic by the sea.

An excursion in the open will clearly expose Corfu’s varied environments made of rocky coastlines, soft lowlands, and mountains.

Experience Life in a Traditional Village

Greece - Crete - Cozy street with rich greenery in Afionas village, Corfu, Greece.

Afionas village.

Greek traditional villages are the right place where to go to discover the most authentic traditions that have been sadly lost in other corners of the country.

Corfu is one of those places where tiny, lost hamlets can surprise you with the sight of beautiful chapels, imposing and unknown monasteries, and some of the best tavernas in the whole country.

If you’re eager to taste the authentic flavors of Corfu, do yourself a favor and leave the city. Head to the mountains to taste savory winter stews, soups, and rich winter delicacies that you only find in these forgotten areas.

Those who enjoy this kind of holiday can rent a cozy home, equipped with a fireplace, and thus spend one of the most memorable winters in their lives. Places such as Afionas, Lakones, near Paleokastritsa, or Palia Perithia (Old Perithia) are among the most unique villages on Corfu, places where time does not seem to go by at all.

Enjoy Sidari Minus the Hordes of Tourists

Greece - corfu - A view of the so-called "Channel of Love" aka Canal d'Amour in Sidari town, Corfu, Greece

Sidari is undoubtfully one of the most romantics spots in Corfu. During summer, the area turns into a popular tourist resort, thanks to the spectacular wild landscape of stunning beauty.

When you visit Sidari, don’t forget to explore the remains of the Venetian castle and the almost unknown village of Agrafi with traditional alleys and picturesque houses.

Busy and noisy in summer, the area is heaven in winter for a romantic escape. In fact, Sidari is right next to the famous Canal d’ Amour, where you can explore and admire the bizarre geological formations. Sidari is quite easy to reach by car or with a local bus as it is located only 37 km northwest of Corfu Town.

Check the Over 30 Churches in Ano Korakiana

Greece - Corfu - View of Dorfkirche Ano Korakiana i small village church on the island of Corfu

Old Greek Orthodox Churches can hide impressive icons and refined religious arts and crafts that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. If you are interested in learning more about the local beliefs and deeply-rooted religious traditions, take a day trip to the mountain village of Ano Korakiana.

Better-known for the 37 churches that populate the village, Ano Korakiana is a delicious little village that you will simply adore. The village has a long tradition when it comes to crafts such as ceramics, folklore music, and dances. Behind this picturesque view of the village, there’s also an important past that not many are aware of.

The village was established back in the medieval times and became a striving and powerful center during the British occupation of the island. Today, it’s still possible to admire the antique homes of noble families who left a fantastic heritage of well-preserved houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Explore Liapades and Sip its Wine

Greece - Corfu - Beautiful red sunset over Liapades Beach, Corfu, Greece

Another traditional place worth a visit in Corfu in winter is Liapades. The village is the third most important town in Corfu and it stands only 5 km from Paleokastritsa, no more than 20 km from the town of Corfu.

Liapades is one of the most traditional settlements in the Ionian islands which remains pretty forgotten by mass tourism. The atmosphere is that of a quiet settlement with stunning natural beauty.

Considered to be one of the oldest villages of Corfu, Liapades is known for the excellent wine produced in the region, so it’s totally worth a visit if you’re also visiting Corfu to enjoy a journey through the Corfiot tastes.

Check out the Achilleion

Greece - Corfu - Achilleion palace at Corfu island in Greece

When visiting Corfu, don’t overlook one of the most inspiring buildings on the island. Once the summer residence of the Empress of Austria, the Achilleion, is a fantastic Neoclassical palace constructed with Italian taste and touches, and based on the theme of the Greek hero Achilles.

The building features regal statues inspired by Greek mythology, unique gardens with palm trees and fountains, and an impressive colonnade with a unique aristocratic style

Inside the Achilleiom you can check the museum featuring objects that belonged to the Empress as well as to Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Visit the Famous Church of Saint Spyridon

Greece - Corfu - Corfu city and the bell tower of the Saint Spyridon Church from the New Fortress

Back in the Old Town, the most prominent church in Corfu is Saint Spyridon, which features the highest bell tower in the Ionian region of Greece with its distinctive red roof. The church dates back to 1580 and is better-known for hosting the relics of the saint that made it to the island all the way from Constantinople.

The church was constructed using fine marbles and features stunning ceilings as well as paintings from the 18th century, all features that make it one of the best places to visit in the old town of Corfu.

As you just could see, winter can be a great seasont to explore Corfu surrounded by a heavenly landscape and a peaceful atmosphere. Are you planning to visit any time soon?

5 Things to Bring with You to Corfu

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.

– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We own and love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.

– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in most of Greece is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places in Greece, especially on the islands, where the water tastes like minerals or have been desalinated and have a funky taste.

We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.

– Motion sickness pills. Often, Greek roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.

 Travel safety items. We think Greece is safe to travel, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie or I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack (the small bag pictured above).

It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

Read More: Essential Greece Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Greece

More Greece Travel Resources

First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a separate guide to tipping in Greece so you know what to give to different servers and staff while you’re here.

Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.

If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on where to go in Greece, the best places for island hopping in Greece, and when is the best time to visit.

We have more Corfu content on the way, but for now, check our guide to accommodations in Corfu Town.

Want more Greek itineraries? We have guides to 2 days in Mykonos, and 2 days in ChaniaRethymnon, and Heraklion (all on Crete).

If you know you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Athens in winter

We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned! 

We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.

Read More: Essential Greece Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Greece

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!

Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption. 

While Greece is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin this Guide to the Best Things to Do in Corfu in Winter For Your Next Adventure in Greece!

Unexpected Winter in Mykonos: Best Things to Do on the Island

Unexpected Winter in Mykonos: Best Things to Do on the Island

 

Have you ever thought of visiting Mykonos? I bet you did… I also bet that you were also surprised at the incredibly high price tag that the island features almost all year round. Well, except, of course, in winter.

Despite the weather not being at its best, and the island being rather empty, if you’re a traveler that takes good care of his finances, you’re certainly aware that a trip to Mykonos in summer can leave your bank account in a fairly unhealthy condition.

The right answer is simply to visit Mykonos during winter! You won’t only enjoy incredibly cheap prices, but you will be able to explore a lonely but magnificent side of the island that seems to remain hidden by the hordes of tourists from May to September.

Do you want to learn more? Read on to check all the great things you can do in Mykonos in winter without ending up completely broke!

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Where to Stay in Mykonos

Mykonos - Greece - Sunset in Little venice with colorful chairs and buildings

Budget: If you’re looking for the best place to stay on a budget in Mykonos, I strongly suggest Mama’s Pension in Agios Stefanos (it’s also right next to Limnios Tavern, the best taverna on the island…). The owner, Christina, is so friendly and lovely. She picked me up at the port, sat and had coffee and a chat with me each morning, and was a wonderful resource about Mykonos.

My room was also stunning, well-equipped with everything you’d need, and super spacious with a gorgeous sunset view over the sea! It’s a 5-minute walk from the chilled out Agios Stefanos beach, you can walk to Mykonos Town in about 40 minutes, or there’s a bus a few blocks away that’ll take you to the Old Port in about 10 minutes flat. Because of their stellar reputation, they’re often booked up, so reserve your spot well in advance in the high season. Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.

Mid-Range: For chilled-out bliss overlooking Mykonos Town and harbor with a phenomenal view, check out Bellou Suites. They have minimalist decor utilizing plenty of bright white, natural light, wood tones, and stone elements, giving everything a desert-chic vibe.

They have a variety of room types – from doubles with a balcony overlooking to sea to apartments with a kitchenette – perfect for every type of traveler. With sunset views, lovely design, and an affordable price, Bellou Suites is a great option for the stylish traveler with a mid-range budget. Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.

Luxury: Cavo Tagoo is easily Mykonos’ most Instagrammable and stylish hotel, with every feature seemingly thought out for both comfort and photogenicity.

The insane infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean is one of its best features, but the truly dedicated Instagrammers amongst us won’t settle for less than its cave pool suite, pictured above. Whether you get a more standard room or splurge on the cave pool suite, you won’t be disappointed with the 5* service and infinite photographability. Check prices, availability, and guest reviews here.

What is the Weather Like in Mykonos in Winter?

The weather is oftentimes unpredictable in the Aegean islands during winter, and Mykonos is no exception. However, don’t expect rigid winters as in the rest of Europe or northern Greece. Compared to colder latitudes, the climate is mild and sometimes even warm.

The sun can shine on some days, but other days are cloudy and windy. There’s usually no snow and temperatures range from 16 °C to 12 °C. The Cycladic islands see some rain in the cold months, don’t forget it when packing your bags, adding an umbrella or a raincoat is certainly not a bad idea at all.

Why you Should Visit Mykonos in Winter

Greece - Mykonos - Collab Pixabay

Mykonos remains one of the most expensive corners in Greece for the summer holidays. Since the 70s it’s been one of the most coveted and exclusive places where the European jet-set spend their vacations, together with other destinations such as Ibiza in Spain, or Nice in France.

As a consequence, the island is rightfully known for having record high prices when it comes to accommodation, food, and shopping.

Although there is always a way around these extreme prices in Summer, such as early booking, online deals, and accommodation loyalty programs, more often than not those discounts won’t apply to the things you do in Mykonos. AKA you might find a great accommodation deal, but you’ll still end up paying a fortune for dinners, umbrellas, tours, taxis, and even car rental.

To be safe from this scenario, plan a winter holiday in Mykonos. You will not only pay less for your hotel room or your rental home, but you’re also less likely to overpay for taxi fairs, food, souvenirs, and even a pack of gum in any convenience store.

Other than lower prices, the island is virtually empty. And although some might consider this a disadvantage, especially those traveling to Mykonos to enjoy its wild party night scene, for many other travelers, this can be nothing more than a blessing.

Best Things to Do in Mykonos in Winter

Paraportiani Church in Mykonos Town, Cyclades, Greece, during sunset

The island of Mykonos is not just partying around and going to the beach from midday to sunset. Every year, hundreds of visitors reach the island and leave without even knowing there are endless interesting things to do more connected to the local history than to the latest hits on the dance floor.

Unfortunately, much of the island still remains unknown and unexplored and the colder months of the year are the best time to do so, let’s dive into the best things you can do in Mykonos during winter.

Get a Real Look at the Windmills

One of Mykonos’ most famous landmarks is the impressive white windmills that stand by the sea, close to the old port of Mykonos Town. The windmills of Mykonos have become a symbol of Greece and are one of the most iconic postcards of the Aegean islands you’ll ever come across.

In summer, lots of people wait for hours until the sun starts to set opposite the windmills to take those well-known pictures of the area. However, most of these people are unaware of the fact that these are not the only windmills that survive on the island, nor that some of them are open to the public.

The island, usually hit by the northern winds of the Aegean Sea, has always been considered windy. The landscape made of short bushes and scarce vegetation is clear proof. Those same winds have helped Mykonos survive when tourism was not a source of income for the island.

These windmills were the place where the grain would be grounded to produce flour and bread not just in Mykonos but also sold to other Greek islands.

The famous windmills by the sea were the mills producing all the flour that would be later on exported, while the local production of flour was concentrated in the windmills located far from the sea. Only a few of them still stand, and some are open to the public for a visit. That’s the case of Bonis Mill, which is also part of the local Agricultural Museum.

When you visit, it’s possible to explore the restored floors and learn about the process to grind the grain and make flour.

Walk the Deserted Alleys of Mykonos Town

Mykonos - White houses with pink fowers and red window shutters

Mykonos Town, also known as Mykonos Chora, is one of the most gorgeous Cycladic towns in Greece together with Oia in Santorini. The pedestrian stone alleys host hundreds of square white houses with blue or red doors and windows. There are also dozens o small white chapels, beautiful trees, and delightful decorations that add a touch of romanticism to the town.

Although packed with touristic shops in the summer, the streets get pretty deserted in the cold months. These allow for quieter strolls and peaceful moments focusing on the local architecture more than on the souvenirs typically featured in summers such as colorful sarongs or straw hats.

Visit the Famous Panagia Paraportiani

greece - mykonos - A 14th century Paraportiani Church on the island of Mykonos, Greece.

Heading to the seaside area of the old town, the colorful houses in Little Venice shelter one of Mykonos’ most iconic sites, Panagia Paraportiani. This must-see icon on the island is a complex of five different churches built together one next or on top of the other that, as a whole produces a white cake-like view of unique beauty.

During August, the super narrow streets that lead to the church are incredibly crowded by those in search of the building and those shopping for souvenirs. The area around the church is also known as Alefkandra and is famous for the many jewelry stores.

As you can imagine, getting there in summer can be a bit daunting, but in winter you can have every alley all to yourself and you won’t need to wait in line to take an unforgettable picture.

Enjoy a Meal in a Traditional Taverna

Greece - Hydra - A beautiful wild, stray cat resting on a green wicker chair at a cafe or taverna, on the enchanting Greek Island of Hydra.

Winter is the ideal moment to get a real taste of Mykonos. Forget the touristic Greek salad and go for some of the tastiest and richest dishes of the Aegean. On the island, some of the best local tavernas remain open all year round because yes, also the locals love to eat out from time to time.

This guarantees you that you will be enjoying exclusively fresh food, full of authentic flavors, and limited but very smart menu selections. Nothing like a winter Avgolemono soup, rabbit stews with cinnamon, or the magnificent and mouthwatering Mykonos sausages.

The island is also known for the abundant use of pulses in winter salads and some of the most savory cheeses in Greece. Don’t leave the island without trying them.

Rent a Car to Explore Unknown Villages

greece - mykonos - Agios Ioannis, Mykonos Greece

Mykonos might not be as big as other Greek islands, but there’s a lot to explore when it comes to its raw winter landscape. Since winter transportation is somewhat limited during the cold months, the best way to set on an exploring journey is to rent a car and just drive your way around.

Yes, you might be wondering how to do so if you’re on a budget… well, you don’t need to worry. The few local rental companies often open discounted fees during winter, bargaining prices is a real possibility and on many occasions having a credit card won’t be a must.

Once in your car, explore the far beaches of Elia and Kalafati, or head to the hills to discover the lesser-known settlements where most tourists never arrive.

Ano Mera, for instance, is a picturesque village in the heart of the island. Despite being the most populated village after the Chora, it remains lonely and secluded, and most of all picturesque

Once there, discover the large public square and the maze of the cobbled streets that, in perfect Cycladic fashion, from the center of town, open to different directions. 

Check the Picturesque Village of Klouvas

Greece - mykonos - Mykonos island (view from the mountain) at sunrise with clouds in the sky. Greece.

Nothing like a visit to the tiny settlement of Klouvas in the northern part of the island. It’s located close to Ftelia beach where you can also go for a winter walk next to the sea. This small town takes pride in the food, and rightfully so.

There are several restaurants and tavernas where you can taste stunning seafood dishes as well as traditional stews and baked pies. For those eager to give the local gastronomy a different twist, check Mykonian Spiti Centre and its cooking classes.

Visit the Folklore Museum

mykonos - lenas house

To have a better understanding of the real Mykonos that hides behind the postcard-perfect whitewashed landscape of the island, don’t miss a visit to the Folklore Museum of Mykonos.

Also known as Lena’s House, this small residence is right next to the Nautical Museum of the Aegean, and it’s the best way to learn how houses used to be back in the past in Greece.

This beautiful hose dates back from the 19th century and shows furniture as well as strange everyday objects that look unknown to us today but that were of common daily use in the Cycladic islands many years ago.

Check the Legend of the Three Wells

greece - mykonos - Greece, traditional well view in Mykonos capitol

Always in the old town and just steps from Lena’s House, you will come across three mysterious black wells that occupy the center of a tiny square. Tria Pigiada, literally the three wells, have always been another iconic place to visit in Mykonos Town.

These three wells, which were once used to provide drinking water to the whole town are strictly related to a local legend. The wells were supposed to bring good luck to the young women who would fill in their buckets here. It was believed that drinking water from them was the fastest way they had to find a man and get married!

Although the island might look deserted, cold, and unattractive to many, Mykonos in winter has a unique magic that’s hard to find anywhere else in the Cyclades.

Check the empty streets, explore the lonely beaches, and enjoy a cup of Greek coffee in the traditional kafenia of Mykonos and you’ll certainly fall in love with a completely different island.

What to Bring to Mykonos

Mykonos - Greece - A view of Mykonos port with boats, Cyclades islands

If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.

– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.

– A water bottle with a filter. While often, the tap water in Greece is drinkable, there are places where it isn’t, including some popular tourist destinations like Santorini and Mykonos.

We generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant!

We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.

– Motion sickness pills. Very necessary if you’ll be taking a ferry! The ferries in the Mediterranean can be quite choppy. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.

 Travel safety items. We think Greece is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Mykonos is rather safe but is not immune from pickpockets, so be cautious (this goes double if you plan to go to Athens – the metro is notorious for its pickpockets, and a travel blogger friend of ours got his phone stolen on it!). Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie nor I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.

It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

More Mykonos & Greece Travel Resources

Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.

Since you’ll be on Mykonos, you’ll likely also want to visit Delos. Here’s our guide on how to do a Delos day trip easily and hassle-free! We also have our guide to Mykonos best beaches, our Mykonos Instagram guide (and some Mykonos quotes you can use as captions!), and our Mykonos itinerary.

If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on where to go in Greece, the best places for island hopping in Greece, and when is the best time to visit. 

Many people combine a trip to Athens with a trip to Mykonos. Check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned! 

We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.

Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!

Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.  While Greece is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe.

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin This Guide to the Best Things to Do in Winter in Mykonos for Your Travels!

13 Traditional Croatian Breakfast Foods: What to Eat for Breakfast in Croatia

13 Traditional Croatian Breakfast Foods: What to Eat for Breakfast in Croatia

Croatia is a small country known for its rich history and culture, as well as for its beautiful coast and more than 1000 islands. When it comes to its gastronomic scene, it is enriched with traditional and autochthonous recipes and dishes. While you might arrive familiar with Croatian cuisine, you might be wondering what are the best traditional Croatian breakfast foods. In other words, what do Croatians eat for breakfast?

Read Next: 7 Traditional Croatian Dishes that You Simply Must Try

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13 Traditional Croatian Breakfast Foods_ What to Eat for Breakfast in Croatia

Where to Stay in Croatia

Croatia - Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik, king's landing in game of thrones

Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Dubrovnik. We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in other Croatian cities, but for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since this is a popular time to visit. These are some of the places we suggest you check.

Budget: Apartment Larica Miha Pracata is a historic building in the heart of Dubrovnik Old Town. You can easily leave your apartment and instantly be at some of the best architectural and historical attractions Dubrovnik has to offer. Check out prices and availability at Apartment Larica Miha Pracata.

Mid-range: Soleil Luxury Rooms offers some of the most modern amenities you will find in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Soleil Luxury Rooms Old Town.

Luxury: Boutique Hotel Stari Grad showcases elegant style and you can see plenty of designer accents all over the hotel. The interiors and arrangement of all furniture are well-executed, creating a comfortable and cozy place to stay in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Boutique Hotel Stari Grad.

A Bit of Croatian Culinary History

If we look at Croatian history, its cuisine was influenced by many countries which offer a nice basis for the Croatian tradition in gastronomy. Even though Croatia has a lot of recipes that are specific and traditional for each region, when it comes to breakfast, tradition is almost lost out of sight.

Basically, the dishes for breakfast vary not only from region to region but from one person to the other. Everyone created their own cooking habits based on their childhood memories, job, sleeping time, schedule, and more. With that being said, Croats for example don’t have a classic traditional breakfast known in the entire country. They may have it in their own families, but still, every breakfast idea varies from one family to another.

Croatian Breakfast: Traditional Roots & Modern Ideas

Croatia - Istria  - Town of Hum colorful old stone street, Istria, Croatia

In the past, the Croats who lived in continental Croatia had a breakfast made of polenta, cornbread, and coffee substitute (kavovina). In Dalmatia, people tend to eat bread with butter and jam or anchovies, while in Istria, the most popular breakfast was (and still is, we’ve mentioned it a few paragraphs down) frittata with asparagus.

Today, the situation has changed. Breakfast is adapted to the Croats’ everyday habits, life, and schedule (which is quite normal, of course), so they go for easy, simple, and light recipes. Naturally, the coffee goes with any type of breakfast, whether it is coffee to go or homemade. Tea is not so popular for an early start of the day, but some find it quite relaxing to drink it in the morning.

In order to present a bit of Croatian breakfast cuisine, we sum up 13 things, dishes, and meals, which can usually be found on the Croatian tables early in the morning. They are delicious and easy to do or buy!

Bread & Spread

croatia - Bread and Spread - Tasty bread with butter served for breakfast on marble table

This is actually a good dish for breakfast and a nice snack throughout the day. Croats usually eat a couple of pieces of bread smeared with Margo nova, pašteta, cheese, or Nutella.

Margo is margarine which is easily spreadable and enriched with vitamin A, D, and E. It is great in the combination with jam.

Pašteta is a meat spread made of pork, chicken, fish, or other ingredients.

Cheese spread perfectly combines with fresh or baked bread, while Nutella is a favorite spread for all generations.

Burek & Yogurt

Croatia  - Traditional Bulgarian cheese pastry Banitsa on an wooden table with Greek yogurt

When we talk about the most popular breakfast in Croatia, I believe this would hit the jackpot. Burek is, to put it simply, a pie made of stretch dough and filled with minced meat. It is a bit greasy, but it is delicious, crispy, and juicy.

Croats eat it in the combination with yogurt. Besides meat, burek can also be filled with cheese (then it is called “sirnica”), greens or spinach (“zeljanica”), potatoes (“krumpiruša”), vegetables, and apples.

Cereals

Croatia - healthy cereal breakfast. on a wooden surface - cereal with milk

There is always a big dilemma in Croatia when it comes to cereals and the key question of this dilemma is how to eat them – with milk or with yogurt?

Whichever the answer, Croats enjoy their cereals. The most popular ones are probably classic cornflakes and chocolate cereals from Kraš Express. Of course, there are also many variations, integral, healthy, fit, and others.

Cheese & Cream

Croatia - Bowl cream

This is a traditional breakfast – a favorite to every generation. Cheese and cream are best if they are homemade but, of course, there are a lot of trusty shops and households that make top-quality ingredients.

This breakfast is made of fresh cow cheese and homemade sour cream. Once it is served, it needs just a bit of salt and wheat bread.

Some Croats also adds kulen, češnjovke, ham, and other meat produces, as well as some type of vegetables such as tomatoes.

Čokolino

Croatia - Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

It doesn’t matter if Croats are big or small, young or old, they are true fans of Čokolino. This dish is a favorite food for kids, as well as those who feel young so yes, all generations eat Čokolino.

A classic Čokolino is made of chocolate and warm milk and it is a great and delicious breakfast (of course, there are a lot of variations to fit everyone’s taste). The measurement of milk decides whether the mixture is light or dense, so everyone can make this breakfast according to their preferences.

Frittata With Asparagus

Croatia - Frittata with green asparagus and fresh dill

Croats may reach for easy-to-prepare breakfasts but don’t be fooled – they are truly delicious! And that’s the case with frittata too.

This is a simple and healthy meal made of eggs, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, and prosciutto.

This dish is most popular in Istria. Due to the mentioned ingredients, the frittata is enriched with vitamins A, E, and K. Also, asparagus and mushrooms are great for the body and they have numerous positive impacts.

Once they are all combined, they present a rich and nutritious breakfast.

Kajgana

Croatia - Scrambled eggs on plate over white stone background. Top view, flat lay

Eggs are quite usual in Croatian cuisine, especially when it comes to their breakfast. They are eaten scrambled or boiled, but they are also prepared as a delicious kajgana.

This dish is easy to make, and the end result comes with a beautiful creamy texture. Kajgana can be made with vegetables, different cheeses, bacon, mushrooms, pork rinds (čvarci), and more. Since it offers so many variations of the preparations, it is no wonder Croats love it so much!

Meat Products

beautifully pieces of kulen on a black plate with onion and chili in a black background. closeup

Croatia is known for its tradition of making kulen, češnjovke, ham, and prosciutto, so naturally, these products (along with other meat such as salami) can easily be found on the breakfast table.

The mentioned meats are salty or spicy and they are great with fresh bread, pastries, and more. Besides that, the Croats love luncheon meat which is a famous canned meat product ideal as a breakfast, snack, or dinner.

Oatmeal

Croatia - Oatmeal. Porridge with bananas, blueberries and walnut for healthy breakfast or lunch. Natural ingredients. Flat lay design on linen napkin and cement background

When Croats need something quick, simple, and easy for breakfast, they go for oatmeal.

Oatmeal is quite a popular dish in the world, and in Croatia, it is prepared with boiling water and fruit, sometimes with yogurt and nuts too. The exact recipe and ingredients greatly depend on individual preferences.

Pastries

Croatia French pastries

Today, life is quite quick, and everyone rushes everywhere. Due to that, the breakfast needed to be adjusted to those conditions, so the Croats found the best and most convenient solution – pastries.

They go to the bakery, choose, and they’re already on their way with breakfast in their hands. Croats have a lot of favorite pastries such as kajzerica, kifla, slanci, perec, pletenica, brioš, croissants made of butter or filled with jam and chocolate, žemlja, and more.

There are also a lot of variations of small pastries filled with salty ingredients such as a mixture for pizza, cheese, and others.

Polenta With Cream

Croatia - typical croatian breakfast made by cooking corn flour or polenta, topping it with sour cream and chives

This is a bit more traditional breakfast for every rural household. It was prepared every morning before leaving for the hard work on the land. Today, this breakfast is still around but not that much.

Polenta or “žganci” in Croatian, is made of cornflour and it’s served warm. It’s excellent with homemade cream or yogurt (this ingredient is more popular with the younger generations though). Besides the cream, polenta can also be made with bacon.

Popara

Croatia - Popara - Traditional Montenegrin Cuisine

Older generations certainly brought to use some tasty and delicious breakfasts which are so simple and easy to make, yet tasty. Popara is an old dish ideal for both breakfast and dinner. It’s still prepared in some regions, while younger generations remember it thanks to their grandparents.

This dish requires boiled water with butter, white onion, salt, and old bread cut into pieces. Before serving, the ingredients are drained. Popara goes great with cheese and other dairy products.

White Coffee With Bread

Croatia - Woman's hand dipping a delicious rusk in hot coffee

This breakfast is a bit old, but it is still around in some households, especially among older generations. This is a quick, simple, and light dish ideal for breakfast, and it is basically prepared with warm white coffee and bread.

Once the coffee is done, the bread is torn into small pieces and put inside the coffee. The bread is then soaked in coffee so together, they create nice flavors which are ideal for starting the day on the right foot!

Croatia may not have a famous Croatian breakfast, but it surely has some unique ideas suitable for every type of morning.

Croats have simple and easy-to-make recipes and ideas, as well as good bakeries which allow them to buy delicious breakfast when they are in the rush. If you’re interested in their “more complicated” and traditional recipes which are known in the world, check out this post about Croatian autochthonous dishes.

What to Pack for Croatia

Serbia - Gardos - Backpack

Our beloved PacSafe!

We have an entire Croatia packing list, but make sure you don’t leave these items behind!

A Guidebook – While travel blogs are great, we also definitely see the benefit of having a good paper guidebook in hand to refer to in your on-the-ground travel. We recommend the Lonely Planet Croatia book.

Mosquito repellent: Mosquitos in the summer can be nasty! You can bring ones with DEET or without DEET, or I love having some of these mosquito repellent wipes that I can keep in my bag in case I suddenly start to get swarmed and don’t have my regular repellent with me.

Sunscreen: You can buy sunscreen in Croatia, but it’s likely cheaper at home or bought online in advance. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen. Who doesn’t love a good solid for liquid swap? Great to keep in your bag without worrying about sunscreen explosions.

Water shoes: Pebble beaches in Croatia are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the pebble seafloor is what creates that gorgeous deep turquoise-colored water that is hard to beat, as the lack of sand means you have incredibly clear water. However, on the other hand, pebble beaches and rocky shores can be downright painful!

Our friend recently cut his foot on a rocky beach in Croatia; had he been wearing water shoes, he’d have avoided such unpleasantness! We suggest these unisex water shoes. They’re not sexy, but they will make your trips to the beach far more pleasant!

A secure backpack: We both carry the CitySafe backpack by PacSafe not only on our travels but in our day-to-day lives. It’s cute, it’s functional, it’s comfortable, and it’s secure. We’re talking about interlocking zippers (which you can then put through a second clasp for two layers of security), slash-proof wire mesh construction, and RFID blockers to keep your data safe.

It’s neutral enough to be unisex, it’s roomy enough to fit a small laptop, a large camera, and tons of odds & ends, and it fits under the plane seat in front of you. We’re obsessed. Check it out for yourself!

Grayl Water FilterTap water is generally safe to drink in Croatia, but if you’re not used to drinking tap water from other countries, the typically harmless bacteria found in all water can cause some gut irritation. To both be safe and not buy dozens of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Sea bands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Croatia – being on the water! A trip to Croatia isn’t complete without a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

Read more: Essential Croatia Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Croatia

More Croatia Travel Resources

Croatian national theater in Zagreb, Croatia

Headed to Croatia? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Croatia, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a Croatia packing list with a detailed section for all seasons.

While in Dubrovnik, check out our favorite Dubrovnik Instagram spots and the best Dubrovnik day trips.

If you’re still putting together your itinerary, here’s a great list of places to visit in Croatia, our Croatia national parks guide, and the Croatian waterfalls guide to help you choose. We also have a guide to the best day trips from Spit if you’re to be visiting Split as well.

If you’ll be spending time in Zagreb, check out our list of the city’s best photo destinations. We also have a guide to visiting the famous Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb.

Next, check out our Balkan currency guide which explains how money works in Croatia and local tipping customs.

Of course, if you’re coming to Croatia you’ll have lots of opportunities to shop! Read our guide to shopping in Croatia so you know which souvenirs are truly local gems.

If this will be one of your first trips in the Balkans, check out our massive list of things to know before traveling the Balkans as well as our Balkan busroad trip, and itinerary guides. 

We publish new content nearly every day! Bookmark our pages on Croatia and the Balkans so that you don’t miss out on any new info or resources that we publish before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Croatia (or really, any part of the world)! We have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.

While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel – especially during the winter! – so it’s better to play it safe.

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin This Guide to Croatian Breakfast for Your Trip!

13 Traditional Croatian Breakfast Foods_ What to Eat for Breakfast in Croatia

The Most Enchanting Greek Islands to Visit in Winter

The Most Enchanting Greek Islands to Visit in Winter

 

Although the Greek islands are not the most usual destination you would think of when making up your mind about where to go for a winter vacation, they’re an option to consider if you’re not a fan of snow or extremely low temperatures.

More and more people are choosing to get rid of rigid winters by checking some of the most popular spots in the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek islands have, in general, perfectly mild weather, and many things you would never dream of doing in winter in other parts of the world.

Several are the activities you can enjoy on the Greek islands during winter. Besides, more low-cost European carriers offer flights to some of the bigger islands once or twice a week, and there are some ferry routes available to the destinations featured below.

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Where to Stay in Greece

Chania - Greece - Man in horse carriage by mosque at sunset

We are still working on guides to where to stay in many Greek cities. We currently have guides to:

If you’re looking for where to stay in a city we haven’t covered yet, we like to use Booking.com. Make sure to book as early as possible. Greece is a popular beach destination, so rooms can sell-out earlier than expected.

What’s the Weather Like in Winter on the Greek Islands

Greece - Santorini - View of Santorini during the winter

Winters are not chilly, although you might encounter some very cold days. Overall, the average temperature on the islands ranges from 10 °C to 15 °C degrees, with some sunny days reaching even 18 °C on the southernmost island of all, Crete.

The weather is also fairly good in Rhodes and a good part of the Dodecanese, while the islands in the Ionian sea, such as Corfu and Zakynthos enjoy soft winters but are a bit rainier.

Things to Do in Winter on the Greek Islands

greece - crete - Windmill on the mountains of Lasithi plateau in Crete

The cold season roughly starts early in November, when the last big groups of tourists have completely left the islands. This weather extends well into March and sometimes even early April.

Although ferries reduce their schedules, it’s still possible to get to the islands by sea. Flights bound to bigger islands such as Crete and Corfu have daily routes to and from Athens.

When winter arrives at the Greek islands, it comes with an aura of quietness that the locals truly appreciate. During most of November and part of December, locals love to gather and enjoy the islands without the rush and craziness that tourism brings alone. It’s time for local festivals, music contests, and village celebrations related to traditional food, dances, and even local art.

Once the Christmas holidays are over, locals start getting ready for the upcoming season. Many shops and hotels close their doors to renovate, paint, and refurbish the structures while many restaurant owners and staff enjoy a well-deserved rest. The overall rhythm slows down, yet some people look busier than ever.

Many touristic shops and tour offices close for the season, however, local businesses still operate, sometimes with reduced hours. Prices are often very convenient and although the accommodation offer is not as ample, it’s quite common to find excellent hotel deals.

Popular activities among locals and visitors alike include sightseeing, meeting friends, and exploring. Many ancient sites and most museums have also reduced operating hours, but that comes with smaller fees as well.

When the sun shines on the Greek islands in winter, the weather is extremely pleasant, ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities. Enrolling for Greek lessons, working seasonally on an olive grove, or taking cooking classes can also represent great opportunities to check a different face of Greece during the winter.

Winter Ferries to the Islands

greece - Beautiful winter scenery with adorable young girls enjoying ferry ride staring at the deep blue aegean sea. Children having fun on family vacation in Greece. Kids sailing on a boat.

Not all connections remain active once October is over, some islands can be indeed very difficult to reach. Exactly for the same reason, island hopping is a kind of holiday more adequate for spring if you intend to skip the summer on the islands.

In winter, most ferries depart from the port of Piraeus although some of the islands don’t have more than one ferry per day or even per week.

What Islands in Greece are the Best for a Winter Vacation

Greece - Corfu - A street in Kerkyra, Greece on a rainy day and a yellow bicycle

Rainy Corfu.

There’s always something special about each of the hundreds of inhabited Greek islands, some of them are a great summer-only destination, while others allow visitors to explore and have fun no matter the climate.

The following islands are some of the most visited places in Greece in winter and the ones that you should consider when planning a winter holiday in Greece.

Argo-Saronic Islands

greece - hysea - Blurry image of traditional houses on a rainy day, Hydra island, Greece.

Hydra under the rai.

Located quite close to Athens, Hydra, Poros, and Aegina are three of the islands you can visit in winter without having to worry about long ferry rides. They are quite close to the Athenian coast and can be a great opportunity for a different kind of scape if you’re spending your winter holidays in Athens.

Hydra is a gem that you shouldn’t miss when considering a scape from Athens. It’s easy to see it in a very short time so you can visit only in a day if you’re looking for a quick taste of the traditional island life.

Another island in the Saronic Gulf worth a visit is Aegina, home to the best-preserved Greek Temple in the country. The Temple of Aphaia is a magnificent classic construction located in a breathtaking location above a pine forest and boasting stunning views not only of the island but also of the whole coast. Aegina is also known for its high-quality pistachios which you should never miss trying during a visit.

Poros, the tiniest of the three, is separated from the Peloponnese just by a narrow strait. It’s home to a pretty gorgeous old town, with a charming port where sailing ships and ferries coming from Athens dock daily.

One of the most popular tours that we recommend departs from Athens’ port of Piraeus and it’s a cruise that visits the three of them in just a day. This three-island tour gives you a glimpse of what the Greek islands can be like also in winter since it can be booked all year round.

Rhodes

greece - winter - rhodes - Gate of St Antonios of old town in Rhodes Island

Another great Greek destination all year round, Rhodes is a unique gem full of things to do. The island, big enough and home to endless attractions, is not just a summer beach destination.

There are dozens of cultural activities you can do in Rhodes in winter. You can explore the magnificent city of Lindos or venture on a walking tour like this one inside the spectacular Palace of the Grand Masters as well as the rest of the old town.

If you are the explorer type, jump on a car or pick the bus to visit more archaeological sites, remote beaches where nobody goes in winter, and unique tavernas serving the best of the local food.

Corfu

Greece - Corfu - Chlomos village in South Corfu Greece with dramatic sky and color.

Although some consider Corfu to be too rainy and close to the continent to be a good winter holiday spot on a Greek island, Corfu is a surprising destination for different reasons.

Starting from the fantastic dishes served and the glorious local wine, Corfu is also home to impressive monasteries over the sea, wonderful fortresses, a magnificent old town, and unique mountain villages that can be better enjoyed when the temperatures go down and the hordes of tourists go home.

The island is also home to many important museums which you can visit also during winter. If you plan to visit Corfu check also this fabulous itinerary?

Crete

greece -crete - Winter in the old port of Chania, Crete, Greece

The biggest of the Greek islands has all it takes to become your favorite winter destination. Days on Crete can get cold in winter, but never as cold as in mainland Greece.

The island, the biggest of all of them, is home to four different unique cities you can visit. Heraklion, the capital, is a perfect place to stay if you are interested in exploring archaeological sites and museums.

For a romantic winter getaway, Rethymnon and Chania have beautiful old towns, a vibrant gastronomic scenario, and plenty of cultural events going on all year round. Finally, the smaller but no less interesting city of Agios Nikolaos, in East Crete, can be a great place to stay in winter in Crete because the area has a very reduced rainfall quantity also in winter.

Crete is also a fantastic place to practice winter sports, despite having mild weather, the island also has high mountains where snow is not rare at all.

Evia

Greece - Evia -Panoramic view Wonderful winter with lots of snow and snow drifts in a Greek village on the island of Evia, Greece

Evia is probably the less touristic island in Greece, but it’s precisely this the real reason why Evia has managed to remain unspoiled and authentic in every possible way.

Evia is easy to access from Athens through two bridges crossing the Gulf of Eubea. The island is another favorite destination among locals both for summer and winter vacations. When in Evia, other than visiting the capital, Halkida, try to take some time to discover the cities of Eretria one of the oldest cities in ancient times.

The ruins of Eretria are a great day trip when in Evia. The ruins are known for being the departure point of ships setting out to found new towns in southern Italy.

Another great thing to do in Evia is to visit a winery and enjoy a spa treatment all for the same price! We suggest this unique and relaxing escape to the island from Athens.

Naxos

Greece - Naxos - Tour of Naxos, Greece

Probably one of the most popular destinations in Greece, Naxos is the perfect Cycladic island that combines majestic mountains, unique mountain villages, museums, archaeological sites, pristine beaches, and one-of-a-kind gastronomy… and all of these, all year round!

The island counts with a high number of permanent residents, this makes it a place where you will definitely find restaurants and hotels open all year round.

On the island, do not miss the mountain settlement of Halki, the marble village of Apeiranthos, and the archaeological sites in Sangri and Melanes.

Kalymnos

Greece - Kalymnos -Melitsahas area as seen from a small hill.Located 7 km north west of Pothia, the capital of Kalymnos close to the famous village of Myrties.The photo was taken during winter period.

Fans of rock climbing put Kalymnos among one of the best destinations for that sport. Kalymnos, in the Dodecanese, is in fact a fantastic place to explore extreme sports and a serene pace of life. Although it can be hard to reach in the winter, the island of Kalymnos is well-worth the try.

Both aspiring climbers as well as expert ones love to spend the winters in Kalymnos where they can have spectacular mountain walls all to themselves but also enroll in climbing programs that are exclusively open in winter for fans of this extreme sport.

And if you’re not a fan of climbing? It doesn’t matter! Check one more interesting feature about Kalymnos! The island has a long sponge farming tradition it’s home to generations of sponge divers who, in the past, used to harvest and dive to capture a unique variety of sponges that were of utmost quality and exported all over the world.

Santorini

Greece -Santorini - Sunset in Oia village at winter, Santorini

Another great Greek island to visit is Santorini, open to mass hordes of tourists all year long, but quieter in winter months. Visiting an empty Santorini can be an unforgettable experience to see the island under a different light.

Less overpopulated than in August or July, you’ll be able to experience the picturesque alleys, the museums, and even the lunar landscapes of some of its beaches at a completely different rhythm.

Make some time to explore the archaeological site of Akrotiri, the ruins of Ancient Thira, or the several wineries on the island. In fact, booking a wine tasting tour of Santorini like this one can be an unforgettable journey through the most authentic tastes of Greece.

What to Bring with You for a Greece Trip

Greece - Hydra - Stephanie leaving Hydra on an Island Cruise

Leaving Hydra by boat and heading to Aegina

We have several Greece packing lists to help you decide what to bring with you to GreeceRhodes, and Crete (with more on the way)! But here are five things you want to bring with you to any Greek beach vacation!

A Guidebook – While travel blogs are great, we also definitely see the benefit of having a good paper guidebook in hand to refer to in your on-the-ground travel. We own and recommend the Lonely Planet Greece for a great guidebook on the ground. 

Sunscreen: Yes, you will want sunscreen in Greece, no matter the time of year. While you can buy it here, I suggest you buy the good stuff from recognizable brands or better yet, buy it online in advance. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen. Who doesn’t love a good solid for liquid swap? Great to keep in your bag without worrying about sunscreen explosions.

Motion sickness pills: Great for ferry rides and bus rides especially on winding roads – I buy these non-drowsy ones. You can also try these natural motion sickness bands which use acupressure to reduce nausea – they actually work pretty well.

Hiking boots or sneakers with good grip: If you’re looking for waterfalls in Greece, you may have to do some hiking to get to them! Be sure to wear some well broken-in hiking boots or at the very least, some grippy sneakers.

A water bottle with a filter. While often, the tap water in Greece is drinkable, there are places where it isn’t. Always ask before drinking the water.

We generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any bad water that could make your trip unpleasant! We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly (literally – 99.999% free of viruses, bacteria, etc.) in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc. – basically everything but the sea itself.

Travel safety items. We think Greece is very safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie nor I use these.

Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack. It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

More Greece Travel Resources

Greece - Athens - Parthenon temple over bright blue sky background, Acropolis hill, Athens Greecer with flowers

Headed to Greece? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip.

First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more.

Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.

If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on where to go in Greece, the best places for island hopping in Greece, and when is the best time to visit. 

If you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned! 

We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.

Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance

I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece or anywhere in the world! This is especially true on a waterfall chasing and hiking trip, where you’ll be outdoors and in nature more than back home. 

Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption. 

While Greece is very safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe.

Pin This Unique Guide to the Best Islands to Visit in Greece in Winter!

 

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