Try Something Unusual For Your Winter Holiday: Greece

When thinking about a winter holiday, Greece will probably not be among your first choice destinations.  For you as for many people, Greece means heat, golden beaches, turquoise waters and a glass of ouzo on a terrace by the sea. Right, but… this is a thought you might reconsider if you like programs off the beaten tracks!

Greece has a lot more to offer than a summer cliché. Winter time is ideal to discover that it is also the perfect winter holiday destination.

If your motto is “no winter break without my skis”, here is a good tip for you: there are more than 25 ski resorts in Greece. They include famous Mount Parnassos, Kalavrita (in the Peloponese mountains) and Karpenisi (in the Pindus Mountains), also called the Switzerland of Greece, provide a total of 198 km of ski slopes. There are runs for all levels and a great after-ski life for prices far cheaper than French or Italian ski resorts.

Where else can you ski in the morning, have lunch along the shore, visit an archaeological site in the afternoon, party in a trendy bar in the evening and sleep in a boutique hotel in a picturesque village all in the same day? The answer is Mount Parnassos…

The Parnassos Ski Center, located on the peaks of Kelaria (1750m), Fterolakkia (1950m) and Gerondovrachos, operates from December until the beginning of May. It is probably the biggest and best organised ski resort in the country.  Nineteen runs, named after Greek Gods like Hermes or Aphrodite, with a total of 36km, seven ski routes, ten trails and three mini beginner runs. 2 cafe-chalets, a restaurant, ski and snowboard schools, ski and snowboard stores, equipment rental and a playground for children are part of the resort. Who could ask for more to enjoy a ski holiday in the country of Gods?

Mount Parnassos has many attractive points. It is located near Athens (about 2 hour-drive) and ranks among the highest mountains in Greece with an altitude of 2260 meters. Its stunning views look over the Gulf of Corinth and Gulf of Euboea and it is very close to Delphi, the mythical archaeological site dedicated to Apollo.

In my opinion, Mount Parnassos has another great asset. It is only 24km from Arachova, a picturesque cosmopolitan village nestled in the mountain.  Its steep narrow cobblestone streets, grey stone houses with red tile roofs, trendy bars, traditional restaurants and boutique hotels make it the place to be for an exciting after-ski or even non-ski life! Other popular snow centers are in Pelion in the region of Thessaly, Tymfristos in the Karpenissi area, Helmos in the town of Kalavrita, Mainalos in Vytina, Peloponnese, Vasilitsa in Grevena and Kaimaktsalan in Edessa.

Author: This article is written by Muriel Rammos-Vignol, who is manager of holiday villas in Greece. She also owns a villa in Skiathos-Greece and is an active blogger for holiday vacations in Greece.

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7 Epic Wine Regions of the World

Enjoying a glass of high-quality wine has always been a transporting experience. For those who want to know more about the wine-making process and taste specific wines, visiting wine regions around the world makes for a perfect vacation.

  1. The Aegean Islands, Greece

With little white houses scattered over steep hillsides and a blue sea in the background, the Aegean Islands are considered to be more of a holiday attraction. But when you look carefully, you will see that the island of Santorini is essentially a large vineyard. Samos and Crete are home to a variety of white and red grapes. All of them have excellent choices in restaurants only to make your visit a unique dine and wine experience.

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  1. Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

In Mexico, wine has been made for centuries and its quality increased significantly in the last few years. Now they even have an area called Ruta de vino (wine route) were you can experience Mexican food complemented with local wines. While you are there, visit The Museum of Viticulture and Wine to find out more about winemaking in Baja and its four centuries long history.

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  1. Mendoza, Argentina

As soon as you arrive in Mendoza, first thing that will occupy your attention are the Andes. The region is 20 000 feet high in the mountains and is covered with vineyards that provide a spectacular view that attracts both wine and regular tourists. Mendoza has recently evolved into a top wine destination with improved gastronomical offer. Their wine is called Malbec and it is deep in color and rich in aromas only to match beautifully with the Argentina’s world-known beef.

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  1. Baden, Germany

Baden is the warmest region in Germany settled alongside Switzerland and France. It is full of castles, thermal springs, forests and walking and cycling paths. Since its soil is unique in texture and mineral levels, wines grown there have a unique taste. Try them combined with local cheeses and a local sour cream called flammakuchen. For those who would like to see something typical for this region, a visit to Schloss Staufenberg is a must. It is a striking castle that offers not only sightseeing tours, but wine and food tastings as well.

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  1. Barossa Valley, Australia

Wines from Australia are well-known among sommeliers and Barossa is one of the most prominent uprising wine regions. It is also a tourist region since it provides a range of activities for young people, families and elderly. Every winery tries to attract visitors with a special experience when tasting wines and food. If you are in Australia, but without enough free time to visit wineries, you can buy rose wine from Jims Cellars and enjoy tasting wines with friends in your own home.

In the Barossa Valley

  1. Languedoc, France

One of the world’s largest wine-producing regions is Languedoc. The South of France has always been futile for grapes since it is close to the Mediterranean Sea. This region offers one of the best wines in the word combined with its famous French cousin. Surrounded with stunning landscapes this area is perfect for wine connoisseurs.

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  1. Sonoma, USA

Sonoma is a place that combines interesting food, good selection of wines and wonderful surroundings in California. Near the California coastline,  you will feel like you never want to leave Sonoma again when combine local Chardonnay with seafood.

With an unexpected ease you can pair wines with local food and realize that it could never taste like that in your home. Since there is no right substitute for traveling and visiting wine-growing regions, pack your bags and track your favorite wine down to its origins.

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