The heart of Greek winter beats on snow-covered mountain tops, where ski enthusiasts –craving for adventure– can experience the sought-after intensity and adrenalin rush. Escape in an idyllic white mountain setting where the cold mountain air puts human will and endurance to the test!
Skiing (and its alternative version, snowboarding) is undoubtedly the “king” of extreme sports; an exciting pastime offering a unique sense of freedom as the human body becomes attuned to the elements and forces of nature. Skiing appeared for the first time in Greece in the 1920’s and has had rising numbers of devoted fans ever since. Today, after almost a century, countless adventure seekers turn the snow–covered mountain slopes across the country into “hot places” what with their passion and skill!
Although Greece is a country where the sun shines most of the year, it can also boast some very good skiing resorts with ultra modern facilities that can satisfy even the most demanding skiers, offering an unforgettable experience down spectacular ski runs where the beauty of the alpine landscape is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Enjoy a ski run in some of the best known skiing resorts of the country, and feast your eyes on the beauty of snow-clad mountaintops as you experience an overwhelming feeling of freedom.
Parnassos ski resort
Mount Parnassos, with an altitude of 2,260 metres, ranks among the highest mountains in Greece. Its spectacular geomorphology and rich biodiversity place it among the most important mountain environments in our country. Here you will find the biggest downhill ski resort in Greece. The mountain’s high altitude offers ski lovers long-lasting snow-covered peaks, and the mountain is a very popular spot for visitors as it is located near Athens.
The ski resort consists of two locations, Kellária and Fterólakka, which are connected with lifts and runs. A third one, Yerodóvrahos, is a small separate resort linked with Kellária by ski trails. The ski resort boasts 23 ski runs (3 difficult, 8 intermediate, 8 easy & 4 very easy) with a total length of 27 km, and 13 ski and chair lifts.
Here are some of the ski runs you could chose to enter and cross, depending on your chosen level of difficulty:
Downhill ski runs at Kellária:
(a) Aphrodite (no 1): A blue, 1,500m long ski trail that leads to the chalet.
(b) Odysseus (no 8): A challenging 800m red run, maybe black at some points. The most difficult piste of the area that experienced skiers really love to cross.
(c) Hermes (no 11): A definitely blue run 700m in length.
(d) Run (no 16): Starting from the Zeus lift at Fterólakka, this run ends at the starting point of the chair lift Hermes at Kellária. It is actually a blue snow trail 1,400m in length.
(e) The runs Telemachus (no 3) and Pericles (no 15) are ideal for an early-in-the-morning warm-up.
(f) If you are just interested in taking up skiing lessons, experienced ski instructors waiting to show you the ropes at the two baby runs (120m & 50m in length) of the ski resort.
Share these slopes at Fterólakka with other skiers:
(a) Hera (no 7) & Pan (no 10): Two of the blue runs which are perfect for the beginners.
(b) Run no 7a: A really difficult red 850m long run. One of the most beautiful runs winding through the heart of a dense spruce forest.
(c) Charioteer (no 6): A red run widely known for its high degree of difficulty, and a great favourite for Greek skiers (1,000m in length). Together with the run “Bacchus (no 2a)” they are both approved by the International Ski Federation.
(d) Pythia (no 14): If you have completed the beginner’s level, this blue run is the most suitable for you.
(e) Sahara (no 22): On Mt. Parnassos, this run brings to mind the biggest desert in the world! In fact, it has been described as the best red run at the ski resort. This 1,000m long piste links Kellária with Fterólakka, and can also be reached by the Zeus lift.
Alongside your skiing activities, welcome the opportunity to discover the reason why this destination is so attractive. In Aráchova, various elegant and first-class hotels or traditional guest houses offer you luxurious accommodation.
Fine-dining restaurants and small, romantic taverns serve tasty dishes cooked with the area’s famous products, such as “hilopites” (small square-shaped pieces of pasta made of durum wheat), or “formaéla”, the traditional cheese of Aráchova.
Get involved in other outdoor activities, such as hiking, or visit the near-by archaeological site of Delfi(one of your favourite sites according to an e-vote held on our facebook page last month). Stay up all night and enjoy the village’s bustling nightlife.
And remember: before you leave Aráchova, take with you as a going-away present hand-made, and beautifully coloured woven carpets (flocati rugs) and textiles.
Kalavryta ski resort
On Mt. Helmós, at an altitude of 2,340m, we find the most important ski resort in Peloponnese. Being the second largest ski resort in Greece, it is located in a breathtaking fiery alpine landscape. Due to its close proximity to Athens and to its first-class facilities many skiers visit it throughout the ski season. Here, the famous black and red runs of Styga challenge even the most expert skiers.
Kalavryta ski resort boasts 12 ski runs (2 difficult, 2 intermediate, 6 easy & 2 very easy) of 20km in length, 2 chair lifts and 5 ski lifts, special grounds for snowboarding and extreme games, and other winter attractions, such as a special moguls ski run, and a snowboard park. Visitors at Helmós mountain can also find coffee shops, snack bars, restaurants, ski rental facilities and sporting goods, organized ski school and First Aid Station.
Let’s ski fast, or just slide smoothly down these white-mountain slopes:
(1) Leto & Alkmini: green runs suitable for beginners, 150m long and 160m, respectively.
(2) Phaedra & Danae: blue runs, that have a good firm coating of snow, and are perfect for the less experienced skiers. After sundown, when the resort's skiing-day ends, enjoy a night of skiing or snowboarding at Danae run.
(3) Electra: a 1,900m long run appropriate for advanced skiers. It is connected with the red run that leads to Vathiá Lákka, where we cross a green run.
(4) Antigone: a black 800m long run. A great favourite for expert skiers, since it is always covered with powder snow.
(5) The Styga runs, Ino & Nefeli. Ino (1,400m long) is a black run mostly preferred by experienced skiers. Its impressive vertical rise makes it one of the most difficult to cross runs in Greece. Nefeli is a 2,300m red run. Combined with the blue run Achilles it becomes one of the longest pistes in Greece, with a total length of 3,200m. At the top of the mountain, where Nefeli run starts, you will find the New Greek telescope “Aristarchos”, the largest telescope in Greece.
When a ski-day comes to an end, it’s time for you to enjoy all the activities on offer. Here are some of our suggestions:
(a) Hit the green-clad paths in the gorge of Vouraikós, that run alongside the rack-railway.
(b) Go on a cellar tour in the Achaia vineyards, and taste aromatic, or drier and most elaborated wines which enhance the selection of classic quaffs.
(c) Explore the magic pine forest of Strofilia.
(d) Trace the Modern Greek history in the legendary Monastery of Agia Lavra, or
(e) wander around the mysterious galleries of the Cave of the Lakes, the so-called “Palace of the Nymphs”.
The area also boasts luxurious hotels, where you can relax in first-class spa facilities, and romantic guest houses, where you can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals next to a wood-burning fireplace.
Kaimaktsalan ski resort
Kaimáktsalan ski resort occupies the northeastern slope of Mt. Voras, from an altitude of 2,480m, where the highest lift carries the skiers, down to 2,050m, where the luxury chalet is located.
The view from the mountain is amazing, since you can see as far as Thermaikos Gulf, the peak of Mt. Olympos, and lake Vegoritida. The ski centre is equipped with 6 ski lifts and 13 ski runs, 15 km in total length (4 red, 4 blue, 3 beginners and 2 langlauf slopes), and 4 ski trails of 3,250m in length. Thesnowboard fun park invites snowboarders, free skiers and connoisseurs of the snowboard scene, whereas in the snow tubing park everyone can just have fun!
A three-storey chalet is built at an altitude of 2,050m. It offers central heating, a 46-bed hotel, a restaurant-bar, where traditional dishes are served, a fast food restaurant, a café-bar with a fireplace, a store with traditional local products, a store that rents and also sells ski and snowboard equipment, a ski school with expert trainers, a tourist information kiosk, an infirmary, and parking areas.
After a long ski day, you can relax at the chalet's lounge. Its large windows give breathtaking views of the surrounded mountainscape. You can chose to spend the night at a luxury suite, or in the homy atmosphere of a beautifully restored guest house at the old village of Agios Athanassios (also known as the “Stone Village").
Just like Aráhova on Mt. Parnassos, Kaimáktsalan is also known as the “Mykonos of the winter”. Every year more and more visitors, either experienced skiers or mountain sports fans, come to enjoy the fresh snow, and all the activities on offer.
Welcome the opportunity to explore the surrounding area.
Within a short distance from the resort lies ancient Pella, the glorious capital of the Macedonian kingdom, with its impressive archaeological site, and its very interesting museum. The historic Archangelos Monastery, and the beautiful city of Edessa with its widely known waterfalls are also must-see spots.
The famous thermal springs of Loutraki are located at the foot of Mount Voras. The spa resort is situated in a magnificent location with wild vegetation and natural waterfalls. Very close to the Kaimaktsalan ski resort, lies lake Vegoritida, the second in size lake in Greece, a place of refuge to rare bird and fish species.
Vassilitsa ski resort
Mt. Vassilitsa rise to well over 2,200m. The long distance from the sea and the ideal weather conditions create here the most pleasant winter environment. Powder snow covers challenging, intermediate and beginner runs until springtime. Even if fog covers the mountain, you don’t get lost because big looming trees offer visual reference points. Vassilitsa resort is a great favourite for the fans of extreme winter sports. The resort offers a rich variety of first-class facilities: 2 chair lifts, and 6 ski lifts, 16 ski runs of 16km in length, the longest beginners ski run in Greece (3,860m), a snowboarding run (halfpipe available), ski schools, ski rentals, 2 daytime chalets, and 1 guesthouse.
Snowboarders adore Vassilitsa terrains for a variety of reasons, including the first ever jump contest organised here, and the construction of the first halfpipe. Snowboarders can freeride backcountry usingnatural ramps to get big air (snowboarder’s slang for tumbling leaps to the stratosphere), or slalom using the huge beech trees as guides. But the star attraction is the halfpipe, where expert snowboarders do truly amazing air tricks: they slide, perform carved turns, or handplant on snowboard. Snow enthusiasts can embark on a snow rafting adventure barrelling down the mountain slopes in a hot dog for two, or riding in a 12-passenger raft.
Within a distance of 45km from the city of Grevená, traditional guest houses or first-class hotels offer pleasant and luxurious accommodation. Relax here, and explore all the activities provided in the near-by area.
Set off on a hiking tour at the National Forest Park of Valia Kalda. Join a rafting party to explore the river Venétikos, or participate in jeep-safari excursions. Visit the city of Grevená, the so-called “land of the mushrooms”, and follow a shepherd, who herds its flock, to discover the wild beauty of Samarina, a village amphitheatrically built on the east slopes of the highest peak of the Pindos mountain chain.
3-5 Pigadia ski resort
The absolute adventure in an absolutely white setting
3-5 Pigadia (meaning wells) ski resort, the only one using snowmaking in all of its ski runs, is considered to beone of the best organised ski resorts in Greece, boasting modern, up to date facilities. You will find yourself in a lovely natural environment and in the top two most difficult ski runs in the country – a unique combination in Greece – and a tempting one for skiers and other visitors alike!
On the west side of Mt. Vermio, only 17 km away from the city of Naoussa in Northern Greece, at an elevation ranging from 1,430 to 2,005 m. lies 3-5 Pigadia ski centre, a pole of attraction for adrenalin junkies or simply visitors who wish to admire the breathtaking nature.
The ski centre has 10 ski runs of 9 km in length, accommodating all skiing levels, one aerial lift and six surface lifts. “Aristoteles” and “Filippos” ski runs lie surrounded by a spellbinding beech forest and are the two most difficult and steep runs in all of Greece, making this a tempting place well known to advanced skiers.
If you find yourself here, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the city of Naoussa, and stroll through Alonia and Metamorfosi, two traditional quarters where you will pass by several grand mansions of an exceptional architecture. “Saranta Outades” is an amazing cave with lovely stalactite and stalagmite formations, also worth your visit. At half an hour’s distance from the city you can visit Vergina, one of the greatest archaeological sites in Greece.
Mainalo Ski Centre
Let’s hit the slopes on snow-covered Mt. Mainalo!
Welcome to the mountain of the legends and traditions; home to Panas, the shepherds’ goat-legged god (who was half human and half goat), and the Nymphs. Nature, history and culture meet in Mainalo, a place blessed with pristine, rugged landscapes and picturesque villages steeped in history. Enjoy amazing alpine runs through white paths in one of the country’s oldest skiing facilities, follow the stone-paved tracks, cross its stone bridges and lose yourself in the mountain’s singular beauty.
Located in Ostrakina, Mainalo, this is the closest ski resort to Athens, open since 1965 - one of the country’s three oldest skiing centres. With a series of changes and improvements having taken place, skiers -and visitors in general- will find themselves in a modern facility that offers high quality services.
Situated at an elevation ranging from 1,550 to 1,770 m, the ski centre is equipped with eight ski runs of 5.5 km in length (for beginners, advanced skiers and experts) , four lifts, offering an easy, quick and safe access, a snowboard and a snowmobile park where you can enjoy a ride on ATVs and Snow-hawks.
Don’t miss on the opportunity to hike along scenic trails and enjoy the enchanting natural setting. The beauty of the landscape is complemented by traditional stone-built villages such as Vytina, Dimitsana, Levidi, Kapsia and Stemnitsa. Savour the scent trailing in the frosty winter air off fireplaces and wood-burning stoves and enjoy the flavours of traditional local dishes.
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