Winter ski tourism
Greece, already loved as a summertime getaway, is above all a mountainous country, as it is occupied by more than 300 rocky masses varying in elevation. Many of them have been designated as National Parks and are protected, while as a result of infrastructure developed over the last decades, they constitute today ideal destinations for winter and alpine tourism.
Over the past decades skiing in Greece has witnessed a spectacular rise in popularity. At present, 19 ski resorts operate on the mainland meeting modern standards – such as Kaimaktsalan in Pella, Kellaria and Fterolakos on Mt. Parnassos, Vassilitsa on Mt. Pindos and Helmos in Peloponnese – which lend themselves to the development of winter tourism and mainly skiing, being particularly popular with both Greek and foreign visitors. Many of these ski resorts offer programmes for beginners and for intermediate-level skiers. If you do not own skiing equipment, you can find stores selling winter sports gear in nearby urban areas. Alternatively, a number of these ski resorts offer a possibility to rent part or all of the equipment required.
|Drama||Falakro||Falakro – 1720 m|
|Serres||Vrodou||Lailias – 1847 m|
|Kavala||Paggaio||Orfea Valley – 1780m|
|Pella||Voras||Kaimaktsalan – 2040 m|
|Florina||Verno||Vigla Pissoderi – 1900 m|
|Kastoria||Vitsi||Vitsi – 1880 m|
|Imathia||Vermio||Seli – 1900 m|
|Imathia||Vermio||Chrysso Elafi – 1700 m|
|Imathia||Vermio||3-5 Pigadia – 2005 m|
|Pieria||Pieria||Elatochori – 1700 m|
|Grevena||Vassilitsa||Vassilitsa – 2110 m|
|Larissa||Olympos||Vryssopoules – 2450 m|
|Ioannina||Mavrovouni||Karakoli – 1520 m|
|Ioannina||Mavrovouni||Profitis Ilias -1620 m|
|Trikala||Koziakas||Pertouli – 1340 m|
|Karditsa||Agrafa||Karamanoli – 1530m|
|Magnessia||Pelion||Agriolefkes – 1471 m|
|Evrytania||Tymfristos||Velouchi – 2220 m|
|Viotia||Parnassos||Fterolakka – 1800 m|
|Viotia||Parnassos||Kellaria – 1950 m|
|Viotia||Parnassos||Gerontovrachos – 2250 m|
|Achaia||Chelmos||Kalavryta – 2340 m|
|Arkadia||Menalon||Ostrakina – 1600 m|
When can I ski?
Ski usually takes place in Greece between December to mid-April.
The only prerequisite is basic physical condition. Ages: 8-65 years old.
What do I need to carry with me?
What you need to have with you is waterproof trousers and jacket, a cap, gloves and sunglasses.
Skis, batons and boots
Ski in Northern Greece
The Prefecture of Thessalonica is located near the most well-known ski resorts of northern Greece:
• Seli on mount Vermio, 22 km away from Veroia and 95 km from Thessalonica.
• Chryso Elafi, also located at the region of Vermio.
• 3-5 Pigadia, also on mount Vermio, located 17 km away from Naousa.
• latochori is a new ski resort located at an altitude of 1,000 m near the traditional mountain village bearing the same name and situated 28 km away from Katerini.
• lympus, the mountain of the gods, has a small ski resort with one ski slope located at a great altitude (2,400-1,800 m) and is of great interest. It is located 50 km of Leptokarya.
• oreover, you can also visit the nearby ski resorts of Lailias, Voras and Falakro.
Skiing in Arachova
Skiing, snow board, sledging as well as other winter sports at the ski resorts of mountain Parnassos at “Gerontovrachos” (17 km N), “Kelaria” (23 km N) and “Fterolakka” (26 km N).
Parnassos Ski Resort: Tel. +30 22340-22693 (Kellaria), 22340-22373 (Fterolakka).
Karpenisi ski resort
It is built in Velouchi in “Diavolotopos” (devils place) area of Timfristos mountain, 12 km away from Karpenisi at an altitude of 1840m. It was inaugurated in 1974. It is a very popular destination for experienced as well as amateur skiers. The resort has 12 pitches of different levels of difficulty, ski schools, restaurant and bar and shops that sell or rent ski equipment.
Kaimáktsalan 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. The snowboard 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. Parnassós, 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.
Kalavryta ski resort
On Mt. Helmós, at an altitude of 2,340m, we find the most important ski resort in Peloponnesus. 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.
Kalávrita 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.
Falakro Ski Center
Falakro Ski Center, which is located 44 km NW of Drama, was founded in 1980 by the Hellenic Alpine Club, branch of Drama. In the early 2000’s it was radically renovated and expanded, while the road giving access to it was significantly improved. In Falakro Ski Center you will find a mountain lodge with modern facilities, guest rooms, 9 ski lifts, a skiing school and a 5,000-meter slope for endurance races. The lovers of action can also practice alpine skiing, endurance races, etc.
Skiing in Pertouli
It is built amphitheatrically at an altitude of 1.150 m, on a slope of Koziaka, in a beautiful fir tree forest. The lush green fields of Pertouli are perfect for trips and mountain sports. The village is dominated by the Tower of Chatzigaki (1880). Pertouli has operating university departments for practical training of students from Aristotel University of Thessaloniki studying Forestry (here is one of the two university forests in Greece). There is a ski resort in the location “Pertouliotika Livadia”, 3 km NE, while during summer the Pan Hellenic Meeting of Sarakatsaneon is held here. It is located 48 km west of Trikala.
Ski and snow board, at the ski resort “Agriolefkes”, Hiking, Mountaineering, Horse riding, 4×4 routes.
Skiing in Fthiotida
Skiing and snowboard at the ski resorts of mountain Parnassos at “Fterolakka”, “Kellaria” and “Gerontovrachos”, which are located at 17, 20 and 23 km to the north respectively.
Parnassos Ski Resort Tel: +30 22340-22693-5, 22373
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.
Alongside your skiing activities, welcome the opportunity to discover the reason why this destination is so attractive. In Aráhova, 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 Aráhova. 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 Aráhova, take with you as a going-away present hand-made, and beautifully coloured woven carpets (flocati rugs) and textiles.
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 using natural 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.
Hellenic Ski Federation: 7, Karagiorgi Servias, Str. 105 63 Athens
Tel. +030 210 3230182, 210 3234412. Fax: +30 210 3230142. Website: www.eox.gr
Sources: visitgreece.gr, alternativegreece.gr