Celebrating The Christmas Holidays In Athens

  • by XpatAthens
  • Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Celebrating The Christmas Holidays In Athens
It's Christmas time in Athens! The traditional wishes at this time of year are, Merry Christmas - Kala Christougena - and, Happy New Year - Chronia Polla - literally "many happy years". Sometimes you'll also hear - Eftichismenos o kenourios chronos - which means Happy New Year.

Athens may not be on the most popular list for Christmas destinations, however it offers its visitors a wide range of choices, making Christmas a unique experience! To begin with, Christmas in Athens isn't accompanied by bitter cold and snow. Outings outdoors are easily enjoyed and you can even have coffee or lunch under heaters at one of the many great spots in the city. Wander the streets and watch the street performers and listen to the sounds of wandering musicians! Whether they play classical Christmas melodies or Greek traditional carols with a santouri or a clarinet, the outcome is the same - they create this particular spirit of joy and sentiment.

Just like many large cities during at time of year, Athens organize various festivities and events in many locations around the city. The center of festivity is at Syntagma - central square directly in front of parliament; the city Christmas tree is set up and the entire square is decorated festively for the holidays.

The merry and festive mood can be felt just about everywhere. Decorated streets, smiling faces, lights, music, children being photographed with balloons, fairy floss, candy. Let's not forget the freshly roasted chestnuts sold on almost every street corner and of course the lottery ticket vendors, who try to convince you that the new year will most definitely be YOUR LUCKY YEAR!!

The whole festive atmosphere is felt throughout the shopping districts and especially along Ermou Street which is typically full of people shopping and enjoying a leisurely time in central Athens. At Kotzia Square, opposite the City Hall of Athens, there is typically a large market selling books, jewelry, handicrafts, rugs, candy, and lots and lots of other things! Another place which gathers a lot of people within the city is Zappeio - just a quick walk from Syntagma Square. Almost every day in every corner of the city, something is always happening. Concerts, theatrical shows, performances, and all for free! For a complete program of events happening in Athens this Christmas & New Years 2015, please click HERE.

For those who would like to see a little snow and have 3-4 days at your disposal, then Arachova is a close and popular winter destination. It belongs to the county of Viotia, located three hours away from Athens, and where you will find the Parnasos Ski center, with its large slopes offering all levels of difficulty. There are many hotels and guesthouses there, and you may also visit the Oracle of Delphi, located nearby.

If you are fond of snowboarding, then head to the Ski center at Mainalou, in the county of Arcadia. Kalavryta is another great option during the winter in Greece and there you'll find one of the best ski centers in Greece. Another  attraction for visitors is the rack and pinion railway, which has operated the route from Kalavryta to Diakofto since 1896, through a landscape of unrivalled beauty.

Celebrating the Christmas holidays in Athens offers something for everyone! Enjoy!