Charming Chalet That’s One of Greece’s Coziest Lounge Bars

Just 15 minutes from Arachova and only two hours from Athens, Le Grand Chalet is a super cozy all-day lounge bar and restaurant located at the top entrance of charming Agoriani village.   

Set inside a three-storey stone and wooden chalet, the large glass windows allow guests to sit back on one of the comfy lounges, as they enjoy uninterrupted mountain views- along with a warm beverage in hand.

Boasting a cosmopolitan yet elegant atmosphere, here you can smell the fresh alpine air as you are surrounded by lush fir trees and the most breathtaking views of Mount Parnassus. 

Located in a prominent position on a hill, you’d be forgiven for thinking you are somewhere in the Swiss Alps, as Le Grand Chalet is only metres away from the snowy peaks of Parnassus and the plain of Boeotian Kifissos. And its close proximity to popular winter destination Arachova makes it one of the busiest spots over the cooler months, as it offers a gorgeous setting to enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner, or drinks. 

From coffee and hot chocolate to unique beverages created to warm you up; we suggest you try the homemade ginger liqueur, Parnassus tea, honey and lemon, or the Metaxa (Greek brandy) and honey- there’s also a deluxe cellar with a great range of local wines to choose from. 

If you are after something to eat, the menu includes light options such as club sandwiches, burgers and traditional pites (pies)- through to main meals at the à la carte restaurant downstairs- where you are able to taste creative Greek dishes made from fresh and local produce.  

The desserts here are also amazing- we recommend the chocolate fondue and the homemade loukoumades (Greek honey puffs) which melt in your mouth! And let’s not forget the cocktail list, which is designed to turn up the heat! Featuring Greek spirits such as Rakomelo and Tsipouro- these drinks aren’t for the faint-hearted but they’ll surely warm you up from top to toe!

A: Epar.Od. Arachovas-Eptalofou, Alataries 

7 Idyllic Winter Getaways in Greece

Greece is filled with dreamy coastlines, lush mountainous landscapes, fairy-tale villages from a different era, ancient sites and sacred spots.

For the full-monty experience, all you have to do is find the right place and the best time of year to discover them. Winter travel in Greece offers a completely different picture of a country too commonly associated with beaches and infinity pools.

We encourage you to book your winter escape to get to know traditional villages and their inhabitants, ski jaw-droppingly scenic slopes, try the warming, hearty and mouth-watering winter rendition of Greek cuisine and explore traditional culture beyond the tourism façade. Above all, to celebrate Greece’s deep winter season in a magnificently memorable way! 


A winter Mykonos of sorts, Arachova is where the cosmopolitan crowd gathers to sip frothy cappuccinos and sexy cocktails in between skiing, shopping at designer concept stores and local delis and pampering themselves at spa hotels. Also, only 15 minutes drive from the stunning and sacred ancient site of Delphi, this alpine village is both traditionally charming and glamorous.


Elati or Tyrna is an alpine village in the Prefecture of Trikala, located in the southern part of the Pindos mountain range. Close to the Petrouli ski center, it has been modernised and developed into a tourist destination considerably over the years but hasn’t lost its natural beauty. Surrounded by the fir trees (elata) it’s named after and at an altitude of 950m on the slopes of Koziakas, you can enjoy sweeping views and traditional experiences as well as skiing.


So close to Athens you can even pop over for the day, Nafplio town in the Peloponnese is romantically beautiful year-round, and particularly festive at Christmastime with its twinkling lights and cozy hangouts. Neoclassical buildings, pretty shops, cobblestone walkways, museums and historical sites like the Ottoman Bourtzi old prison and Venetian Palamidi castle, all add to the incredible allure of this must-visit place.


Choose among Zagori’s 48 traditional villages in Epirus and travel back in time, enjoying the brilliant combination of traditional slate-roof architecture, magnificent natural areas like the Vikos gorge, rivers for rafting and (Pindos’) mountains for hiking, combined with warm village hospitality. The most famous villages are Mikro and Megalo Papigo, Ano Pedina, Monodendri, Aristi, Dilofo, Tsepelovo and Vovousa. ‘re planning a romantic Christmas getaway or an excursion with family/friends, book yourself into a boutique hotel and spend your days exploring the area inside out!


Elatochori is a mountainous settlement in the prefecture of Pieria, known for its ski resorts, the artificial Velvento lake, eight slopes at a total length of 9 km, 6 lifts, a buzzy ski society and snow bars. At over 1900m altitude, the village, once named Skouterna, is in the mountains of Pieria, 8 km west of Katerini. Stay in a cosy chalet with a spa and spend the day skiing and exploring the fabulous hiking trails, with jaw-dropping views, lush forest paths and waterfalls.



Built amphitheatrically on a peninsula, Kastoria in northern Greece in the region of Western Macedonia. Wear your warmest coat and walk along the icy Lake Orestiada. Explore picturesque districts such as Dolch with its majestic mansions, Byzantine churches in Apozari and the prehistoric settlement of Dispilio, a few kilometers outside the southern entrance of Kastoria. If you’re going after Christmas…Annually, from January 6-8 the town celebrates Ragoutsaria, a local carnival originating in pagan Dionysian ceremonies, with live orchestras, dancing and wine.


Created during the Byzantines Empire during the sixth century, Monemvasia is a fairytale-like group of castles and houses joined by medieval cobblestone roads with breathtaking sea views.  Explore this mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea, and immerse yourself in a uniquely mystical and romantic atmosphere. During the Christmas/New Year holidays, this is an idyllic getaway especially if you can afford to stay within Monemvasia’s medieval town at an old mansion with a fireplace. Enjoy scenic spots, pretty shops and all sorts of restaurants/bars. 

Main image of Elati 

Guide to Karpenisi, Greece’s Charming Winter Destination

Whether it’s skiing at the Velouchi Ski Centre, climbing to the Black Cave, or rafting in the Tavropos River – Karpenisi’s rich natural wonders keep adventurers busy and red-cheeked for days.

Located in Evrytania, this traditional and verdant mountain destination offers all the winter charms – pretty architecture, good food and great places where you can curl up by the fire.

Here are the Best Things to See and Do in Karpenisi! 

Ski at one of Greece’s largest resorts

The Velouchi plateau is one of the largest and most challenging ski resorts in Greece. Spread over 5,500 square metres, at an altitude of 1,850 to 2,000 metres, it features 11 slopes. Here you can ski, snowboard, or just sit back and sip on a glass of wine or warm tea as you enjoy the incredible views.

Insights Greece - Guide to Karpenisi, Greece’s Charming Winter Destination
One of Greece’s best winter destinations

Stroll around town

Take a walk around the square to see the historic monuments, including statues of Antonis Katsantonis and Markos Botsaris (heroic figures of the 1821 Greek War of Independence). Also check out the church of Agia Triada, the beautiful plane tree in the centre of the square and the charming mountain-water spring. As you make your way down  Zinopoulou (the main road) you will come across a range of tavernas, kafenion (traditional coffee shops), bars, boutiques, and a variety of stores where you can pick up some local delicacies shopping (make sure your list includes aromatic herbal teas from the local mountains, as well as wild herbs.)  

Experience traditional village life

The beautiful villages surrounding Karpenisi give this place such a unique appeal and each village has its own warm feel. Make sure you check out Korsychades- through this historic settlement’s stone streets, with their well-preserved old homes. In the main square, you’ll find the church of Agios Athanasios, built in 1865, and the historic public school from 1901, which now houses the fascinating Museum of National Resistance. Megalo Xorio (a large village) and Mikro Xorio (a small village) are also must-see spots filled with captivating landscapes. 

Insights Greece - Guide to Karpenisi, Greece’s Charming Winter Destination
Holy Monastery of Panagia Prousso

Spiritual healing

Karpenisi is a very important religious destination in Greece. On the road from Karpenisi to Prousso, there are seven markings of white marble on the dark rock that can be seen on the slope; they have a distinct shape of human footprints which are said to be the actual footsteps of Panagia (Virgin Mary), from when she brought her miraculous icon to the cave. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from around the world also make their way to the historic miracle-working Monastery of Proussos. Here you will find the icon of the Virgin Mary (Panagias tis Prousiotissas), regarded as a miracle worker. The icon is said to have been brought here from Proussa (Bursa) in Asia Minor. 

Insights Greece - Guide to Karpenisi, Greece’s Charming Winter Destination
Bridge over Karpenitsios

Explore the stunning lakes and waterfalls nearby

For a day of adventure head out to Pantavrechi (meaning always rains), where you will discover some wonderful waterfalls. The gorge of Mavri Spilia stands out as one of the most impressive gorges of central Greece, if not of the entire country and is a must! Also, visit Dipotamo- this is where Krikellopotamis and Karpenisiotis rivers merge between two mountains and it looks like a canyon; a perfect spot for river rafting. This is a magical place with lakes, waterfalls, caves, and steep cliffs. Tip: make sure you are wearing comfortable and non-slippery shoes. 

Indulge in local cuisine

Most famous for its locally made fir honey, traditional sausages, katiki or tsalafouti (soft cheeses made with goats and sheep’s milk) here you can taste fresh river trout, as well as traditional pies with handmade filo pastry with various fillings. Karpenisi is also famous for its cold cuts- don’t miss its famous prosciutto.

Insights Greece - Guide to Karpenisi, Greece’s Charming Winter Destination
Rakomelo’s famous Galaktoboureko

You will find a lot of recipes that include locally grown mushrooms; and meat lovers should try the chasapiko (veal-based dish where the meat is slowly cooked in a clay pot on hot sand), wild boar and shallot stew, lamb in a pot, boiled goat, and pork with greens. Other Greek comfort foods to taste here are the giouvetsi (lamb cooked with orzo in a red sauce) and stifado (rabbit stew). We recommend you head to Paradisos Taverna, Ellinon Gefsis, Taverna Mesostrati, Antigoni Pame Platia, Panorama and Kapetanios Tavern for homemade-style dishes. Also, add Mylos Café and Foufis to your list. Last but definitely not least, Rakomelo Karvelis for the tastiest galaktoboureko and ekmek (Greek sweets). And for those who really want to warm up – sip on some Mouro, the local tsipouro made of mulberry distillate.

Stay at a charming boutique hotel

Insights Greece - Guide to Karpenisi, Greece’s Charming Winter Destination
Magemeno Vouno Hotel

For a traditional country-style hotel head to Magemeno Vouno where you will feel as though you have stepped back in time and you can smell the fresh mountain air. For a more modern boutique hotel Oniropetra is set amongst lush surroundings and is 5 km from the centre of Karpenisi, the stone-built Oniropetra Hotel has elegant studios with modern decor, a fireplace and balcony or patio overlooking Mount Velouchi. 

Getting there…

You can drive from Athens to Karpenisi, it takes around 3 hours and 20 minutes, otherwise a bus will take just under five hours. We highly recommend hiring a car, as you will need one to reach most of the areas we have mentioned above. 

Main Images: Magemeno Vouno Hotel 

Greece’s Top 8 Ski Resorts

If you find yourself in Greece during the cooler months, we recommend visiting one of the country’s leading ski resorts, where you’ll discover a winter wonderland full of fun and adventure. 

Mount Parnassus

Here you will find Greece’s largest ski centre, with two sections – Kellaria and Fterolakka, which are connected with lifts and runs. At an altitude of 1,600-2,250m, its spectacular geomorphology and rich biodiversity place it among the most important mountain environments in the country. The high altitude offers ski lovers long-lasting snow-covered peaks, and the resorts are very popular amongst locals and international visitors, as it’s so close to the Greek capital. 

Insights Greece - Greece's Top 8 Ski Resorts


Located in Valia Calda national park, here you can river-raft, hike, and four-wheel drive into the forest. As one of Greece’s most favourite ski centres, it extends into four slopes and comprises a set of 18 ski slopes for those who are advanced and just beginning, along with seven lifts and some off-piste opportunities. The area is also good for snowboarders and extreme sports enthusiasts. Don’t worry if you’ve never tried it before, expert teachers are there to guide you. 


Another popular part of the ski resort at Mount Parnassos is the facilities at Gerondovrachos. A smaller facility, it features three lifts, as well as 4 downhill, runs that range from 200m to almost 2 km. All facilities have a coaching school that offers first-timers handy lessons. Skis are available for hire and are sold as well at the local ski shop. This is by far Greece’s most popular and glamorous ski spot, as Arachova is one of the most popular winter destinations in Greece. With its luxurious boutique hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes and concept stores, Aracahova has lots to offer in terms of entertaining visitors who may not be so keen on skiing every day.  

Insights Greece - Greece's Top 8 Ski Resorts


Located on Mount Vermio, this is another great spot for those that love adventure and adrenalin, as the ski centre has 10 runs accommodating all levels; including runs that have been named as the most challenging in the country. Must-see attractions nearby include the Saranta Outades cave with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, and Vergina, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. 


The ski centre of Pertouli is very popular. It’s located 45 minutes from Trikala and 5 hours drive from Athens. Here you can enjoy skiing and other adventures as the area is known for its lush greenery and trekking to the river of Pertouliotiko. Nearby is the river Achelos where you can go white water rafting and also visit the picturesque villages of Vlacha, Korpou, Ksiligefiro, Aspropotamos, Dessi, or Doliana with the Monastery of the Holy Cross with its 13 domes.

Insights Greece - Greece's Top 8 Ski Resorts


This is ideal for less experienced skiers as it has softer, easier slopes. If you don’t know how to ski rent a snowmobile or warm up with a herbal tea at the stone chalet. Stay in Agios Athanasios village where you’ll find charming guesthouses, old villas and great spots to eat. Take day trips from there to Prespes or Florina, Nymphaio or the villages around Lake Vegoritida. Don’t miss out on the beautiful Pella hot springs, which are surrounded by greenery.


Mount Pelion reaches an altitude of 1500 metres, which makes it a favourite winter getaway for many locals. The ski resort is 2kms away from the village of Chania and there is a daily bus service from Volos. The centre has 7 slopes (with different levels of difficulty) and five lifts. The villages of Pelion are charming all year round; surrounded by lush greenery and full of natural springs, rivers and fountains. And apart from skiing, you can enjoy the cobblestoned squares and local taverns that serve comforting winter dishes. 

Insights Greece - Greece's Top 8 Ski Resorts


This Peloponnesian 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. It’s one of the most popular and busiest ski locations in Greece and here you’ll find taverns and cafes where you can enjoy some local cuisine. Nature lovers can escape to the Vouraikos gorge for an invigorating trek and food-lovers visit the plane-tree forest of Planiterou to devour the fresh fish. 

Cover Image @kidslovegreece

Greece’s Amazing Destination for Nature Lovers

Lake Kerkini is one of the most popular destinations for nature lovers in northern Greece. 

This huge artificial lake is just 40km from Serres town (100km from
Thessaloniki) and is protected by Natura 2000, due to its marvellous biodiversity. 

Insights Greece - Greece's Amazing Destination for Nature Lovers

The wetland of Lake Kerkini is protected by Greek and European laws and has been designated a Ramsar Site according to the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, which recognises it as a wetland of international importance. 

Over 300 bird species have been recorded at Lake Kerkini and it’s one of the best places in Europe for birdwatching, as some of the species are extremely rare and several of them are endangered. Here you will see Golden Eagles, flamingos, wild pelicans, Eurasian spoonbill, Black Cormorant White and Black Storks, and the Dalmatian Pelicans. Lake Kerkini also features Greece’s largest aquatic area covered by water lilies and there is a significant number of fish, amphibians and reptiles that live around the lake, as well as the largest number of buffalo in Greece. 

Getting there and getting around

To get to Kerkini you will need to drive. You can fly to Thessaloniki airport and from there you can drive to Kerkini or you can book a day trip from Thessaloniki. Once in Kerkini, the best way to visit the lake is by boat. 

What to see and do

Insights Greece - Greece's Amazing Destination for Nature Lovers

-Bird watch, bird watch, bird watch! 

-Visit the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Akritochori, which features ecclesiastical architecture. The buildings were designed according to the standards of Mount Athos, while the exteriors are landscaped with trees and plants. The monastery has breathtaking views of Lake Kerkini, the wetlands and the plain of Serres.

-Visit the hot springs, where the hot water comes from the mountain straight to your own little pool, which fills with steam. The Therapeutic Springs in Agistro is open all day and night, so you can even visit anytime. you can also check out the warm waterfalls of Sidirokastro, and the baths at Therma near the village of Nigrita.

-Climbers and hikers can enjoy endless adventures on the Belles mountain range (north of the lake) and Mount Mavrvouni (west).

– Discover Amphipolis, one of Greece’s most impressive archaeological sites. This ancient Macedonian tomb was discovered inside the Kasta mound near Amphipolis in 2012. 

Where to try local dishes and delicacies 

-Just outside the village of Makrynitsa you will find Evora Taverna, which is ideally situated under the trees. This family run taverna serves local Pontian dishes. 

Limi Kerkini, open since 1896, is a family run psarotaverna (fish tavern). As well as serving a variety of seafood, they also create a few specialty meat dishes. And the view of the lake from here is amazing! 

Elodia Polychoros serves traditional dishes including gemista, stifado and soutzoukia (Smyrnaika meatballs) made from local buffalo meat. 

Dyonissos Taverna is popular for its homemade pies, handmade sausages and variety of sweet treats.  

-One of our favourites is Methoriakos Stathmos, a former train station transformed into the coziest tavern. The menu is mostly focused on meat and all dishes are made using only fresh, local produce. 

Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Mount Taygetos is the highest mountain in the Peloponnese and one of the highest in Greece, boasting a height of 2404 metres. It’s the perfect place to enjoy wonderful hiking routes, picturesque villages, lovely creeks and striking stone bridges. 

With lush forests covering the middle mountain zone, fragrant  phrygana shrubs sprinkled in the lower parts of the mountain, gorges and ravines shaded by plane trees, Mount Tagyetos is located on the border between the areas of Laconia and Messinia.

Prophet Elias

The highest mountain peak in the Peloponnese is named Prophet Elias and here you will find a a chapel of the same name. Every year on the 20th of July, thousands of pilgrims hike to the top and pay a visit to the church on the Feast Day of Prophet Elias. The most popular route to get to the church starts from Maganiari spring. The path to the top starts from Maganiari spring (980m altitude) and crosses the forest until the spring of Barbara.

Insights Greece - Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Vyros Gorge

One of the mountain’s most spectacular geographical features is the Vyros Gorge, which runs from the foot of Prophet Elias summit to the town of Kardamyli on the Messinian Gulf coast. Other peaks of Mount Taygetos include Sidirokastro (2340 m), Spanakaki (2024 m), Neraidovouna  (2020 m), Goupata (2031 m),  Koufovouni (1850 m) and Broken Mountain (2204 m).

The eastern slopes of the mountain form many ravines which supply water to the Evrotas River. The region is part of the Natura 2000 network of habitats and its significant infrastructure projects have been initiated for the development of mild ecotourism. in fact, Mount Taygetos has been designated as an ‘Important Bird Area’ of Greece.

Insights Greece - Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Hiking Routes

The mountain provides plenty of hiking routes which are well signposted and attract a lot of visitors throughout the year. During winter the snow makes climbing quite difficult and special equipment is necessary. One of the most rewarding experiences is reaching the top of the mountain at Prophet Elias and taking in the breathtaking view of the Peloponnese. There is also the Mystras- Taygeti – Moni Faneromenis route, which is also amazing.


Georgitsi known as “the balcony of Taygetos”, is a village at 970 meters altitude and offers an astonishing view of Sparta. Here you will find stone houses with tiled roofs, firs and chestnut trees. Kastori village is perfect for those who love adventures as it’s great for hiking, mountain biking and canyoning. Are you can enjoy hikes through the beautiful route of the gorge of Kastoras River with the springs and the arched bridge. Also check out the chapel of Agios Loukas which is located inside a cave.

Insights Greece - Exploring Mount Tagyetos in the Peloponnese

Getting there

– One classical route to approach Taygetos is through Trypi village on the road from Sparta-Kalamata. This route is one of the most beautiful in the Peloponnese as you will be driving through a forest and the gorge of Lagkadas.
-There is also the route from Sparta to the mountainous village Anavriti. This road might be difficult for some drivers as it is close to the edge of the cliffs and not for the faint hearted.
-If you would like to head towards the northern side of Taygetos you should take the route from Mystras towards the village Kastori.

*Images by Blue Mandarin Photography © (Copyright) 

Mt Parnitha – Offering the Greatest High for Attica’s Action Junkies

At an altitude of 1,413m and only an hour’s drive from central Athens, Parnitha, Attica’s highest mountain, offers a green and gratifying getaway from urbanity, as well as magnificent panoramic views of Attica from above.

Throughout the week, but especially during the weekend, the 30,000-hectare natural expanse becomes an idyllic haven for anyone seeking fresh air and adventure sports.

Bring along a picnic and find a lovely spot to relax and soak up the views, maybe even spot some eagles, owls, vultures or falcons (there are 133 bird species here) or another animal (49 types of mammals including deer, foxes, squirrels, badgers, and hares) and definitely plenty of beautiful greenery (with over 1,100 species of flora – of the 6000 species that grow nationwide).

Otherwise enjoy the national park of Parnitha by being more active and organising yourself by taking part in any of the activities that take place there. Parnitha’s mountain shelters are a great way to start. Bafi Refuge offers accommodation, food, and a great variety of activities for people of all ages such as hiking, night hiking, mountain biking on Parnitha and nearby Tatoi, Cave exploration, and other activities.

Flabouri Refuge is another great place to stay and enjoy a great variety of activities and events. The Refuge organises various kinds of hikes as well as educational walks in which visitors can learn about flora, mushrooms, and orienteering. They also have events centred around storytelling, music, and games for all ages. The Flabouri Shelter also organises action-adventure sports like climbing, canyoning and mountain biking.

Insights Greece - Mt Parnitha – Offering the Greatest High for Attica’s Action Junkies
image Mpafi Refuge

For hiking the less known eastern part of the mountain is suggested by hiking adventurers if you’d like to enjoy a greater variety of landscapes. There are marked trails on the mountain but you can also contact organisations like Trekking Hellas for organised excursions. Trekking Hellas organise activities on the mountain that include hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and even voluntary clean-ups. Climb Greece also organise excellent climbing experiences on the mountain. To get a solid understanding of a hiking experience on Parnitha, we suggest you read this blog account by Olympus Mountaineering.

Mt Parnitha is also a favourite action location for runners, both groups, and individuals. Every October the Parnitha Lake Run takes place at Beletsi Lake, at the foothills of Parnitha. Six and 10km races take place on October 20th in this particularly scenic spot.

Other popular running races that take place annually on Parnitha are the Salomon Mountain Cup, the Arma Parnithas and the Alpamayo Pro Trailrace.