While for many, Christmas is best spent basking in the warmth and comfort of home, surrounded by loved ones, it also presents the perfect opportunity to seek refuge in some of Greece’s most picturesque and idyllic places. During the festive season, some of the most luxurious and fairy-tale inns are dressed in their finest, most sparkly garb, generating the warmth, comfort and hospitality of home to the heart of stunning Greek landscapes. Immersed in lush nature, scenic hiking trails and cobblestoned village squares, and only a few kilometers from the most charming towns of the Greek countryside, they are preparing to welcome you.
Among the places we list here, some will certainly enchant their youngest guests as much as adults with the plentitude of trees, plants and charming farm animals, as well as countless creative activities. Indeed, many create special Christmas programmes and menus to usher guests into the sweet, sparkly spirit of the season at once. Meanwhile, many are a short drive from the country’s most enchanting season-themed parks, destinations in their own right during the holiday period, and one more reason to travel this Christmas.
Now is a good time to start planning for the holiday season, and with the help of these top, tried-and-tested suggestions you can start bringing them to fruition and look forward to an escape in the heart of Greek nature, in rooms that marry (sometimes very luxurious) traditional charm with modern comforts, in small festive, themed paradises.
Bellou Estate, Pieria
A stone’s throw from Thessaloniki, in Agios Dimitrios of Pieria, is a luxurious hotel within a verdant estate, a perfect retreat for dreamlike family getaways in nature.
Located between the Pierian Mountains and Mount Olympus, Bellou Estate consists of seven one-bedroom apartments and five two-bedroom stone houses. The hotel offers its guests an exceptional sleeping experience with soft mattresses and two different types of pillows to choose from.
An enchanting destination for a festive excursion, especially when travelling with little ones, Bellou Estate offers its younger guests the chance to engage with the fascinating world of nature, participating in farm activities such as the Bee Workshop, the Distillation of Essential Oils, and other agritourism pursuits.
Moreover, at the verdant Bellou Estate, you’ll find an organic restaurant serving exquisite food made from fresh produce straight from the farm. In the morning, the breakfast buffet is rich, brimming with homemade delicacies that change daily, while always providing plenty of vegan options. All year round, there’s also a lending library for those book lovers who revel in reading in nature. And, naturally, for the Christmas period, there are specially tailored menus and activities that will delight both young and old.
Address: Agios Dimitrios, Pieria, Website
Ninemia Stay and Play
At Ninemia Stay and Play, just a few kilometres outside the quaint town of Karpenisi, on the road to Prousos, you’ll find a warmly hospitable hotel that quickly becomes a favoured escape for the entire family, thanks to its beautiful and imaginative activities on offer for the little ones.
Within the whimsical farm that spreads across the hotel’s estate, both young and old will have the chance to closely observe the animals hosted at Ninemia Stay and Play. The farm’s friendly dog, the cats, the waddling ducks, the clucking hens, the bouncing bunnies, the playful goats, and, of course, the horse and its pony companion, the perennial favourites among the children.
Furthermore, for the plant aficionados, within Ninemia Stay & Play’s expanse lies a large swath of fragrant, flowering trees such as apple, quince, cherry, walnut, and pear trees. In fact, many of these generously provide the fresh, homemade jams you’ll discover at the hotel’s rich and satisfying morning buffet.
If these holidays you’re plotting a splendid exploration amidst the untouched nature of Evrytania, whether you’re traveling with family or friends, Ninemia Stay & Play is poised to be the perfect launch pad for incredible routes through trails and for unforgettable discoveries in one of the most beautiful destinations of mountainous Greece.
Every Christmas, the activities tailored for our younger guests are infused with a distinct festive spirit, but it goes without saying that everyone is welcomed to partake in activities such as stacking firewood and caring for the animals, ensuring a comprehensive farmstay experience. And naturally, don’t miss the chance to take your daily ride on the hotel’s train, which takes the children on a grand tour of the entire estate, making a pit stop at the little pond to feed the ducks and geese that are friends of Ninemia Stay & Play.
Address: 7th km of the Karpenisi-Prousos National Road, Website
Area Synest, Synevro
One of the most striking and distinctive hotels in the Peloponnese in terms of its unique design and decor, the Synevro Area Synest Theme Park offers a unique relaxation experience for adults and children alike.
Amid a landscape of incredible natural beauty, just two hours from Athens, Area Synest draws its inspiration from the local myth of the nymphs of the Krios River. The tale goes that these river nymphs metamorphosised into creatures that had avian faces and human bodies, and took flight. Consequently, visitors to Area Synest will encounter murals throughout the hotel that portray these mythical beings.
Ducks and geese, a ‘village’ of beautiful bunnies, a dovecote, chickens and chicks, colourful parrots and Menios, the estate’s amiable donkey, will provide moments of joy to curious visitors of all ages. Even more so during the festive season, when Area Synest transforms into a vast Yuletide paradise, aglow with countless twinkling lights and decorations, coaxing even the grown-ups to regress into childhood wonder.
As for the guesthouse’s exquisite rooms, they rank among the finest you’ll ever lay eyes on in any mountain retreat in Greece. Adorned with stone, wood, and unique decorative touches (many of the decorative items found in the rooms are also available in the shop), they are the most photogenic and impressive sanctuaries one could seek out in the heart of untamed nature.
Address: Synest of Achaia, Website
Crystal Mountain, Nafpaktia
In Mountainous Nafpaktia, amid a forest of firs and chestnuts, a charming hotel becomes a wonderland for little ones and a sanctuary of relaxation for adults. In the traditional settlement of Ano Chora, at an altitude of 1,100 metres and just 52 kilometres from Nafpaktos, Crystal Mountain stands as a warm and welcoming winter resort. Almost every weekend of the year, it hosts a variety of events that bring you closer to the beauty of the forest and nature itself.
A mere three and a half hours’ journey from Athens, the hotel boasts pitches, two children’s play areas, one indoors and the other indoors, and a delightful garden ripe for exploration. It ups the ante with a smorgasbord of weekly workshops – a playful concoction of culinary arts, patisserie, gardening and painting. And when the weather is clear and warm enough, the action spills out into the wild with organized hikes in the forest, cycle rides, horseback riding or picnics.
The breakfast spread served up at the Crystal Mountain restaurant is a feast for the senses, hearty enough to tide you over on your journey home. And on days like Boxing Day, expect to be wowed by a staggering brunch buffet before you hit the road. The restaurant doesn’t skimp on value either, offering an economical menu for lunch and dinner, as well as a specially designed kids’ menu that won’t bleed your wallet dry. Every evening, the hotel’s play area turns into a cinema, screening children’s movies well into the night, so parents can steal away to the bar for a tipple or two, sans interruption, while the kids are mesmerized by tales on the big screen.
Address: Ano Chora, Aetolia-Acarnania, Website
Ktima Nymfes, Zarouchla
In the picturesque folds of Zarouchla in Achaia, the charming boutique complex of Nymphes Estate (Ktima) awaits, promising you a slice of carefree living with a dash of adventure, thanks to a host of fun-filled activities set in nature. Each quaint, wooden cottage of the hotel comes complete with its own living room and fireplace, a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, generous bedding, and beautiful views.
After breakfast, the day’s play begins. Swings in the playground beckon, as does a jaunt through the forest aboard the vivid, wooden train. There’s a farmyard meet-and-greet with ponies, ducks, pups, and kittens, while the summer months offer kids the delight of diving into the beautiful outdoor pool.
For parents, a tapestry of activities awaits: organised horseback rides through the woods, cycling expeditions, archery and shooting lessons, and long, leisurely hikes in the glorious, forested landscape offer a respite from urban routine.
Ktima Nymphes serves as a prime launchpad for exploring the intriguing surroundings: Start your journey in the traditional settlement of Zarouchla and then venture out to Lake Tsivlou, the Stygian Waters at an altitude of 2,100 metres, or the Kalavryta Ski Centre, a mere 14 kilometers away.
Address: Zarouchla – Feneos, Website
Traditional Guesthouse, Trikala
In the heart of Thessaly, Trikala stakes a robust claim as the “Greek capital of Christmas,” and not without good reason. Their much-photographed, highly adored ‘Mill of Elves’ is erected annually, transforming the city into a Yuletide fairytale teeming with endless play, festive workshops, and myriad activities that plunge visitors straight into the holiday spirit.
Should you fancy a detour to this festive wonder this holiday season, the charming abodes of Traditional Guesthouse are but a mere five kilometres from Trikala’s Folklore Museum and offer a perfect starting point not only for the famed Christmas village but also for a delightful exploration of the entire surrounding area.
Guests can choose from a range of self-contained lodgings, each boasting its own kitchen, bathroom, and living space. But the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the exquisite and spacious seven-bedroom villa, complete with three bathrooms (two fitted with tubs), a balcony, an expansive and tastefully adorned kitchen, and a generously proportioned living room.
The iconic Meteora is a mere 20 kilometres away, Pertouli sits at a distance of 35 kilometers, and Lake Plastira is 37 kilometres from the hotel.
Address: Krinitsa Trikala, Trikala
Theasis Igloo, Tzoumerka
In Ktistades, a village within the rugged embrace of the Tzoumerka mountains and with a commanding view of the Strogoula peak, lies an accommodation experience betting to leave an indelible mark on your life narrative.
At Theasis Igloo, your stay will be unlike any other in Greece. These dwellings, a fusion of wood and stone, boast glass-roofed sections designed to let you slumber under a night sky so vivid, it feels like a cosmic rebellion against the dimmed celestial display of the urban sprawl.
Here, in a stunning valley blanketed by firs, relaxation, respite, and endless play with your little ones come easy across nine hectares of securely fenced and shielded terrain. For the adventurous, when the weather consents, opportunities abound: mountaineering, rafting, canyoning, and cycling call to test your mettle. And for those moved by the vast universe above, Theasis Igloo offers, weather permitting, the chance to survey constellations and planets through a state-of-the-art telescope, bringing the cosmic spectacle closer to earth.
Address: Ktistades, Tzoumerka, Website
Aloni Hotel & Spa
In the northern Greek city of Drama, the magnificent Oneiroupoli emerges as one of the country’s most enchanting Christmas parks. For two decades, this festive place has captivated the hearts of children with Santa’s village, where sweet Christmas hope and anticipation fill their spirits. And of course, the Forest of Wishes, erected annually in this fairytale Oneiroupoli, is where everyone, young and old, can hang their wishes for the festive season and the coming New Year.
For those seeking to immerse themselves in this holiday fable, Drama beckons as a singular winter destination, and the hospitable Aloni Tou Kir Thanasi Hotel & Spa stands as an ideal haven for a few days of relaxation and rest in one of Macedonia’s most picturesque locales.
A mere 10 kilometres from the Falakro ski centre, the hotel offers comfortable, warm rooms, many with their own fireplaces, evoking the ambience of a Swiss chalet. Specialised spa treatments await and the restaurant promises traditional fare with a fine local culinary twist. The breakfast, both hearty and lavish, will keep you sated and brimming with energy for the entire day.
After fortifying yourself in the morning, you’re set for hiking, mountaineering, or skiing, depending on the season. The natural beauty of Drama, with the Nestos River, the Elatia Forest, and the caves of Alistrati and the Angitis Springs, beckons you to explore.
Address: Volakas Drama, Website