Off-season adventures on the Greek mainland

On the Greek mainland, there’s a surprising collection of destinations to explore. White peaks and fir forest trails, winding pistes and hearty rural delicacies await in a clutch of mountainside villages. This is not your everyday Greece getaway; this is Greece in the off-season, where there’s a truly remarkable set of gorgeous villages, towns and landscapes to explore.

Karpenisi

Nestled in a picturesque mountain landscape, Karpenisi is an outdoor lover’s dream. In winter, skiing on Mount Velouchi is a popular pastime, and the retreat back to Karpenisi promises cobbled streets, village restaurants with farm-to-table dining, and hearty winter classics like country sausage, wild boar, Katiki cheese and more. Don’t miss the breathtaking road to Proussos Monastery, nor the incredible hikes amongst pine forests and waterfalls that dot the region. 

Stemnitsa

Set along the gorge of the Lousios River amongst the fir forests is this charming village. Traditional crafts, specifically silver and goldsmithing, have put this small spot on the map. Head for the Folklore Museum to discover the artisan heritage of the place, before ogling the remarkable monastery carved into the lofty rockface of the gorge. 

Sunset over Stemnitsa mountain village in Trikolonoi Arkadia Mountains, Greece

Grevena

This bustling town deep in the Macedonian countryside is a playground of outdoor adventure and foodie offerings. In winter, the local ski centre is a hotspot for snowborne activities, though even as the snow melts away, there’s enough local beauty in the fir forests, gorges, mountains and iconic stone bridge to fill your days with beguiling hikes. Don’t miss the town’s famous mushroom picking, before sinking into a local restaurant and sampling the unique cuisine of this northern town. 

Kastoria

This charming lakeside town is filled with history and natural beauty. Around the lake, a trail winds through bird sanctuaries and natural wonders like Dragon’s Cave, where subterranean lakes and stalactites add an unconventional beauty to your itinerary. The town is filled with Byzantine churches and aristocratic mansions, with local delicacies and homely tavernas filling your evenings. 

Kalabaka

The landscape that surrounds this town is, with little hyperbole intended, utterly unique. Vast rock formations jut from the earth, with a sprawl of red-roofed townhouses spilling from their heights. The town offers all the tavernas and shops you could want, though most notable is the spiritual heritage of the place. This is base camp for Meteora, one of the most beguiling spiritual sites in the world. The monastery is, rather literally, built in the heavens, with ravishing views to be enjoyed along the magnificent trails that clamber up this rocky landscape. 

Zagori

A lesser-travelled region surrounded by mountains, Zagori is astoundingly beautiful. 46 age-old villages scatter around the area, some with only a handful of residents, their remoteness offering authentic encounters with traditional culture. Glacial lakes, rivers and gorges make the region an incredible hiking destination, with ancient stone bridges criss-crossing the myriad waterways. For a truly remote adventure, Zagori is one for the travel list. 

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