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Visiting Athens in the Winter: Weather – What to Pack – Things to Do

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Visiting Athens in the winter is not an idea that comes up very often among travelers. Mostly known as a summer destination, Athens lures hordes of travelers from May until the end of August.

However, few know that the Greek capital is equally charming in the wintertime, offering plenty of choices for things to do. In fact, if you want to see the city without the tourist crowds, the perfect time of the year to visit Athens is from November until the end of March.

Here are what you should know about visiting Athens in the winter and a few ideas to add to your to-do list.

Athens Weather in the Winter

Even though temperatures are significantly lower in winter than in summer, the weather in Athens is still quite pleasant.

January and February are the coldest months of the year, with temperatures between 13 and 5 degrees Celsius.

However, the days have started getting chilly since November. Rainfalls aren’t uncommon during these months, but usually, they don’t last long.

If you’re looking for some winter sun, Athens is an ideal city to visit

You’ll probably get your vitamin D dose even if you’re visiting the Greek capital in the heart of winter.

If you want to know more about the best season to visit Athens, please read our detailed guide here.

Athens Temperatures in the Winter

Avg. Temperature °C / °F9.9 °C / 49.8 °F8.2 °C / 46.8 °F9 °C / 48.3 °F
Min. Temperature °C / °F6.9 °C / 44.4 °F5 °C / 41 °F5.4 °C / 41.8 °F
Max. Temperature °C / °F13 °C / 55.5 °F11.6 °C / 52.8 °F12.7 °C / 54.9 °F
Rainy days665
Average Hours of Sunshine5.55.76.5
Weather facts regarding Athens in winter

What Clothes to Pack for Your Trip to Athens in the Winter

Now that you know what the weather is like in Athens in the winter, you know that you have to leave your flip-flops and shorts back home.

Don’t worry, though; you don’t need to master the art of layering to survive the cold in Athens. A sweater and a jacket will be more than enough to keep warm while visiting the Greek capital.

It gets some cold in Athens during winter but never extremes.
Courtesy: Athens By Locals

If you’re coming from a northern European country, you’ll probably cope with the weather quite easily.

Having said that here are a few suggestions for your winter in Athens packing list:

  • Warm clothes (Jackets, gloves, scarves, winter hats, etc)
  • A raincoat for the rainy days
  • Comfortable footwear for getting around and sightseeing
  • Extra pairs of socks. Rain in Athens is rare and usually brief but very sudden
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen. Even in winter, Athens is very sunny
  • Mosquito repellent. Especially if you’re planning to take a seaside trip
  • A body wallet to avoid pickpockets
  • An international power adapter
  • A power bank and extra chargers

Do you still need help? You’re in luck. We have put together the ultimate travel checklist for Athens. Check it out right below.

Why Visit Athens During Wintertime

Book a flight and a hotel room at a lower price

As winter is the off-peak travel season in Athens, prices drop. From November until the beginning of March you can find low-cost flights from several European cities. Moreover, accommodation in Athens is much cheaper compared to summer. Hotel rooms and Airbnbs can be found at lower prices even in the center of Athens. Plus, in many landmarks, prices are reduced during the winter months. For example, the Acropolis entrance fee is €20 from the 1st of April to the 31st of October and €10 from the 1st of November to the 31st of March.

Pleasant weather for outdoor activities

In the summer, temperatures often hit 40 degrees Celsius in the daytime. Walking around the city or doing one of Athens’s numerous outdoor activities can become very difficult under the sun’s heat. In winter, though, especially in December, the weather allows you to explore the great outdoors. On a sunny winter day, you can, for example, easily walk on top of Mt Lycabettus, or go hiking at Philopappos Hill.

View of Athens from above

Escape the tourist crowds

One of the best things about visiting Athens in the winter is that there are significantly fewer tourists.

In winter you can visit any attraction in Athens you like at your own pace without too many tourists around. Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Not only will you see the city’s authentic side but you’ll also avoid the long queues at the city’s archeological sites and museums.

Imagine visiting the most famous attractions like the Parthenon or the Acropolis Museum at your own pace without squeezing through hundreds of people to get a nice photo.

Taste authentic Greek winter food

Greek food and the gastronomy of Athens are two of the main reasons why travelers love visiting the city repeatedly. But did you know that visiting Athens in the winter will make for a completely new culinary experience? Greek cuisine is very seasonal, meaning many dishes can only be enjoyed in wintertime. Make sure to try fresh wild greens, lahanodolmades (the famous cabbage rolls), and rakomelo (boiled raki with honey and carnation). Also, if you’re visiting during Christmas, dig deep into a plate of melomakarona (honey biscuits) or diples (deep-fried dough with honey).

Lahanodolmades (the famous cabbage rolls)

Experience Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Athens

Like most religious holidays, Christmas in Greece is traditionally a family affair.

Most of the shopping streets, museums, and archaeological sites close down on Christmas Eve and the city starts looking as real as possible.

Grab this opportunity to explore crowded places like Anafiotika and Dionysiou Aeorpagitou Street, and you’ll immediately feel like a local.

On the other hand, New Year’s Eve in Athens is probably the year’s busiest day. There’s a lot of shopping, numerous events, fine dining, and a lot of drinking all day.

Syntagma Square at night with people around and a big spruce decorated with Christmas lights in Athens.
Courtesy: Athens By Locals

After sundown, the city becomes a great party and locals hang around until the morning.

Planning to visit during the Christmas holidays? Then, you need to take a look at this guide right below.

Things To Do in Athens in the Winter

Explore Plaka and Anafiotika

Now is your chance. You’ll never be able to see either Plaka or Anafiotika more comfortably without the hordes of tourists passing by.

The Plaka neighborhood is a tourist’s dream when visiting Athens in winter.
Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Get lost in the narrow pedestrian streets of Plaka and discover the oldest street in Athens, enjoy a cup of Greek coffee and do some souvenir shopping while admiring the picturesque alleys and neoclassical buildings that will make you believe you are strolling through a postcard.

Visit a museum on a rainy day

Don’t worry if it happens to rain while you’re in Athens. You were bound to visit a few museums at some point anyway.

Apart from all the obvious choices like the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the National Art Gallery, you could also try something more peculiar like the Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments or The Museum of Cycladic Art.

And if you get tired of browsing through the exhibits, you can always have a break to enjoy some coffee and the sounds of rain.

After all, there’s only one thing better than a museum on a rainy day: museum restaurants and cafes.

Explore the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Just a few minutes away from downtown Athens, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a must-visit attraction and a great option for a winter walk.

SNFCC on a sunny winter day. Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Within the beautiful complex, you’ll find the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera, and huge green open spaces with an artificial canal.

You can even get a bus from the city center to SNFCC completely free of charge.

Take a seaside trip to the Athenian Riviera

The Athenian Riviera is among the most beloved places in the city among locals.

Granted, a stroll down the beach is not quite the same in wintertime, but you’ll still be able to enjoy breathtaking views, exquisite food, and shopping at the most famous southern suburbs of Athens like Voula and Glyfada.

Climb up Lycabettus Hill

Lycabettus is the tallest and most popular hill in Athens. It overlooks the Attica basin and offers immaculate views of the city.

You can either walk up the hill or ride the cable car that goes all the way to the top starting from the foothill of Lycabettus in the upscale neighborhood of Kolonaki.

It runs every half an hour, and the ride is quite enjoyable. Tickets cost 10 euros for a round trip.

Athens city from Lycabettus Hill. Courtesy: Amphithoe /

Explore the National Garden of Athens

The National Gardens of Athens in Syntagma are also an exceptional choice for a winter walk.

You can easily get there just by walking a few minutes from the Parliament on Syntagma Square.

Just grab a cup of coffee and walk through the gardens, do a bit of birdwatching, and discover peculiar monuments and old buildings hidden among the labyrinthine pathways.

See the Parthenon on Acropolis Hill

We’ve mentioned it a few times in this article already but we can’t stress this enough: visiting Athens in the winter is the best time to see all the famous ancient sites that are swarmed with people any other time of the year.

And so the Parthenon couldn’t be missing from this list. The walk up the hill to admire the magnificent temple will be the highlight of your trip.

Visit the city’s markets

Even though markets take place all year round, in the winter, there are more options, as during the summertime, many vendors go on holiday.

Avisinias Square in Athens. Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Food markets like the Athens Central Market, antique markets, and fashionable markets all over the city center.

Most of them are held on the weekends or Sundays attracting locals and tourists.

Hammam Experience

There isn’t a better way to warm up on a winter day than a traditional hammam experience. Hammam Baths in the Thissio neighborhood feature traditional hammam rooms that are ideal for some moments of pure relaxation. Moreover, the luxurious and cozy space offers massage services as well as manicure, pedicure and body hair removal, and facial cleansing services.

Go Ice Skating

Even though it rarely snows in Athens, some ice rinks around the city will set you in a wintery mood. Ice n Skate, close to Eleonas Metro station, the 1,000-square-meter ice rink close to the department store Athens Heart Mall, and the Ice Arena at Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) are the best places for honing your ice-skating skills.

Hammam Baths, situated in the neighborhood of Thission, close to the famous Bath House of the Winds in Plaka, is the authentic hammam in Athens. Courtesy:

Take a day trip from Athens

Even though Athens has a lot to offer, we would highly recommend taking a day trip to delve deeper into local culture and get a taste of rural Greece.

Still, we would suggest you stay clear of any seaside destinations like the Saronic Gulf islands, as life in these islands tends to be very slow in the winter.

Instead, you can admire the astonishing monasteries with a trip to Meteora or learn more about the history of Greece with a day trip to Ancient Olympia.

If you want to check for more great options for a day trip destination from Athens, read the article below.

Where to Stay in Athens in the Winter

Choosing a hotel in Athens if you’re visiting in the winter will be much easier than looking for one during peak season.

Still, you should be looking for the best location if you want to have all the famous attractions within walking distance from your hotel.

We would recommend choosing a hotel in the city center and specifically in the areas around the Acropolis: Koukaki, Thission, Monastiraki, Petralona, and Syntagma.

In short, all the sought-after areas where it’s almost impossible to find availability in the summer.

You can search and compare hotels, and find all the rates on, the largest booking platform worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions about Visiting Athens in the Winter

Should I visit Greece in winter?

Definitely yes. Visiting Greece in the winter is a different experience than visiting any other time of the year.

Is Athens worth visiting in December?

December is actually the warmest winter month in Athens. We highly recommend visiting in December, especially if you plan to spend Christmas in Athens.

Is Athens worth visiting in January?

January is one of the slower months for tourism, but that’s why it’s a great idea to visit then.

Is Athens warm in winter?

Athens is quite warm in the winter with an average temperature of 9 °C (48.3 °F) and a minimum temperature of around 6 °C (42.8 °F).

Does it snow in Athens in December?

Snow is very uncommon in Athens, especially in the city center. It normally snows only a few days a year. Still, you may see snow in Athens if you are lucky enough.

What’s the coldest month in Athens?

The coldest month in Athens is January.

Which area of Athens is best to stay in during winter?

Any area in the city center and close to the Acropolis like Syntagma, Monastiraki, Koukaki or Thission would be an excellent choice.

What do you wear in Athens in the winter?

Athens is rarely extremely cold. A normal winter jacket and jeans would be enough most of the time. However, make sure to pack some warm winter clothes just in case temperatures drop below normal levels during your trip.

To sum it up, Athens is a great city for a short getaway in the heart of the winter.

This guide aims to introduce you to the wintery side of the Greek capital and present you with the most important things to keep in mind before you start looking for hotels and booking your tickets.

A Quick Reminder:

Remember that Athens By Locals is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.

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