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Contrary to popular belief, the Greek islands are very much open for business during the winter, albeit on a more limited scale. Some of the bigger resorts are closed, but many smaller hotels remain open alongside plenty of restaurants. You may be better off selecting one island to visit at this time of year though, as the island hopping culture that is such a feature of the summer months is difficult with the reduced ferry service that operates off season.

As far as the weather is concerned, you should keep an open mind. You are as likely to get some glorious sunshine as you are the occasional rain shower, so pack accordingly. If you are planning a jaunt to Greece around Christmas time - think outside the box. You may not realise that the islands are a perfect location to walk, hike and even ski. Locations such as Pelion, Kalavrita, the Peloponessos, Delphi, Epirus and Macedonia boast ski centres and have an almost Swiss look about them - with pretty chalets plus plenty of decent runs both cross-country and downhill. The Greek islands also have a thriving winter sailing scene, so if messing about on boats is your thing, this could be an ideal time of year to plan a trip.

During the winter months you will also be able to enjoy the real beauty of the natural surround ions of the islands - perhaps by going white water rafting, mountain-climbing, trekking, biking, kayaking, or horseback riding. If you choose to visit as winter turns to spring, you will be rewarded by the most glorious displays of wildflowers that carpet every inch of available space. Spring is an excellent time to visit the many ancient historical sites too - they will be far less crowded than at the height of the summer season and the weather will be cooler therefore perfect for sightseeing.

If the mainland attracts you, you will find plenty to see and do in Athens off season. Athens is a lively city all year round, crammed with fascinating archaeological and historical sites to visit. It has some great bars and restaurants and a thriving nightlife. Additionally, Athens has some serious good shopping destinations - and winter is the perfect time to take advantage of the many bargains that are to be found in the city’s boutiques. Kid will enjoy the fabulous ice skating rink (located on the roof of the Hotel Ledra Marriott) - which has stunning views of the acropolis.

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