Greece during Christmas

Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Greece during Christmas

I'm doing some preliminary study for a possible Christmas/New Year's visit to Greece in 2009. I'm finding very limited flight schedules to the islands and hardly any ferry service during the winter. Is it too cold to even bother with the islands? Would Athens be freezing cold like the rest of Europe?

We've found that the holidays mean lots of closed businesses and tourism sites for the Northern European nations. Since the Greek Orthodox religion maintains a different calendar (I think), do stores stay open on our Christmas, Boxing and New Year's Days?

Lastly, how insane would it be to rent a car and try to drive from Athens to Delphi, Meteora and the countryside at that time of year? I consider myself rather experienced driving on German, Scandanavian, Austrian, French and Czech roads, but those Southern Euros are of a different temperament. And are there also problems in even finding a rental car agency that accepts our auto insurance in Greece?
Zeus is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Hi Zeus,
I have only been to mainland Greece in May, but we picked up our rental car at the Athens airport (took the metro there from Monastiraki station) and drove to the Peloponesse and to Delphi. We didn't have any problems even on the day when it poured rain all day long and there were high winds. We just drove slower and very carefully on the mountain roads.
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Generally the only Greek Orthodox holiday that may be on a different day is Easter. Christmas is always on Dec. 25th.

My husband has been to Athens in December for a family wedding. It never snowed, but he said it was pretty cold and rainy most of the time. Not artic, but not the best for sightseeing.

I think most of the islands like Santorini "close down" after about Oct./Nov., but I could be wrong.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:07 PM
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I was in Greece for Christmas a LONG time ago. But things are getting warmer, right? It was not freezing like northern Europe. It was in the high 50s or low 60s during the day, and in the 40s at night. (I have pictures of myself wearing just a sweater and taking my jacket off.)

Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, and New Year's Day would find a lot of things closed -- at least museums and other tourist destinations -- I don't know about stores.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:00 PM
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Yahoo has the best onlline resource I know for EXACT monthly averages of temp and precipitation.

Here is the link which lists about 50 places in Greece. YOu click on one and it gives you all the current details & a further click will give you a TEN DAY forecast (I always use this feature just before i go).
http://search.weather.yahoo.com/regional/GRXX.html

For Major Areas-Athens,Crete, Salonica (Thessaloniki) etc, there is a line "Records & Averages". Click & you get month by month hi/low & precip.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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O.P. may also enjoy reading Matt Barrett's "Christams in Greece" webpages :
http://www.athensguide.com/christmas/index.html

re: "are there also problems in even finding a rental car agency that accepts our auto insurance in Greece?"

I doubt you'll find any North American insurers who will cover you.
Most people purchase theft/collision insurance from the car rental company.
Some credit cards also provide additional, partial coverage on rentals.

If you're experienced driving in other european nations, you should be fine in Greece. Greeks are perhaps a little more reckless, but not alarmingly so. People tell me it's FAR worse to drive in Egypt, China, etc.
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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Well - at least you can be assured of street Xmas decorations! The Greeks leave them hanging up all year long just to switch on again for the Xmas season.
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