Gray-stone houses with red-tile roofs cling to the steep slopes of Mt. Parnassus, the highest mountain in Greece after Mt. Olympus, to form the small ski town of Arachova. Winter weekends bring sophisticated Athenians headed for the slopes as hotel prices soar and rooms are snapped up. During this season its cobblestone streets fill with SUVs carrying skis aloft, and the village taverns and bars get crowded after dark as people warm their weary bones before the fires. In summer, meanwhile, there are hardly any Greek tourists in Arachova and not everything may be open, which leaves one of the best hill walking spots in the country free to roam. Surprisingly little is made of the area's incredible hiking, with the E4 walking trail running right through its heart. Hikes are best done in the cooler months of late spring and autumn. Basic hiking maps can be picked up at some hotels, but it's best to come with your own. Treks from here and neighboring Delphi yield incredible views along routes to old monasteries, wild gorges, and mountain plateaus, and include the Corycean cave, dedicated to the god Pan and linked via an ancient pilgrim's footpath. This is a town for all seasons, and not just winter.


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