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Thinking of spending the holiday season in Greece? As someone who lives in Athens, I can tell you exactly what to expect when visiting Athens in December!
Believe it or not, I prefer Athens in the months of November and December better than in the summer months!
I suppose it isn’t that hard to believe since it is a city, and spending time in any city in hundred-degree heat isn’t exactly a great time.
The weather in December is one of the main reasons I think it’s the best time to visit Athens.
And after you read more about all the fun things you can do in the winter in Athens I think you will agree!
What to Expect When Visiting Athens in December
Cooler Weather & Clouds
When visiting Athens in December you can expect that blazing sun and overbearing heat will be gone. What you are left with is some much milder and somewhat comfortable temperatures.
On average I have experienced the weather to jump between 10˚C (50˚F) and 16˚C (61˚F).
I much prefer needing a light coat than the alternative where the only way to stay cool is in an Athens Hotel pool.
One of the best things about visiting the ancient city of Athens in the off-season months like December is fewer tourists.
Forget waiting in line for anything! I walk right up to the Acropolis and get in immediately. And, tickets are almost half price!
As I started to say above, visiting in December means better prices for everything!
Expect a great deal on your accommodations and half-price tickets to the major tourist attractions in Athens!
So if you are someone who is travel budget-conscious then visiting Athens in December is a no-brainer!
My Favorite Travel Planning Resources
Top Things to Do in December in Athens
Visit the Acropolis A UNESCO World Heritage Site
If this is your first time in Athens, then I imagine you want to soak up all the Greek history and visit the Acropolis!
Lucky for you, visiting Athens in December is the best time to visit the historical sites.
If you plan it right you might find yourself in Athens for one of the Free Sundays!
From November 1 through March, the first Sunday of every month you can count on all the historical sites to be free entry!
Best Guided Tour of Athens
With so much to see in Athens, you really want to get a guided tour! Save time and money with this half-day tour!
Spend an Afternoon at the Hamman
The weather in Athens in December is very mild! You can expect to wear a coat, but you can leave the gloves and hat at home!
One of the best things to do in December in Athens is go to a Hamman! The city has a few great ones, but I love Hammam Baths Athens the best.
They have a lot of different options for treatments, I recommend adding a message to whatever day pass you get!
Hike Up the Philopappos Hill
When visiting Athens in December you can easily do some outdoor activities that may be too challenging to do in August.
For example, hiking around the hills in Athens on a hot summer day is not nearly as enjoyable as it is in December.
There are some pretty incredible viewpoints and easy hiking trails on Philopappos Hill.
Drink Hot Chocolate at Little Kook
Little Kook is like no other cafe I have ever visited! It is a sight to be seen, to put it mildly.
Every season this cafe changes its theme! And in December, as you would guess, this theme is Christmas!
The whole place is just overly exuding Christmas spirit. From Christmas music to over-the-top decorations, it is hard to get in a festive mood.
Of all the cool cafes in Athens to visit, Little Kook is the ideal spot to have a hot chocolate and a piece of cake in December.
Top Tours to Book in Athens in December
There is no better time to join a food tour than in the winter months! Think of all the Greek comfort food like Moussaka!
Greek Mythology Lovers should definitely check out this half-day tour in Athens! It’s the perfect way to see the best of Athens in December.
This tour is better on those sunny days we get in Athens! A bike tour is a great way to see all of Athens in a short amount of time!
Places to Go in December from Athens
While the Greek Islands are popular in the summer, mainland Greece is popular in the winter!
Some of the coolest places in Greece are within a short drive from Athens.
Rent a car and visit these coastal towns in Mainland Greece.
- Glyfada: About 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of central Athens, this suburb is a hub for shopping, dining, and beach activities.
- Vouliagmeni: Located around 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Athens, this area is known for its natural lake and tranquil beaches.
- Sounion: Situated approximately 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Athens, this location is famous for the Temple of Poseidon and its breathtaking sunset views.
- Rafina: Located around 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Athens, Rafina is another coastal town that serves as a ferry port for many of the Aegean islands. It also has nice beaches and seafood restaurants.
- Monemvasia: While not exactly close to Athens, being about 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) to the southeast, Monemvasia is a stunning medieval fortress town. It’s located on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese and is often referred to as the “Gibraltar of Greece.” It offers a unique, historical experience and beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Visiting Athens in December for the Christmas Season
As someone who resides in Athens, I can attest that the Christmas season is such a great time to come to the Greek capital!
The city transforms into a little mini winter wonderland where you only need a light coat to be comfortable ; ) I just love how we have milder temperatures compared to most of Europe.
Syntagma Square, in central Athens, becomes the epicenter of festivities. You will find a massive Christmas tree erected with twinkling Christmas lights.
Often in Athens in December you might come upon free concerts and live music events. Typically this will take place near the Hellenic Parliament building.
Best Day Trips From Athens in December
There are some amazing day trips from Athens that you don’t want to miss when traveling in December.
Because the weather will be so much cooler and more pleasant, places like Delphi are a great choice for a day trip.
If you have time for a full-day trip on your visit to Athens in December I highly recommend joining a tour to Delphi!
This full-day tour leaves from Athens and takes you to the ancient site by bus.
This is an especially great tour if you are visiting Athens solo! Join other travelers and learn all about the significgance of of Delphi!
One of the easiest day trips from Athens is a half-day trip to the Temple of Posideon!
You start the day from Athens and travel along the Athens Riveria towards Cape Sounion to the Temple of Poseidon.
While you could try and navigate the public transport yourself to reach the Temple, a guided tour is the way to go.
Our guide was so knowledgeable and funny, that it really added to the experience. Plus, who wants to spend a whole day on public transit? Take my advice, book this tour!
Weather in Athens in the Winter Months
Traditionally, November marks the beginning of Athens’ winter season. It’s during this time that the weather transitions from the warm days of autumn to more mild temperatures.
This is my favorite time for making day trips or exploring the city center.
My experience in November in Athens is generally pleasant, with an average high temperature that’s comfortable for walking around ancient sites like the Acropolis Museum.
However, days of rain do increase, and they can feel like they come out of nowhere. I’d recommend packing the umbrella.
If you are stuck on a rainy day, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a great indoor option.
Let’s call December the magical month in Athens! Mainly due to the Christmas holidays.
Not considered the coldest month, but with the average temperature dipping, you’ll need some warm clothes.
Expect a fair share of sunny days, which make for beautiful sunsets over ancient Greece’s landmarks.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch some early morning hours when the city is quieter.
The simple Christmas market at Syntagma Square has become the best part of the city center, offering a variety of holiday treats and crafts.
January is the coldest month in Athens but don’t let that stop you from visiting. I am going to bet it still features mild temperatures compared to other European cities.
Days of rain are common, but so are sunny days, making for a diverse weather experience.
New Year’s Day celebrations provide an unforgettable experience, especially if you’re in the city centre near the Greek National Opera.
Due to the relative humidity and dew point, you might find the air to be crisper, but still comfortable for walking around.
February is similar to January, though it’s often considered the wettest month of the year. Rainy days are more frequent, but don’t let that deter you.
The Acropolis Museum and Benaki Museum are excellent indoor venues to explore Athens’ rich history.
Daytime temperatures are moderate, and visiting places like Lycabettus Hill offers a unique vantage point of the city, particularly during the earliest sunset times of the year.
As winter starts to wrap up, March brings back more pleasant temperatures and longer daylight hours.
The city starts gearing up for the high-traffic summer months, but big crowds are still at bay.
This makes March a great time for a winter visit, especially if you’re interested in a guided tour of ancient sites or a small boat trip around the Saronic Gulf.
Weather stations report an increase in hours of sunshine, making it a great option for outdoor activities.
So, from November to March, Athens offers a range of weather conditions that can suit a variety of travel plans.
Each month has its own charm, making winter a good time of the year to appreciate the city’s many facets, from its ancient history to its vibrant modern life.
Benefits of Visiting Athens in December
Another benefit of the Christmas season is fewer crowds at key tourist attractions.
Whether it’s the Acropolis of Athens or the Ancient Agora, you can enjoy these historical sites without the summer rush.
Museums like the National Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art are quieter this time of year as well, giving you the space to appreciate the artifacts and exhibitions at your own pace.
New Year’s Eve is another event to look forward to, with festivities usually culminating in an impressive fireworks display that illuminates the entire city.
Between the milder weather, festive events, and reduced crowds at archaeological sites and museums, the Christmas season is a unique and wonderful time to truly enjoy all that Athens has to offer.
Can Visit the Greek Islands in December?
Hotel Prices in Athens In December
The best part about visiting Athens in December is the reduced accommodation prices.
Since Athens is not the go-to destination for many travelers in Europe in December you can get a steal.
When I first visited Athens in the winter I took advantage of the low room rates at the Coco Mat Athens BC.
The only downside was that the rooftop pool was not open. But the comfortable, and stylish hotel was finally in my price range!
December Packing Guide For Athens
- Pack layers, including sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and a warm jacket. December in Athens can be chilly, especially in the evenings, but don’t go overboard. It should be very mild.
- It is not a guarantee, but it could rain in December! So to be prepared, bring a waterproof or water-resistant jacket. This should keep you dry during occasional rain showers.
- This is an important one with how much walking is involved in Athens. Pack your most comfortable walking shoes for exploring historical sites and walking on uneven terrain.
- Because these don’t take up much space, I’d say pack them. There is a good chance you don’t need a scarf and hat. But on the off chance it’s very cold, they will keep you warm and protect against the wind.
- Sad to say, but you should pack a compact umbrella to shield yourself from rain, which is more frequent in December.
- A general travel necessary is a power adapter. Greece uses Type C and Type F electrical outlets, so bring the appropriate adapter and converter if needed for your electronic devices.
7. Travel Essentials
- Just a reminder and forget me not- pack your valid passport, travel insurance, and any necessary medications.
- This one is very optional. But If you plan to participate in holiday festivities, it could be fun to have an ugly Christmas sweater. Or consider packing some dressier clothing for special occasions.
- Making a day trip on your visit to Athens? A small daypack or tote bag can be handy for carrying essentials while exploring the city.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Athens in December
If you are looking to really explore the ancient city of Athens visiting in December is a no-brainer! Save the summertime for chilling on the Greek Islands.
December is one of the best times to visit Athens and mainland Greece! So get that suitcase ready and start packing for Greece this holiday season!
When booking travel abroad I am always sure to purchase travel insurance!
I treat my trip like a precious investment that I want to protect. Even visiting the safest destinations theft and loss can occur.
And even though unlikely, there is always a chance you can get sick leaving you needing medical care.
Most home healthcare insurance policies don’t cover you when you are abroad!
Don’t take the risk and go unprotected, especially when travel insurance is so affordable.
FAQs Visiting Athens in December
You can expect the climate in Greece in December to be mild. The average temperatures fluctuate between 10˚C (50˚F) and 16˚C (61˚F). I have experienced a warmer day here and there, but the month of December isn’t considered warm.
Yes, Greece can be cold in December, with daytime temperatures ranging from 10°C to 16°C (50°F to 61°F) in most areas. Evenings can be colder, especially in mountainous regions. While it’s not beach weather, December offers a quieter and more culturally immersive experience with fewer tourists.
Yes, Athens, Greece, typically hosts Christmas markets during December. While they may not be as extensive or elaborate as Christmas markets in some other European cities, you can still expect to find festive markets and events in Athens.
Yes, December is the best time for sightseeing in Athens. The city’s attractions are less crowded, and you can explore historical sites like the Acropolis and museums at a more relaxed pace.
Yes, it’s advisable to pack warm clothing, including layers, a waterproof jacket, and comfortable walking shoes. Athens can get chilly, especially in the evenings.
Athens often hosts Christmas markets, lighting ceremonies, and festive events in December. Syntagma Square and Ermou Street are popular places to experience the holiday spirit
Swimming in the sea is not recommended in December as the water temperatures are quite cold, averaging around 15°C (59°F).
Yes, most major tourist attractions, restaurants, and shops remain open in Athens during December. However, some may have reduced hours on public holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Athens is beautifully decorated with festive lights and decorations in December. The city comes alive with a holiday atmosphere, and you can expect to see Christmas trees, lights, and decorations throughout the city.
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