We’ve officially come to a point where a trip to Greece has become a rite of passage among traveler circles, with the country becoming a haven for culture seekers and beachgoers alike.
However, there’s no denying that the bulk of Greece’s tourist arrivals is concentrated during the summer months – after all, the Mediterranean nation is home to some of the most beautiful beaches not only in Europe but beyond.
In a surprising turn of events, though, this winter is keeping up with peak summer demand in Greece, with many destinations seeing an uptick in international travelers, as reported by Fraport, the regional airport management company.
While a remarkable 13 out of the country’s 14 airports broke their all-time inbound visitors record in 2023, there are 5 places, in particular, that are surging in popularity like never before.
Nestled on the northwest coast of Crete, Chania is easily one of the Greek cities that have left the longest-lasting impression on me.
I’ve had the chance to visit Crete three times, each time exploring a different destination – Hersonissos, Heraklion, and Chania – and the latter is the only one I’d go back to outside of summer.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Chania is one of the only coastal cities in all of Greece that’s more charming and visually appealing than the surrounding beaches themselves, so by all means, add it to your “winter destinations” bucket list.
Don’t get me wrong, the nearby beaches are gorgeous in their own right, but there’s something about the local Venetian architecture, narrow winding streets, and the sweet yet tangy aroma of blooming lemons that have made the city itself what I ultimately reminisce about the most now that the trip has ended.
Right now, Chania is experiencing temperatures that range between 50 and 59°F (10 and 15°F), which, while undoubtedly too cold for a sunbathing session, are perfect for sightseeing tours across the city that let you take in all the culture and beauty without the sweltering heat.
One theme throughout this list is that some of Greece’s most famous beachy hotspots are cultural gems worth exploring year-round.
Right now, the far cooler and safer climate you’ll find in Rhodes will not only provide a much-needed escape from the summer crowds but also allow you to explore the gorgeous Medieval Old Town, The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights, and the Valley of the Butterflies while still feeling energetic and refreshed.
Those looking to take some professional-looking travel pictures will also love the many lineless historic sites, from the Acropolis of Rhodes to the ancient city of Kamiros.
Since there’s a lot I love about Thessaloniki, from my point of view, the remarkable surge in popularity it’s experiencing right now was only a matter of time.
Greece’s second-largest city boasts a gorgeous waterfront – however, no actual swimmable beaches – which is why it has had to rely on its allure as a cultural hub filled with history, art, and gastronomical wonders to attract its almost 5 million international visitors.
Whether you want to see the iconic White Tower, have some fun in the local Museum of Illusions, or just try the mouthwatering (and reasonably priced!) food served in local eateries, now is the best time to do that and more.
Kavala is a true coastal gem that exudes that type of timeless beauty and charm most visitors go to Greece for.
Right now, with temperatures ranging between 46 and 57°F (8 and 14°F), you can forgo the swimming sessions and explore the local historical wonders, including the stunning Kavala Castle and the traditional Old Town, at complete peace.
While Lesvos still has a long way to go in terms of becoming a mainstream travel destination, locals, as well as nature lovers from all over the world, have long fallen in love with the Eastern Greek island.
The birthplace of the poet Sappho is now renowned for its relaxing hot springs, idyllic charming villages, and for being home to the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, which becomes particularly enchanting during winter when you can appreciate the ancient trees without the suffocating crowds.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.