Christmas in Greece and Cyprus

MadeinMycountryGR-MadeinGreece-MadeinMycountry Merry Christmas Happy New Year
MadeinMycountryGR-MadeinGreece-MadeinMycountry Merry Christmas Happy New Year

Christmas in Greece and Cyprus

Α feast for the senses

Celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Greece means entering a magical world that we can enjoy with all of our senses! Visions of great beauty; delicious flavours; intoxicating scents; and joyful melodies cause a flurry of emotions which bring back happy memories from our childhood years. Feel the Christmas spirit and…who knows? Maybe you’ll come across some kind of elf hiding behind the Christmas tree – if you are lucky enough! Feel the magic!


The Christmas tale coming alive / numerous white and coloured Christmas lights giving the appearance of starlit skies over cities, towns, and villages / the happy and welcoming faces of their inhabitants/ decorated Christmas trees and traditional Christmas boats bringing back memories of childhood Christmases to locals and visitors alike / white picturesque villages and snow-covered mountain tops with busy ski centres/ cheerful fires blazing in traditional hotel fireplaces / fireworks lighting up the night sky on New Year’s Eve/ the custom of Momogeroi, still followed in the areas of Macedonia and Thrace / Athens and Thessaloniki welcoming the Christmas season in high spirits, with the streets and squares wearing colourful Christmas lighting and a variety of events, festivals and concerts.
The custom: In Florina, the local celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s Day include the lighting of bonfires at midnight, in the same way as shepherds did to warm up the newborn baby Jesus.


The savoury and sweet traditional dishes prepared for Christmas and New Year’s Day in Greece / the delicious turkey stuffed with chestnuts and raisins laid on the festive table/ sweet Christmas temptations like traditional melomakarona (honeyed cookies with walnuts), sweet-smelling kourabiedes (christmas butter cookies dusted with caster sugar) and delicious diples (sweet fried honey rolls dusted with cinnamon and ground walnuts) / fragrant stuffed tsourekia (a traditional sweet bread) prepared in confectioneries, mostly in Athens and Thessaloniki / the delicious chicken soup served steaming hot – popular in Crete and other parts of the country / the custom of gourounochara / St. Basil’s Pie (Vasilopita) prepared for New Year’s Day / other traditional local Christmas delicacies served across the country.
The custom: Christopsomo (meaning Christ’s bread), customarily prepared in Crete and other areas is a special sweet bread with a cross-shaped decoration and a walnut (the symbol of fertility) at its centre, served on Christmas Day across Greece. It usually contains cinnamon, honey, nutmeg and/or raisins, with slight variations. Tasting it is a …must!


The festive aromas in the atmosphere/ the warm scent of cinnamon, honey, nuts and sugar- the basic ingredients for the majority of Christmas sweets/ smoking chimneys and wood burning fireplaces in beautiful mountain villages, such as Megalo Papigo in the area of Ioannina/ the scent coming off the moist soil and the dewy evergreen shrubs and trees on forested Mt. Pelion in Magnesia/the smell of incense burning in churches in every city, town, or village / the sweet aroma of chestnuts roasting on an open fire/ delicious smells coming from the kitchens of cute little tavernas in Plaka or Psirri, Athens.
The custom: On Kefalonia island, in the Ionian Sea, locals keep a “fragrant” custom called kolonies (meaning colognes); this is a special ritual for New Year’s Eve when people sprinkle each other with cologne and perfume.


The Christmas melodies filling the air in every street of the city/ children singing carols while holding metal triangles that resonate as they strike them rhythmically with a small metal rod on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve/ church bells inviting people to attend the Christmas mass / open-air concerts taking place in Syntagma square and all around Athens/ street musicians performing in the city centre/ Christmas parties held in clubs and bars all over Greece.
The custom: On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in the morning, children knock on peoples’ doors and sing Christmas carols. According to tradition, opening your door to children singing carols will bring you good luck and prosperity!

Touch / Sense

Visit the impressive fir forest in Pertouli, Trikala, and touch real fir trees instead of their man-made Christmas counterparts / sprigs of Christmas mistletoe set with a red ribbon in vases, or adorning the front doors of houses / the beautiful Christmas ornaments in shops and malls in Athens/ the festive nightlife atmosphere in Arachova, on the south slope of Mt. Parnassus / the special vibes of the ancient oracle at Delphi, just 8 Km away from Arachova / the happy atmosphere you share with family & loved ones / touching the hand of a loved one at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The custom: On New Year’s Day, just after the morning mass, Greeks throw a pomegranate on the doorstep before entering their houses, for good luck; the fruit’s bright red arils get scattered on the floor, and they are believed to bring prosperity, happiness and good fortune to all the family.


Jingle all the way to the Cyprus Christmas Villages!

The Deputy Ministry of Tourism invites you to discover seven beautiful traditional villages and towns of Cyprus, which in turn will wow you with an array of authentic Christmas experiences to participate in and where you will make memories to last a lifetime! Agros, Derynia, Fikardou, Lefkara, Kalopanagiotis, Kyperounta and Laiki Geitonia (Lefkosia) put on their finest festive attire to spread the Christmas spirit, impressing locals, visitors, young and old alike.

Cultural events, stands with local products and handicrafts, gastronomy and crafting workshops, organized activities in nature, guided village tours, local restaurants and hotels with delicious holiday menus and many other surprises await to be discovered for a unique Cypriot Christmas experience.

We are waiting for you to celebrate with us this magical holiday period.

The Christmas Villages will be operating from November 25, 2023 until January 14, 2024 (inclusive) as follows:
Friday – Sunday and Public Holidays, and daily from 27 December 2023 – 4 January 2024.




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Η Προεδρική Φρουρά είναι τελετουργική μονάδα πεζικού, η οποία φρουρεί τον Τάφο του Άγνωστου Στρατιώτη και το Προεδρικό Μέγαρο στην Αθήνα. Η μονάδα είναι ξεχωριστή για το γεγονός ότι αποτελεί τη τελευταία ενεργή μονάδα Ευζώνων στις Ελληνικές Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις. Είναι στενά συνδεδεμένη με την παραδοσιακή στολή του Εύζωνα, η οποία εξελίχθηκε από τα ρούχα που φορούσαν οι κλέφτες στην Επανάσταση του 1821. Το πιο χαρακτηριστικό μέρος της στολής είναι η φουστανέλα. Στις χρονικές περιόδους 1868-1914 και 1937-1973, η φρουρά είχε τμήμα ιππικού.

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Pireas (Piraeus) Greek: Πειραιάς Peiraiás [pireˈas]; Ancient Greek: Πειραιεύς Peiraieús [peːrai̯eús]) is a port city within the Athens urban area (“Greater Athens”), in the Attica region of Greece. It is located in the Athens Riviera, 8 kilometres (5 miles) southwest of Athens’ city centre, along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.
Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating back to ancient Greece. The city was founded in the early 5th century BC, when plans to make it the new port of Athens were implemented: A prototype harbour was constructed, which resulted in concentrating in one location all the import and transit trade of Athens, along with the navy’s base. During the Golden Age of Athens, the Long Walls were constructed to fortify the route from the main settlement to the port (Piraeus). During Athens’ Classical period, the naval base in Piraeus had 372 trireme shipsheds. Beginning in the 3rd century B.C., Pireaus went into a period of cumulative decline. However, it began growing once again in the 19th century, after Athens was made the capital of Greece. Today, Piraeus is a large city, bustling with activity, and an integral part of Athens. It is a huge marine and commercial-industrial centre, and home to Greece’s largest harbour.the busiest passenger harbour in Europe. (Porto Leone)
Piraeus is marked by the diversity of culture among its neighbourhoods. The hill of Kastella is one of the most prosperous and attractive neighbourhoods, with a panoramic view over Athens basin and the Saronic Gulf. Its elegance comes from its numerous neo-classical mansions, while the Veakeio Theater and a church dedicated to the Prophet Elijah are the most popular buildings. The coastal area of Neo Faliro has been upgraded and is also prominent, with the Peace and Friendship Stadium and the Karaiskakis Stadium, an indoor arena and a football ground respectively lying opposite one another, predominating. Mikrolimano and Bay of Zea, are the smaller harbours of Piraeus acts as Marinas, attract large numbers of visitors with their picturesque vistas and vigorous nightlife. Kaminia, by contrast, is a working-class neighbourhood which still preserves the traditional look of an earlier period. The Municipal Theater in the center of Piraeus was built in 1885 and remains an impressive neo-classical building. Located across from the Neo-Byzantine Piraeus Cathedral, it forms one of the most renowned landmarks of the city and a popular meeting place.


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