A rush for popular destinations

Many Greeks prefer to spend holidays with their families, but not at home. Disregarding the cost, they take off for places with a Christmassy feel. Mountain areas with snow are favorites – places like Mt Pelion, the Zagorohoria, Karpenisi, Arachova, Pertouli and Kalavryta. Monemvasia in the Peloponnese is another favorite. Those who have left it to the last minute to decide may be disappointed, as travel agents say many such destinations are already fully booked. Apart from the summer, Christmas and the New Year is the preferred holiday time for 34.1 percent of Greek travelers. Many bookings are made as early as July, according to one owner of rooms to rent in Pelion. Prices range from 130 euros for a room for two at Arachova and 120 euros a night on Pelion, the most popular destination. Karpenisi is much in demand, already 95 percent booked out, with prices ranging from 130 to 150 euros a night. Prices in Kalavryta, a favorite spot in the Peloponnese, range from 80 to 120 euros a night, while at Lake Plastiras, a room costs from 50 to 150 euros. Plenty of Greeks are going abroad. The traditional destinations for this time of year – London, Paris, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest – are in the forefront. The last-mentioned is the most expensive, with a six-day package costing as much as 1,600 euros per person. By contrast, London, with cheap air fares, can cost as little as 599 euros per head for four days. Four days in Budapest costs 498 euros and in Prague, 489 euros. A similar trip costs 595 euros in Vienna, 630 euros in Paris and 839 euros in Switzerland.