Kalavryta, just 203 kilometers from the heart of Athens

Located on the northwest side of the Helmos mountain range in the Peloponnese, just 203 kilometers from Athens, the Kalavryta ski center is by no means the largest of Greece’s resorts but has become a mecca for serious skiers and snowboarders in recent years. The season got off to a great start regarding the white stuff, with Kalavryta opening its lifts on December 16 – this author being one of many snowboard enthusiasts battling to be the first on the slopes to make fresh tracks. In operation since 1988, there are 12 trails with a range of difficulty from beginner to the very difficult Stiga 1 and 2 trails from the 2,340-meter-high summit – where on a clear day skiers are treated to a sea view – as well as excellent off-piste skiing and snowboarding among clusters of pine trees. Kalavryta also offers free lifts for beginners as well as student discounts, while the always lively chalet at the base of the mountain often hosts memorable parties in the evening. The town of Kalavryta itself – just 14 kilometers from the ski center – has its place assured in the hearts of Greeks for its association with the struggle against Turkish occupation in 1821 and the Nazi massacre of over a thousand villagers for resistance activities during WWII. An old schoolhouse has been converted into a museum dedicated to the memory of those killed and is also well worth a visit. Equipment can be rented on the mountain but there are several rental outlets in and around the town where prices are more reasonable. A range of accommodation can be found via the website (, while those seeking a more luxurious option can look to the recently opened Castle Resort perched just above the town (