We are definitely Cypriot and Proud but since we travel we might as well share the information. Arachova is my latest favourite cute and hip little village. Greeks just get it! They have managed to keep the quality and the (usually) low prices in a well-known and commercial place. Even the places on the main street that, in any other city or village would have been completely touristy and overpriced, are still unique and special (eg. Gospel and Satirikon).
Another major advantage about Arachova is that it can be combined with skiing on Parnassos mountain (even though it is a 30-40 minute drive by car), a trip to Delphoi or Galaxidi.
Things to note are that, a popular after-ski lunch area is Livadi, roughly 10-15 minutes from Arachova and on the way to the ski station.
Furthermore, if you are a skier you are likely to face a dilemma: the village is usually dead during the week but skiing is much better. It gets super packed in the weekend, meaning that, even though you can party during the night it is very likely that you won’t be able to ski during the day.
Cafés, Bars & Restaurants (all day)
Almost all cafes are bars as well, offering the option a coffee anytime of the day, an afternoon beer or an evening drink.
Arion: it is right behind Satirikon with a retro/baroque-style ambiance and fantastic sofas for a relaxed afternoon coffee. If the weather is good you can still enjoy the outside space in the lovely square. Must-try is the chocolate fondant while a must-not-try is the “karidopitta”! Platia Lakka, 2267031182
Satirikon: a very cute and village-style café with good desserts right in the centre of Arachova. Also one of the most famous ones in the area. Platia Lakka, 2267031896
Gospel: Locals have managed to make even a pub look cute and stylish! One of the most central bar/pubs that works as a café as well. Apart from the good sangria, the beer selection is not bad, while “rakomelo”, the local drink is always available. 2267031686
E: one of the most modern bar/restaurants around that gest packed during the evenings. It is quite relaxed during early evening hours but it gets more busy and buzzy for after dinner drinks. The dinner area is also quite stylish with a lovely steel structure space and glass ceiling. 6945930060 (mobile)
Traditional Lunch or Dinner
The tavernas usually offer a selection of cooked red meat with “chilopittes” (Greek tagliatelle) and traditional village-style food. More modern restaurants usually have similar options with a twist. Waht is really nice about Arachova is that even if you walk into a random taverna or cafe/restaurant that you miught find while walking around, the food is still likely to be very good.
Kaplanis: the menu includes the standard taverna dishes that one can find in Arachova. The food is home made with excellent lamb “frikasse” and wine produced in-house. 2267031891
Panayiota: probably the most famous restaurant in Arachova that, not only has excellent local food but on Saturday afternoon and evenings it turns into a party house with no limits! Must-try are the lamb chops, veal with “chilopittes”, the Panayiota steak. Booking well in advance for Saturdays lunch and dinner. 2267032735
Oistros: a cute and picturesque restaurant in the centre of Arachova with local dishes (some traditional, and some with a twist). It gets packed during weekends with a Saturday party after dinner. 2267032886 or (Oistros by Aktida is the new sister restaurant right next door with more creative dishes 6976 979171 (mobile))
Kalderimi: one of my personal favourite local restaurants. It is really small and local representing the excellent traditional food. The slow cooked rooster and veal, the lamb chops that seem to come from sheep from another planet and the local “formaella” cheese are out of this world. You can expect to stuff yourself with as low as 20€ per person!
Arhontiko: a more lively taverna with live Greek music. Appropriate if you want to have fun the “Greek way” with flower throwing, plate breaking and local dishes! 2267031631
Tavola: a more modern option is the brand new restaurant with Mediterranean dishes with a local touch. Must-try are the home-made pasta and any of the desserts. 6973431969 (only dinner)
Poudra: Another newcomer that is also appropriate for late party. The space is more modern and the food is international with a Greek flair. 6980522014 (lunch & dinner)
Flox: a cute bar/restaurant on the way to St George’s church (towards Panayiota restaurant) that is not easy to see from the street but its small size and cosy style make it fantastic for a quiet dinner with Greek food with a twist, or a more lively drink afterwards.
Lunch at Livadi 25823248
Livadi is roughly 10-15 minutes from Arachova towards the ski station. It is quite popular around 15:00-15:30 for lunch after skiing.
Mpampis: one of the best traditional restaurants at Livadi that gets packed during weekends offering excellent grilled meat options, as well as slow cooked dishes. 2267032155
Kaliva: another must-try with a fantastic fireplace and home made specials, including slow cooked lamb, mouth-watering cheese pies as well as game meat when available. 2267031222
Zahos: another traditional restaurant with a very special slow cooked rooster and a very good pork chop. 2267032159
Staikos: an all-white traditional restaurant with good local wine and a nice fireplace. The food is as always, traditional with lots of slow cooked as well as grilled meat. 2267032153
Skiing in Arachova
If you are a keen skier and a regular visitor in resorts in the Alpes it is likely that you will be disappointed. I see it as a fun and quality winter-style holiday in a fantastic village with a possibility to ski, rather than a proper ski trip. The pistes on top of Kellaria, the main “bubble” that takes you to the ski area, are mostly easy blue ones, with one short red. You can ski down another area but you will have to go down a black piste, an action often difficult as heavy fog and mist (the biggest problem that we faced), is a common factor up at the ski station.
Things to note are that, the ski area is 30-40 minutes from Arachova by car. Secondly you can rent equipment from Arachova village and keep it overnight at the station on top of the bubble, rather than carry it back and forth.
Santa Maria Arachova hotel: this is where I stayed. It is a very central hotel with relatively good prices for what it offers. It is not the epitome of style and modern décor, but it is clean, the rooms are large, the lobby is comfortable with a lovely fireplace, and the service is good. It gets 10/10 for location. From 110€
Celena suites: cute and pretty centrally located suites. You can even use the spa of their cousin hotel Aigli. From 75€ (weekdays) to 110€ (weekends)
Xenonas Iresioni: fantastic rooms or studios with a minimal yet village-style décor. Location is not as good as the above but still central. From 65€ (weekdays) to 100€ (weekends)
Hotel parnassos: a relatively new central hotel with lovely suites including a fireplace. 2267031307
For more luxurious hotels with a spa a bit further out you can visit Santa Marina Spa resort, Aigli Resort & Spa, Tagli resort
Must do’s and don’ts
– You must try Panayiota restaurant on a Saturday afternoon or evening. Apart from the great food, the party scene is unique
– One of the culinary highlights (which they offer almost everywhere), is the slow cooked veal and rooster with “chilopittes” (home-made pasta) as well as the local cheese formaella that tastes like “halloumi” cheese
– Don’t forget to try Livadi area for lunch. Despite that it might look dead during weekdays, almost all of the restaurants get packed during weekends (lunch only- after 15:00)
– Arachova is very near the historical village of Delphoi, an archaeological site worth visiting only if you have time. Galaxidi is a coastal village further down (around 45 minutes from Arachova) where you can have a seafood lunch or take a walk by the small port. The scenery is worth it if it is convenient to fit it in, but don’t plan your whole trip around it
– Shopping is good and concentrated with a small but good selection of ski equipment, clothes and accessories as well as delicatessens
– Don’t count on skiing on weekends as it gets awfully packed but if you really want to try to go really early and leave by 12:00
– Try rakomelo, the traditional drink “raki” with honey, (I didn’t think it was that big of a deal since I have tried it many times in Athens as well but locals seem to take pride in it!)
You can fly to Athens and rent a car to drive to Arachova. It is a relatively easy drive of approximately 2 hours through the highway. Almost all hotels and hostels offer a free parking service.