WINTER: SNOW, OLIVES AND ROARING FIRES
In winter, the park offers snow, but also many days of radiant sunshine, intense blue skies and bright days. Come and unwind next to a roaring fire in a country cottage: become absorbed by the blaze of an olive-wood fire whilst you enjoy the company of friends or the book you had been hoping to read for a long time, or plan the next day's excursion by consulting the map.
Winter is an excellent time to become acquainted with the populated areas of the park and explore the trails near the towns and villages, mixing culture, gastronomy and the outdoors along your itinerary. It is also a good time to take photographs: whilst there are but a few hours of sunshine, the air is cleaner and the light is different, softer, particularly at dusk.
During cold winter days the smell of burning wood on an open fire, filling the clear air of the park's towns and villages, is a real pleasure, as is ascending to the higher areas and watching how the mist clings to the valleys and dissolves as the morning progresses. The forests are blanketed in silence and the peaks are covered in snow. Although animal activity is at a low ebb, the park's immense stretches of pine forest are as green as ever.
On the way back from your hike or excursion, take the time to sample some hearty mountain cuisine by the fireside; or, if your palate desires something less rustic, the park's restaurants have a variety of other options that are at times both surprising and sophisticated.
The olive groves are busier than ever. All around you will hear the chatter of the olive-pickers, as it is in winter that they carry out the difficult task of harvesting the olives, beginning a process that will end with the preparation of exquisite olive oils. Winter is also the time for pigs to go to slaughter; a practice that is still carried out in the traditional manner in some villages. The snows, when they arrive, transform the landscape in just a few hours.