The Top Events and Festivals in and around Athens

Greece is a true paradise for cultural tourism and for an unparalleled journey into history and art. Discover Athens by making sure not to miss the major events and festivals in the city where modern civilisation was born. Here you may read a few that can really make your stay in the Greek capital memorable.

Athens Classic Marathon (November)

For the true sports lover, The Athens Authentic Marathon is an annual marathon road race held in Athens, Greece, normally in early November (this year on 12, November 2017). Athens prides itself on being home to the marathon, spawned by a truly historic and heroic event. Commemorating the famous run of the soldier Pheidippides in 490BC, the 42-kilometre race begins in the town of Marathon and end at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. In 490BC, the Marathon plain witnessed one of History’s most important battles. According to the ancient historian Herodotus, an army of 10,000 Greeks and 1,000 Plataeans defeated 25,000 Persians, thus preserving the newly founded first democracy. Following the victory, Pheidippidis, an Athenian soldier, ran 42 km to Athens to announce the good news. After he had announced the famous ‘Nenikikamen’ (meaning we have won), he collapsed. Be part of ancient Greek culture and take part in the very first marathon.

If you want to walk the land of the Myth, you may visit Marathon by joining our day tour.

August Full Moon (August)

Take in the silver light of the full midsummer moon and enjoy a late night conversation with the moon like never seen before. The one and only August Full Moon is a memorable and special night of the year, when historic sites, museums and galleries stay open until 2 am with live performances. Numerous events take place in 116 archaeological sites, monuments and museums across Greece. These events include music, dance, theatre, art exhibitions, film screenings and poetry. Imagine one night of the year that you can stay up late at the Acropolis Museum and spend a wonderful night watching a great and usually free of charge (!) event under the stunning bright moon. Not to miss if you are in Greece or Athens in that time of the year. No matter where that day will find you in Greece, look around you and you shall find.

Athens Biennale

For a passionate about arts, this is one of the big things happening in Athens. One of the biggest contemporary art exhibitions that occur in a two-year period of activities in the Greek capital. The Biennale emerged from the intense cultural activity that makes Athens one of the most interesting places for contemporary art. It aims to be an agent of constant change and innovation by providing a context for creativity and dialogue. Besides, it embodies a wide platform for the designation and the critical engagement of local artistic production, as well as a forum for discussion and exchange with the international scene.
The Athens Biennale’s 2015 – 2017: “OMONOIA” launched two-year period of activities that runs from June 2015 through the summer of 2017, in various venues across the Athens center, and, more specifically, around Omonia square.
Gradually the program is reaching its peak in the summer of 2017. The Bageion Ηotel, the epicentre of OMONOIA’s artistic programme, is located in the homonymous square, and reveals its previously unseen sides through a series of art installations.

Again in the contemporary art scene, it is definitely worth mentioning Documenta14, which runs through until July, 2017. Traditionally hosted in the German town of Kassel, this edition has a strong presence also in Athens. You may find the exhibits, events, and installations throughout the city in several venues (almost 50!). Among them, the EMST Contemporary Art Museum in Fix, the Benaki Annex in Pireos str., the Athens Conservatoire (Odeion) and the Athens School of Fine Arts again in Pireos str. stand out.

Aegina Fystiki (Pistachio) Festival (September)

Only 40 minutes from Piraeus, the island of Aegina is one of the most popular tourist destinations as it is the closest island to Athens. The airport of Athens is the closest airport to Piraeus from where the boats leave to Aegina island. Bus X96 will take you between 60 and 90 minutes from the airport to the Piraeus port. Aegina is located at only a 40 minute Flying Dolphin distance from Piraeus. The regular ferry takes around 75 minutes.

The idea underpinning this festival is to promote and support the cultivation of the unique pistachio known internationally as the “Aegina Pistachio”. If you are a pistachio lover, you cannot lose this festival, to taste those that are generally praised as the greatest pistachios in the surroundings and beyond. Also if you are not such a fan of pistachios, there you may also find a lot of gastronomic variety as well as entertainment. Be part of this festival and “see” with your eyes and with your tongue the essence of this festival that takes place on a beautiful and close3 Aegina.
About the trade fair, the pistachio freely lends its unique taste and texture to many sweet and savory gastronomic creations, as well as inspiring the makers of jewelry, pottery and arts and crafts. The trade booths are proudly adorned with green and fucsia– and the visitor will find unique products at excellent prices and also other traditional products such as ceramics, folk art and handmade jewelry. Aegina Fistiki Fest is the quest for, and creation of, new tastes; the promotion of traditional and local products.
Along with the best dance groups, musicians, and theatrical shows, the unique and impressive Opening Ceremonies have helped create wonderful festivals full of colour, music and song!

Hellenic Festival (June through August)

Imagine the open, dark Greek summer sky overhead and the marble tiers of an ancient Greek theatre… This festival will promise you magical, unforgettable summer nights, providing music, theatre and dance.
If you want to delve deeper into the Greek culture this is the most prominent Greek summer festival. The Hellenic Festival features a top line-up of local and international music, dance and drama. And, wonderfully, many of the marquee events are staged at one of the world’s prime historical venues: the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, with the floodlit Acropolis as a backdrop. Another traditional and fascinating setting is the ancient theater in Epidaurus.
This outstanding well-preserved theatre, which saw its first performance around 2000 years ago, features unique near-perfect acoustics and occupies a glorious setting amid pine-clad hills. Do not miss this huge opportunity to be part of Greek culture like never seen before!

Ejekt Festival/ Release Athens Festival (June/ July)

If you’re young and kicking and passing by Athens for a couple of days in June/July, and you’re a true lover of festivals you will not want to miss the gigs of these two major festivals. Usually they both happen in Plateia Nerou which is situated among the courts of Tae Kwon Do and Beach Volley in Faliron, a wide space, right by the sea, with a view of Faliro Marina and the Averof Ship Museum.
Main acts of Ejekt2017 (24 June and 14 July 2017) are the pop-rock band the Killers and Kasabian, whereas Release Athens  (15-17 June 2017) features electro duo Royksopp and dub masters Thievery Corporation in this year’s line up .

Rockwave Festival (June/ July)

For the hard rock/ metal devotees, Rockwave is the most popular festival of South East Europe, and synonymous with the arrival of the summer season. Now located in Malakasa, a few miles outside of Athens in the summer of 2017 (30, June to 2, July). Rockwave festival is all about special music moments! If you are next to Athens in the summer of 2017, you won’t want to lose the opportunity to have fun and enjoy one of the best music festivals in Greece. This year the line up counts with the likes of Rotting Christ, Placebo and Evanεscence.

Technopolis Jazz Festival (May/June)

With free entrance this international jazz festival is co-organised known in 11 different countries such as Portugal, Israel, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Poland, Greece, Argentina, Austria, and Netherlands.
It’s a cool place for a pleasant evening spent in good company, accompanied with the greatest vibes, hosting jazz musicians and groups from all over the planet. It is located near the post-industrial Gazi area. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy pleasant jazz evenings under the Athenian sky. This year the festival already took place from 23 to 28 May.

Plisskën Festival (various months)

Plisskën Festival, a sort of Barcelona’s Sonar’s spinoff, is an experimental/ electronic/ alternative music festival which takes place at the beginning of summer but also has a winter edition. The Plisskën Festival is about providing a meaningful and enjoyable music experience on all its counterparts whether they be of human or environmental nature.
If you’re staying in Athens and you’re an experimental and avant garde music aficionado or just want to have some fun, join this Festival, either in summer or winter. Next dates are announced for September and October, 2017.

Spetses Tweed Run

A charming island of the Saronic Gulf, Spetses island is a popular weekend destination due to its closeness to Athens. The town is large and ideal for long promenades. Many beautiful beaches are found around the island, accessible either by boat or bus. If you are in Athens, don’t lose the opportunity to visit this lovely island.  And there is more. If you are a vintage passionate,  you definitely will not want to miss the Tweed Run, the most elegant bike ride in Greece. It’s a flash back to a stylish bygone era, reproduced by means of a bike ride. What makes it special is that the participants dress up in their finest clothes, slow down speed and enjoy the ride, compete with each other for the best vintage outfit, relaxing with aromatic tea and basking in the beauty of the countryside treating themselves wonderful picnics.
At the end of the ride, the Best Dressed Man and Best Dressed Woman are awarded. Furthermore, the “vintage-lovers” have the chance to claim the “Best Vintage Bicycle” Award. Those that don’t own a vintage bicycle but feel quite vintage inside, can décor their bike and enter the competition for the “Best Decorated Bicycle”.

For a more conventional yet equally rewarding bike tour around the car-free lush island with cozy quiet beaches and transparent waters, see here.

Spetses Armata

the most elegant bike ride in Greece. It’s a flash back to a stylish bygone era, reproduced by means of a bike ride. What makes it special is that the participants dress up in their finest clothes, slow down speed and enjoy the ride, compete with each other for the best vintage outfit, relaxing with aromatic tea and basking in the beauty of the countryside treating themselves wonderful picnics.
At the end of the ride, the Best Dressed Man and Best Dressed Woman are awarded. Furthermore, the “vintage-lovers” have the chance to claim the “Best Vintage Bicycle” Award. Those that don’t own a vintage bicycle but feel quite vintage inside, can décor their bike and enter the competition for the “Best Decorated Bicycle”.


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