Posted 27 June 2022

Seven famous festivals celebrated in Athens that you should not miss

Known as the birthplace of democracy, Athens, the capital city of Greece, is popular for its archaeological sites of ancient Greek civilization, rich culture, vibrant nightlife, fascinating music, unique food, and ancient traditions. The city celebrates a plethora of interesting and unique festivals that attract thousands of travellers from every corner of the world. With so many festivals, people are always excited about celebrations in the city. From music and art to food and fun, festivals offer an enriching experience to their attendees. Also, these festivals are based on different themes and involve interesting activities that will surely make you see Greek culture in a different light.

Here are some of the famous festivals in Athens that you should not miss.

Athens Photo Festival

Organized by the Hellenic Centre for Photography, Athens Photo Festival has been celebrated in the city since 1987. It is one of the most famous festivals in Athens and isalso recognised as a popular international event of photography. Since its inception, the festival has been celebrated with an aim to provide a platform to budding and seasoned artists. Through this festival, artists are given a space where they can exchange their artistic viewpoint and enhance the network. Recognised as an important cultural and art festival in Greece, it takes the opportunity to encourage local talent and help them to establish contacts with artists from other parts of the world.

The festival is an annual event that displays great artwork of established photographers and emerging talent. Apart from exhibitions, Athens Photos Festival conducts several types of events, workshops and screenings. Notably, the exhibition hall for Athens Photo Festival 2019 was the world-class Benaki Museum on Pireos Street. If you are not just passionate but crazy about photography, then this festival is something you must attend once.

Rockwave Festival

When it comes to music festivals in Greece, Rockwave is undoubtedly one of the most popular events celebrated in Malakasa, near Athens. This is a pop and rock music festival that happens in June every year and lasts for four days. If you are someone who wants music more than food, then this festival has everything you have ever wanted. It has seen some of the most famous and legendary artists and bands from different corners of the world playing their best tunes. Thousands of people join this festival every year for a unique experience.

The crowd gets to witness a variety of music forms performed by international and local bands and musicians, with concerts happening all day long, from morning to midnight. These tunes keep people dancing for hours while creating a whole party vibe with the traditional sounds of world music. Some of the known bands/artistes that have performed in the festival include Placebo, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Metallica, Manu Chao, Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses, Sabaton, Black Sabbath, Prodigy, REM, Sting, Robert Plant, Volbeat and Iron Maiden. The festival caters to even the people with the most discerning taste in music. Certainly, it is the best music event on the list of festivals in Athens.

The Athens & Epidaurus Festival

The Athens & Epidaurus Festival is the most important event in not just the city of Athens but Greece too. In addition, it is one of the oldest performing arts festivals in Europe. Since its start, the festival has been welcoming world-class artistes to the country every summer. This festival is organised between the months of June and August in the historical theatres of the city. Athens and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus are home to this Greek festival. The venue is known as one of the oldest theatres that has been hosting drama plays since 330 BC.

This cultural event has so much to offer to the audience, including theatre, jazz, classical music, ballet, opera and ancient drama performances. Apart from the main venue, related events are held at several other locations in Athens, such as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Lycabettus Theater, as well as in Epidaurus. Being one of the most famous festivals in Athens, the event brings out the true culture of the country that is truly one of its kind.

Athens Digital Arts Festival

Athens Digital Arts Festival is a renowned international event that promotes and stimulates digital art culture. The festival calls for an annual gathering that brings together the worldwide community of artists and audiences. Started in the year 2005, it is celebrated to encourage all aspects of digital creativity through its multidisciplinary programmes. It conducts various types of live performances, exhibitions, screenings and workshops. Also, the event offers international tributes showcasing different kinds of artwork.

The idea behind this festival is to help build digital art by displaying distinctive characteristics of the medium. There are videos, graphics, animations and other digital art forms that are presented in front of the whole world through this festival. This famous festival in Athens is celebrated for five days and welcomes people without any fee. Taking a different theme every year, the event is organised at different venues located close to the city centre.

The festival gives birth to different digital art forms that challenge reality. It is a fair where art meets science offering glimpses of what is real, augmented and virtual. People who think out of the box and love digital creativity, they must come to this festival to explore new digital art forms.

International Comics Festival

Celebrated since 1996, the International Comics Festival of Athens is one of the most interesting events on the list of festivals in Athens. Sometimes dubbed as Babel Festival, this colourful and vibrant festival attracts globally known comics artists while promoting budding local illustrators. The festival is a heaven for those who are crazy for comics and illustrations. It is one place where all your imaginations come to life. The festival gives a platform to mix and merge artistic expressions with comics. Organised at the Technopolis complex in Gazi, the festival includes exhibitions of Greek and foreign artists, relevant concerts and events.

The International Comics Festival welcomes globally acclaimed specialists in the fields of funnies, expressive arts, and music. It also presents artwork by Greek craftsmen and bridges the gap between new age and authentic art. People who have grown up watching comics and are crazy about such kinds of illustrations, they must attend this festival once in a lifetime.

Athens Open-Air Film Festival

Inaugurated in the year 2011, Athens Open Air Film Festival is a prominent event that was launched by Athens International Film Festival and CINEMA magazine. It is a magical event in which film screenings and similar cultural events take place. It recognises films in a beautiful and unique urban setting against some of the most iconic monuments of Athens. The festival tries to involve the whole city of Athens by invading pedestrian streets, parks, squares, open-air theatres and even museums’ courtyards to offer lifelong memories to locals and visitors without any cost.

It actually turns the city into a giant cinema theatre during summers. Imagine watching an all-time classic or a modern-day inspiring movie in your next-door park or against the backdrop of the Acropolis or under the starry Athenian sky. Undisputedly, the festival is a crowd favourite.

The Athens Open Air Film Festival screens a portion of the best motion pictures in film history around the city. The celebration is nothing but an emotion of love towards the silver screen. It encourages young minds and actors who have done incredibly great work. Enjoying this festival is a lifetime experience that brings together the whole entertainment community and the public to celebrate great artwork.

Athens Street Food Festival

If you are someone who loves Greek food and are planning to visit Athens, then make sure you do not miss the Athens Street Food Festival. It is one of the most famous food fairs that offers some of the best and most interesting street food items in Athens. Organised at the old depot of ISAP buses on Ermou Street, next to Keramikos Ancient Cemetery, the festival starts from the morning and lasts till evening.

It gives a golden opportunity to foodies to enjoy a variety of dishes for three weekends. What else would any food lover want? The festival welcomes Athenians and visitors around the city to taste street food from different parts of the world. Being a famous festival in Athens, it sees a large number of people gathering in one place. The beauty of this festival is that it gives a chance to local street food vendors, restaurants and canteens to make their mark.

Visitors can find every local street food item along with a wide selection of international dishes from Mexican burritos to Hungarian sweets. Visit Athens during the festival and enjoy an ideal mix of unending music, dance, drinks and delectable food at one place.

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