A quick guide to the Athens Festival. A brilliant cultural experience for anyone joining us on a luxury yacht holiday in Greece.
The Greek people are not ones to shy away from public displays of exuberance. Their culture is woven into numerous community events. The Athens and Epidaurus Festival is no exception.
We recently covered Orthodox Easter in our blog and although the events are infinitely different. There is a certain similarity to be seen in the enthusiasm and passion that goes into both events.
Athens is not somewhere we often sail at Deep Blue Yachting. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit while on your luxury yacht holiday with us. Many of our customers fly through Athens before grabbing connecting flights to Lefkada. So why not spend an extra day in the city before leaving this summer and enjoy the wonders of the Athens Festival.
What is the Athens Festival?
Held in the summer each year, the Athens festival is a celebration of Greek art forms: music, theatre, dance and visual art.
Events are carried out every day from mid-June until the end of July and include incredible examples of unique entertainment.
In Athens, you can enjoy open-air theatre, opera, classical and modern music, dance and more. Restaurants also put on a performance of sorts. With many offering traditional Greek flavours and modern twists to celebrate the festival going on around them.
Perhaps our favourite event is held at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an ancient Greek amphitheatre dating back thousands of years. Here, you can sit on the ancient steps and watch a traditional-style Greek tragedy. As if living the life of an ancient Greek.
Similarly spectacular events are held at the Epidaurus Ancient Theatre, a two-hour drive outside of Athens. The Athens festival is twinned with the festival of Epidaurus. Those planning to visit during the festival should make an effort to visit a show at the Epidaurus Ancient Theatre.
Larger than the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the atmosphere and acoustics here are out of this world. Offering an unforgettable night of art and theatre.
Of course, all plays are in Greek but English subtitles are available in programs sold at the venues.
History of the Athens Festival
As you might expect from a country that oozes historic importance. The Athens festival wasn’t dreamt up overnight.
Fifty-six years in the making, the Epidaurus- Festival has beginnings in 1955 when then Minister of the Presidency George Rallis decided to hold an event celebrating the Greek world of high arts.
The idea was the open up the art community, creating a passion for modern and traditional forms. Rallis wanted to bring together the people of Athens. Also indeed, the people of Greece, with a love of unique Greek culture and customs.
Over the years, the Athens festival has appeared in many different iterations. But now, it stands as a beacon of Greek art and a message to the international community, saying “come see what we can do”.
What to do at the Athens Festival
Over 100 events take place over the course of the Athens Festival. Meaning there is ample opportunity to experience something new and exciting.
While we can’t describe every single event, we can give you an idea of what to expect and what you should be looking out for:
- Theatre – From Greek tragedies to modern classics. Actors put on a range of incredible performances during the Athens Festival. Don’t miss a show in one of the ancient open-air theatres.
- Opera – Although Italy may be the birthplace of the opera. Their neighbours are just as experienced in the age-old singing practice. There are plenty of opportunities to watch classic operas during the Athens Festival — a real epic treat.
- Ballet – The Greeks may be famously boisterous and flamboyant. But that doesn’t stop them from being delicate when they want to be. Ballet is a staple at the Athens festival, an unmissable display of grace and finesse.
- Music – Many famous European artists turn out to perform at the Athens festival. With acts ranging across all music genres. Perhaps most famously, Pavarotti used to put on shows here. If that doesn’t say prestige, I don’t know what does.
- Modern Dance – The contemporary dance movement has not escaped the ever evolving art community in Greece. There is a number of shows demonstrating modern dance, run during the Athens Festival.
- Art – While performance art takes centre stage during the Festival. Traditional art is also on show. A number of exhibits run during the summer. Showcasing the finest in art, both contemporary and classical.
Heading out for a luxury yacht holiday in Greece with Deep Blue Yachting this summer? Take a pit stop in Athens and enjoy the festival!
I will be happy to answer any questions, or comments that you may have. So please, feel free to leave them.