If there’s one nation that loves a celebration, it’s Greece. It’s not enough that the calendar is chock-full with festivals, Greeks also like to celebrate two birthdays a year – one on the day of their birth and the other on the day of the saint they were named after.
So here are six of the best festivals Greece has to offer – you may just want to time your next trip to Greece in order to catch one…
Easter is far and away the biggest festival in Greece – so big it involves an entire week of celebration, with many islands having their own unique take on the ‘Holy Week’ festival.
The celebrations start a week before Easter Sunday as children sing door-to-door and collect money and eggs on the Saturday of Lazarus. Although the mood gets a little more sombre as the week progresses towards Good Friday, it picks back up into one of celebration come Easter Sunday.
The islands of Tinos, Chios, and Patmos are great places to immerse yourself in the Easter festivities, and if you really want to escape the tourists then Syros or Lesvos are ideal. Remember to check the dates though as the timing of the Orthodox Greek Easter may not match up with the Catholic celebrations.
A million miles away from a religious festival – but just a few miles outside of Athens – Rockwave is Greece’s biggest music festival and is played out over a few weekends between May and July.
And if you’re worried you won’t quite fit in with the type of crowd Rockwave pulls in, the 2015 show saw The Black Keys, Robbie Williams, The Prodigy and Judas Priest all playing – so pick your weekend wisely and you’ll be in good company no matter what type of music you’re into.
If you really want to immerse yourself in Greek culture, then you need to get yourself along to Koufonisia’s Up Festival. Although postponed for 2015, this festival usually takes place towards the end of July and sees the idyllic Pori beach come alive with contemporary Greek music until late into the night.
And the best thing of all – it’s completely free!
Tinos International Literary Festival
Tinos is known as the island of ‘faith and arts’ and so it’s fitting it plays host to Greece’s foremost arts festival, showcasing the works of writers and poets from across the globe via a program of public speeches, readings, discussions, and roundtable meetings.
It’s not all about the books though and local musicians and dancers are on hand to provide some authentic Greek entertainment.
Kastoria River Party
Set in the north of the Greek mainland, the Kastoria River Party is a five-day party that takes place between the first and fifth of August and features four different stages all set along the Nestorio River.
Now in its 37th year, this is somehow still one of Greece’s hidden gems and has played host to all kinds of local and international artists for over four decades – all you need is a tent and some swimming trunks.
August Moon Festival
The August Full Moon is something quite spectacular to behold, especially in Greece. Towns all across Greece host special nighttime events and parties to celebrate the most beautiful moon of the year – including sensational live music performances at historic landmarks as the Acropolis and the Roman Agora.