Athens brims with art and music festivals for all styles and ages all year round. Especially during summertime when the weather is ideal for open-air concerts allowing the city’s enthusiastic crowd to enjoy their favorite acts under the starry night sky, the choices are endless.

From plays in the country’s prominent ancient theaters to hip music festivals bringing established artists of the international music scene, this guide will walk you through Athen’s festival scene.

The Athens & Epidaurus Festival

The Athens & Epidaurus Festival is the most prestigious festival in Greece and one of the oldest performing arts festivals in Europe. Since 1955, every summer from June to August, The Athens & Epidaurus Festival brings world-class artists to the country’s historical theatres. The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is Athens Festival’s main venue dates to the 2nd century AD and is situated at the foot of the Acropolis. Over the years international acclaimed musicians such as Frank Sinatra and Maria Callas have performed at the ancient stone theater. The Epidaurus Festival takes place in the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, a venue which has been hosting drama plays since 330 BC.

Athens Digital Arts Festival

Featuring installations, videos, animation, as well as performances and workshops, Athens Digital Arts Festival introduces Athenians to the different forms of digital art. Inaugurated in 2005, the award-winning festival celebrates its 15th anniversary this year in May with a number of exhibitions under the theme “The World is a Hologram.” The festival runs for 5 days and is open to the public without an entry fee. Every year Athens Digital Arts Festival takes place in different venues but all of them are located in or close to the city center.


Release Athens

Bringing some of the hottest names of the international and local music scene, Release Athens has become one of the best music festivals in the country. Even though it counts just three years of existence, it has already become the summer event Athenian music fans are looking forward to. The full line up for Release Athens 2019 hasn’t been announced yet, but Iggy Pop, Hozier and Alice in Chains are the headliners for this year’s festival.


Ejekt Festival

Ejekt Festival is another much-beloved annual music event. Founded in 2005, Ejekt has hosted a great number of internationally renowned artists such as Nick Cave, The Killers and Moby. This year on Wednesday, July, the stage of Ejekt festival will hit The Cure, Michael Kiwanuka, Ride, Khruangbin and The Steams. The festival takes place in Water Plaza (Plateia Nerou), a huge square by the waterfront close to the Athenian Riviera.

The Athens International Film Festival Opening Nights

Every year for 10 days in September cinemas in Athens are packed with cinephiles queueing up to watch the newest movie releases. The Athens International Film Festival has been part of the country’s festival scene since 1995 and every since attracts around 60.000 visitors annually. Many of the cinemas that host Premiere Nights are small historic cinemas located in the city center. Festival-goers have the chance to watch new film and documentary releases and at the same time visit some of the most significant cinema halls in Athens.

Plisskën Festival

Known for its diverse line-up of established and upcoming DJs musicians of different music genres, Plisskën Festival attracts a mixed crowd of festival-goers. The hip music festival launched in 2010 and ever since has taken place both in winter and summer. In 2019 Plisskën returns with its summer edition on June 26 and 27. Performances take place in different venues around the city and range from electronic and rock to reggae and hip hop.


Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival

From May 27 to June 2, Technopolis venue in Gazi will be once more filled with enthusiastic jazz music fans. Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival has been taking place for 19 years in a row hosting first-class jazz musicians and bands from all over the world. Technopolis is an outdoor cultural venue located close to Kerameikos metro station so getting there is quite easy. Even if you aren’t a big fan of jazz music it is worth to attend a concert during Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival. Listening to the lingering live jazz tunes under the Athenian summer sky just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis will introduce you to the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Athens Photo Festival

Just like many other metropolitans, Athens hosts an annual photo festival showcasing emerging and established photographers. Athens Photo Festival took place for the first time in 1987 and 10 years later it became an annual event. Aside from exhibitions, Athens Photos Festival organizes various events, talks, workshops and screenings. The exhibition hall for Athens Photo Festival 2019 will be the world-class museum Benaki Museum on Pireos street.

Festivals in Athens photos by Kostas Limitsios / Flickr, Aliki Seferou, Romain Etienne courtesy of Athens Digital Arts Festival