Experience local traditions and festivals

Music is an ever-popular form of artistic expression in Greece, and each part of the country has its own traditions and style of music and dancing. Folk music known in Greek as dimotika (on the mainland) and nastika (on the islands) carries the essence of the Greek mentality of recent times; traditional folk songs describe the way of life and the joys and troubles of Greek people as experienced across the country. In the Ionian Islands, the numerous philharmonic bands prove the locals’ great love for their musical traditions and active engagement with all types of music. Laika is a type of popular music that’s more associated with urban centers, without being restricted to them. If you want to get a taste of Greek nightlife, this is the type of music you’ll listen and dance to in nightclubs. Rebetiko is another type of popular music that could be described as the Greek blues. 

In Athens, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre is a must-visit location, housing the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece. Watch live events and enjoy activities for young and old at the Centre’s facilities. In Greece, the night is young and promising, so book your ticket for your favorite modern music festival across the country, such as the Ejekt Festival, Rockwave Festival, River Party Festival, Sani Festival, Plissken Festival, Release Athens Festival, and Primer Music Festival. 

Dancing has always been a popular artform with Greeks. Dancing traditions are many, and differ from one area to the other. This explains the great variety of folk-dance styles across the country. Are you a dance fan? Travel to Athens and visit the Dora Stratou Dance Theatre on Philopappou Hill, opposite the Acropolis. From May to September, you can enjoy daily performances of folk dances. Groups wear local costumes from each dance’s place of origin. 

Plan a visit to the Ionian Island of Lefkada, for the Lefkas International Folklore Festival. This is the oldest folk-art festival in Greece and is the celebrations take place in August. You will have the opportunity to watch colorful groups of dancers from across the world while enjoying your summer holidays. 

If, however, you are looking for a modern dance festival, the town of Kalamata in the Peloponnese should rank high on your list of must-visit seaside destinations. Enjoy the dance performances, outdoor events and workshops that take place in July during the Kalamata International Dance Festival. Most activities take place at the Kalamata Dance Megaron. Further south, on the island of Crete, an International Contemporary Dance Festival called Dance Days Chania takes place in Chania City in late July, with the participation of artists from across the world. The program includes dance shows, workshops, lectures, seminars and a variety of other art events. 

Delight in the sound and energy of music and dancing at Imerovigli, Santorini during a folklore festival.
Delight in the sound and energy of music and dancing at Imerovigli, Santorini during a folklore festival. ©GNTO/ Laskarakis P.

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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