Are you one of those travellers, who go against the mass trends? In other words, have you planned your trip to Greece off the season, during winter? Well, this is an excellent decision!
You can find exciting happenings all around Greece, mostly related to the ‘’Apokries’’, the Carnival, similar to the American Halloween. From the end of January till March there is a variety of festive activities (from folklore and traditional to modern and alternative) which mark the 40 days of fasting before the orthodox Easter. So, till the fasting period begins, Greeks find one more excuse to party! Why not join them?
*nerd alert* Etymologically speaking, the Greek word ‘’apokries’’ means abstaining from meat, same as the english word ‘’carnival’’ since it derives from the latin carnem levare (abstaining from meat).
On Thursday the 20th of February, in other words ‘’tsikno-Pempti’’ Greeks celebrate the beginning of the festive period. Since the fasting period is approaching, on that specific Thursday Greeks eat A LOT of meat. To be honest, it looks like a horror movie for vegetarians, but isn’t it a bit difficult to stop all these years of tradition?
‘’Tsikno-Pempti’’, in other, very creative words, the ‘’barbeque-Thursday’’, is the beginning of the Greek carnival. But what is so different between Halloween and Apokries? Well, the narrative is different. In Ancient Greece it was the period when people would honor god Dionysus, the god of wine and entertainment, through festivals with lots of wine, music and costumes! Sounds fun, doesn’t it? The costumes however were not made in order to scare people’s neighbors and take candies, but on the contrary, people were dressing up in order to mimic Dionysus, his satyres (those short guys with huge penises), or other mythical creatures, aiming to involve the passers by, make them laugh and break the norms of the everyday life.
Closer to our modern days, carnivals take place all around Greece and some of them still remain quite authentic. If you are in an adventurous mood, don’t miss out the ones in the countryside (Litohoro, Serres) and the islands (Naxos, Skyros). If on the other hand, you are in our pretty and charming Athens, visit Metaxourgio neighborhood! One of the most interesting, fun and colorful parades that happen in Athens… The date is not announced yet, so stay tuned and why not, join our street culture tour in the exact same area of Metaxourgio, so you can go to the carnival and be already aware of the cool spots!
Fantastic Experience We booked tours with a couple of tour companies but Skip the Line Acropolis of Athens and New Acropolis Museum Tour with Athen Walking Tours was our favorite.
Vicki B | May 22 | Acropolis & Museum Tour
Great pace and level of details WITHOUT going to deep yet, she answered every question wth great knowledge and passion!!
GrandTour398142 | May 22 | Private Acropolis Tour
An excellent 3 hour guided tour with an extremely knowledgeable archaeologist guide. Just the tight amount of time to tour the Acropolis site and the highlights of the outstanding Parthenon Museum.
Jan A | July 22 | Acropolis & Acropolis Museum
Food is the soul of a nation - the perfect Athens experience!
CMS | July 22 | Athens Cooking Lesson
Excellent walking tour of the Acropolis. Our guide Angela was informative, kind and friendly. The pace was perfect, and good to avoid the queues!
Prakash | July 22 | Acropolis Tour
Amazing experience! Ah, and yummy!Wow! How do I start? Well, this was an amazing experience to star our visit to Athens, it was like cooking the Thanksgiving dinner with your family, thanks to the instructor Sophia....
LisetteDeAbreu | July 22 | Athens Cooking Lesson
Great day outIt was a fascinating and fun tour of the Acropolis with our excellent guide & insider Charoula;
Jasper | June 22 | Acropolis & Food Tastings
Great tour to start visit Athens We started our stay and visit to Athens by going on this guided tour, and it was a very good decision!
Beatriz C | June 22 | Acropolis Tour
A must do! A fabulous opportunity to explore and taste the Greek cuisine off the beaten path.
Stephanie C | June 22 | Athens Food Tour
Fantastic Foodie Tour We learnt so much about Greek food and customs and visited locations we would never have found on our own.
Kathy C | June 22 | Athens Food Tour
4 hours Of History and joy Tour guide Fotini really made the day, enjoyed every minute of the tour.
Amy E | June 22 | Acropolis with Food Tasting
Inspiring and unforgettable ... It's 40 years since I was last there, I now have a much greater appreciation of the history of this architectural marvel.
Padraic Timlin | June 22 | Acropolis Tour
Outstanding tour! The length of this tour was just right with the perfect amount of walking and interesting sites.
KateFlorida1 | May 22 | Acropolis & City Tour
An immersive, emotional and fun experience into the heart of Athens and its people This was exactly the type of tour I was craving for and there couldn't have been a better match than Sofia to host such tour.
Niccolò | May 22 | Athens Street Culture
Great tour with Annie We had a small group and she took the time to explain all the meaningful sites in the Agora.
Dakota | May 22 | Ancient Agora