After two years of dreary isolation and low-key gatherings, this Christmas season Athens is alive with numerous events.
From the festively twinkly streets, Christmas trees and pretty ornaments, various corners of the city are filled with Christmas villages, merry gatherings for people of all ages, fun ice rinks, loud music, creative performances and more.
The Capital’s Largest Ice Rink
Until January 6, from 10 am-8 pm, ice skaters can enjoy practising artful pirouettes (or just landing on their behinds several times in a row) in Kotzia Square on Stadiou St. The largest ice rink in Athens, with a total area of 400m sq, keeps ice skaters entertained for hours. An online reservation is required through the pagodromio.christmasinathens.gr platform.
The Return of the Christmas Factory
Children can enjoy Christmas games, rides, and sweets at the Christmas Factory in Technopolis in Gazi. At the open-air Christmas marketplace, you’ll find 30 stands selling everything from seasonal decorations, toys, sweets, good luck charms and 15 food stands serving sweet and savoury dishes. Children can ride on the carousel, bumper cars and even a Ferris wheel while admiring beautiful Christmas décor. On weekends, activities and games, as well as musical and theatrical performances, take place. Until January 6.
Xmas DJs Hit the City
Producers from the City of Athens’s official radio station, Athina 9.84 will be DJing a Christmas soundtrack for shoppers and passers-by in the city’s most central areas around Syntagma Square, shopping boulevard Ermou St, around Monastiraki and Kotzia Square. Meanwhile, the Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing musical pop-up events, adding live entertainment to get those festive vibes rising.
Lively Christmas Villages in Various Neighbourhoods
From Acharnon and Kypseli to Pagrati and Goudi, neighborhoods of Athens will be transformed into ‘Christmas villages’ from December 17 to January 7. Santa Claus and his elves will welcome passers-by with crafts, sweets, Christmas hand-painting workshops and other festive activities. Stilt walkers, jugglers, Christmas characters, animators, puppets and magicians will be there too, adding to the seasonal fun. The Christmas villages will be open from 11 am -7 pm at Messolonghi Sq in Pagrati, Agia Aikaterini Sq in Kato Petralona, Athanassiou Diakou Sq in Kato Patisia, Agios Eleftherios – Acharnon, Victoria Sq in Kypseli and Agios Thomas Sq in Goudi.
Christmas Street Food Village
Athens’ first Christmas Street Food village is set up outside the Christmas Theater, an entire Christmas village with wooden houses that will serve up flavours from around the world. Try tasty French crêpes and American hotdogs or Mexican churros and Middle Eastern falafel, Italian pizza, Russian piroshki and heart-warming soups. Until January 6, at the Indoor Olympic Stadium of Galatsi.
The Tree of Freedom
In celebration of the Bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, decorate a giant tree with ceramic creations by the OPANDA Ceramics Centre. Meanwhile explore an exhibit of ceramic art like angels, doves and other festive items. The event is open from Tuesday to Friday from 11 am – 7 pm, and on weekends from 10 am- 3 pm at the Angeliki Chatzimichali Museum of Folk Art and Tradition.
The Acropolis Museum in Christmas Spirit
Interactive festive programmes for kids, evening walks in the exhibition spaces (every Friday at 8:30 pm except from 24/12 and 31/12), Christmas carols, unique gifts at the museum store and seasonal sweets in the restaurant are prepared to offer visitors special memories. The Acropolis Museum invites children aged 4 to 11 years old to participate in an interactive festive programme designed to help them express themselves through music. Visiting days are on 29/12 and 30/12 at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm & 2:30 pm.
St. Petersburg Classical Ballet of Russia’s Christmas Performance
The Nutcracker, the beloved ‘Christmas ballet’ will be staged on 25/12 and 26/12 at 8:30 pm at the Christmas Theater in Galatsi. The Classical Ballet of St. Petersburg, made up of prolific dancers from the famous Kirov (Mariinsky) corps de ballets, will be in Athens this Christmas with 60 performers to enchant audiences with the most magnificent Christmas fairy tale.
On December 30 at 8:30 pm, get ready for a “Swinging Christmas” with the Athens Big Band starring Stavros Romanos and Jenny Kapadais with songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, at the Olympia Municipal Music Theater ‘Maria Callas’. On New Year’s Eve at the same location, say adieu to 2021 at the festive concert “The 12 Days of Christmas” with songs and hymns from around the world, and welcome in 2022 with a New Year Opera Gala on January 13 at a concert dedicated to love, with famous arias and a duet of the most popular operas, conducted by Nikolas Nägele.
Christmas Eve Wish Lanterns
On Christmas Eve, the sky above Kotzia Sq will be filled with lanterns representing the Night of Wishes. Those present are promised the dreamy experience of watching an impressive audio-visual show by the Athens Digital Arts Festival with the Athens City Hall as a backdrop.
Christmas at the SNFCC
On Monday, December 27, at 8.30 pm, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) will present the ERT National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the award-winning conductor George Petrou at the Stavros Niarchos Hall. The seasonal concert will include the popular waltz and polka tunes as well as excerpts from operettas by composers from 19th century Vienna traditionally heard at this time of year to create a fuzzy festive buzz.
From December 18 to January 6, as part of the SNFCC Christmas World, the lighthouse Terrace is transformed into an impressive pop-up bar, specially designed for the holiday season, is making an entrance in the city. Designed by architect & set designer Elina Loukou, the 360 Christmas Pop-up Bar turns into a festive bar of contemporary aesthetics. The experience is complemented by beloved DJs and music producers, and a large selection of cocktails.
For more details head to Christmas in Athens