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Summer 2024 in Greece: Athens Epidaurus Festival

The Athens and Epidaurus Festival is one of the biggest festivals of the Greek summer. It has operated more than sixty years and features a program of music, theatre, dance, and visual arts. Performances are held at the two ancient theatres of the Odeon Herodes Atticus and the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. So, the visitors to the festival can enjoy shows both in Athens and in the Peloponnese.

Aerial View of Venue

About the Venues

Both of the amphitheaters for the festival are worth visiting even without a show. Both are famous for their acoustics and because famous figures like Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus once performed at the Epidaurus Theatre during ancient times.

 

When Does the Athens Epidaurus Festival Start?

The 2024 Athens Epidaurus Festival opens on June 1st in 2024. Over the 85 days of the festival, there will be 93 productions, all which you can find on the online calendar. 2500 performers come from all over the world to take part.

 

Some of the events include performances, concerts, performances, screenings, discussions, educational programs, publications, parties, free events, retrospectives, new collaborations, and other events with professionals in the performing arts.

 

For the program in English, click here.

What is the Odeon of Heroden Atticus?

As you go up the path to the top of the Acropolis, you will find the Odeon of Heroden Atticus. This theater was built in 160 AD by a wealthy Athenian and holds 5000 seats. It is used for music, opera, and concerts during Athens festivals that go throughout the summer. Even if you don’t have a chance to visit the Acropolis, it is possible to view the stone arch of the Odeon from a distance near the ticket office.

 

Who Will Perform at the Odeon of Herodes in Athens?

In Athens, you will find mainly shows by orchestras and musicians. The 2024 festival will welcome live audiences with performances by world class orchestras and musicians at the iconic stage of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus beneath the Acropolis. Among the main acts this year is STING, who will perform on July 5 and 6. Also, the Greek National Opera will perform Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca and Giuseppe Verdi’s, La Traviata

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

What is the Theater at Epidaurus?

The Sanctuary of Asklepius is found in Epidaurus in the eastern Peloponnese. This was a place of healing during times of antiquity because Epidaurus was thought to be the birthplace of the god Asklepius. Pilgrims came to Epidaurus to ask for a cure for their illnesses, and the answer was given to them in their dreams.

 

The next day, they told their dream to the priest, who would tell them the best way to be healed. A large theater with excellent acoustics is located nearby, which was used to honor the god and is today called the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus.

 

Who Will Perform at the Theater at Epidaurus?

Audiences can also expect a show by the Greek National Opera here, as well as works by ancient Greek playwrights Euripides, Aeschylus and Aristophanes. International theatre director Timofey Kulyabin will also present Euripides’ Iphigenia.

 

Getting to Epidaurus

Epidaurus theatre is located within the archaeological site of the sanctuary of Asklepios in Palea Epidaurus, in the region of Argolis and is a two hour drive from Athens. Why Athens offers private taxi’s, mini-vans and mini-bus transfers to and from the site on the evenings when performances are showing. You can find out more information about ways to get to ancient Epidaurus here.

Theater of Epidaurus

Οther Places to Go in the Peloponnese

If you want to see more historical sights in the the Peloponnese, you can also combine a visit to Epidaurus with a road trip. Here is one possible road trip itinerary:

 

Days 1-2 

Start in Athens and wander south to the olive groves and quiet villages of Sparta and Olympia. Here you will see a big contrast to the fast movement of Athens. Make sure to stop at the village of Levidi and head to Nafplio for a taste of greek history and an ice cream on the beach.

 

Days 3-4

Head to the far reaches of southern Greece and the rocky land of Mystras, which was once a Byzantine capital and is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Once here, you can slow down the pace and stay at a rural town, or you can go west to Costa Navarino. The hotel has art from the Benaki Museum.

 

Days 5-6

Slowly make your way back to Athens on the beautiful Peloponnesian roads. Stop at ancient Messini and Mycenae further north, 2 impressive historical sights. End your trip back in the Greek capital of Athens.

Mystras, Laconia

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