Tickets for the Athens, Lycabettus, and Epidaurus festivals are available at the Hellenic Festival Box Office, 39 Panepistimiou (in the arcade; tel. 210/928-2900). Hours are Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 2:30pm. (The name "Hellenic Festival" is an umbrella term for a number of summer festivals, including the Athens and Epidaurus festivals.) Advance booking for most events starts 3 weeks before each performance, 10 days before each event for the Lycabettus Festival. Ticket reservation and telephone booking are also possible by credit card, with the exact date and performance, number and category of tickets, and number and expiration date of the credit card. Tickets (if available) also go on sale at the box offices at each theater 2 hours before each performance. Events at the Odeion of Herodes Atticus on the slopes of the Acropolis are usually sold out by the day of the performance; for information, call tel. 210/323-2771.
Additional information is available at www.greekfestival.gr, www.athens24.com, and www.breathtakingathens.gr.
Festivals -- New festivals spring up every year in Athens. You may want to check with the Greek National Tourism Organization to see what's new during your visit.
Early June through September, the Athens Festival (also known as the Athens or Greek Festival) features famous Greek and foreign artists from Elton John to Placido Domingo performing on the slopes of the Acropolis. You may catch an opera, concert, drama, or ballet here -- and see the Acropolis illuminated over your shoulder at the same time. To enjoy the performance to the fullest, bring a cushion to sit on. Schedules are usually available at the Hellenic Festival Office, 39 Panepistimiou (in the arcade; tel. 210/928-2900; www.greekfestival.gr; Metro: Panepistimio). The office is usually open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 2pm and 5 to 7pm, Sunday from 10am to 1pm. You will have better luck if you come in person rather than try to reach the office by phone. If available -- and that's a big if -- tickets can be purchased at the Odeion of Herodes Atticus (tel. 210/323-2771 or 210/323-5582) several hours before the performance. Again, you will have better luck going to the ticket office than phoning, although if your hotel has a concierge, he or she may be able to obtain tickets (15€-50€) over the phone. Shows begin at 9pm.
Athens International Dance Festival
Founded in 2003, this festival takes place during the first 2 weeks of July at the Technopolis arts complex, 100 Piraeus, Gazi. This is not the place to go for a traditional rendition of Swan Lake; groups performing here push the limits of contemporary dance. Schedule and ticket information is at tel. 210/346-1589 or 210/346-7322 (www.greekfestival.gr).
Athens International Film Festival
Over 100 features and shorts represent more than two dozen countries for 10 days in mid- to late September in various venues across the city (tel. 210/606-1963; www.aiff.gr).
From late June to late August, performances of ancient Greek tragedies and comedies (usually given in modern Greek translations) take place at Epidaurus, in Greece's most beautiful ancient theater. This makes for a long evening, but a memorable one. If you purchase bus service along with your ticket (about 2 hr. each way), the evening doesn't have to be exhausting. You may want to inquire as to whether the bus/boat excursion from Piraeus to Epidaurus offered in 2002 has been reinstituted; contact the Greek National Tourism Organization, the Hellenic Festival Office , or the Rex Theater box office (tel. 210/330-1881) on Panepistimiou just outside Spiromilios Arcade.
European Jazz Festival
Founded in 1999, this festival, usually held at the end of May, brings together Europe's best jazz musicians in the Technopolis center, 100 Pireos, Gazi (tel. 210/346-0981; www.culture.gr.).
Lycabettus Festival (Likavitos)
The Pet Shop Boys, Buena Vista Social Club, and other pop musicians make appearances here at the outdoor amphitheater near the top of Likavitos during the summer. For information on music and special events, check with the Hellenic Festival Office or Likavitos Theater (tel. 210/722-7209). Tickets may also be available at Ticket House, 42 Panepistimiou (tel. 210/618-9300 or 210/360-8366; www.tickethouse.gr).
Popular groups and performers (Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pearl Jam, the Killers, Moby, and others) from around the world perform each year at various venues in and around the city. For more information on what's taking place during your visit, check with the Greek National Tourism Organization, Ticket House , or visit their website at www.rockwavefestival.gr.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.