Winter is the season when the world’s best dancers and ballet troupes come to Athens and when the opera season really hits its stride. From jazz nights at cosy venues to magnificent New Year’s Eve fireworks displays, here’s our monthly round-up of the best things to see and experience during your visit to Athens in December.
WHAT’S ON IN ATHENS IN DECEMBER
NEW YEAR’S EVE IN ATHENS
Spending New Year’s Eve in Athens is a jubilant affair and Athenians know how to have a good time. Follow their lead for a memorable evening on the last night of the year in Athens. Find your perfect pace with free events for families, world-class dinners in style or hit the party circuit with a view of the Acropolis. Find out more here.
MUSIC IN THE CITY
Greek Singers in Athens throughout November: Greek music lovers can see some of their favourite Greek singers over various weekends throughout December in Athens.
14 December: Schubert Sonatas with pianist, Elisabeth Leonskaja.
21 December: A Christmas concert with the Athens State Orchestra presenting one of Johann Bach’s most popular works, the Christmas Oratorio.
21 & 22 December: Jil Aigrot, the voice of Edith Piaf in the Oscar-winning film ‘La Vie en Rose’, returns to Athens to present her unique interpretation of the passionate love songs by the legendary French artist.
25 & 28 December: Gadjo Dilo performs their unique style of gypsy jazz music ‘Manouche De Grec’.
26 December: Greek retro swing band, The Swingin’ Cats will perform a repertoire of swing and rock n ‘roll melodies.
27 & 28 December: Classical crossover artist and tenor Mario Frangouliswill bring the essence of Christmas to the Megaron Athens Concert Hall.
OPERA, THEATRE AND DANCE IN ATHENS
Throughout December: Women of Passion, Women of Greece – An old wagon is transformed into a theatrical stage, where the mythological figure of ancient Greek tragedy Medea, meets the contemporary “priestesses” of modern Greece, Maria Callas and Melina Mercouri.
Throughout December: The magic of Christmas comes to the National Theatre of Greece in Athens in a thrilling musical version of Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol by the dynamic young Greek director Giannis Moschos.
Throughout December: My Fair Lady will be presented for the first time in Greece by the Greek National Opera.
13, 15, 19, 21, 28 December: Don Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi returns to the Greek National Opera’s stage, presented in its Italian five-act version.
18 – 22 December: Direct from Beijing, the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China comes to Athens for an evening of high-flying acrobatic entertainment.
19 December: Internationally acclaimed Australian comedian, Jim Jefferies comes to Athens as part of his “Night Talker Tour”.
20 – 23 & 25-30 December: The Béjart Ballet Lausanne returns to Athens, this time presenting Wolfgang Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31 December: Swan Lake returns to the Stavros Niarchos Hall with a modern choreography from the Greek National Opera’s (GNO) artistic director, Konstantinos Rigos, following previous sold-out performances.
23 – 29 December: The Bolshoi Ballet Academy returns to Athens with one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions, The Nutcracker.
30 December: The annual opera gala resumes with popular arias and duets from operas by Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi and more.
MUST SEE EXHIBITIONS ON IN ATHENS
Throughout December: Chisel and Memory Exhibition – The Acropolis Museum is hosting an exceptional exhibition of photographs highlighting the contribution of marble craftsmanship to the restoration of the Acropolis monuments.
Throughout December: The exhibition ‘Hadrian and Athens, conversing with an Ideal World’ marks 1900 years since the Roman Emperor Hadrian began his reign in 117AD and showcases his philhellenism and an enduring legacy at the National Archaeological Museum.
Throughout December: The Benaki Museum presents the work of talented Greek artist Yiannis Pappas (1913-2005), displayed in his original workspace in Zografou.
Throughout December: Greek-American sculptor, Lynda Benglis presents her first solo show in Greece at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens. “Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses” is a selection of works dating from 1969.
Throughout December: Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmarkpresents pictures from the Qatari desert and photographs of the Aegean Sea, exhibited side by side at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in Athens.
Throughout December: A new exhibition ‘Christian Zervos and Cahiers d’art’ is presented at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos St Annexe in Athens. As one of the great unknown figures in art history, this presentation introduces the general public to Zervos’ multifaceted and consequential work as a critic.
Throughout December: The Benaki Museum in association with LiFO Magazine present a new exhibition, ‘Athenians: The Face of a City’ at the Pireos Street Annexe in Athens.
Throughout December: A parallel perspective of paintings and tapestries by Greek artists from the 1960’s to today will be presented at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos St Annex in Athens.
Why Athens Tip for December
Throughout December: The ice skating rink at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is open daily free of charge to members of the public. It’s just one of the many events they’re hosting this month at the venue.
Throughout December: The Acropolis Museum provides complimentary* guided tours every Friday evening at 6:00pm (in English) led by an archaeologist who shares fascinating insights about the permanent exhibits.
*The Gallery Talks are complimentary with the regular price of entry. Duration: 60 minutes.
Find more events on in Athens this month.
Disclaimer: We make every attempt to ensure information about events are accurate and obtained from reliable sources. Why Athens is neither the producer nor ticketing agent of any performances listed and is therefore not responsible for the outcomes of performances including if they appear contrary to how the production has been originally promoted or represented. See our editorial policy for further information.