Christmas in Athens! > the events

Athens Mayor Theodoros Bechrakis and City of Athens Cultural Organisation Chairman Nitsa Loule on Monday presented this year’s “Christmas in Athens” programme of festivities.

Following the success of this relatively new tradition, the City of Athens is once again hosting an extensive programme of events for all ages with the aim of spreading Christmas cheer throughout the city and its neighbourhoods. Santa Claus, festive games and music performances will bring seasonal cheer to the central squares of Syntagma and Kotzia, as well as the Zappeion Gardens! Street theatre, among other exciting events, will spread Christmas joy throughout Athens neighbourhoods, including Pangrati, Thissio, Kypseli and Ambelokipi! Meanwhile, the City of Athens Philharmonic and music ensembles will fill city streets and squares with Christmas melodies! This year, “Christmas in Athens” comprises the following:

Location: Syntagma Square
Duration: December 14, 2006 – January 7, 2007
Launch: Thursday, December 14, 2006
Operating hours: 9:00 – 21:00 daily

A Christmas tradition firmly established by the City of Athens, Syntagma Square is once again revealing its sweet, magical charm.

Our beloved Town of Treats is donning its seasonal best, ready to welcome us to its little world of luscious Christmas delights! Fifteen multi-hued, wooden confectionery cabins situated along the length of the square will host local patisseries, tempting visitors with Yuletide sweets from Greece and abroad.

Aside from the popular confectionery cabins, which this year will be more radiant and enchanting than ever, Syntagma is also playing host to Santa’s Neighbourhood.

Santa Claus is coming to Athens, Syntagma to be exact, and invites youngsters to visit his home, Santa’s Workshop. St Basil, as he is known in Greece, will welcome children to his unique house, where they will have the chance to explore the various rooms and see Santa’s helpers, the little elves, create toys as well as inspect the toy storeroom, which is full of exciting gifts.

Children can take photographs, play and chat with Santa and his elves, and get to know their magical world through games and fairytales.

The impressive, natural-looking Christmas tree, to take pride of place in the centre of the square, will bring festive cheer to Syntagma. Colourful Christmas balls will adorn its branches, while bright, white lights bring it to life.

This year, in Santa’s Neighbourhood, you will encounter a very different carousel!

An imposing antique carousel dating to 1886 will add olde worlde atmosphere, no doubt bringing smiles to the faces of young and old. The 80-seat carousel featuring vividly-painted horses and charming carriages will take young Athenians and city visitors on a ride through a bygone era!

Location: Kotzia Square (Ethnikis Antistaseos)
Duration: December 16, 2006 – January 7, 2007
Launch: Saturday, December 16, 2006
Operating hours: 9:00  – 21:00 daily

This year Kotzia Square is not only home to a Christmas Market and Baby carousel but also the Land of Wishes!

At the Workshop of Wishes, youngsters can design their own Christmas cards, obtain specially-issued stamps featuring the Christmas in Athens logo, and send their wishes via the Post-box of Wishes.

The Christmas Market and its quaint wooden cabin shops return to Kotzia Square, with many surprises in store! Cheerful Yuletide colours and dazzling lights will put all of us in the Christmas mood! Visit the 36 cabin shops, which form a miniature town, where you can relish festive aromas, discover seasonal gift ideas and sample sweet mulled wine and tasty treats!

Situated on the attractive square in front of City Hall, the new, brightly-coloured Baby carousel entices both youngsters and the young-at-heart to hop on. Kids will adore the specially-built 10-seater carousel and its horses!

Kotzia’s 11m-high, green Christmas tree will be adorned with ornate traditional toys and provide the backdrop for a stage hosting music performances for all tastes, that will take place most evenings.

Come along and enjoy the entertainment, exchange wishes for the festive season and listen carefully… you might actually hear your wish out loud!

Starting Saturday, December 16, all are welcome to take a stroll through the Land of Wishes. You’re invited to the fun-filled party for the lighting of the Christmas tree!

Location: Zappeion Gardens
Duration: December 23, 2006 – January 7, 2007
Launch: Saturday, December 23, 2006
Operating hours: 11:00 – 20:00 daily

Kids’ Town, at the Zappeion Gardens, not only welcomes Athens’ youngest citizens but also those who are a little older…

Zappeion Gardens will be transformed into a snowy wonderland offering visitors endless hours of fun. Raise the adrenalin factor by taking a ride with inflatable tubes down a slide filled with real snow.

Youngsters will love the various rides and games spread throughout Zappeion’s Christmas wonderland.

At the giant Christmas stocking-shaped Gift Workshop, children have the opportunity, with the assistance of on-site staff, to create candles and  Christmas ornaments using spices, make balloon figures together with Santa Claus, and turn into elves and fairies with the use of face-painting techniques.

We’ll all board the vibrant little train and enjoy Christmas tunes on our trip through Kids’ Town around snow-covered trees, past giant board games and amid happenings!

Storytellers will recite fairy-tales for our young visitors at the cozy, festive Fairy-tale Workshop, housed in an oversized dollhouse.

A huge snowman will host the Workshop of Happiness, where children can have a laugh with puppet theatre and pantomime performances, while stilt-walkers amuse with their antics.

Athens’ smallest citizens can take a ride on one of the two baby carousels at Zappeion.

Come with us and let’s play, draw and create…
Let’s feel the Christmas spirit…
And explore magical pathways…

See also > 
The full programme of Christmas in Athens events
The programme of performances organised by the City of Athens Music Ensembles

UPDATE > A highlight this year is the Snow Slide, featuring real snow, at the Zappeion Gardens.

For more details, see (in Greek and English).