Cultural Events in Crete

Crete today – just as it has been throughout its long history – is a cosmopolitan island, whilst nonetheless retaining those elements which belong customarily to the folk tradition.

The cultural events of the island – traditional or otherwise – do not cease the year round, though they reach their peak in the summer. On the one hand the big cities organize summer festivals embracing every sort of matter in the spectrum of folk art – usually lasting days or weeks. Here belong the Kyrveia (Ierapetra), the Kornareia (Siteia), the Summer festival (Herakleion) and the Renaissance festival (Rethymnon). On the other hand, in many villages of Crete there are organized festivals and traditional celebrations. Feasts and festivals, Cretan music and a rich artistic output in customary ways make up the linkage between Crete today and that of times gone – a past that lives on, albeit constantly evolving. Thus, in the big cities, you can get a taste of the cosmopolitan and contemporary artistic scene, whilst at the same time in the villages you may experience an old-style festival accompanied by traditional music, much dancing and local delicacies.

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Traditional Festivals & Fairs

Cultural events in Crete. Traditional Festivals & FairsEvery summer the traditional festivals and fairs act as real attractions in Cretan villages for natives and foreigners alike. In particular, they provide occasions for social gatherings and the maintenance of old customs and ways.


The Kazani - Raki Distilling

Cultural events in Crete. The Kazani - Raki DistillingThis is the process of raki-distilling, when the grape-must is converted to liquid fire! The must is what remains once the grapes have been pressed for wine. A proper ritual, raki-distilling is naturally performed all over the island after the harvest and in particular between October and mid-December.


Anogeia - The Hyakintheia

Cultural events in Crete. Anogeia - The Hyakintheia This is a three day event, taking place annually in July. Dedicated to Aghios Hyakinthos – the Cretan ‘Saint of Love’, it takes place in an area specially prepared for it, a little outside the village of Anogia, up the Psiloriti slopes (at 1200 m up!).


Rethymon – The Carnival

Culture events in Crete. Rethymon – The CarnivalThis has a long history in Rethymnon – it is a century since it its inauguration in 1914! Recently it has grown still further so that almost all the city is actively involved – many thousands of visitors arrive here from all over Crete and indeed the whole of Greece.


Houdetsi - Music Festival

Cultural events in Crete. Houdetsi FestivalIt is organized by the musical workshop 'Labyrinth', the brain-child of Ross Daly. Under this aegis every early August, dozens of concerts are performed, spotlighting major Cretan artists and musicians from all around the world.


Heraklion – The Summer Festival

Cultural events in Crete. Heraklion – The Summer Festival In recent years, Heraklion has created an important event in this. The festival programme contains strands of theatre, music, dance and the visual arts, with the participation of important Greek and foreign artists. This includes also several occasions that involve local artistic groups and clubs.


Rethymnon - The Renaissance Festival

Cultural events in Crete. Rethymnon - The Renaissance Festival The city of Rethymno honours its Renaissance past by organizing (over the last 25 years) an inspirational event – the Renaissance Festival. Every summer, the Festival brings to the city music, art exhibitions, theatrical performances – all drawn from the Cretan and European Renaissance – as well as childrens’ events and other happenings.


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