Patras Carnival

The Patras Carnival is one of Greece’s not-to-be-missed events. Little known abroad, the Patras Carnival, Patrino karnavali, is Greece’s biggest early-year event. We start on Saint Anthony’s Day and finish on Pure Monday, the Monday of Lent. This year’s Patras Carnival will take place from January 17 to March 18, 2024.

The official 2024 program has not yet been released… We look forward to seeing it on the Patras Carnival website!

Carnival history

It has over 180 years of history! Although the tradition of Carnival in Greece has its origins in much earlier pagan festivals in honor of Dionysus. The Patras carnival consists of a variety of events including balls, parades, dance shows, concerts, a hidden treasure hunt and the children’s carnival, among others…

The festival culminates on the last weekend of Carnival with the Saturday evening parade, featuring a host of colorful groups! But that’s without counting the extravagant parade of floats. Finally, this insane festival always ends with the same ritual: the burning of the Carnival King’s float on the quayside of St. Nicholas Street in the port of Patras. In 2019, there were around 750,000 carnival participants.

More information on the website Patras Carnival .

The organization

The opening ceremony

Patras Carnival street parade

A town crier with a satirical message launches the festivities. Perched on a musical float, he strolls through the streets of Patras. The program is kept secret until the last moment. From the first-floor balcony of the Apollon Theatre, the city’s mayor announces the program at the opening ceremony. Find the complete 2024 program in Greek.

Children’s carnival

The Children’s Carnival is an exclusive event at the Patras Carnival. Thousands of children take part with fun and creative activities. In a festive atmosphere, parents, teachers and children parade in a great burst of joy.

Atmosphere at the Patras Carnival
Carnival Patras

The treasure hunt

The participants in this treasure hunt are all those closely or remotely associated with the organization of the carnival. Organized groups take on challenges in the city, linked to general culture.

Sunday’s big parade

The night before, on Saturday evening, there’s an evening walk. But the highlight of the carnival is the big parade on the eve of Lent Monday. And so it begins on Sunday around midday. The parade of floats and groups, admired by thousands of people, is grandiose! The parade lasts for hours, in a very festive atmosphere.

a float at the Patras carnival
Wikipedia – chariot – Carnival of Patras

La Bourboulia

One of the carnival’s special features is the Bourboulia. One of the oldest events in the Patras Carnival. In fact, bourboulia is a very formal dance in which men and women remain anonymous, wearing black masks. Wearing carnival masks is a very old carnival tradition, practiced so that social classes can mix during carnival time…

How to get to Patras Carnival:

By plane: The best option is to fly into Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH), where most international flights land, then travel to Patras by bus, train or car.

By ferry: Patras has one of Greece’s largest ports. It mainly serves the Italian ports of Venice, Bari, Brindisi, Ancona and Trieste.

By train: The train from Athens takes about 3 hours to Patras. During Carnival, there is a significant increase in the number of trains running between Athens and Patras, often in a festive atmosphere. It’s about 10 euros per person. All the information here.

By bus: Commuter buses leave Athens’ Kifissos station almost every hour. Bus journeys take over 3 hours. It’s the KTEL Achaias, and costs between 18 and 23 euros per person. You can find all the information you need at

By car: If you wish to drive to Patras from Athens, you can do so via Corinth on national road 8A. Finally, you can also rent a vehicle . You’ll find all the main rental agencies in the airport (arrivals hall). We advise you to reserve your vehicle before your stay, via the Rental Cars website. This platform allows you to see at a glance the prices and services offered by the various agencies, and to book and pay online (with the option of cancelling free of charge).

Where to stay in Patras?

You can find a wide range of accommodation on the Booking (hotels, apartments…). We particularly like Booking because the search is made easier by the various filters (breakfast, pool, non-smoking, pets allowed…). What’s more, the rates and cancellation conditions are clear.

If you prefer the privacy of a house or apartment, you’ll find great accommodations on Airbnb .

So, if you’re already here or planning a trip to Greece at this time of year, don’t forget to pay a visit to Patras to experience the Patras Carnival!

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