Get ready for an unforgettable carnival experience in Rethymno in 2023! A Carnival with vibrant costumes, captivating music and wild celebrations, the Rethymno Carnival is the biggest Carnival in Crete and the second in Greece. Prepare to be amazed and have lots of fun!
The Carnival of Rethymnon - Crete.
The Carnival of Rethymno is a cultural event of creativity organized by the Municipality along with the valuable support of numerous volunteers. Every year during the Carnival, Rethymnians and visitors participate in this Festival, with over 15.000 people and more than 17 floats parading through the main streets of Rethymno. When the Carnival ends, one can watch the beginning of preparations for the forthcoming Carnival. It is a creative opportunity to visit many carnival teams getting prepared by making their floats and costumes. Take Part in Processions and Events Throughout the City.
Learn About the History of Rethymnon's Carnival.
The Carnival has roots that date back centuries, with its origins stemming from the 17th century, when the Venetians colonized the area. The Festival as we know it was first organized in 1993 and has grown to become the biggest Carnival of Crete.
It's been one century since a group of people from Rethymno – with optimistic mood and open heart to every pleasant challenge – decided to put some colour to the city's everyday life during the Carnival season.
So, in 1914 the first Carnival of Rethymno was organized, bringing the original mark of the intentions of the people of Rethymno. Through the years, these intentions turned into actions that exceeded every time the expectations of their inspirers and finally turned out to be a fantastic event: the Carnival of Rethymno, a live organism, tending to reverse the natural route of life: the "older" it's getting the better it is becoming!
This year's Carnival, after three years of absence due to covid-19 restrictions, invites whoever deeply hopes for better days, whoever sees rainbow colours beyond grey to be part of the large, emotional and fresh Team of the Carnival of Rethymno and share create, have fun and experience things that nobody wants to miss!
We invite you to be part of and share this experience, having in our minds and hearts that when people cooperate, every day becomes memorable, and life becomes more beautiful. Life is short, and we all deserve to have fun!
Events Program of The Carnival of Rethymnon 2023
Each year, the date in February that is held is different, but there is a standard program that is followed, regardless of the dates. In the streets of Rethymno, there are floats from past Carnivals that bring a carnival mood to the locals and visitors.
- 09/02/2023 To start with, there is an official Ceremony held in which the Mayor of Rethymno announces the Opening of the Carnival. In this fiesta that tends to be a great party, there is a presentation of the theme, the crews, and their costumes.
- 11-12/02/2023 On the weekend, two weeks before the Big Parade, a Treasure Hunt is organized, in which many local people cooperate in groups, solve puzzles and try to find the Treasure. These puzzles concern the local history, the group that makes the puzzles prepare this for a year! Apart from the Treasure hunt for adults, one for Kids and teenagers is also organized.
- 14/2/2023 The traditional ensembles of the Rethymno Music School, local musicians and the Rethymno Carnival Groups revived the Cretan tradition with Cretan Cadets held in the streets of the old town of Rethymno.
- 16/2/2023 Tsiknopempti. On this day every year the Orthodoxs eat meat, as it is 11 days before the Lent Traditionally, all people eat meat on the coal - that’s what tsikna means. The smell of the meat as it is grilled. On this day there are numerous street parties all over the city, along with the meat and alcohol consumption
- 24/2/2023 On Saturday, in the afternoon, there is also a Children's Parade that families participate and have lots of fun!
- 25/2/2023 On the last weekend of Carnival, the Carnival and Chariots Big Parade is held on the main street of Rethymno on Sunday. Under vivid music, thousands of people of all ages drink, dance and have fun till late in the afternoon. After the grade parade, the Carnival groups participate in the Closing Ceremony on the beach and the Burning of the Carnival King's chariot.
With events like these, there is no wonder that Rethymno Carnival is marvellous! Take part in the wild revelry of Carnival- experience all day and night feasting, drinking and dancing! Watch outstanding performances with vibrant costumes, listen to captivating music and participate in the biggest Carnival Parade of Crete! It's so much fun!
Where to Stay in Rethymnon
The Amazing Villas in Crete are official partners of Rethymno Carnival. Our Villas are situated in a traditional village called Asteri, near the town of Rethymno, just 12 km away, and offer tranquillity after the vivid Carnival parties and fiestas.
Asteri Villa, can accommodate up to 8 people, has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Are ideal for family and friends.
Argiris Villa, can accommodate up to 8 people, has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Are ideal for family and friends.
Citrus Villa, can accommodate up to 6 people, has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Are ideal for family and friends.