Summer Cinemas in Greece - Culture Under the Stars

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One of the classic simple pleasures of the Greek Summer, beloved by locals and visitors alike, is the “Therino Cinema” – the summer cinema. All over Greece, in cities and towns and also on the islands, these cinemas under the stars open up as soon as the nights start warming up. They screen first run movies, classic films, and films of the preceding winter season.

The Greek Summer Cinema – a tradition of decades

The tradition surrounding the summer cinema is a long one. Greece had a thriving film industry in the 1950s and 1960s, centered around the Finos Films studios. It was a tremendous output- mainly situational comedies with some romance. There would usually be a dance sequence and some popular musicians playing songs of the day – it was a complete form of entertainment. As very few households had a television yet, this was the most common form of popular entertainment.  There were many cinemas in those days.

But even though Greek people now have many more ways to see entertainment, the summer cinema under the stars is still very popular. It is a complete form of entertainment – there is the classic cinema snack of fresh popcorn, but all cinemas have a large snack bar, with heartier snacks (hot dogs, nachos, etc), soft drinks, wine, beer, and cocktails. There is always an intermission. Visitors can enjoy the summer cinema in Greece too, as all films are screened in their original language, with subtitles in Greek.

Here are some favorite summer cinemas in Greece:


The Thisseon is one of the most famous cinemas in the world. It’s very close to the Parthenon, which can easily be seen from the comfortable seats. The cinema is on broad pedestrian way that wraps around the Acropolis, so there is no traffic sound to interfere with the screening. The Thisseon often also includes classic films on their program.

Athenians are thrilled that their beloved Cine Paris has just reopened after a renovation. This cinema is on the roof of a building in the historic Plaka district, and also has a cinephile-oriented program, with quality new films and classics.


This beautiful and glamorous island has an outdoor cinema to match – the Manto (named for the great Mykonian heroine of the war of Independence perhaps) is essentially a botanical garden with a koi pond and lovely cacti, plus a large screen and very good on-site restaurant.


The Kamari lies just island at the edge of beautiful beachside Kamari village. A lush garden is enclosed in an architectural setting that fits perfectly with the Cycladic tradition of Santorini. An exciting program of films and a menu of delicious cocktails ensure a very fun and novel night out on this famous island.


Beautiful Paros has been getting a lot of attention lately. The Rex, Parikia’s open air cinema just south of the center of town, is enclosed in a tasteful white structure, with blue chairs honoring the Cycladic palette. An excellent screening program and snack bar ensure a fun evening under the stars.


Crete’s westernmost town is a Venetian wonder. One of the the charms of Chania is its large local population – this is a city for locals and it keeps a wonderful character. They love their central public garden, which features a cafe in a grand old building, and a municipal outdoor cinema “Kipos” (it means ‘garden’) with a quality program that frequently changes. Locals enjoy a film then get an ice cream or enjoy a drink at the adjacent cafe afterwards.

Summer Cinemas in Greece

Attending a screening under the stars is a wonderful way for visitors to experience local culture – this is long a beloved tradition, an essential part of Greek summer.