Crete's grandest carnival is celebrated in Rethymno Town, a vibrant showcase of Greek culture that incorporates art, theatre and dance as well as traditional Greek customs, games and activities. The highlight is, of course, the Grand Parade.
The three-week carnival period kicks off with treasure hunts, a graffiti festival featuring artists from all over Greece, theatre and dance events and fancy dress balls. On Shrove Thursday, there is a huge open-air party. Another party is organised on the day before the main parade, where many live sketches are performed.
After a rehearsal of the big day, the entire town erupts with colour and music for the Grand Parade as carnival teams present their spectacular floats and flamboyant masks. The celebrations also encompass surrounding villages as old customs, games and traditional events like kite flying are revived.