Greeks Leave Cities in Droves for Easter Holiday Weekend
Airports, ports, and major highways are packed as Greeks leave the cities in droves ahead of the extended Orthodox Easter weekend.
More than 80,000 vehicles departed from Attica in the last 24 hours, while airports and ports have boosted flights and ferry routes to the Greek islands to meet the high demand. According to estimates, more than 37,000 people are set to travel to the Greek islands for the Easter period.
Every year, Greeks plan their Easter holidays on the islands or in the countryside away from urban centers. Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated on Sunday, April 16.
According to media reports, massive lineups have been reported at toll posts along the major highways.
At the country’s main ports meanwhile, the Hellenic Coast Guard has taken measures to keep the traffic flowing and facilitate holidaymakers.
Indicative of the demand, 19 ferries were set to depart on Holy Thursday for the Cyclades, Dodecanese and Crete from Piraeus, 13 on Holy Wednesday with 15,372 travelers while 5,718 passengers on 29 ferries headed to the Saronic isles.
From Attica’s second largest port in Rafina, 12 ships departed with 5,221 passengers and seven from Lavrio with 1,655 passengers.
Ferries to the Cyclades islands were at 95 percent capacity on Holy Thursday while Dodecanese ferry services appear to be fully booked.
Earlier this week, Greek hoteliers said occupancy levels for the Easter weekend were expected to outdo pre-Covid 2019 levels for the season. Occupancy rates at hotels were around 90 percent earlier this week while in some popular destinations hotels were fully booked.
The Hellenic Coastguard is advising travelers to arrive at the port much earlier than their boarding time to avoid the traffic. The same applies to airports.
It should also be added that from 3pm to 10pm on Holy Thursday and from 6am to 4pm on Holy Friday, large vehicles over 3.5 tons will not be allowed to use the main outbound highways.
Earlier today, Greek Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis together with the head of the Hellenic Coast Guard Giorgos Alexandrakis visited the port of Piraeus to oversee activity.
Plakiotakis said inspections had been carried out on all ferry boats, adding that the safety of passengers and crews was a top ministry priority.
Meanwhile, public transport services – buses, trolley cars, the metro and trams – will be operating on reduced schedules due to Easter starting on Friday, April 14.