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Greece at Easter

We are planning to join a 2024 Rick Steves Greek tour where one option has our pre-tour days on Easter weekend in Athens. Should we be concerned about extra crowding and holiday closures affecting tourist activities and restaurants? Is there any advice from someone who participated in a tour around Easter this year? Thanks.

Posted by
15716 posts

I was in Greece during Easter last year. Not on a RS tour.

It was fun. You'll find some things closed on Easter and possibly Easter Monday but restaurants are open. Saturday was a normal Saturday until midnight when the parades and fireworks start. I think you'll find more crowding on the Islands than in Athens.

Posted by
344 posts

Do you mean Greek Orthodox Easter or Catholic Easter? They are often on different dates.

Posted by
176 posts

We were on a Rick Steves tour this year that started the day after Orthodox Easter. Athens was somewhat deserted on the days leading up to and including Easter. All the locals go to their hometowns in the countryside or on islands for the holidays. I was able to book an incredible Easter package thru a Greek travel agency. We went to the island of Poros which is just south of Athens. The family that runs the hotel where we stayed had all kinds of great activities lined up so we and the other hotel visitors could share in the holiday festivities with their family and friends. It concluded with them roasting a lamb, a goat and a pork roast on Easter. They threw a large Easter party with food, music, dancing and lots of wine. It was so much fun!

Posted by
1136 posts

I was on the RS tour last year and we were there in Athens for Greek Easter. It was a very special experience! All restaurants and shops are open by the way and there were a lot of lambs being roasted in spits in front of restaurants to serve to guests, as roasted lamb is a traditional Easter dish. At midinight on Easter Saturday, our guide toolk us to a church so we can observe all the locals celebrating. Everyone carried unlit candles and we’re waiting outside the church. We watched a procession come out of the church into the square and the priest leading the way came up to a microphone and began to pray. Meanwhile, someone with a candle came out of the church and began sharing the flame with the crowd. Little by little, we see everyone sharing the flame until everyone’s candles were lit! It was so special! There supposed to be fireworks after that but we didn’t see any from our location which was a bit of disappointment. On Easter Sunday, we had a traditional Easter lunch after a walking tour.

The only date I would try to avoid is May 1 which is Labor Day in alot of European countries. On May 1, all tourist sights are closed, but restaurants and most shops are open. Both Easter and May 1 happen to fall during our tour dates so our poor guide had to scramble and rearrange tours to accommodate May 1 closures.

Posted by
7659 posts

We found just one restaurant open on Orthodox Easter Sunday, and had wonderful roast lamb, but we drove past restaurant after restaurant that had a big roasting grill on view, but was closed. This was out in the country, in the Mani Peninsula on Friday and Saturday and the western edge of the Peloponnese on Easter Sunday, and not in urban Athens. And (except at midnight on Saturday in Kalamata) there were no crowds - people weren’t out and about. Maybe they were staying home, or had left for Easter. That may make a huge difference for travelers, depending where they are in Greece.

The OP asked about people who had been on a tour around Easter last year. I wasn’t there last year; it was in 2018. Also, not on a Rick Steves tour.