Two easters ago, most Greeks celebrated their first ever low-key Easter – i.e., Easter in lockdown. Since as a group we don’t tend to favor minimalism when it comes to celebrations, it may very well also have been the last holiday of its kind. Shouting “Christos Anesti” (Christ has risen) to our neighbors from our Athens balconies and trying to somehow fit a lamb into our regular apartment ovens may have been an experience to remember, but we do prefer to retreat to our country homes, create big gatherings and bar hop until morning during this special time of the year. In 2021, many got back to the villages (although travel between different regional units was prohibited), but Covid-19 regulations kept the normally big events small. This year, on the other hand, few people are expected to stay home, as no there are no limits on the size of gatherings anymore.
Once again, the islands and countryside are about to come alive in every sense, as people return to their summer homes for the first time of the year, and nature is at its most verdant. Many would argue that this is the best time to visit Greece.
This year, the holy week falls on April 18th-25th. If you are planning to visit during this time, below are some information that might come in handy.
Nearly 85% of Greeks have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and most restrictions have been lifted as a result. Some do however remain.
While you do not need to be vaccinated to travel to or within Greece, or to enter shops or the outdoor spaces of restaurants (negative test results or certificates of recovery suffice in order to do these things – see details regarding travel here), keep in mind before you plan your Easter outings that by law you must be vaccinated in order to enter indoor spaces of restaurants, clubs, theaters, cinemas, museums, exhibitions, conferences, gyms and stadiums (these restrictions are expected to be lifted in May).
Face masks are required in order to enter public indoor spaces such as stores, churches and entertainment venues. Some places, such as supermarkets, pharmacies and public transportation, require you to wear either double masks, or an N95/FFP2 mask. Also, while you don’t need to wear a mask outside under normal circumstances, you should do so in a crowd, like during the church events at Easter.
If you test positive for the coronavirus during your stay in Greece, you are required to quarantine for five days, either in a home where you are staying or at a designated temporary residence assigned by the authorities. If you have a fever after this time in quarantine, it will be prolonged until your symptoms have subsided.
Authorities are strongly recommending the use of face masks over Easter to ensure protection against the virus.
Spring has sprung. While Greece is currently experiencing particularly moody April weather, early predictions for Easter week, and Good Friday through Easter Sunday in particular, show there’s mild to warm temperatures (ca 22°C in Attica) and sunny weather with some clouds on the horizon.
Bank holidays and opening hours
Keep in mind that Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. During these days, you can expect cafés and restaurants to stay open to cater to those who prefer to enjoy their Easter meals out, but opening hours can be different than usual. Most stores remain closed on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
The special Easter opening hours for stores this year will be as follows:
Thursday 14/04/2022: 09:00–21:00
Friday 15/04/2022: 09:00–21:00
Saturday 16/04/2022: 09:00–18:00
Palm Sunday 17/04/2022: 11:00–18:00
Monday 18/04/2022: 09:00–21:00
Tuesday 19/04/2022: 09:00–21:00
Wednesday 20/04/2022: 09:00–21:00
Thursday 21/04/2022: 09:00–21:00
Good Friday 22/04/2022: 13:00–19:00
Holy Saturday 23/04/2022: 09:00–15:00
Easter Sunday 24/04/2022: Closed
Easter Monday 25/04/2022: Closed
Source: Kathimerini newspaper
Whether you’re looking forward to the festivities of Easter or prefer a more socially distanced holiday, this is an excellent time to visit. Why? Hotels open and ferry timetables are extended ahead of this week, essentially marking the beginning of the summer season, while the peak season for foreign tourism still lies ahead. Those who want to experience Greek Easter like a local can join the festivities, and will be happy to find some vibrant nightlife, while those who are looking for peace and quiet will be happy to find empty beaches and sights.
If you plan to join in the celebrations, check out our “Bluffer’s Guide” to Greek Easter here.
Find a list of some of our absolute favorite places to visit on Easter, thanks to their unique holy week traditions, here, a list of islands suitable for Easter holidays here, or, if you’re planning to spend this time in Athens, find our helpful guide to the celebrations in the city here.