Springtime in Greece

Enjoy the rapture of a Greek spring

Greece's scenic coastline.
Piotr Jaczewski / Getty Images 

In spring, Greece will be settling into two months of great weather, light crowds, and lower prices.

Many of the islands are just waking up after the windy winter, and you'll see the spirit of these places much better than in the summer months. If you've ever considered a spur-of-the-moment trip to Greece, do it now.

Spring events include Orthodox Easter, vigorously celebrated in Greece. Check here for Easter dates. Take note though - the major festivities will occur on Friday and Saturday, leaving Easter itself relatively quiet, with Easter Monday a day of recovery for all concerned.

Expect banks, government offices, and shops to be closed (or, in the case of shops, keeping shorter hours) throughout this four-day period.

Greek Easter celebrations are often fiery ones. A torchlight procession winds up Lykabettos Hill in Athens early Sunday morning. Fireworks at midnight Saturday greet the resurrection of Christ in many other places. On Crete, the long-time unofficial winner of the fireworks display competition is Agios Nikolaos, but lately Chersonissos has been showing signs of trying to take away that honor.

Easter is the major religious holiday of the Greek Orthodox year, and the celebration is much more important to most Greeks than Christmas. Pluses for the traveler include colorful pageantry at literally every Orthodox church in Greece; minuses include closed attractions, understaffing, and generally less-attentive service the days preceding and following Easter weekend.

The island of Kythira, once the home of Aphrodite, marks the second day of Easter with the beginning of a 25-day journey of their statue of Mary Mytidiotissa through the villages of the island. Folegandros has a shorter festival also devoted to the Virgin Mary, whose image enjoys a ride around the bay and visits to several villages.

If you're fortunate enough to join in the festivities throughout Greece, expect delicious roasted lamb, special Eastertide breads baked fresh, and plenty of other foods to enjoy. Easter egg dyeing is popular, with bright red eggs exchanged as gifts.

Throughout April and into May, spring wildflowers will be in bloom, brightening roadsides and spirits. Keep an eye out for splashes of color as you wander the Greek byways.

On May 18th, International Museums Day provides free admission to all museums in Greece.

Springtime travel by boat to the islands may still be iffy due to winds, but in general, the weather will be pleasant, with temperatures in the 60s in most places, though chillier at higher elevations. The wildflowers need some rain, so keep an umbrella handy to cope with showers, and enjoy a beautiful spring in Greece.

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