Greeks are abandoning urban areas in droves on Orthodox Holy Thursday in order to celebrate the Easter break in the countryside and on the islands with traffic police reporting a peak in the exodus from the Attica ports of Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrio.
Greeks boarded trains and planes or packed into their cars for their great escape from the city after two years of lockdown in order to celebrate Easter in the villages with family and friends.
All intercity buses, airplanes, and trains are operating at nearly full capacity starting on Thursday and through until Saturday with the number of passengers peaking on Thursday and Good Friday.
According to ferry operators, all ships sailing on the morning of Holy Thursday and Good Friday are at 100 percent capacity with 19 ships scheduled to sail from Piraeus, 17 from Rafina, and 10 from Lavrio on Thursday.
The coast guard has taken all the necessary measures to facilitate ferry passengers, advising all those who intend to sail to be at the port an hour earlier due to heavy traffic on surrounding roads.
Dozens of ferries lead Easter exodus of Greek city dwellers
On Wednesday, 14 ships sailed from Piraeus carrying 14,760 passengers, 2,649 cars, 575 trucks, and 394 motorcycles to the Aegean islands. There were 26 ferries sailing to the Saronic Gulf on the same day, carrying 5,459 passengers, 949 cars, 40 trucks and 148 motorcycles.
Another 13 ferries sailed from Rafina, with roughly 5,000 passengers, and seven set sail from Lavrio with 1,743 passengers on board.
Number of passengers on planes, trains and buses comparable to 2019
Planes, trains, and intercity buses report Easter passenger numbers comparable to 2019.
According to intercity bus operators, there was a 30 to 35 percent increase in bookings relative to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year while additional bus services were being planned to meet the high demand, boosted by the fact that fares remain unchanged and are cheaper than all other modes of travel.
Passenger traffic on trains was also very high, according to operator TRAINOSE, with most trains running at full capacity, especially on the Athens-Thessaloniki line.
TRAINOSE said that it would increase the number of carriages on InterCity services between Thursday and Saturday to assist travelers.
Demand for domestic flights was also at a peak starting the weekend of April 16th to the 17th and throughout Holy Week with planes fully booked on Thursday and Good Friday while there was also higher demand for international destinations, such as Cyprus, the UK, France, and Germany.
The number of bookings was similar to that of Easter 2019, though the number of available seats was lower by 20 percent relative to before the pandemic.
There are indications that air travel is once again a top preference for travelers with an increase recorded in March and expectations that this will increase further in the summer months with available seats approaching the levels of 2019.