Greeks are abandoning urban areas in droves on Orthodox Holy Friday 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.
Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated on Sunday, April 16.
Greeks boarded trains and planes or packed into cars for their great escape from the city to celebrate Easter in the villages with family and friends, or in other popular Easter destinations.
A total of 14 ferries are scheduled to depart for the Aegean islands and 31 for the Saronic islands. Another 12 ferries will depart from Rafina and 9 from Lavrio ports.
On Thursday, a total of 19 ferries departed for the Cycladic and eastern Aegean islands, the Dodecanese and Crete, with over 31,000 passengers on board.
Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis visited Piraeus port and watched the departure of the ferry Blue Star Delos for the islands of Paros, Naxos and Santorini with 2,400 passengers and 367 vehicles on board.
In a statement, Plakiotakis said that until today all ships have been checked and inspected in both regular and unscheduled ship inspections, adding that the safety of passengers and crew is the government’s top priority.
Traffic out of Athens picks up as Greeks rush for the Easter break
Traffic out of the city is also reported to be up on last year. In the 24 hours up to 6 a.m. on Good Friday morning, a total of 311,220 vehicles passed through the toll stations on the Corinth and Lamia motorways, up from 291,141 vehicles in the same period last year.
Trucks of over 3.5 tons are banned from the national highway leading out of the capital from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Good Friday.
Regional bus companies are reported to be fully booked, with 400 services scheduled to depart from Athens on Good Friday from the city’s two regional bus stations.
Services on domestic flights are reported to be at 85-90% capacity, with 594 departures and arrivals scheduled at Athens International Airport on Good Friday.
Top domestic destinations from Athens include Mytilene, Heraklion, Chios, Rhodes, Paros, Limnos, Santorini and Karpathos. Accordingly, the top destinations from Thessaloniki are: Mykonos, Santorini, Chios, Limnos, Mytilini, Chania.
The top international destinations from the capital are Madrid, Barcelona, Hamburg, Marrakesh and Budapest.
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.