Easter in Santorini, Welcome to spring
Easter in Santorini is simply one of a kind! The Cyclades are one of the most popular tourist destinations not only in Greece but also abroad. The Easter holidays are the beginning of the tourist season and the islands begin to welcome Greeks and foreign visitors. The countless Easter customs, combined with the all-night atmosphere and local flavors make the Cyclades an ideal destination.
The days of Easter have a special color and aroma in the Cycladic islands. There, you will discover many traditions creating a magical setting during Easter. The most famous are the gunpowder war of Milos, the sinking of the Epitaph in the sea in Tinos and the thousands of lit tins in the village of Pyrgos in Santorini.
Greek Easter in Santorini
The island of Santorini, a vast geological monument, continues to fascinate every visitor with its natural beauty. Anyone who visits Santorini for the first time with some experience of other Greek islands is certainly going to be somewhat taken back.
Fantastic and enchanting are the endless caldera with its sweet wildlife. As often as one might see, the Black sandy beaches, fascinating history, the important prehistoric site in Akrotiri, the cosmopolitan atmosphere with the unique local products and wines continue to cause unexplained psychotherapeutic impressions.
If you want to join us and to be a part of our traditions during Easter, don`t hesitate! You are welcome to visit us and live like a local! See for yourself that Easter is the best time to visit Santorini. Nice weather, not crowded with tourists and you will be able to meet local people.
Immerse yourself in our customs and traditions.
The most important Churches
Its architecture leaves all those who are trying to explore it, speechless. Santorini is famous for its blue domed, colorful and beautiful churches, as well as its picteresque traditional houses. Each church bears witness to a unique history. In addition every church has a feast to celebrate, upon which great festivals take place in the villages. Religious has a significant role in the life of the locals.
The largest church of Santorini is the Orthodox Cathedral located at the center of Fira, dedicated to Ipapanti. Furthermore, the Cathedral is also known as Our Lady “Belonia”. It was founded in the 19th century. The interior has very interesting murals and wall painting. In the close distance is the Catholic Cathedral dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. During the Byzantine times, the famous church of Panagia Episkopi was built. Episkopi has survived many invasions and is well-preserved up to this day. In the Catholic neighborhood of Fira lies the Domenican Convent. A place with the unique insight of the artwork that prevailed in Santorini during the medieval times. Today it is inhabited by 12 nuns.
Santorini Easter Customs
Greek Easter is one week after the Catholic Easter. Usually, Greek Orthodox Easter occurs on the different weekend than Catholic and begins with a solemn Holy Week. This week ends with grotesque Good Friday and a massive celebration on Easter Sunday. Many different events are organized during the Easter Week. Literally, there is the Epitaph procession in every village in Santorini.
In Pyrgos village, there is the most impressive Easter custom of Santorini. On the evening and just before leaving for the Epitaph procession, thousands of scattered cans are lit in the paddocks and on the rooftops of houses and churches. Also, on the slopes and picturesque streets and throughout the Venetian castle and the medieval village of Pyrgos. The fortress of Pyrgos”Kasteli” is on top of the village and it is visible from almost all parts of the island.
It is really a unique opportunity worth living close to on this day. Let`s not forget that the most beautiful Good Friday according to Guinness World Records is in Pyrgos. In Fira, there are two epitaph processions that meet in the central square.
Local delicacies & food
The church organizes most of the events, and families also celebrate the holiday with some traditional Easter food. On Thursday, women bake “Tsourekia” (a type of brioche) and “melitinia” (sweet pastries with cheese) and Easter cookies. Also, on Holy Thursday, we dye red eggs. On Good Friday, we mourn the death of Jesus Christ. Most villages mark Good Friday with the procession of the epitaph.
On Good Saturday, later on after the church, the whole family will gather around the table. All together will eat mageiritsa, the traditional Easter soup to indicate the end of the fasten period. If Christmas is incomplete without turkey in most countries, then Greek Easter is incomplete without lamb.
On Holy Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus with great enthusiasm. Whole lambs are roasted over a fire pit for several hours, before being taken home for the family feast. Are you looking for an authentic experience? Join us and celebrate with us your Easter in Santorini.
Where to spend your Easter in Santorini
Apart from summer, spring is a special season, and Easter is celebrated ritualistically throughout Santorini. On the Saturday of Lazarus, visit Megalochori village. On Good Friday, go to the village of Pyrgos and on Good Saturday in the monastery of Profitis Ilias.
Holy Week and Easter, stand out among the other festivals of the year for the participation of the inhabitants in the Divine Drama and the Resurrection. This Week on the island is full of smells and tastes. The ovens do not stop baking buns, cookies and melitini (Easter sweet of Santorini).
Of particular interest is The Holy Week in Oia. The celebrations take place at Panagia Platsani square, with the miraculous icon of Panagia. On the night of the Resurrection, the fireworks create a unique spectacle in all the parishes of the island.
The most special days to visit Santorini during Easter!
Easter in Santorini is the ideal proposal for an escape or a short vacation.
Lazarus Saturday in Megalochori
On Lazarus Saturday in Megalochori as in other villages of Santorini, the inhabitants revive every year the “Lazaro”. It is a huge cross 15-20 meters high and is erected in the middle of the village square wrapped in rosemary, flowers and laurels. The women of the village collect flowers in baskets until today and the young people cut rosemary.
They form a cross which they cover with the rosemary and decorate it with flowers. In the afternoon, the whole village gather in the square. It symbolize the raising of Lazarus. The huge cross stays until the Holy Saturday when it is stripped and remain in that position until the Ascension. This custom is still observed in Megalochori, while small “Lazars” are made in many houses.
Οn Good Monday from the afternoon onwards they begin kneading in the houses. After the doughs “rest” all night, on Holy Tuesday the preparations for the melitini begin. Melitini are pies made of a thin layer of dough, filled with a mixture consisting of mizithra cheese, butter, sugar, eggs and plenty of mastic. They open a thin pastry sheet which they cut with a saucer of coffee and fill it with the mixture. The whole island smells. In the past, making melitini was a real celebration. A competition between the “good ladies” of Santorini. As sweet and polite as this Easter cookies. In fact, the old people used to say that as the swallows come to the island in the spring, so the melitini will bring back the “expatriate” at Easter.
Good Friday in Pyrgos
On Good Friday’s morning the women, young and old, decorate the Epitaph with the fragrant flowers. In the evening the procession of Epitaph takes place in all the villages. The procession of the Epitaph in the inland is very famous. Specifically in Pyrgos village, which on Good Friday night shines from afar.
At about 8 o’clock, the lights of Theotokaki, the small oldest church of Santorini, switch off. This church is tiny but very rich in illustrations and relics of a parish church. The place is lit by the few candles that are allowed to be lit inside, creating a scene of great grief. Moreover, the procession of the Epitaph begins while the whole village shines. The procession begins to meander through the alleys of the castle and the locals hold candles and chant the praises of the Epitaph and the smell of spring flowers is “intoxicatingly” mixed with incense.
Live the experience!
One of the unique traditions here occurs on Good Saturday. People start to gather in the churches from around 11pm for the Easter liturgies, celebrating The Rise of Christ. While the priest is giving his speech, the patrons of the church throw fireworks in the yard. The Priest passes the Holy Flame and everybody sings “Christos Anesti” (Christ is Risen). Church bells are ringing cheerfully while we exchange wishes of happiness and prosperity.
Most people take a candle with them, and the idea is to light it from the Holy Flame, then take it home again after midnight. Amidst this breathtaking and fascinating atmosphere, thousands of flames flicker through the epitaph flood with sweet church hymns and praises for the day.
Good Saturday at the monastery of Profitis Ilias
On the night of the Resurrection and at the highest point of the island, in the monastery of Profitis Ilias, there are no firecrackers,. Despite that, you can see the fine fireworks that illuminate the entire Santorini.
On Holy Saturday in many villages, the locals are busy setting up “Judas”. A kind of scarecrow, filled with firecrackers, which they light on Easter Sunday after the vesper service. They let it glow and burst with noise. On the night of the Resurrection, everyone is holding a candle and a red egg. They are looking forward to the end of the service to go home and eat mageiritsa. Mageiritsa is a traditional Easter soup to indicate the end of the fasten period.
What you should do in Santorini during Easter
If you are ready to visit Santorini this Easter or plan your vacation for next year, we are here to help you materialize that dream! Furthermore, stroll down the picturesque paths of the mysterious ancient Caldera and experience the most romantic sunsets. Santorini’s most captivating landmark.
Coming to Santorini and not experiencing a wine tour, offering such a colorful spectrum of unique and truly local grape varieties, would be a true loss. (Santorini wine tours).
Experience the pleasure of enjoying your dinner with local wine! Relax in one of the restaurants or cafes, idly hanging above the Aegean, taking in the breathtaking view. (Hidden Villages).
Santorini Cooking Class & Wine Tasting. The local specialties and the popular Greek dishes will engage your appetite for sure. After this introduction, it is time to enjoy the chef’s creations. (Santorini cooking class).
Hiking tours through the volcanic land of wonder. Discover “the unspoiled Santorini” while following walking paths through wild flowers, lush valleys, ancient sites, and old pathways. Meet the locals, savor wine with them, and do food tastings in restaurants and taverns with a choice of three Santorini private tours. (Hiking Tour).
Discover the charm of the traditional villages while taking in the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Ultimately, explore the amazing archaeological sites and museums and learn all about the island’s fascinating history. (Full Day Santorini Panoramic).
How to get to Santorini
The best way to reach Santorini during Easter is by boat. That is the only way in which you can discover it gradually and give oneself up, willy-nilly, to its charm. Departures by sea are frequent- almost daily. The passenger and car ferries start from Piraeus. There are direct connections and also lines which link Santorini to other islands. Those who are really keen on sea travel can take the irregular services, which afford an opportunity to get a brief taste of many Cyclades islands. Either before or after the call at Santorini.
There is also an air connection to Athens, twice a day, summer and winter. Starting from spring, there are additional flights between Santorini and other islands, and charters fly in directly from abroad. Finally, Santorini is also a port of call for many cruise liners. Visitors arriving this way will have about 5 to 8 hours on the island.