Easter in Leonidio, Corfu, Patmos and Syros

Stamens thrown from balconies and breaking spectacularly on the ground, epitaphs entering the sea, rocket wars, lanterns/aerostats and many other customs are different pieces of a mosaic that reflects the special image that the celebration of Easter has for Greece. Easter 2023 also has a special significance as it is the second Easter in history that will be the second in which there will be absolutely no restrictions due to health or other measures and thus people will be able to travel unhindered. What better excursion to the village or a place to discover for the first time.
In every corner of the country, everyone is looking forward to the Easter period. There are, however, regions that stand out for the specificity of their local customs, thus having thus fully established themselves in the consciousness as the most popular Easter destinations. Easter days are an excellent opportunity for a pleasant break from everyday life, which you need to spend time with your own people and why not meet new ones.
If you are still in search of an Easter destination and the search for the right place that will meet all your needs to spend your most special holidays is not yet complete, take notes. Greece can meet your every wish and filoxeno.com is here to make things easier. So let’s get started!


Most people have combined Leonidio with Easter as the famous custom with the balloons on the evening of the Resurrection creates images that are hard to find in Greece. However Leonidio is so much more than this custom, which is why it’s worth including it in your travel agenda, any time of the year. But we’re here to talk about Easter, right? “Kaur ekamata” reads the sign that greets visitors to Leonidi, the capital of the municipality of South Kynouria. This is their warm welcome to the visitor, which in the Tsakonian dialect means “Welcome”. The Arcadian town, built at the foot of Mount Parnonas, is 200 km from Athens.

On Good Friday at 22:00 in the evening, all roads lead to the Heroon where the epitaphs from all over the city end up. On M. Saturday, wherever you are at 00:00 exactly at midnight, you will see hundreds of colorful balloons climbing in the sky. Almost every house builds its own out of paper and reeds. The spectacular spectacle that lights up the sky is accompanied by fireworks. Easter in Leonidio is not over though. On Easter Sunday, in the morning, the Municipality’s celebration begins in the square of the Town Hall where ovelia, red eggs and Easter cookies are offered. In the late afternoon you go to the 25th of March Square to attend the “Ceremony of Love”, where the Gospel is read in the Tsakonian dialect and afterwards you can eat and dance with the locals and other visitors.

For your accommodation you can choose the «Archontiko Chiotis Boutique Hotel» while for your food and if your appetite is for seafood then head to the village of Poulithra and specifically to its beach where you will find taverns for fish and seafood. For traditional cuisine you will go to the tavern «Mitropolis».

There is no place in Greece where Good Friday has such a mystical atmosphere as in Corfu. The moment when the Old Red Philharmonic of Corfu approaches, playing Albinoni’s mournful Adagio is riveting. From Muragia to Liston, the visitors number in the thousands and yet at this hour, on Good Friday night, not a whisper can be heard. Everyone is mesmerized. If you want to be a part of the experience, you must take an early seat on the route taken by the Epitaph of the Metropolis, the most “official” one, accompanied by the local authorities, the three philharmonic bands and a crowd of people.
On the morning of Holy Saturday you cannot be in Corfu and miss the most famous custom of the city, the breaking of the Botides, the clay canals during the First Resurrection. Around Liston, you’ll see dozens of jugs, from very large to small, flying from the balconies and smashing with a thud on the ground. In the evening you will head to the Holy Church of St. Paraskevi in the city, from where a procession of philharmonic bands and choirs of the Orthodox and Catholic clergy starts shortly before midnight, heading towards Spianada Square, where the Resurrection takes place.
If you are thinking of spits and other “classic” Easter Sunday customs in Corfu, then you are out of luck. On the island, skewering is not widespread. So you can go to Old Peritheia, the village with its Venetian architecture and rich history for a meal at the village taverns. For food, it is worth a visit to the most romantic and atmospheric restaurant in town, the “Venetian Well” located in a small square in the Campielo district. Bright colours and flavours with influences from many national cuisines. If you want trattoria then «La Famiglia» is for you. The restaurant in the picturesque Corfu canton has a fanatical following who come for the pasta and the trattoria atmosphere: white and red checkered tablecloths, candles lit and warm lighting. For your stay and depending on your financial possibilities you can choose the «Castello Di Vista», the newly built mansion is built on a large green estate with flowers and trees and includes 6 unique suites or the «San Marco Villas» in the maisonettes located away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Through the imposing monastery, the narrow picturesque alleys of Chora, the flowering paths of the inland and the cafes of the staircase, Patmos reveals its spring beauty. On the island of the Apocalypse, you don’t have to be on the island only during the Easter season to feel the solemn atmosphere in the alleys of Chora and to be in awe when you see the cave where John wrote the Apocalypse.

The special Easter in Patmos begins on Maundy Thursday morning and the Naptiros ceremony. The long procession starts from the monastery of Agios Ioannis and ends at the Town Hall Square, where the abbot of the Monastery of Theologos will symbolically wash the feet of twelve monks, in representation of the act of Christ. On M. Friday what you should do is head to Chora for the procession and the meeting of the Epitaphs in Agia Levia Square. There you will be guided by the lilac flowers with which the streets and the courtyard are lined. The procession takes place at the Monastery of Theologos, the women’s monasteries of Zoodochos Pigi and Evangelismos and the Cave of the Apocalypse and is a unique experience as it passes through the small and winding alleys of Chora. The Resurrection is celebrated, as is to be expected for a place so important for Christianity, with all the honours. The Resurrection Gospel on Easter Sunday is read in many languages: English, French, Italian, Russian and even Arabic.

For decades Patmos has been developing tourism at a very gentle pace, naturally linked to the religious element, while maintaining the character, architecture and slow rhythms of an Aegean island. Its Chora is a labyrinth, complex but fascinating. In spring the island attracts far fewer people than in summer, and prices are lower. Eight very interesting Cultural Paths have been designed on the island and the best time to discover and walk them is in spring. For your accommodation one of the best options on the island is “Patmos Residences“. The houses are available at a high price but can be an ideal choice for groups that can share the cost. For food, head to the traditional family taverna “Stamatis” for fresh calamari, delicious tuna salad and nice stews with seasonal vegetables, while for fish and tables on the sand, look for “Our Tsipouradiko”.


Syros is a must-visit destination during the Easter period. The illuminated mansions of Ermoupolis are ready to welcome the Resurrection, while the celebration on the island is unique in the Greek chronicles. With a strong Catholic element in its population, Syros celebrates a different Easter with many originalities. A key feature of Syrian Easter is that, unlike the rest of the world, here, the two churches, the Orthodox and the Catholic, celebrate together in a gesture of brotherhood and unity.
On the morning of Good Friday, the Catholic churches decorate their epitaphs, and for the procession of the epitaph, you can experience it by following the epitaph of the Catholic Church of San Giorgos in Upper Syros. In Ermoupolis, the epitaphs from the Orthodox churches meet in the large square in front of the Town Hall, accompanied by a choir and philharmonic band. On Holy Saturday, and specifically for the Resurrection, you will head to the Holy Church of the Resurrection of the Saviour. From this hill you will see the fireworks painting the sky over Ermoupolis.
Regardless of the holiday season, Syros is one of the most “lively” islands of the Aegean, all year round. With a strong character and a capital city jewel of architecture, the island hides many experiences, from strolling through the narrow streets of Ermoupolis among the mansions to the wild north side and the splendour of the village of Posidonia, the much-sung Delagratzia. Ermoupoli offers many options for accommodation, food, coffee and nightlife, but also experiences that will bring you in touch with the rich history of Syros. For your accommodation you can choose a real Syrian mansion is «Villa Selena» which is located in the most beautiful district of Ermoupolis, in Vaporia. In the same area of Ermoupolis are the «Amare Boutique Suites»,also an excellent choice. Food in Syros is also an experience in itself. Depending on the cuisine and the dining experience you want to have, the island has it all. For Greek cuisine with international influences and a lovely terrace with a view, head to «San Michali». For pork with fennel, lamb shank in the grill and other Cycladic recipes, head to “Plakostroto”. For fresh fish and seafood (and tables by the sea) go to the village of Kini and the tavern «Two Cicadas on the Armirikia Trees».