Take sunshine, ragged mountains, glistening sea, charming villages, ouzo, lamb, seafood and great company – and you’ve got the ingredients for Greek Easter. Traditionally falling in late April/early May, Greek Easter really is a feast for the senses. The delicious food – simple yet divine – the sharp tang of the locally distilled firewater ouzo, and a busy social schedule of family meals and village potlucks makes this ancient holiday a great time to visit Greece.
We had been lucky enough to be invited to join our friend’s family for Easter, and wasted no time booking our flights. Driving from Athens to Argos, a name whose UK store relation caused much amusement, we breathed in the sun-soaked landscape of the Peloponnese peninsula and marvelled at the ancient ruins along the way, famed sites of epic battles and murderous plots in times long gone – one of my favourites was Mycenae. According to some, Argos is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Greece! We spent five amazing days learning about contemporary Greek culture, enjoying home-cooked meals and washing down the umpteenth serving of lamb and tzatziki with ouzo. Nafplio, Greece’s first capital and a historic seaside town, was a wonderful day-trip, and we spent the hours strolling along wide promenades while slurping delicious velvety ice cream.
The best part, however, was the Easter celebration at a regional religious centre, an ancient church built atop an even older temple complex. The priests’ chanting, aromatic burning incense, soft candlelight and parishioners’ devout silence was truly magical and made a deep impression upon all of us. It’s rare for a holiday to combine culture, history, food, and beachside down time so perfectly – but our Greek Easter definitely managed to do just that.