Easter in Mykonos

Nothing better than Easter in Mykonos!

Forget about strict religious teachings and dogmas, as the Greek Easter is one of the most beautiful ways in the Mediterranean to celebrate life over death and rejoice nature’s awakening after the winter silence!

In 2024, Orthodox Easter Sunday falls on the 2nd of May, marking at the same time the official opening of the “early birds” summer season. In Mykonos, for instance, it is the perfect time for beach bars to set up their luxurious sunbeds on the golden sand and turn the music on for the first seaside parties. While the first international flights have been landing on the island since the end of March, by May the weather is at its best: hot enough for all-day swimming, yet pleasantly fresh in the evening for dining out at the taverns around the old port!

Also known as “Pascha,” Greek Easter follows that of the Protestants and Catholics, as its date is calculated based on the ancient Julian calendar instead of the modern Gregorian. For the millions of church believers in Greece, the rituals begin forty days before Easter, marked by a long Lent that lasts until Easter day. On this day, they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with various festivities, including a rich family lunch with roasted lamb, homemade onion pies, fresh salads, red eggs, and the traditional “magiritsa” soup from the night before, made of lamb liver, meat and herbs.

In Mykonos, as Lent begins, a holy icon from the Panagia Tourliani Monastery in Ano Mera, the island’s only large village, is transported to a church in Mykonos Town (Chora), where it is respectfully displayed until the Saturday before Palm Sunday. It is then brought back to the Monastery.

In the meantime, all the bakeries will be busy preparing the “lazarakia”, pastries shaped like small men and coated with sugar, as well as the “lambrokouloures”, the traditional Easter bread decorated with a red egg. Painting the eggs red is a custom that has held strong for many centuries, as the eggs symbolize Jesus’ tomb, and cracking them signifies his resurrection.

During the weeks before Easter, the atmosphere of the island is quiet, almost spiritual, as locals hurry to prepare everything according to holy tradition. You will see them gathering in churches, lighting candles, and singing Easter hymns, paying their respects to the significance of this special time of year. It’s a much different vibe compared to the summer frenzy; and yet, Mykonos is more beautiful than ever, inviting you to immerse yourself in the unique ambiance created by human faith and awakened nature, including the glittering, sun-washed azure blue Aegean Sea.

So, if you want to experience the magic of tradition brought to life, simply book your flight and pack!

Mykonos: Summer is only a breath away!

Mykonos: Summer is only a breath away!

There’s a very popular Greek song that says it’s not cold and it’s never been cold in Greece. If you add to that the also very popular proverb according to which, once, in February, the juices of nature start flooding in the underground of the hills and mountains, it will smell like summer, then you can understand why winter is always short in this beautiful corner of the Aegean Sea.

So, February is approaching, and there are only a few weeks left until the end of March when the international airport of Mykonos will start receiving flights from all over the world, with visitors eager to enjoy the magical Greek spring.

In any case, by the end of January, the island slowly starts to get crowded again. After the Christmas and New Year’s break, when many of its residents travel either to the mainland of Greece to visit family and friends or abroad for rest and new experiences, the ferries begin to fill up with those who come to the island to plan the summer season and start preparing for yet another legendary and explosive Mykonian summer.

Among the first tasks is the refreshing of the white paint on the island’s white-washed houses, alleys, and churches to erase any marks left by winter dampness. In Matoyannia, the island’s commercial hub, there’s a frenzy of activity as shops gear up to welcome visitors. New venues are opening, and specialists from Athens arrive on weekends to assist locals in organizing this year’s feast of entertainment. Artists and DJs are being booked, and new equipment is being ordered for clubs and beach bars. Simultaneously, the stunning beaches are undergoing thorough cleaning to ensure their golden sands shine once more.

Restaurants are busy crafting new menus for the season, proudly upholding Greece’s proclamation as the second-best country in the culinary sector.

And while according to the calendar it is still the season when in most parts of the western hemisphere the winter is still heavy and people are oriented to winter sports, Mykonos is already basking in sunny days that beckon people to sit outdoors and indulge in mouthwatering fresh fish lunches alongside local delicacies.

The first lucky ones arriving in Mykonos at the end of March will experience the breathtaking spring in the Cyclades, that is full of colors, aromas, and lush greenery, even more vibrant than the mid-summer landscape. From then on, there are only a few weeks until Orthodox Easter on the 5th of May, marking the official beginning of the summer party!

Reasons why to visit Mykonos in the winter

Reasons why to visit Mykonos in the winter

Even in the heart of the winter, Mykonos is a place like no other in Greece. This includes the mild weather, the amazing natural beauties, the legendary historical sites, the festivities that surround the New Year celebrations and the restless vibe that lies within the beautiful island’s DNA, even during its quietest moments.

The weather

There is a popular Greek song, saying that “it’s never cold in Greece, it has never been”; which is more than partly true. The average temperature in January —traditionally the coldest month of the year— is 11 °C! In December 2022 and December 2023 temperatures rose up to 27 degrees (!), leading to many people enjoying swims in the sea. Eventually it will get much colder but snowing is extremely rare and, if it does happen, it will surely make the headlines! There might be some rain, but judging from the dryness of the landscape, precipitation is not abundant. Typically, grey skies last for a very few days and the sun shines again, creating opportunities for outdoor activities. The only possible freezing factor is the occasional strong northern winds, which, fortunately, do not last very long.

The fun

Many believe that from the end of October until late March, the nightlife in Mykonos comes to a complete standstill. However, Greeks love celebrating life in every way. During the high season, their job is to bring joy to the massive crowds of guests visiting the island for fun. In the winter, they are having fun among their own community in bars, restaurants, and tavernas with live music. If you happen to pass by, they will welcome you warmly, and soon you will be surrounded by openhearted locals singing, drinking, dancing, and offering you the authentic Greek “kefi” (having fun) experience.

The food

Mykonos is home to some of the best restaurants and tavernas in Greece, serving a range from classic Greek dishes to the most upscale cuisine. Normally, the exclusive, high-end restaurants are closed during the off-season, but you can still enjoy the mouthwatering Greek recipes at a few tavernas in Chora and in Ano Mera. There, you will be treated to exceptional menu selections, such as savory local cheeses, winter salads, homemade sausages, and delicious soups. You will also find the most traditional and emblematic dishes, such as moussaka (made with ground beef, eggplant and potatoes), spanakopita (pastry filled with spinach, herbs and feta cheese), and cabbage-dolma (filled with minced meat and rice). As for dessert, don’t miss the baklava, made from filo pastry, honey, and nuts. During January, savor the famous Vasilopita, a special cake made in every bakery and household, with a coin, called “Flouri”, secretly hidden inside it. On
New Year’s Eve the head of the family cuts the cake, after blessing it with the sign of the Cross, and offers a piece to each member of the family and guest. The lucky one who finds the Flouri is expected to have a very fortunate year!

Getting there

Mykonos is equipped with an international airport, but during the winter, most flights are connected to Athens, the Greek capital. There are also ferries that operate daily between the port of Rafina (near Athens) and Mykonos, with the exception of some days during the winter when the fierce winds don’t allow any kind of sailing.