One Island, Two Faiths: Easter Harmony in Syros

Easter at Syros

A travel guide on experiencing Easter 2024 in Syros Island, by the team at Greeklist.

1.  A special Easter in Syros

Syros stands as a unique testament to unity and harmony, where Catholics and Orthodox communities come together in celebration during Easter. In a rare display of solidarity, locals of both faiths join hands to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, transcending religious boundaries and fostering a spirit of inclusivity. Throughout the island, you’ll witness a beautiful fusion of traditions, from the solemn processions of the Catholic Church to the mesmerising midnight Resurrection service of the Orthodox faith.

Whether it’s lighting candles side by side in ancient churches or sharing traditional Easter delicacies with neighbours, the people of Syros exemplify the true essence of Easter – a time of hope, renewal, and togetherness. This remarkable display of unity amidst diversity serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us of the power of compassion and cooperation in our shared journey of faith and humanity.

Syros Island Easter

2.  Brief History of Syros

Syros, nestled in the heart of the Cyclades archipelago, boasts a rich and diverse history that has shaped its character over the centuries. Originally inhabited by the Phoenicians, the island later fell under the rule of various powers, including the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans.  However, it was during the 13th century that Syros began to flourish, becoming a prominent trade hub due to its strategic location and natural harbours. This period saw the island’s population grow as it attracted settlers from across the Mediterranean.

In the 16th century, the island came under Venetian control, experiencing a period of economic prosperity and cultural growth. The Venetians fortified the island’s capital, Ermoupolis, and developed its distinctive neoclassical architecture, which still stands as a testament to this era.  During the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century, Syros played a significant role as a centre of commerce and shipbuilding. Its cosmopolitan population and thriving industries made it a beacon of progress and enlightenment in the region.

Following the establishment of the modern Greek state, Syros emerged as an administrative and cultural centre, attracting artists, intellectuals, and merchants from across Greece and Europe. Today, Syros continues to captivate visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture.

3. Syros: Where Orthodox and Catholics unite

The Catholic and Orthodox communities on Syros coexist in a harmonious tapestry, each contributing to the island’s rich cultural mosaic. While historically and spiritual distinct, these two faith traditions have found common ground on this small Aegean island, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation.

The Catholic community, predominantly Latin Rite, maintains a vibrant presence on Syros, with churches and chapels dotting the landscape, serving as centers of worship and community gathering. Meanwhile, the Orthodox faith, deeply rooted in the island’s history and tradition, holds sway over the majority of the population, with iconic churches and monasteries scattered throughout.

Despite theological differences, the Easter season serves as a poignant example of unity, as Catholics and Orthodox alike come together to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, sharing in the solemn rituals and joyous festivities that mark this sacred time.

Special Easter at Syros

4.  Getting to Syros from the UK

Getting to Syros from the UK is a straightforward and enjoyable journey, offering travellers a seamless transition from bustling city life to the serene beauty of the Aegean. The most common route involves flying from many major UK airports, such as London Heathrow, Gatwick, or Manchester, to Athens International Airport (ATH) for a 3 hour flight. Book your tickets from Skyscanner.

From Athens, travellers have several options to reach Syros:

  1. One convenient option is to take a domestic flight from Athens to Syros Island National Airport (JSY). These flights typically have a short duration of around 30 to 40 minutes, offering stunning aerial views of the Greek islands along the way. Book your tickets from Skyscanner.
  2. Alternatively, travellers can opt for a scenic ferry ride from the port of Piraeus in Athens to Syros, every day. The journey duration varies depending on the type of ferry, ranging from about 2 to 4 hours. The ferry ride provides an opportunity to soak in the beauty of the Aegean Sea, with panoramic vistas of the Cyclades islands. Book your tickets from Ferryscanner.

5.  The weather in Syros during Easter

In late April, temperatures in Syros typically range from around 20°C to 25°C, with cool mornings and evenings and mild daytime temperatures.

While Syros enjoys relatively mild and sunny weather during Easter, it’s essential to keep in mind that weather conditions can vary, and occasional rain showers or windy days are possible. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pack layers and a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings, as well as sunscreen and sunglasses for sunnier days.

Overall, Easter in Syros offers visitors the opportunity to experience the island’s natural beauty and cultural festivities in comfortable and pleasant weather conditions, making it an ideal time to explore and enjoy all that the island has to offer.

For an extended weather forecast, check

6.  Top Destinations and Attractions in Syros during Easter

From the neoclassical streets of Ermoupolis to the tranquil shores of its pristine beaches, Syros offers a journey through time and tradition, where ancient rituals meet modern-day revelry against a backdrop of sun-drenched landscapes and azure seas. Join us on a journey to discover the wonders of Syros during Easter, where the spirit of renewal and togetherness fills the air, and every corner reveals a story waiting to be told.

  • Ermoupoli: Discover the island’s capital, known for its neoclassical architecture, bustling harbour, and vibrant atmosphere. During Easter, Ermoupolis comes alive with religious processions,cultural events, and traditional festivities.
  • Ermoupoli
  • Cathedral of Saint Nicholas: Situated in the heart of Ermoupoli, this grand cathedral is one of the most important Orthodox landmarks on the island, featuring a striking facade and ornate interior.
  • St. Nicolaus, Syros
  • Ano Syros: Explore the historic hilltop town with its charming alleys and stunning views of the Aegean Sea. Ano Syros is especially picturesque during Easter, with its whitewashed buildings adorned with colourful flowers.
  • Ano,Syros
  • Church of Agios Stefanos: A beautiful and picturesque catholic chapel in the area of Galissas built among the rocks. Dedicated to Saint Stephen.
  • Saint Stephen, Syros
  • Archaeological Museum of Syros: Houses a collection of artifacts from various periods of Syros’ history, including ancient sculptures, ceramics, and inscriptions.
  • Archaeological Museum of Syros
  • Apollon Theater: An architectural gem, one of the most beautiful theaters in Greece, hosting various cultural events and performances.
  • Apollon Theatre
  • Panagia Karmilou Church: This Catholic Church is inviting visitors to explore its rich spiritual heritage and breathtaking interior adorned with frescoes and icons. Dedicated to Virgin Mary.
  • Panagia Karmilou Church
  • Vaporia Quarter: A charming district of Ermoupoli, famous for its neoclassical mansions and seafront promenade.
  • Vaporia
  • Agios Dimitrios: A cherished Orthodox church in Syros, beckons with its timeless beauty and religious significance, offering visitors a serene sanctuary adorned with intricate iconography and Cycladic charm. Dedicated to Saint Demetrius.
  • Saint Demetrius Church
  • Kini Beach: A beautiful beach with soft sand and shallow waters. It’s a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
  • Kini Beach
  • Capuchin Monastery of Saint John: Visit this historic Catholic monastery located in Ermoupolis, known for its beautiful architecture and panoramic views of the island.
  • Capucin Monastery of Saint John
  • Industrial Museum of Ermoupolis: Housed in three restored factories,it brings Syros’ industrial heyday to life. Explore a collection of over 300 exhibits, including machinery, tools, and even the first electric car built in Greece!
  • Industrial Museum of Syros
  • Church of the Resurrection: A beautiful Orthodox church located in Ano Syros. It’s known for its stone walls, blue dome, and beautiful frescoes.
  • Church of the Resurrection, Syros

7.  Cuisine and Dining in Syros during Easter

Syros’s Easter celebrations are a culinary delight, offering a symphony of flavours that diverge from tradition. From savoury delicacies to sweet treats, the island’s Easter table is a feast for the senses, showcasing Syros’s culinary secrets and leaving visitors eager to indulge in its unique gastronomic delights.

The best Easter Dishes

Discover the finest Easter dishes, steeped in tradition and bursting with flavour:

  • Ovelias (roast lamb):  A culinary centerpiece, featuring a whole lamb meticulously seasoned and slow-roasted on a spit. Symbolizing the sacrificial lamb, it’s served alongside crispy Greek fried potatoes for a mouthwatering feast.
  • OveliasMagiritsa Soup: A savory delicacy crafted from lamb offal, rice, and aromatic herbs like dill and parsley. Traditionally enjoyed after the midnight Resurrection service, it symbolizes the breaking of the fast following Lent.
  • Mageiritsa Soup
  • Kokoretsi: This traditional Greek dish boasts seasoned offal, typically lamb or goat intestines, wrapped around skewered organ meats like liver, heart, and lungs. Roasted over an open flame until crispy and flavorful, it’s a true taste of Greek culinary heritage.
  • Kokoretsi
  • Tsoureki (Easter bread): Indulge in this rich, sweet bread, infused with aromatic spices like mahlab and mastiha, then braided into its distinctive shape. Adorned with sesame seeds or slivered almonds, its soft, fluffy texture makes it a cherished treat for sharing during Easter celebrations.
  • Tsoureki
  • Paschalina Koulourakia: (Easter cookies): Delight in these buttery, crumbly cookies, often shaped into twisted or braided rings and flavoured with vanilla or orange. Whether enjoyed with a cup of coffee or shared amongst loved ones, they’re a beloved addition to any Easter gathering.
  • Koulourakia
  • Special mention: The Easter Eggs. Hard-boiled eggs dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ and the resurrection. These eggs are a ubiquitous symbol of Easter in Greece and are exchanged among family and friends  and then the game of Tsougrisma (egg tapping) takes place as a sign of good luck and renewal.Easter Eggs

Also, don’t forget to taste these local dishes of Syros :

  • Sisira: Slow-cooked pork infused with garlic, lemon, and aromatic herbs, a cherished delicacy on the island of Syros.
  • Sisira
  • Soutzoukakia: These oblong-shaped meatballs are made from ground beef or lamb, seasoned with garlic, onions, and aromatic spices like cumin and cinnamon, then simmered in a rich tomato sauce.
  • Soutzoukakia
  • Kaparosalata: A traditional salad bursting with flavour. Made from capers, tomatoes, onions, and fresh herbs, all dressed in olive oil and tangy lemon juice.
  • Kaparosalata
  • Loukoumia: These soft, chewy confections are made from gelatin, sugar, and various flavourings such as rose water or citrus. Dusted with powdered sugar.
  • Loukoumia

For a better insight in Greek Cuisine, check here our special guide!

The top-10 restaurants in Syros during Easter

Have a chance to taste the cuisine of Syros and Greece during Easter in our Top-10 list of restaurants in Syros:

  • Maizon de Meze: Mediterranean, European, Greek, Vegan/Vegetarian Options
  • Seariani Fish & More: Seafood, Mediterranean, European, Greek, Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten Free Options
  • Dr Wine: Mediterranean, European, Greek, Vegetarian Options
  • Meltemi: Steakhouse, Mediterranean, Greek, Vegan/Vegetarian Options

Check for more Corfu restaurants on Tripadvisor.

Greek Easter Table

8.  Accommodation Options in Syros during Easter

During Easter in Syros, visitors can choose from a variety of accommodation options ranging from boutique hotels and guesthouses to charming villas and traditional apartments. Many accommodations offer special Easter packages and amenities, providing a comfortable and memorable stay amidst the island’s festive atmosphere.

Here are our top-3 hotels in Syros for Easter:

Seek more Greeklist exclusive Hotel deals for Syros and HotelBrain here!

9. Unique church services during Easter

During Orthodox Easter , the island comes alive with unique church services that blend ancient traditions with modern celebrations.

During Holy Thursday,  special morning service, the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil, takes place. This liturgy remembers the Last Supper, where Jesus established the sacrament of the Eucharist. In the evening, the  reading of the Twelve Gospels is a unique element on Thursday night. These twelve passages recount the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, preparing the faithful for the somber mood of Holy Friday.

Megali Pempti

Holy Friday is a day of mourning. Α solemn ceremony called the Veneration of the Cross takes place. During this ceremony, the faithful venerate the cross, a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. Another unique element of Holy Friday is the Epitaphios, a beautiful floral decoration symbolising the tomb of Christ. The Epitaphios is adorned with flowers and icons, and is paraded  through the streets during the night while the faithful are chanting mourning chants.

Megali Paraskevi

One of the most significant moments of the Easter period is the midnight liturgy on Holy Saturday, where worshippers gather to celebrate the Resurrection with candlelight processions, hymns, and the symbolic lighting of the Holy Fire from Jerusalem. The bells rang while the faithful chant Hristos Anesti! (Christ is Risen) accompanied by fireworks.


10. Day trips by boat from Syros

Exploring the nearby islands and coastal gems by boat from Syros offers a delightful array of day trip options. Here are some fantastic destinations for boat excursions:

  • Mykonos: Sail to the glamorous island of Mykonos, known for its vibrant nightlife, picturesque windmills, and beautiful beaches such as Paradise Beach and Psarou Beach.
  • Delos: Embark on a journey to the sacred island of Delos, an archaeological treasure trove and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore ancient ruins, temples, and statues dating back to the Greek and Roman eras.
  • Delos
  • Tinos: Discover the religious and cultural significance of Tinos, home to the revered Panagia Evangelistria Church and the annual pilgrimage destination for Orthodox Christians. Explore charming villages, scenic landscapes, and pristine beaches.
  • Tinos
  • Rhenia: Escape to the secluded island of Rhenia, a tranquil oasis with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxation away from the crowds.
  • Rhenia
  • Kythnos: Sail to an island known for its serene beauty and unspoiled landscapes, offering visitors secluded beaches, traditional villages, and therapeutic hot springs to relax and rejuvenate amidst the Cycladic charm.
  • Kythnos

11. Local Transportation and getting around in Syros

In Syros, visitors can easily navigate the island using various modes of local transportation.

  • Taxis: Easily accessible in main towns like Ermoupolis and Ano Syros, providing convenient and flexible travel options.
  • Local Buses: Operate regular routes connecting major villages and attractions, offering an affordable way to explore Syros’s diverse landscapes and cultural sites.
  • Rental Vehicles: Cars, scooters, or ATVs can be rented for independent exploration of the island’s hidden gems and scenic coastal roads.
  • Walking: Many attractions and points of interest in Syros are within walking distance, especially in towns like Ermoupolis and Ano Syros, making it a pleasant and eco-friendly way to explore.
  • Bicycle Rentals: Available in some areas of Syros, offering an alternative mode of transportation for those who enjoy cycling and want to explore the island at a leisurely pace.
  • Boat Tours: Excursions by boat allow visitors to explore secluded beaches, caves, and coastal landmarks around the island, providing a unique perspective of Syros from the sea.

Ano Syros Street

12. Safety and Travel Tips for Syros

As you prepare to embark on your Corfiot adventure, here are some essential tips to ensure a safe, smooth, and unforgettable experience!

  • Emergency Numbers: Familiarise yourself with emergency contact numbers, including: local police (100), medical emergencies (166), fire department (199), and the British Embassy (+302107272600) for assistance.
  • General Safety: Syros is generally considered a safe destination, but it’s always wise to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and at night.
  • Language: While English runs the show, since Syros a popular tourist attraction, learning a few basic Greek phrases can be helpful and appreciated by locals. Don’t forget to say “Kalo Pascha!” (Happy Easter) and “Hristos Anesti!” (Christ is Risen).
  • Accommodation: Book your accommodation early because Easter period in Syros is considered as a peak season.
  • Walking Safety: Wear comfortable footwear and stay hydrated when exploring the island on foot. Be mindful of uneven terrain and use pedestrian crossings when crossing roads.
  • Local Etiquette: Tipping is not mandatory in Greece, but it is a common courtesy to leave a small gratuity for good service. Check here for travellers etiquette to Greece.
  • Fire Safety: Be cautious with cigarettes and open flames, particularly in areas prone to wildfires, and follow any local fire safety guidelines.
  • Electrical Compatibility: British visitors to Greece should ensure they have a travel adapter compatible with Europlug Type C or Type F sockets to effortlessly power their electronic devices during their stay.
  • Church Etiquette: When visiting churches, monasteries, or other religious sites, dress modestly and behave respectfully. Check here for the Orthodox Church Etiquette.
  • Local Currency: The Euro (€) is the official currency in Greece. It’s advisable to exchange some currency before your trip or withdraw cash from ATMs upon arrival to ensure you have local currency readily available for transactions.
  • Supporting Local Businesses: Embrace the local culture by dining at traditional tavernas, purchasing souvenirs from local artisans, and supporting small businesses during your stay.
  • Greek Coffee: Indulge in the rich and aromatic flavours of Greek coffee, a cherished tradition steeped in history and culture. Served in small cups, this beverage embodies the essence of hospitality and fosters meaningful conversations.

13. F.A.Q.s for Syros 

Learn some interesting facts about Syros!

What is special about Syros?

With an advantageous location in the centre of the Aegean Sea, Syros has amazing scenery that combines Cycladic and Venetian architecture. Just imagine whitewashed houses blending with colourful mansions, neoclassical buildings, and big churches!

What does the name Syros mean?

The name Syros has its roots in the words “sour” or “osoura” which mean “rocky” in ancient Phoenician. In Homer’s Odyssey the island is mentioned as “Syrie”. Excavations at Halandriani, a site on the island’s northeastern end, have been dated to 2800 B.C., or the second period of Early Cycladic culture.

What are the must-visit attractions in Syros?

Some must-visit attractions in Syros include Ermoupolis, Ano Syros, Vaporia, the Archaeological Museum of Syros, and the Church of Saint Nicholas.

Are there any hiking trails in Syros?

Yes, Syros offers several hiking trails, including routes from Ermoupolis to Ano Syros, hiking to Mount Anastasia, and exploring the northern region of Apano Meria.

What are some lesser-known attractions or hidden gems in Syros?

Some lesser-known attractions in Syros include the abandoned village of Kastri, the secluded beach of Grammata, the cave of Agios Stefanos, and the traditional village of Kini with its charming waterfront.

Can tourists participate in Easter festivities in Syros?

Yes, tourists are welcome to participate in Easter festivities in Syros, including attending church services, joining in cultural events, and enjoying traditional Easter meals at local tavernas and restaurants.

Are there any local legends or folklore associated with Syros?

Yes, Syros has its share of local legends and folklore, including stories of mythical creatures like the Cyclops, who is said to have inhabited the island’s caves, and tales of pirate raids and hidden treasure along its rugged coastline.

How is Easter celebrated in Syros?

Easter in Syros is marked by solemn religious services, vibrant processions, and joyful feasting. Families attend midnight Resurrection services, followed by gatherings to enjoy traditional Easter meals and exchange red-dyed eggs.

What was the role of Syros during the Greek War of Independence? During the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century, Syros played a pivotal role as a centre of commerce and culture. The island supported the revolution against Ottoman rule and contributed financially to the Greek cause.

14. Conclusion

Experiencing Easter on the enchanting island of Syros is a journey filled with profound spirituality, vibrant traditions, and cultural richness. As families gather to share in joyful feasts and visitors immerse themselves in the island’s cultural events, Easter in Syros becomes a time of reflection, connection, and unforgettable experiences.

Amidst the picturesque landscapes and historic charm of Syros, Easter transcends mere observance to become a transformative journey of discovery and celebration, leaving indelible memories and a deep appreciation for the island’s timeless heritage.

Syros Bell

You can also experience the Orthodox Easter 2024 in Rhodes, and Corfu!

Check also our Summer travel guides to Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, Santorini, Nafpaktos, Ioannina and Mykonos!

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