15th January 2020
Crete is in its prime in spring when the plants and trees are all in bloom and the temperature is back on the up. Due to the complex variety of natural landscape and over 1000 km of coastline, Crete boasts a rich variety of cuisine, from freshly caught fish to melt-in-the-mouth cheeses. At Pure Crete, we provide charming traditional villas to cater for any group size, so if you’re looking for villa holidays in Crete, you can count on us. A trip to Crete in spring will bring you back to nature and ensure a refreshing break.
Spring in Crete
Spring in Crete is a truly magnificent experience – so much so that we even offer tailored weeks known as ‘Crete in Bloom’, so you can get the best and most varied experience of Crete’s natural beauty. We are highly experienced at organising this trip, which will be returning for its 27th year in 2020, and it will also include guided tours and a welcome dinner.
With the largest amount of endemic plant species out of any country or Island in Europe, Crete is a Botanist’s haven. Around the lower levels of the White Mountains, you can spot Cretan ebonies and cyclamen. In the centre of the Island, there is the famous Spili bump, which in April is carpeted in orchids and iris. If you’re planning a trip with the whole family, or aren’t keen on walking, then you can always visit the Botanical Park in Fournes instead. This park has a breath-taking collection of flowers and plants, including 150 different breeds of fruit tree. There’s so much to be seen here that you are often best booking a guide to ensure that don’t you miss any of it.
Crete in spring has numerous celebrations and festivals for you to attend, aside from the famous Easter celebrations.
Easter in Crete
The Easter weekend is the most important one in Crete’s yearly calendar; everybody flocks to church on Good Friday and commemorates Christ’s death by burning a bonfire. On Easter Saturday, church services are conducted in the middle of the night, and restaurants stay open into the early hours for families to gather after the service. Easter Sunday is greeted with merriment, a feast of roast lamb and a lot of wine drinking! If you stay in one of our traditional Greek villas alongside the local residents, it’s not uncommon for our holidaymakers to be invited to join the party! Here’s a more thorough run-through of events if you’re staying with us over the Easter period:
Good Friday (Megali Paraskevi) in Crete is a rather solemn day dedicated to mourning Jesus Christ. As part of the Easter traditions, bells ring throughout the morning, and many people will dress in black for the day. The church will later hold an evening session, followed by a procession with an epitaph or coffin at the head. Any members of the congregation following are expected to be wearing the appropriate mourning colours of black for this event.
Whilst spending Good Friday in Crete is a somewhat subdued experience, the cultural heritage and solemnity of the event is a unique experience that you will be glad to have experienced. Many agree that the rest of the Easter weekend is better for this short period of reflection. Be aware that many shops are working on reduced hours during this time, and tavernas are likely to be closed for the day.
Easter Saturday (Megalo Sabbato) is an incredible day to spend in Crete or any of the Greek Islands. Countless villages prepare bonfires for the burning of Judas Iscariot, who is represented by an effigy. The effigy is delivered to the bonfire with accompanying gunshots, and the burning signals the destruction of greed and cowardice.
The burning doesn’t occur until after midnight, after a special service in the churches. If you want to enjoy this weekend to its fullest, it is important that you enjoy a restful Good Friday because the weekend from this point onwards is extremely lively. The passing of the church service marks the end of the 40-day fast and the beginning of the celebration. Locals are known for playing music to welcome in the dawn of Easter day on this night.
This day of celebration (Kyriaki Tou Paska), is usually spent with friends and family. Throughout the villages, you will find dancing, merriment and food. Although many shops and museums will be closed, tavernas are usually open so you can experience the wonders of Greek Orthodox cooking first-hand.
Spit-roasted lamb is the traditional food served in Greece on this day, often cooked in the outdoors too, so if you enjoy the smell of cooking meat, you will love to spend your Easter Sunday in Crete. It is possible that neighbours or friends will welcome you to join them for a ‘meze’, a celebratory drink – such is the merry environment of Crete during Easter Sunday.
We look forward to seeing you in Spring soon. With so many private villa rentals in Crete to choose from, we recommend that you call us to quickly arrange a booking that best suits your party and dates. Below is a reminder of some of our recommended experiences for a Cretan spring holidays