Six Months of Summer - May

The Greek Islands and Cyprus – so much more to see and do in MAY

Lp Content May Cyprus Diving

Scuba diving in Cyprus

May is a great month to dive around Cyprus: the water is clear and pleasantly warm, there are fewer crowds, and you will have the pick of the sites and dive operators. The Green and Loggerhead turtles are beginning to come to lay their eggs on Cyprus beaches, and you may be lucky enough to meet one of these celebrity denizens of the deep.

One of the Mediterranean’s most famous wreck dives is the good ship Zenobia, which went down in Larnaca harbour and was towed away and scuttled 1,500 yards offshore. There’s a fantastic resident population of sea life, as well as the extraordinary sight (and photo-opportunity) of the remains of its cargo - dozens of lorries – scattered around it on the sea-floor.

As well as the Zenobia, which with a maximum depth of 140ft is not ideal for beginners, there are more than fifteen other diving spots nearby, including shallower shipwrecks, reefs, caves and canyons.

Other fascinating dives include:

Amphorae Cave, off Paphos. One of a series of interesting caves, this is particularly spectacular as it’s encrusted with amphorae (ancient storage jars).

The wreck of the Diana:  this 15-metre wreck sits upright in 21 metres of water and attracts schools of fish – another popular place for underwater photography.

The Canyon, Cape Greko: accessible from the shore, this site features interesting rock formations, and plentiful sightings of stingrays and other fish.

The Chapel: this is a fun shore dive, situated east of Ayia Napa, where depths of up to 30 metres are possible. You’ll see sponges and scorpionfish along the wall, and look out for more old amphorae as well. On a night dive, this is a great place to see octopus.

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Lp Content May Easter

Easter Celebrations in the Greek Islands and Cyprus

On Good Friday (April 29th), the Epitaph Mass takes place in churches everywhere, after which the people take part in a solemn procession through their town or village, as funeral psalms are chanted.

On Easter Saturday morning, preparations start for the festive dinner of the Resurrection Night.

Then, before midnight, people gather in church holding white candles, which are then lit with the ‘Holy Light’. The Resurrection is celebrated at 12.00 sharp, when ‘Christós Anésti’ – Christ has risen – is proclaimed against a background of drums, fireworks and loudly-pealing bells.

On Easter Sunday morning, as the 40-day period of fasting finally comes to an end, the Easter tables are set, the traditional lamb or kid is roasted, and people celebrate until late at night.

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Lp Content May Cyprus

Easter in Cyprus

Easter is also the most important celebration in Cyprus, and is marked by two weeks of festivals, religious ceremonies and flower parades.

On Good Friday, everyone takes flowers to the church so that the young girls can decorate the Holy Sepulchre.

All the streets along which the Holy Sepulchre will later pass are decorated with coloured lights.

The procession starts after the evening service and travels right around the parish boundaries, with the whole congregation taking part and the children lighting sparklers on the way.

After the sermon of resurrection at midnight on Saturday, ‘‘Christós Anésti’ is proclaimed, then people go home to crack red eggs, (if yours is the last to crack, you’ll be lucky all year), and enjoy their meal.

In many of the smaller villages, it’s the custom on Easter Sunday or Monday for whole villages to feast together in the churchyard, with each family bringing its own food and everyone sitting together at long tables made out of planks.

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Lp Content May Thessaloniki

Fire-walking in Thessaloniki

From May 21-23rd, in the village of Langada near Thessaloniki, you can see the Anasternaria – traditional fire-walking dating back to pagan times. Barefoot villagers clutching icons of St Constantine and St Helen dance upon charcoal embers without getting burned, to celebrate the two Saints’ day which is May 21st.

This Saints’ day is also celebrated in many churches and monasteries throughout Greece, especially those names after St Constantine or St Helen (Eleni).

Explore Thessaloniki

Skiathos -Tennis -919x 241

Things to do in May: Visit the Skiathos Tennis Open

The first Skiathos Open takes place from 21 May - 25 May 2016.

This Grade 5 tournament is open to all Seniors aged 35 to 70

Why not take oppourtunity of this great event and stay at the

Alkyon Hotel ***

A short stroll from the tennis courts. Family run, and a great friendly atmosphere with close proximity to the picturesque harbour in Skiathos.

This hotel is only available to book by calling Deyana on 020 8492 6759.

View the Alkyon Hotel

Lp Content May Thessaloniki

Fire-walking in Thessaloniki

From May 21-23rd, in the village of Langada near Thessaloniki, you can see the Anasternaria – traditional fire-walking dating back to pagan times. Barefoot villagers clutching icons of St Constantine and St Helen dance upon charcoal embers without getting burned, to celebrate the two Saints’ day which is May 21st.

This Saints’ day is also celebrated in many churches and monasteries throughout Greece, especially those names after St Constantine or St Helen (Eleni).

Explore Thessaloniki

Lp Content May Flower Walk

Wildflower walks

May is a perfect time to enjoy the beautiful wildflowers of the Greek Islands, and you’re spoilt for places to see them!

Lovely little Tilos island specialises in eco-tourism, and is a protected environment. The valleys are full of wildflowers, pine, oak and almond trees, and there’s an abundance of wildlife and birds.

Crete boasts almost 2,000 different kinds of flora, of which around 150 plants and wild herbs are endemic, i.e. they do not originate anywhere else in the world. In May, the wildflowers are abundant. The hillsides are fragrant with wild herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme, whilst chamomile, wild orchids, poppies, iris, anemones and field gladiolus grow all over the island.

In May in Corfu, you can find yourself walking on a carpet of wildflowers, and scented herbs grow by the roadside. There are 36 species of orchid, and you’ll thrill to the sight of spectacular blossoming Judas trees.

Explore Tilos

Explore Crete

Explore Corfu

 

Lp Content May Ios

Ios – the Homeria Festival

Taking place in the first two weeks of May, this festival is held in honour of the Greek epic poet Homer, writer of the Odyssey and the Iliad.

Homer is buried in Plakotos, in Ios, and locals are proud to organise the festival in his honour. On May 15th, a flame is carried from the port to the site of his grave at Platokos, and Homeria has received worldwide recognition from UNESCO for its role in conserving Greek national and cultural identity.

The festival offers something for everyone: art exhibitions, sporting events, dance and creative workshops, as well as live music, feasting and dancing. Concerts and plays are performed in the atmospheric stone-built amphitheatre of Odysseas Elytis, with its wonderful views to Mylopotas.

Explore Ios

 

Lp Content May Greek Culture

May 18th - International Museum Day

The theme of this year’s Museum Day is ‘cultural exchange, the enrichment of cultures and the development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.’

Many museums will offer free admission on May 18th, and will be organising a series of events and activities around this year’s theme, on and around the day.

This promises to be an unmissable opportunity to enjoy a deeper insight into the rich cultural heritage of both Greece and Cyprus

Explore Greece

FESTIVAL DATES

Festival dates can change, often at the last minute, so please do check them again nearer to the time.

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