Like a pent-up release, the Easter exodus from Athens, the first real one in three years, has exceeded the last pre-pandemic one.
Partial figures provided by police showed that the number of people who left Athens for the countryside, many of them for their ancestral villages, is 15% larger than that of 2019.
People started leaving the capital area on Wednesday and some last-minute people were still leaving early Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday, 22 passenger ships have left, or were scheduled to leave, from the three main Attica ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio.
Sixty-eight more vessels had left Friday, carrying 32,785 passengers, 5,895 private cars, 895 bikes and 519 trucks, port authorities said. It is also estimated that over 200,000 cars will have joined the exodus by its end.
In 2020, lockdown had been total. Last year, more than 20,000 cars had left, but many were flouting the rules: police roadblocks turned people around and imposed fines on the spot, and even the web site of the Independent Revenue Authority, where citizens filed their taxes, had to shut down in order to stop accepting changes of address, the vast majority bogus, that would allow people to spend their Easter on the countryside.
Last-minute travelers to the Peloponnese have been hampered in the past hour by a truck spillover on Km 59 of the Athens-Corinth highway. Cars can only squeeze through the emergency lane and police were to divert traffic through side roads.