Athens’ main ports were packed on Friday as hundreds of holidaymaker made their late escape to the islands, ahead of the Greek Orthodox holiday of the ?Dormition of the Mother of God? (‘Kimisis tis Theotokou’), on August 15.

Twenty-five ships are scheduled to leave from Piraeus, 18 from Rafina and seven from Lavrio to the islands of Argo-Saronic Gulf, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and Crete.

Port authorities were urging passengers to arrive at their gate at least an hour in advance, particularly if they were travelling with their car. Ferry companies said few tickets are left for last-minute travellers.

On Thursday, 23,762 passengers left from Piraeus, 6,005 passengers from Rafina and 1,250 from Lavrio.

The Dormition falls on the same calendar day as the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The Dormition and the Assumption are different names for the same event, although the beliefs bear some differences.