Ahhhh yes… Greece. Just the mere mention of its name conjures up gorgeous images of translucent aquamarine seas, endless azure skies, and seemingly uninterrupted coastlines and island landscapes just ready for exploring. We want to be there, so we know that you’ll want to be there too – so let’s go cruising!
Embark on a voyage throughout the jewels of the beautiful Mediterranean – the Greek Isles. Each island sports its own distinct Greek culture, its own unique sights and sounds, ready and waiting for your cruise ship to touch port so you can explore.
Let’s start with one of the most famous Greek Isles…
Here you’ll experience paradise on earth as you land on Greece’s most popular island destination. The beaches here are plenty, which is just as well as this tourist haven will be chockablock during peak season. For the adventure enthusiasts among us, go for the Platys Gialos and Kalafatis for water skiing and windsurfing. Many will flock to Elia Beach, the island’s longest strip of white sand, so you may want to try heading to Myrsine and the Fokos coves for a bit more relaxation.
Venture further afield to the tiny capital of Hora, host to enchanting cobbled streets and quaint houses and shops. There’s Mavrogenous and Matogliani Streets where you’ll find all the luxury brands and one-off creations from Greek designers. Visit art galleries, go shopping in Little Venice, enjoy a movie at the open-air cinema at Cine Manto, and when you’re done find a little Greek taverna with a view of the ocean, sip some wine, eat fresh “just-caught” fish, dance a little, laugh a little – after all you are in Greece!
Next up is a bit of history with…
Rhodes mixture of historical influences come from the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Islamic and more, so history buffs and culture-seekers will feel right at home here. It was also home to one of the ancient wonders of the world – the Colossus of Rhodes, which, according to legend, straddled the entrance to the now Mandraki Harbour. And yes, the statue was huge!
Along with the medieval architecture, Crusader castle and Turkish flair that abounds as you step on to shore, a visit to the ancient Temple to Athena Lindia is a must-see, as is one of the best museums in the region – the Archaeological Museum – presenting age-old treasures of historic importance. Now, don’t let its OTT historical bent fool you… Rhodes is also a place where you’ll find beautiful beachfronts, great fresh produce and an amazing night life sitting right alongside these ancient cultural discoveries. And for those of us who love the magic of nature, take a ride along the coastline to Petaloudes (Valley of the Butterflies) where hundreds upon hundreds of tiger moths are drawn by the scent of Oriental Amber Trees. Just simply breathtaking!
The island of Corfu is one of the most underrated spectacular island destinations in Europe. Located just off the coast of North western Greece, it is influenced heavily by nearby Italy and cosmopolitan Venice, showcasing Renaissance, Baroque and Classical influences within the UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town of Corfu. This charming island, renowned for its hospitality exudes a Venetian vibe that reminds many of the artistry of Florence or complexities of Rome. From palaces, churches, ancient temples and more, this crossroad island’s heritage is an awe-inspiring sight. Team all this up with sprawling fields of olive groves and vineyards, exceptional secluded beaches, religious festivals, friendly open people, and a great mix of culinary delights and you have it made!
An almost surreal scenery will unfold in front of you in Crete as you set off to explore this maritime jewel of the Mediterranean.
Standing in the cradle of the Minoan civilisation, this most popular island simply oozes history. Considered as one of Europe’s first advanced societies that have stood the test of time, make sure you take yourself to visit the famous Palace of Knossos. This large palace complex just south of Heraklion is a must-see – the labyrinthine entrance, throne room and hall of colonnades, … and you simply HAVE to see the reconstructed fresco of blue dolphins, they are amazing.
OK, OK, we get it, you’ve had your fill of history (although you must admit you are in the CENTRE of the ancient world in Greece!) what else can you do on Crete?
You have rustic villages, snow-peaked mountains, bustling towns with marketplaces filled to the brim with every kind of delicacy you can imagine. Follow a food trail and discover simple tavernas that BBQ their own meat, press their own olive oil, make their own cheeses, and the wine – made with their own grapes grown right there on the vineyard clad hills. And the best part? Whether you are a gourmand or a foodie, or just out to have fun, then Crete is the place to be!
The island of Patmos is where St. John wrote much of the biblical Book of Revelations, and as such brings both the religious and those wanting to see the Island of the Apocalypse aka the end of the world! And, of course a visit Patmos cannot miss out on such sights as the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of St. John where Joh wrote about the Four Horseman, both major tourist destinations.
However, this is not the only thing to do on Patmos. Other attractions like the beautiful Byzantine labyrinthine village of Chora, hundreds of Orthodox churches and shrines from simple one roomed buildings to huge bejewelled affairs, whitewashed houses and mountain top mansions, simple fishing boats through to the super-yachts of the rich and famous bobbing in the azure blue harbour – all are a feast for the eyes from sunrise to glorious sunset.
There are a few places in the world quite like Santorini. Romantic and tantalizing views of the Caldera and volcanic seascapes will captivate everyone from honeymooners, friends and families alike as Santorini’s charming whitewashed towns cling to the multi-coloured cliff rim of her extinct volcano. The traditional blue and white of the Greek flag is showcased, we think, by Santorini’s white upon white houses and vibrantly blue sea and sky. It’s eye-strainingly vibrant and bright, yet beautiful and not to be missed by any means. The white and blue-domed churches take on a subtle change at sunset – best seen from Oia, as the sun softly caresses each wall, bathing it in a golden glow. The contrast between the two is a masterpiece of man vs nature – heaven!
Dubbed as one of the world’s most popular wedding and honeymoon destinations, it’s seaside treasures of deep blue waters, volcanic red, white, or black sand, oceanfront restaurants and bars, Fira’s ultra-steep donkey ride from the cruise port at the base of the cliffs up to her marketplace filled with jewellery, decorative glass, high end stores plus every trinket and souvenir imaginable, are a drawcard for everyone.
For those wanting to see the “real” Santorini, head for Faros local market with the best of the island’s fruits, vegetables, ouzo, Vin Santo (a speciality of the island) cheeses, herbs and more on offer. Make a trip to one of the traditional bakeries dotted around every town – spanakopita (cheese and spinach triangles), biscuits freshly made, and some have gyros from heaven (OMG Yum!). Step out of Fira and Oia’s touristy towns and head south-west to Akrotiri (Santorini’s lighthouse), walk the steep tracks along the cliff faces or hike a volcano, explore the islands smaller townships, sail or take a plunge in volcanic hot sea springs – life couldn’t get any better than this!
Greek Island holiday sound like you? Our Mediterranean cruises will take you there with major cruiselines such as Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruiselines, Silverseas, Celebrity Cruises, and Princess Cruises just to name a few.
Start planning today when you call our Cruise Solutions Specialists at Cruise Megastore on 1300 657 948
Already been? What was your favourite island? Tell us today at firstname.lastname@example.org