The Best Of The Greek Islands
There is no one right answer when it comes to the best Greek Islands to visit on a Greek island-hopping cruise. There are island gems, pristine and unspoiled with timeless beauty, islands that are luxurious and cosmopolitan catering to the jet-setter crowd, and everything in between.
Mykonos is one of the prettiest and most popular of all the Greek Isles.
Want to experience the glamorous side of the Greek Islands? Head to the resort island of Mykonos and Santorini in the Cyclades, which offer a variety of beaches, spectacular views, flourishing nightlife and the full VIP treatment.
Rich with natural beauty and colorful history, the isle of Rhodes represents one of the most architecturally varied locations in Europe. Multi-cultural influences intermingle with the crystalline water, sunshine and dry air to cast a magnificent light over the island that the ancients dedicated to Apollo, the God of Light. Some of the other top isles that are often included in an itinerary in this region include the can’t-miss gems of Milos, Kos and Andros.
Insider Tip: In the capital Athens an open-air museum of impressive ancient temples, grand palaces, amphitheatres, Byzantine monasteries and more you will discover many famous landmarks and historical attractions that date back as far as the 5th century BC.
The legendary city of Athens offers both ancient sites and authentic culture.
What Its Like Cruising In Greece Right Now
Ive been to Mykonos in previous years when at times you could hardly walk the narrow streets because they were so clogged with tourists, but that was not the case on this trip. There was no jostling to get into designer shops or tables at oceanfront restaurants. And you could pause and take photos of the picturesque, white-washed houses, windmills, and blue-domed churches without being photobombed.
In Rhodes, my brother and I toured rooms at the Palace of the Grand Masters, built by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, which occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523, with only a handful of other visitors in sight. On some summer days, with the normal gaggles of tourists, the place is so crowded that you cant even see the mosaic floors.
There is also the fall advantage that locals, recovering from the typically busy summer season, are getting back to their lives. Folks we encountered were universally welcoming and openly expressed gratitude that we had chosen to travel to Greece.
Europe’s Leading Cruise Line 13 Years In A Row
Take a holiday, cruise to Greece, and experience the beauty and magnificence of the Mediterranean for an unforgettable vacation. Explore the mainland and witness ancient history, or travel to the Greek Isles for rich culture and picturesque sun-drenched beaches of the once-powerful empire. Experience lively Santorini as you stroll through its picturesque, winding streets. Explore the island of Mykonos and its famed whitewashed homes and beautiful beaches. Or lose yourself in the deep blue waters of Corfu and its collection of quaint cafes. Historic ruins, Greek Gods and relaxation await you on your Greek cruise with Norwegian.
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Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The all-inclusive, all suite intimate ships of Regent Seven Seas Cruises call on the hidden ports and hardest-to-reach places throughout the Greek Isles for adventures on roads less traveled.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers an unrivaled experience exploring the Greek Isles.
Your unrivaled experience aboard Regent means every detail is taken care of both onboard and on shore, from enjoying the ship’s luxurious accommodations to exploring the remote villages and cosmopolitan Greek cities featuring some of the worlds most ancient and famous sights.
Insider Tip: With CruiseInsider’s exclusive new-to-Regent promotion, first time Regent guests will get an extra $750 to use for an added perk to ensure your unrivaled experience begins before you even board.
On Regent, everything is included, which makes your Greek island-hopping adventure even more elegant. With immersive shore excursions included, you’ll get a true taste of Greek island life with your choice of small, expertly led tours or opportunities to explore on your own.
Explore Kefalonia’s colorful towns and villages on a complimentary shore excursion.
Choose from a variety of excursions including a breathtaking boat trip around Mykonos’s dramatic shoreline, shopping trips along Corfu’s cliffside villages, visits to the hot springs and wineries throughout Santorini, or even a guided Ola village tour complete with a cooking class at Aeolos.
The Best Time To Cruise The Greek Islands
The Best Time to Cruise the Greek Islands
The nation of Greece enjoys a mild climate and an influx of cultures brought about by its prominent place on the Mediterranean Sea. Its ancient civilization and the 1,400 islands that comprise its borders make it a natural destination for cruise ships. The time of year can play a huge role in the enjoyment of a cruise. If you want to visit Greece in a cruise ship, you need to consider the options carefully.
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Ephesus: Walking Through A Unesco World Heritage Site
The ancient world made Ephesus a center of travel and commerce. For a little over an hour, the UNESCO World Heritage site became the center of my world.
Read about Donnas experience on an Ephesus cruise excursion.
The Greeks originally built Ephesus in the 10th century BC as commercial seaport, taking advantage of its strategic location. Over time, as river and port silted up, the waterways shifted.
The Ionian coast now rests several miles away. Having lost its access to the sea, Ephesus nevertheless continued to prosper under the Roman Empire . Ephesus became the largest city in the East after Alexandria, with a population of over 200,000.
After leaving the port of Kusadasi, my Ephesus tour begins at the Magnesian Gate, near the top of a slope. Guides stop at significant points of interest: the remains of hundreds of temples, columns, statues, and etched drawings. I tried to imagine the bustling white marble city with residents in togas or flowing gowns.
We passed a theater used for council meetings, concerts or speeches. It could seat 1,400 and remains acoustically grand. Down colonnaded Curetes Street, we viewed the ruins of the Temples of Hadrian and Nike and the elaborate Nymphaeum Traiani Fountain.
We paused beside intricate mosaic floors from ancient homes along one side of the main path. We stopped, gawked and giggled at the mens public toilet area. The area also housed a brothel.
Explore Ephesus and Kusadasi on your own
- Experience a Hamam Turkish Bath in Kusadasi
Greek Island Cruise Itineraries
Eastern Mediterranean: The larger Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete are often part of longer itineraries that embark in Venice or Athens and end in Istanbul. Another popular cruise itinerary calls on the islands on the way to Israel. This is the most common way that cruisers experience the Greek islands.
Greece and Turkey: Many Greek island cruises include stops at Turkish port cities like Kusadasi and Bodrum. In Turkey, this stretch of coastline is called the Turquoise Coast, and its ancient history is similar to what you’ll find in Greece. A cruise that concentrates on Greece and Turkey often runs between Athens and Istanbul or runs round trip from Athens.
Greece Only: If you’re looking for true immersion in the Greek islands, look to smaller ships that concentrate solely on hopping between them. On these cruises, you’re likely to begin the day at one island for a swim or snorkel, head to another for a barbecue lunch and finish up with an overnight in one of the more happening ports to take advantage of the nightlife. These cruises usually sail round trip from Athens.
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We’re Back Norwegian Is Cruising To Greece This Summer
Sail aboard Norwegian Jade as we get ready break free this summer. As part of our first available sailings, experience a 7-day Greek Isles cruise from Athens to Santorini and its famed blue-domed villages, Corfu’s rolling vineyards, and the islands’ breathtakingly beautiful coastlines. Explore the best of the Greek Isles on this port-intensive itinerary.
What To Pack For A Cruise In The Greek Islands
Its hot in the Greek Islands, especially during summer cruises. To look good but beat the heat, pack a few of Donnas favorites:
- Loose, flowing dresses or skirts
- Cute walking sandals to wear off or on the ship
- A packable hat to protect your skin and hair from strong sun.
Youll find more tips in Surviving a Summer Cruise in the Mediterranean.
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Greek Island Cruise Tips
Prepare for the sun. Temperatures can rise to more than 100 degrees on the Greek islands at the height of summer. You’ll want to protect yourself with plenty of sunscreen, a hat and lots of water. While it’s tempting to dive into the Aegean Sea without sun protection, you don’t want to ruin the rest of your trip.
Prepare for crowds. During the high season, the most popular islands can get jammed — not just with cruise passengers, but with people on holiday from Greece and the rest of Europe. Bring your patience and an open mind.
Prepare to tender. As noted earlier, tendering is the rule and not the exception on the Greek islands. Also bear in mind that most small towns in Greece have cobblestoned streets, and even the more populated islands like Santorini and Mykonos are difficult for people with mobility issues.
Prepare for price fluctuations. While mostly prosperous, the Greek islands have been hit with a continuous series of tax increases. The prices that you see online when you plan your trip might not be what you find when you’re actually on the islands.
How To Get To Greece
Most small ship cruises around Greece depart from Athens which is the main international hub of Greece. Athens international airport provides flights from around the world with good connections by metro to Piraeus port where most small ship cruises depart from. There are some of the cruises that start on the archipelagos themselves which usually means either travelling from Athens by flight or ferry out to the island chains. Some of the larger islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Zakynthos have their own international airports many of the smaller ones have domestic airports making it a short hop over from Athens or one of the larger islands.
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The Benefits Of Greek Island Cruises
For any first-timer to Greece wishing to see the islands, a 7 to 14-day cruise from Piraeus , Civitavecchia or Venice on a major cruise line is perfect. Not only do you get a good enough introduction to a half-dozen or more islands, you do it in the most comfortable way possible. And, if any of the above embarkation points interest you, why not add a few nights prior to cruising?
What About The Smaller Boats That Do Greek Island Cruises
In my opinion this is a great way to go. Yes it is a cruise except there are only from 5 to 25 cabins meaning there are only 10 to 40 people on your boat instead of hundreds or thousands. They are mostly old style wooden sailboats though they mostly travel using the engines. And unlike a cruise where you wait in lineto get on and off the ships and sometimes have to use smaller boats to get to shore because they are too big for the harbor, these boats pull up to the dock and you get on and off as you like. They also stop in quiet coves and beaches for swimming, fishing and lunch. The famous Captain Alexander Matsakis does cruises of the Cyclades, Sporades and the Ionian Islands and is something of a legend. Besides his weekly scheduled cruises his boats can be chartered as well. See Greece Sail Cruises and Charters.
Greek Island Cruise Video
This video was made by filmaker Andy Emery during his honeymoon in the fall of 2009. It gives you a pretty good idea of what a cruise of the Greek Islands and Turkey is like.
You can get discounted rates for cruises by going to Fantasy Travel’s Cruise for inexpensive packages that includes a 4 day cruise, 3 nights in Athens and Delphi.
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Second Guest Flies Free Offer
Pay airfare for one guest, and you’ll automatically lock-in roundtrip flights for two. Secure these savings online by choosing your nearest airport in step one of your cruise booking, and enjoy air-to-sea made easy. We’ll coordinate your roundtrip flights, and transportation between the airport and cruise port.
Find this offer on 4+ Day Cruises to this destination and beyond.
Why You Should Add Greek Island Cruises To Your Travel Wish List
Why? Because you love yourself and those you want to bring with you, thats why!
In all seriousness, cruising the Greek Islands is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. And its the destination itself thats everything.
As the cradle of modern civilization, the historic importance of Greece cant be overstated or over-appreciated. The antiquity of the sites, their grandeur and preservation is mind-blowing and is proudly reflected in its whopping 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Greece played a crucial role in constructing society as we know it today and a chance to visit this culturally imperative part of the world should be jumped on, without hesitation.
But, you dont have to be a history buff to fall in love with Greece and its thousands of stunning islands. The Mediterranean lifestyle is enchanting and easy to get behind. Locally grown and produced foods, from olives and olive oils to figs, feta and fresh-caught seafood, take centre stage. Mouth-watering wafts of grilled souvlaki coax constantly and Ouzo threatens after every meal.
The question then changes, from why cruise the Greek Islands, to how to best cruise the Greek Islands.
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Agios Nikolaos Crete Greece
Nestled in an enviable location, on a sprawling hillside beside the Gulf of Mirabello is the laid-back town of Agios Nikolaos, a picturesque coastal port with a quaint small town feel, and a rich history. Situated on Cretes northeast coast the town is partially built on the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara.
The towns most treasures gems is Voulismeni Lake, a cobalt blue lagoon steeped in Greek mythology and legend has it, that the goddess Athena and Artemis bathed in its waters. Relax lakeside by day in one of the many cafes, and as night falls watch as the lake comes to life with locals and tourists alike in its lively bars and traditional tavernas.
Many of Cretes most beautiful beaches are found with a stone’s throw from Agios Nikolaos including the white sands and turquoise waters of Voulisma Beach, plus there are several other attractions nearby including olive farms and typically Greek rural villages.
Discover Greece All For Yourself And Set Sail On A Cruise That Takes In The Best Of The Worlds Oldest Islands
Is there any place in the Mediterranean more spellbinding than Greece? Yes, it is the birthplace of democracy, yes, it is crammed full of history, and yes, it is everything you expect it to be. Blue-domed houses with whitewashed houses, labyrinthine streets bursting with Bougainvillea, gentle Aegean Sea meeting Sapphire skies. Topped by ubiquitous ancient ruins, guaranteed sunshine, world-class beaches and a fair amount of glamour, there is a reason why the Gods made their home here. Quite honestly, Greece offers so many wow moments that its hard to pick the best.
Greek Travel Agencies Specializing In Cruises
For more information on thecruises and to see Itineraries and dates for3, 4, and 7 day cruises to the Greek Islands,Italy, Turkey and Egypt visit the Cruise pages of these two respected travel agencies in Athens:FantasyTravel atwww.fantasytravelofgreece.com orDolphinHellas atwww.greecetravel.com/dolphinhellas
Economical Cruise Packages
Special offers for the 2021 cruise season by Dolphin Hellas:
Variety Cruises:Special offers on small ship cruises by Variety Cruise 10% discount for select departures in the year 2021. This offer is available for a limited number of cabins and are the next best thing tohaving your own private yacht.
Celestyal Cruises: Early bird Celestyal Cruises offers for all sailings of Celestyal Cruises in the year 2021 season and for reservations completed by March 31, 2021 a 10% discount.
– Check their Greecetravel special offers page –
New Economical Cruise Packages: Fantasy Travel has put together a number of packages that offer quality accomodation for economical prices. Most packages that seem too good to be true are actually not as good as they seem, often using hotels that are in areas you really don’t want to stay in, to keep the price down. But Fantasy’s economy packages feature hotels in and around the Plaka in Athens and are all goodqualityhotels. I recommend Fantasy Travel’s 8 day package that includes a 4-day cruise plus Athens-Delphi-Meteora which starts at 595 euros per person. For these and more visit Fantasy Travel’s Special Offers Page
Why Choose A Greek Island
With so many small islands and so much to see, exploring the Greek Isles any other way is logistically challenging and very expensive. A Greek island-hopping cruise lets you easily enjoy many islands, multiple ports and a variety of enchanting towns and village.
See all of Greece on an island-hopping adventure through this iconic region.
Elegant accommodations onboard, authentic shore excursions and locally focused enrichment only enhance every voyage. Plus, an island-hopping cruise means you’ll only pack and unpack once and not have to worry about flights, hotels and transfers.
While larger ocean liners usually only stop at the most popular islands and tend to pass by the true hidden island gems, the stylish small-ships and luxury yachts that truly focus on the Greek Isles like the ones recommended by our CruiseInsider experts can sail you right into the secluded beauty of hard-to-reach coves and hidden inlets, ports and places the big ships can’t access.
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