there are few places on earth that are quite as stunning as Santorini. Whitewashed buildings and quaint streets lie around every corner – and they will all be on your doorstep as you enjoy four nights in your incredible hotel. Step out on to your balcony from your luxurious Junior Suite, where you’ll discover sprawling sea and volcano views. Once you have relocated to Athens, it’s time to embark Silver Spirit. More incredible Greek destinations awake, so prepare you indulge in plenty of sunshine and sightseeing.
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Fly from the UK to Santorini.
On arrival, take your private transfer to the five-star Athena Luxury Suites for a four night stay in a Junior Suite (B&B).
Take your pruvate transfer to the airport for your flight to Athens.
On arrival, take your private transfer to the port and embark Silver Spirit for your nine-night cruise. Depart Athens.
As one of the lesser known islands in the Aegean Sea, Paros enjoys its reputation as being the underdog of the Cyclades. Often overshadowed by Mykonos to the north, or Santorini to the south, the savvy traveller knows this island paints one of the finest pictures of Greece that you’re ever likely to find. Arrival in Paros is postcard perfect and exactly as you imagine it. Cafes and tavernas line the pretty port, bougainvillea covers narrow streets, brightly painted fishing boats bob gently in the harbour. View less
If you arrive early enough, you’ll find the catches of the day being sold for pennies. All the touch points are there: evocative blue shuttered, white-washed houses, windmills and domed churches on the horizon, arid hillside above an azure bay that homes promise of fresh figs, olives and the seductive lullaby of cicadas. This image might seem clichéd but in Paros, it’s reality. If strolling the cobbled streets that snake into the village does not sustain your love of Greek history, then head for the Archaeological Museum in the centre of town. Paros has been inhabited since 3200 BC and has a past of maritime battles, followed by economic development and cultural flourishing. The island was well known for its fabulous marble, a fine example of which is the lovely Town Hall in Lefkes village (notably Venus de Milo was also crafted from Parian marble). Literary lovers will also know that Paros was the birthplace of Greek lyrical poet Archilochus, statues of whom can be found all over the island.
Of all the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is often considered the most dramatic. Once an active volcano, in approximately 1620 BC, the volcano erupted with such force that the center of the island literally exploded, leaving a submerged crater. The island’s small villages were preserved in the ashes giving a fascinating view of everyday life from 3,600 years ago.
Santorini’s landscape offsets its simple buildings, which shine in the brilliant sunlight. The rich volcanic soil is ideal for grapes and the local vines produce a crop known for its “special volcanic taste.”
Since the late 1970s, Kusadasi has grown from a fishing village into a sprawling tourist center, serving thousands of visitors who flock here to visit the nearby ruins of Ephesus. Despite an incredible building boom and an influx of shops, Kusadasi has managed to retain much of its original charm.
The major attraction remains the archaeological site of ancient Ephesus, considered to be the most important one in all of Turkey. The history of this ancient city dates as far back as the 10th century BC. Many of the remarkable structures seen today are the result of an extraordinary excavation and restoration program. As you walk along the white marble road, grooved by ancient chariot wheels, the two-story Library of Celsus presents a striking sight. In addition, there are temples, houses of noblemen and community buildings lining the ancient streets. Nestled into the mountainside is the 25,000-seat amphitheater, still used today for performances during the Festival of Culture and Art.
The Holy Isle of Patmos, one of the smaller Dodecanese Islands, occupies a narrow strip of land with numerous rocky hills and scant vegetation. The interior is sparsely populated with mostly shepherds and fishermen. In contrast, the waterfront areas see plenty of tourists during the summer months.
There are only two main villages, Chora and Scala; whitewashed houses face Scala harbor or are scattered over the hillsides. The island’s mild, healthy climate, year-round sunshine, delightful coves and numerous chapels combine to form a picture of unique beauty. The history of Patmos can be traced to Dorian and Ionian settlers who established a sanctuary to worship the goddess Artemis.
The island of Mykonos is the most easterly of the northern Cyclades. Its attractive setting and other captivating attributes make it one of the most celebrated holiday destinations in Greece. Mykonos Town is a colorful maze of narrow streets lined by whitewashed houses with bright blue doors and shutters. During the 1960s, it was the Bohemian jet set that discovered Mykonos. Many old houses along the waterfront are now restaurants, bars and discos, catering to an international yachting crowd. The tiny town of cube-shaped houses extends in a semicircle around the picturesque bay. As an attractive backdrop, the famous windmills are lined up like toy soldiers on the hillside, vestiges of a time when wind power was used to grind the island’s grain.
Located only seven miles from the Turkish coast, Rhodes is one of Greece’s favored vacation centers. In ancient times, the entrance to its harbor featured a celebrated landmark, the Colossus of Rhodes. The 105-foot statue rose from a 35-foot stone base and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Rhodes was an important cultural center with a well-known School of Rhetoric attended by such historical figures as Cicero and Caesar. From a school for sculptors came the famous Laocoon group, which is now in the Vatican Museum. Rhodes’ most famous attractions originated with the Knights of St. John, who occupied parts of the island from 1308 to 1522. As their legacy they left a medieval town, dominated by the Palace of the Grand Masters and the Knights’ Hospital. The Old Town is encircled by one of the best-preserved walls in Europe. In addition to buildings that showcase the legacy of the Knights of St. John, there are plenty of shops and dining opportunities throughout the Old Town.
Enter Souda Bay to land on Greece’s largest island, and explore the sun-soaked charms of this fascinating land of legends, landscapes and luxuries. Packed with beautiful beaches and rich maritime history, Souda Bay’s huge natural harbour is a spectacular entrance, opening up the treasures of Crete’s many well-stocked museums, rich archaeological sites, and charming Venetian fishing towns. View less
The massive natural harbour of Souda Bay also makes the site an interesting spot for military history – with a huge NATO base here, as well as the Souda Bay War Cemetery, which honours Allied soldiers of World War II. Soak up some Mediterranean sunshine by heading straight to one of the luxurious white sand beaches – where you can recline to a soundtrack of fizzing waves, and dine with sparkling sea views stretching out before you. Explore olive groves producing golden oil, and savour the deep, fruity flavours. The island’s renowned wineries, also invite you to sample lovingly-crafted Vilana grape wines. Rethymnon’s old town and star-shaped, seafront fortress are impressive sites to explore, or you can head to Akrotiri to discover the Arkadi Monastery’s role in the Cretan resistance – and visit the site where the Greek flag was hoisted high into the sky by rebels in 1897. Crete retains its independent spirit but has gathered countless influences over its history. The island’s most beautiful Venetian port – Chania – is close by, and its picturesque old town and collage of historical influences are a highlight of any trip.
The former capital of Greece is a popular town on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese. Stately, medieval architecture recalls its Venetian occupation in the 15th century. The most dominant structure from this time is the crenellated Palamidi Fortress towering high above the town.
The lively port and resort town spreads around a scenic harbor. Its center is crisscrossed by narrow streets, which are best negotiated on foot. Several monuments remain from the towns’ Turkish past, including a mosque and the parliament building. Relics from ancient sites are on display in the Archaeological Museum. Those who are interested in handicrafts and traditional costumes may enjoy a visit to the Folk Art Museum.
Enjoy exploring along the waterfront and around the main square of the Old Town. Open-air cafés and restaurants invite you for a break to enjoy a light snack or a seafood lunch while taking in the local atmosphere.
Disembark Silver Spirit and take your private transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.