Find your feet in the Mediterranean with a stay in Malta, before discovering the delights of the Greek Islands. This trip is all about soaking up the sun and living the good life – what more could you want from a holiday?
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Fly from the UK to Malta.
On arrival, take your private transfer to your 4* hotel for for a three-night stay. (B&B)
Take your private transfer to the port and embark Azura for your seven-night cruise. Depart Valletta.
The Acropolis – ‘High City’ – will always be the top attraction from Athens’ cruise port Piraeus.
With its 2,500-year-old Parthenon, temple to Poseidon and Athena, Odeon of Herodus Atticus and Theatre of Dionysus, it quite literally stands out as an oasis of calm in the frenetic Greek capital.
As part of the major revamp the city had for the 2004 Olympics, 400 modern buildings were cleared from the ancient meeting place next to the Acropolis, the Agora, which was then restored and linked by walkways to the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Arch, the Academy of Plato and the Monastery of Daphne.
Other nearby ancient sites include the Roman Tower of the Winds and the Hill of the Muses where Socrates is said to have drunk hemlock. Below the Acropolis is the fun place to shop or barter, eat moussaka or Greek salad, drink wine or ouzo and, of course, to people-watch: the 3,000-year-old Plaka.
Now a popular Turkish cruise port, Kusadasi was once a sleepy fishing village until the extraordinary ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus were discovered nearby. Rivalling Pompeii, these are a must-see but try to find the time to explore pretty Kusadasi and discover Kaleici, its charming old quarter, which lies close to the cruise port.
You will feel as though you have stepped back in time when you cruise right up to Rhodes’ magnificent walled Old Town – the largest inhabited medieval town in the whole of Europe. This magnificent place has made the island the most popular tourist destination in the Dodecanese. Look beyond the souvenir shops to its fabulous historic buildings, atmospheric cobbled streets and picturesque terraced restaurants and it is easy to see why. The major sights are easily discovered on foot – visit the 14th century Palace of the Grand Masters and Hospital of the Knights of St John, the pink-domed, 16th century Mosque of Suleyman and the Byzantine Museum, housed in an 11th century church. Make time, too, to browse the Turkish Market on Soukratos Street where you will find a cornucopia of stalls selling rugs, ceramics, jewellery and bric a brac which is great fun if you enjoy a good haggle.
When you arrive by sea, there is no confusing the island of Santorini. Dazzling white houses cling to the edge of vertical, rocky cliffs against azure blue waters. The most southern of the Cyclades islands, it is surrounded by Thirasia and Aspronisi, which were once part of a large volcanic island. Considered by many to be the site of the “Lost City of Atlantis”, this magical little island glimmers from the fading sun as many watch its decent from the numerous bars and cafes at the water’s edge.
Disembark Azura and take your private transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.