Show sea days
Piraeus has been the port for Athens since 482 BC. The busy harbor is filled with ferries and cruise ships making their way to the Greek Islands and other Mediterranean cities. The busy metropolis of Athens and its treasure trove of antiquities lie just a few miles from the port. Even as the reality of the modern city took hold, with its high-rise apartments, crowded sidewalks and bustling traffic, the beauty of the Acropolis, the outstanding museums, charming cafés, sidewalk markets and startling views come together in a cultural mosaic for all to enjoy.
“Thira, the Wild Island” and “Kalliste, the Fairest One” – all terms of endearment for this seductive, volcanic Greek island in the Sea of Crete. Extraordinary for its black sand beaches and sheer limestone cliffs, Santorini also showcases remnants of the Phoenician, Spartan and Minoan cultures, which fell under the island’s spell – an unvarying, irresistible lure that continues to this day. Fira, the picturesque, pedestrian-only capital, is reached from the seaport via a short cable car ride that offers thrilling views as you ascend.
Pylos occupies a superb and dominant position on one of the best natural harbors in Greece. Your gaze is inevitably drawn to the bay that is almost landlocked due to the position of the offshore island of Sfaktira. The Battle of Navarino, which took place here one night in 1827, effectively sealed Greek independence. An unusually stylish town with a pair of medieval castles, Pylos is an excellent base for exploring the Peloponnese.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore this town, which spreads across the slopes of the hill, its picturesque cobbled lanes lined with two-story houses. Opposite the harbor, in the Square of the Three Admirals, a three-sided column rises between two canons – one Turkish and the other Venetian. The figures of the admirals of the three fleets, English, French and Russian that defeated the Turko-Egyptian navy in the Battle of Navarino are represented. A visit to Niokastro, one of the two castles guarding the harbor, affords wonderful views out over the bay.
Greece’s best-kept secret. Discover enticing beaches, tasty white wine, a superb museum, the fishing village of Fiskardo where you may while away the afternoon schmoozing with the locals.
This important port on Southern Albania curls around a superb natural harbor, dominated by the hilltop 16th century Lekuresi Castle with distinctive round towers. In the town center are the ruins of a 5th century synagogue, later a Christian basilica, with remnant mosaic floors. Another picturesque ruin is the Forty Saints Monastery from the 6th century, which is thought to have been an important pilgrimage site. But the main attraction in southern Albania is the archaeological site of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with extensive ruins of communities dating from prehistory, though the Greek and Roman eras, as well as the Byzantine period, until the medieval period.
Founded in the 7th century, Dubrovnik rose to greatness as a merchant state, independent republic and cultural crossroads. The traffic-free Old Town has been called a Croatian Athens. This UNESCO designated World Heritage Site is a living museum of the ages with fortifications, chapels, monastic cloisters and Europe’s second-oldest synagogue crowded into its ancient walls. Relax at a sidewalk café, listen to the chimes of the 14th-century bell tower or join the promenade down the palace-lined avenue known as the Stradun.
“The gods wanted to crown their creation so on the last day they turned tears, stars and the sea breeze into the isles of Kornati.” Thus wrote George Bernard Shaw referring to the largest archipelago in the Mediterranean, the islands, islets, and reefs of the Dalmatian coast.
Korcula, the town and port on an island of the same name, could be called a Dubrovnik in miniature. Situated at the most strategic point of the island, along ancient sea trade routes, it has always attracted travellers and settlers. It is a window onto thousands of years of European culture; down through the centuries Hellenic, Roman, Illyrian, Croatian and Venetian civilizations have all left their mark. The Trojan hero Antenor was the legendary founder of the island, and it is well known as the birthplace of that great traveler, seaman, and explorer – Marco Polo.
Inside the town walls is a diversity of architecture which has remained untouched through the centuries. Wander through its narrow lanes, visit the gothic cathedral of St. Marco, take a peek at Marco Polo’s birthplace, or climb one of the impressive towers built into the city walls.
Now a sun-bleached provincial capital, Siracusa was once one of the most prestigious cities in the known world. Founded in the 8th century BC by settlers from Corinth, Siracusa gradually grew in prestige to rival Athens and was considered the western capital of Magna Graecia. In the Greek world dictators, often called tyrants, exercised unlimited power over colonies like Siracusa. Although often unpleasant people, they also often patronized poets and artists and competed to bring intellectuals to their courts. Siracusa was home to Archimedes, Plato and Aeschylus during its height of power and prestige. Today’s visitors come to marvel at the remains of the ancient structures, reminders of the past glory and rich history of the area. The city is superbly situated at the head of a beautiful bay and enjoys a mild climate. The coastline to the south is renowned for its beauty, clear waters and evocative, mythical scenery. There are romantic abandoned coves and wide, sandy beaches not easily matched anywhere else in Italy.
A port not often visited by cruise ships, being more accustomed to welcoming fishing boats and private yachts. Malta’s smaller sister-isle has a lot of charm to offer. Villages such as Mgarr all boast tall, elaborately carved churches, the result of a combination of fine-grained, easily carved stone, time, and stonemasons whose skill is matched only by their religious devotion. The city of Victoria was so named to honor the British queen’s Diamond jubilee.
Occupied successively by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, French and British, Malta has been of strategic importance throughout history. A British Crown Colony until 1964, Malta received the George Cross for its valiant resistance to German occupation in WWII. The island’s rich heritage is reflected in the architecture of Valletta, the current capital, and Medina, the capital until 1565. In Valletta the Knights of St. John built such masterpieces as St. John’s Co-Cathedral and the Palace of the Grand Masters, along with the fortifications that guard the town’s magnificent harbors.
Searching for the latest prices…