It's a strange few that aren't lured by the call of the Greek Islands. Uncover history, culture & tradition in the arms of idyllic oceans, unfathomable sunsets and plenty of island party spots. 3-nights cruising the Aegean Sea complete with a stop off in Turkey for a poke around Kusadasi's Grand Bazaar.
Here we are in Athens, a map of islands and days of Greek bliss ahead of us. Ah, we're a lucky bunch. Speaking of lucky, go check-in to our lush hotel and start exploring the city. Tonight the crew joins up to share enthusiasm for the travel life and to start plotting the week, with a chance to dine over a traditional Athens affair for those feeling up for it. This traditional Athens style, in the city's old Town, the Plaka. Cute cobbled streets, strolling through ancient ruins, this is a serious throwback in time. Feast on delicacies, do some dancing, my big fat Greek wedding style. Couldn't be a better way to get to know the group.
Alright sailors it's time to hit the sea! We'll board a Greek ship and head straight for the crisp white isle of Mykonos.
Jetsetters and backpackers alike are drawn to this pristine, has-it-all island. Drift off under a beach cabana, snack on olives & tzatziki in a cute cafe, or stroll the white-washed lanes of the Old Town. Tonight you could head out for a few drinks in Little Venice, this quintisential waterside spot is famous the world over, so why not tick that off your list. Back on the boat we'll sleep knowing that you'll be waking up in Turkey.
Rise and shine globe trotters, our captain has kindly escorted us to Turkey! Here in the port town of Kusadasi you can rummage for treasures in the local bazaar and take a trip to Ephesus, the holiday hangout of Mark Antony and Cleopatra where our Local Guide will turn back the clock. Simply incredible, this ancient Roman town is packed full of ruins, and stories galore. Keep an eye out for the two story library, (yes, the ancient people were ahead of the times even way back when).
Out of Kusadasi we drift on towards the rugged island of Patmos, quaint, known for it's seafood, we'll tell you straight up that the octopus is some of the best you'll ever try. Explore this holy hotspot with an optional excursion to Patmos’ UNESCO World Heritage sites of the 11th century Monastery of the Apocalypse and the Grotto of St. John. A must when you're in the area, dating back to 1088 as a protection from pirates! St John's Grotto is up next where part of the bible was written by St John himself. Nothing like a bit of history to keep things interesting. Back on the boat, a sundowner is calling, and maybe some of the ship nightlife before we wake up in Rhodes.
Today we take to the mixed bag of Rhodes, influenced by its edging on Europe, Africa and Asia. Shop up a storm of leather, silver, olive oil and honey or uncover Acropolis of Lindos & the walls of Rhode’s medieval town centre on an optional tour with a Local Guide. If sand, swims and sunshine are calling you then Elli Beach might be calling your name, so grab a sunbed and get horizonal and people watch. Beaches, local wine & fresh seafood - your life is complete.
Some may say we've saved the best 'til last, with Crete and Santorini marking our final full day. Crete is the biggest of the Greek Islands & home to the 4000 year old mythical Minoan Palace. Catch some sleep or explore it all morning with the option of exploring the Place of Knossos. As a quick 101, it's the home to the legend of the Minotaur, a half man half bull which lived in a labyrinth and was slayed by Theseus. A great way to look into days gone by, and we're talking 2000BC. With this fast and furious morning ticked, we head off to our next paradise found.
Get a belt handy - you're going to need to strap that jaw up off the floor as the island of Santorini slowly becomes a reality. Those iconic blue–domed, whitewashed churches are enough to bring a tear to the eye. The good news is we have 3 nights to soak this place up, and we'll check into our hotel and start doing just that. The bad news is we won't spend the rest of our lives here. But first, the lanes of Fira are calling our names, and we are READY!
Pinch yourself if you need reminding: this is real life. You are still island hopping around Greece and today, you are still Santorini side. If you exhausted all your explorations yesterday then hit the beach, sip cocktails, frolic in the ocean or hit the shops, stopping for Greek ice coffees, saganaki cheese, tzaiki dips and seafood plucked fresh from the ocean. Those iconic blue–domed, whitewashed churches are enough to bring a tear to the eye. Set on a caldera, or old volcano, Santorini is literally towering over the landscape. And the best way to get the sheer scale of it all is by boat, and lucky for you sweet traveller, we give you the chance to do just that! Or you could choose to amp up what is already sure to be an incredible night with an optional excursion to sunset in Oia. One of the world's greatest sunsets, we will settle in with some wine and nibbles after strolling the iconic island lanes dotted with shops and travellers all here for this memorable moment. Make sure your phone is on full charge, as an Instagram upload is a must tonight.
Nothing like taking an island tour to get aquainted like a local. First up, we have a Free Time Add On to hop around the island like a boss. Visit a cute church on the top of the island for some of the best views of the island and caldera. Next on our ticklist of faves is Perissa, the volcanic black sand beach that the island is known for the world over. You're sure to be thirsty at this point, so don't worry, we've got you sorted with a winery visit and tasting. De-lish. Back in town, you can explore the lanes, stop for ice cream or a drink overlooking the caldera and pondering just how good life really is. Tonight we take to the lanes of Fira to find a place for dinner and rubbing shoulders with the locals. Yamas (that's cheers incase you were wondering)!
It's our last full day on trip - best hit up a big city we know and love and cause a little harmless havoc. Goodbye Santorini you sun soaked beauty, we're off to Athens.
On arrival in Athens, tick off any last sightseeing you missed in this time capsule of a city tonight.
One last chance for exploring on the Athens Sightseeing Tour option this morning. We will drive around the city to see old temples, the first modern Olympic Stadium and of course the gem in Athens crown, the Acropolis. With more than 3000 years of history, this place is #throwback central and the best place for learning about the birthplace of democracy. Then it's hugs, tears, and a final batch of reminiscing. It's astounding how close a group can get in just 9 short days. Nothing says bonding quite like the good life. The Croatia Island Hopper is probably the only way to really ease the pain of this goodbye. #NOREGRETS
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Trip Name: Island Cruising and Santorini
Duration: 9 Days
From Price: £1,685
Supplier Tour ID: 237/209989
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