Let’s start by saying that if you are flying to Europe from the US then you should plan on arriving the day before your cruise begins and spending a night in a hotel in a place like Athens. Many places to eat but some of the best can be found in the Historic Plaka district where you can enjoy fabulous Greek wines and enjoy traditional Greek entertainment. The last time that I was in Athens I enjoyed a lovely dinner at an open air plaza with the Acropolis illuminated at the top of the hill. Breathtaking.
From Athens your cruise will begin in the port of Piraeus. You can easily travel by local bus to this bustling port or have the luxury of a taxi ride. I personally prefer the local transport but many feel more comfortable with their bags just taking a cab ride.
From Piraeus it is only a short cruise into Turkish waters where you could possibly dock in Istanbul – former capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires and history buffs will remember this as Constantinople. Minarets and domes fill the skyline of Istanbul. Leaving Istanbul it is quite likely that you will cruise into Greek waters and head for Mykonos in the Cylades. Famous for it’s whitewashed houses and windmills with blazing blue roofs the color of the sea. The Town is a maze of shops and restaurants in narrow streets.
Another great stop in the Greek islands is one of my favorite places, the island of Rhodes also known as the Island of Roses. In summer this is a favorite place for British tourists. It is worth the trouble to move off the waterfront and find traditional Greek Tavernas serving authentic food and wines.
One of the largest islands that you may visit in the Greek Islands is Santorini and this stop seems to be on most American agendas. Santorini is a spectacular destination, arguably the most spectacular in the Mediterranean but again this is subjective. The largest of the Greek Islands is Crete which is home to the Knossos excavations – the site of the Minoan Kingdom which dates back to 4000 BC.
Apart from all the marvelous sights and places of interest and fabulous shopping and eating that you can do, the Greek Islands and the Turkish coast offer breathtaking beaches. I particularly love the Turkish coastline with it’s pine studded hills and quiet coves where the water laps gently onto the sand.
One of the great things about this region is that the water stays warm for swimming into September and that is the time that is the most peaceful. Very few tourists. A cruise in Greece and Turkey can be quite unforgettable and enchanting and you will most certainly want to return. For a complete guide to cruise ships and yacht charters please contact our skippers.