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Dive right into a land of myths and legends. This one's the perfect experience for history and culture buffs, with a little bit of island-style relaxation thrown in for good measure. Your springboard to an idyllic holiday in the Aegean is vibrant Athens, which you'll have an opportunity to explore your way this evening. Gyros anyone?
Prepare for an exhilarating journey into antiquity today. You'll enjoy an extraordinary encounter with the ancients when you join your Local Specialist for an in-depth visit to some of the world's most treasured sights. A visit to the Acropolis to see Athena's Parthenon is stuff of dreams, and there's plenty of stories to learn about as you hear how this was once the centre of western civilisation. Make your way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier next and watch the march of the Evzone guards before taking the rest of the afternoon to explore your way. That could mean getting lost in the labyrinthine lanes of vibey Plaka, but you may wish to spend your evening at a lively café soaking up the characteristic Greek zest for life.
You'll have a final morning in Athens to get some final sightseeing under your belt, or perhaps choose a lazy start to your day to set the tone for your laidback adventure on the Aegean seas. Later, you'll board your cruise ship for your exhilarating seven-night cruise to the Greek Isles and beyond. Settle in for a glorious week of glittering seascapes, laidback island living and epic ancient history that will captivate you at every turn. All aboard!
The Turkish port of Kusadasi is your gateway to the ancient Greek City of Ephesus. You wouldn't believe the treasures you're about to see as you make your way down the marble avenue lined with what was once the homes of rich Ephesians to the Library of Celsus in Ephesus. Get to grips with the Hellenistic and Roman heritage of this UNESCO-listed site as you stroll along its marble colonnades and admire the Temple of Artemis learning all about its important role as an ancient Greek trading city in the Mediterranean. You'll have plenty of time to explore the beautifully preserved remains of the city before returning to your ship in time for your evening departure.
The Knights of Templar take centre stage on today's exploration of the medieval Old Town of Rhodes. Even if you're not a lover of medieval history, you'll get swept up in the tales of marauding pirates, invading Muslim armies and Christian Crusaders. This guided exploration of the city will reveal the story of the Knights of St. John who defended what became the boldest Christian outpost in the East. You'll enjoy a behind-the-scenes perspective on one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and everyday life in medieval Rhodes. But there's more to come as you head to Lindos, in the heart of Rhodes, where you'll visit the seven lodges of the Order of St. John where the original coats of arms are still displayed.
Arriving in Crete this morning, you'll have some free time to explore the charming harbour town of Agios Nikolaos. You could also choose to join an Optional Experience to Heraklion and hear all about the island's epic ancient myths as you explore the Palace of Knossos and delve into the lost civilisation of the Minoans, which predate Christ several thousand years. Take the opportunity to join an Optional Experience to the Cretan countryside. After a fascinating encounter with history, you'll sit back and watch the countryside unfold, taste the local cuisine and some of the region's traditional Raki and enjoy Crete folk music and dancing on a local olive farm. It's the perfect end to a day filled with history, sunshine and good friends.
Santorini's dramatic volcanic landscape is an incredible sight to behold and you won't want to miss a thing. Of course, there's no question that you should get your fill of laid-back island life on an optional visit to the stunning clifftop village of Oia, passing pretty villages and sun-kissed vineyards set against the backdrop of Santorini's magnificent caldera. Word is this is where the world's most exquisite sunsets can be enjoyed, but even if you miss it, the vistas of the tumbling white and blue façades down the cliff-face are picturesque enough. During an optional tour, you'll enjoy wine tasting and some free time to cool off at Perissa Beach or pass the Mesa Vouno Mountain before visiting the island's capital, Fira. Star-struck by Santorini, you'll return to the ship this evening where you'll stay overnight.
Say a sad farewell to Santorini, but not for too long as you'll arrive in Milos ready to bite into one of its mouth-watering watermelon pies. Bask in the former stunning home of the famous Venus de Milo. You could choose to soak up the glorious sunshine in its turquoise waters or explore the 'Island of Colours' on an Optional Experience that will reveal the beauty of one of the most laidback Greek islands. Mykonos beckons and you'll arrive in its idyllic bay for a lazy evening spent against the backdrop of its characteristic 16th-century windmills. Ramble through its cobbled lanes in search of the perfect taverna to enjoy a local meal and perhaps discover why Mykonos is deserving of its reputation as a party playground when the sun goes down.
You'll have a full day to explore Mykonos so there's no need to rush, though you'll want to get out and about exploring those charming rambling streets of Chora. Make your way to 'Little Venice' and see how the quaint white houses with their colourful balconies plunge straight into the edge of the sea. Stroll past charming cottages and tumbling cerise bougainvillea in search of a quiet spot overlooking the Old Port with a refreshing drink. Or take an optional visit the Sacred Island of Delos, the birthplace of Apollo, a favourite stop for lovers of history and archaeology. After a day of wonderful sightseeing in the Greek islands, it's time to return to Athens. You'll come together with new friends, toasting to what has been an incredible encounter with an ancient and beautiful land.
Arriving in Athens this morning, you'll disembark and transfer to your hotel. Ditch your sea legs and get your final fix of the Greek capital your way. There's time for a bit of souvenir shopping in Monastiraki or perhaps an afternoon of people-watching in Syntagma Square. You'll want to make sure you fuel up on some of your favourite local treats along the way or go in search of the city's tastiest souvlaki.
Your enchanting journey has sadly come to an end. All that's left is to say a fond farewell to your travel companions at the end of a memorable holiday and the promise that you'll return one day soon. Find out more about your free airport transfer at costsavertour.com/freetransfers.
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
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