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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.
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Enjoy a lovely dining experience at a wonderful restaurant located in the lively area of Psiri. Dining is “meze style,” giving you the opportunity to taste many Greek cuisine dishes, which are served in the center of the table. Also enjoy the local free-flowing wine! Afterward, see the Acropolis beautifully illuminated as you return to your hotel. (casual dress)
Adult Price: € 50
This is an evening excursion to a taverna in the center of Athens. Enjoy excellent traditional Greek food in a lively atmosphere while being entertained by dances and music from all parts of the country. Wine, beer and soft drinks are also included. Although the venue does have an official ending time, guests are more than welcome to stay on in the taverna, to join in with the local residents! (casual dress)
Adult Price: € 55
Take a relaxing trip down to the southernmost tip of Mainland Greece to see the fifth century B.C Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. See if you can spot where Byron carved his initials on one of the temple’s sixteen columns. Marvel at the sheer rugged beauty of the coastline and the ancient temple perched above a 197-foot drop down to the Aegean Sea below. Stand above the site of the world’s first lighthouse, overlooking an area steeped in classical Greek history, ever since the tragic King Aegeas threw himself from the rocky precipice into the sea below, thereby giving his name to the Aegean Sea.
Adult Price: € 45
The slopes of Parnassus Mountain are home to Delphi, home to the Oracle and the center of the universe for the ancient world. Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo, the Stadium & the Temple, as well as the museum of Delphi - home to over 10,000 artifacts, including the famous bronze Charioteer. In addition, you will also pass through the typical mountain Greek village of Arachova - famous for its cheese, matured in nearby caves, and for its flokati rugs.
Adult Price: € 100
The ancient city of Knossos the residence of the wise King Minos and the Minotaur, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The palace of Knossos spreads around a large Central Court. You will reach the awe-inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies,” the imposing Grand Staircase, the Queen’s Megaron. Walking through the apartments of the Knossos palace and observing the finds even as a visitor, you will feel part of this cultural heritage. There is time for a stop in the city of Heraklion before boarding the ship again.
Adult Price: € 74
This authentic experience gives you the opportunity to explore the stunning geographical landscape and soak up the culture and traditions of the Greek islands. Our tour begins in the beautiful Bay of Elounda, which is famed throughout the Aegean region for its lush green hills, sun-kissed beaches and pristine crystalline waters. From the charming and delightful village of Kritsa, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Bays of Elounda and Mirabello. Wander along the narrow streets of the traditional village, and admire the abundant display of flowers and fruit trees in the courtyards, terraces and balconies of the quaint little houses. We visit a local olive farm to learn all about the olive oil, wine and raki that are produced using traditional methods. Sample a delicious Cretan meze, as you enjoy a lively and colorful performance of Cretan music and folk dance. Affectionately known as the St. Tropez of Crete, the picturesque coastal town of Agios Nikolaos is our final destination. Its most iconic landmark is the circular Lake Voulismeni where it is said the goddess Athena bathed. The charismatic shoreline is dotted with quaint little cafes and restaurants.
Adult Price: € 74
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic drive from Agios Nikolaos to picturesque Elounda. The stunning natural landscape of lush green hills and raking fields beautifully complements the pristine sandy beaches and the crystalline waters of the Aegean. Set in the enchanting Mirabello Bay, the quaint fishing village of Elounda is a popular seaside vacation destination that offers spectacular ocean views, archaeological attractions, and a vibrant nightlife. Soak up the sunshine and atmosphere, before setting sail for the peaceful Bay of Elounda. Locally known as the Gulf of Korfos, the natural lagoon of Elounda’s harbor is framed by craggy peninsulas and guarded by the island of Spinalonga. The Minoan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman empires have all been mesmerized and inspired by this truly charming prime location. For many decades, the island of Spinalonga was a leper colony serving the whole of Greece. After the last remaining sufferers were relocated to a hospital near Athens, the island maintained an eerie presence. The breathtaking former Venetian bastion was featured in Victoria Hislop’s debut novel, ‘The Island.’ The natural charm and beauty were showcased on TV, in one of the most successful TV series in Greece ‘To Nisi.’ On the island, you have the opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters of a nearby bay and enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch on the beach.
Adult Price: € 67
You can marvel at Santorini's towering cliffs as tender boats convey you to the port at Athinios, where the coach waits to take you to Santorini’s most significant archeological site, the village of Akrotiri. We will stop at the ruins of the island’s famous windmill for photos, and to enjoy the incredible panoramic view. On to Akrotiri where you’ll have a chance to explore this ancient village – its amazing ruins will take you back in time. These advanced people built two- and three-story homes and grew crops, and you will marvel at the remnants of the houses, shops and workshops that surrounded the village square thousands of years ago. Akrotiri had been a bustling town, but its inhabitants abandoned it before the Thira eruption, a mystery archeologists and historians are still trying to solve. The ash from the volcano buried the city, preserving many of its structures and some of its incredible frescoes. Driving to Fira, the capital of Santorini and its largest town, visit the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Church of Ypapantis, famed for its elegant construction and its beautiful frescoes, painted by Santorini artist Christoforos Assimis. Stop in Fira to shop and enjoy a coffee or a snack, or you can take the Santorini Cable Car, the teleferik, to the port below, an incredible descent of more than 656 feet toward the deep blue waters of the caldera. Our tender boats will be ready, once you disembark from the teleferik, to bring you back to the ship.
Adult Price: € 74
Board your coach and head towards the viewpoint of Prophetes Ilias, from where you will be able to take marvelous pictures of all the different aspects of this unique island. Afterward, you will be taken to the magical town of Oia, protagonist of the postcards of this unforgettable location. The panoramic drive will allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of the lava rocks of the islets of Nea Kameni and the Caldera below you. You will have free time to enjoy the landscape of Oia and the colorful shops and cafes with terraces overlooking the Aegean Sea. Your journey will continue to one of the most exclusive wineries of Santorini, where you will have the possibility to taste different kinds of wines. Finally, your tour will bring you to see the Church of Panagia Episkopi. Located in the village of Episkopi Gonia, it is a beautiful Byzantine Church, built in the late 11th century, and considered the best example of traditional ecclesiastical architecture of the island. Your journey will continue at the village of Kamari, placed on the coast of the island. Free time will be allocated; you will have the chance to stroll around the beach that extends to the feet of the Mesa Vouno mountain that rises up to a height of approximately 1,300 feet. Once an agricultural and fishing village, modern Kamari boasts a thriving tourist industry, offering a wide choice of restaurants, cafes and bars, plus several watersport activities. Your excursion will end in Fira where your guide will show you the way to the cable car and you will make your own way back to the ship.
Adult Price: € 85
The shore-experience with the coach and your Local Specialist sets off from Chora. Next stop at the south, the leeward beach of Ornos, a picturesque fishing harbor which is a popular anchorage and then on to the small beach of Agia Anna and Kalafatis beach. During the trip back to Chora, you will visit the traditional village of Ano Mera and the monastery of Panagia Tourliani, founded in 1542. The pretty village square is the perfect spot for a short break. Returning to Chora you will stop at Paraportiani. A few feet down you will meet the Mykonos Folklore Museum, which is housed in an old two-storied merchant baron’s house. You continue towards the “Little Venice” of Mykonos, Alefkandra, with its windmills and the almost otherworldly sunsets.
Adult Price: € 67
You will be transported by boat to the ancient harbor of Delos and you will travel back in time. In front of the pier is the “Agora of Hermaists” or “Competialists” with altars and shrines. The ancient road crossed two porticoes. Behind the south portico used to be the “Agora of Delians.” Next follows the “Oikos (House) of Naxians”, dated to the 7th century B.C. Further north, you will admire the three “Temples of Apollo,” the oldest of which was already in use by the 6th century. The southernmost temple is known as the “Temple of the Delians.” At the northern side of the temples, you will stand in front of the so-called “treasures.” Here, every city of antiquity exhibited its offerings. A monument that will draw your attention is the “Sanctuary of the Bulls.” You will find yourself at the “Agora of Theophrastos,” and will pass by the “Temple of the Twelve Gods” to eventually reach the “Granite Monument.” Next follows the “Avenue of the Lions,” which was encircled by full-sized marble lions. The large building complex that rises in front of you is the “Establishment of the Poseidoniasts of Beirut,” and it was built by ship owners and merchants from Beirut. The shore experience comes to an end at Chora with free time for strolling through the alleys and the shops.
Adult Price: € 74
We invite you to step back in time with us on the incredible volcanic island of Milos, one of the most beautiful places on earth. A short drive from the harbor takes us to Sarakiniko, an inlet of pure white stone sculpted by volcanic eruptions. This startlingly beautiful, otherworldly spot is one of the island's many geological wonders and perhaps one of the most photographed places in the Cyclades. You'll feel as if you've landed on the moon! We continue our drive along the dramatic Milos coastline toward Papafranga, a cluster of deep-sea inlets and sea caves at the base of a pristine ravine which, like Sarakiniko, was shaped by volcanic activity. Then we travel the picturesque main road along the coast to the cobblestone streets and alleys of Plaka, a classic Cycladic village of white stone houses and bougainvillea flowers 820 feet above the Aegean. We'll stroll through the village to admire its traditional architecture and its stunning view of the sea, and we'll sample some homemade sweets at a few of the village's local pastry shops. Very close to Plaka, next to Trypiti village, we will visit the ruins of ancient Melos and its Roman amphitheater, which is cut into the rocky slope of the hill near the ancient agora. There you'll find large Dorian walls and column fragments. The marble amphitheater, fully restored in 2015, still includes seven intact rows of seats and offers a lovely view of the bay. On our way back to the coach, we will visit the site where the Venus de Milo (now residing in the Louvre in Paris) was discovered in 1820. Last stop is at the award-winning Mining Museum. It's a stop that summarizes all the bits of our Step back in Time. The mining history of the island, the rich geology and a wide collection of obsidian are displayed, allowing you to understand how the rich geology of Milos has shaped the island's history. Also, you will have a chance to see the materials that are currently excavated from the island and where we find them in our everyday life.
Adult Price: € 74
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