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Excursions to Sicily, Greece and Cyprus

Mykonos

We’ll set out on a coach tour of the island of Mykonos. Our first stop will be the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani, the official protector of the island, in Ano Mera. Founded in 1542, it is a peaceful place that has a lot of history behind it. One belief is that it is named after an icon of the Virgin Mary found in a nearby village called Toulos. The site was completely restored in the 1770s, and its impressive architecture is framed by its whitewash exterior and colored dome. One of the most famous pieces in the church is the wooden altar screen crafted by Italian artists. After our time at the monastery, we’ll head to the city. Mykonos has a humble charm, although it is known as quite the place to party. The old town is dotted with churches and rustic chapels, with the Church of Panagia Paraportiani being the most famous. We’ll tour a few of the chapels, visit five of the iconic windmills (the city’s trademark), and spend time in the romantic Little Venice neighborhood. What a great way to get a feel for life on the Aegean Sea!

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Excursion Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion and the coast of Attica are known for their beautiful countryside. Departure by coach from the port of Piraeus to reach Cape Sounion, south of Attica. You will then follow the coast of Apollo on the perimeter of the Saronic Gulf where you can enjoy the countinuous shimmering sea. At Sounion stands the ruins of the Poseidon's temple, overlooking the sea 60m at the end of a steep rock. This is very moving with it's breathtaking landscapes. Here the ancient Greeks worshiped Poseidon, the almighty god of the sea. Fifteen doric columns that have been preserved belong to the temple which was built during the golden age of Perikles.

The temple and the road that leads you there are worth to be seen.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
  • Good walking shoes are recommended.
  • *Excessive drinking of alcohol is dangerous for health, consume with moderation.
Kos and the Asklepion

We'll tour the Asklepion, the ancient Greek version of med school. The three-terrace complex sits on a hill surrounded by Cyprus trees. In addition to being fascinating in itself, the Asklepion also has some breathtaking views. We'll visit the archaeological site, which contains the ruins of the old gymnasium and thermal baths from the ancient Greek era. Our tour will continue to Kos with a visit to the old part of the city. Sites we'll see include the agora—the ancient commercial and social center of the harbor and one of the largest to have been excavated to date.  Nearby, we'll find the Tree of Hippocrates, where legend has it the Greek savant taught his students. Our last stop will be the medieval castle built by the Knights of the Order of Saint John.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Delos

Greek mythology recounts the island of Delos as the birthplace of both Apollo and Artemis. Today, it is almost uninhabited and gives us a chance to walk among the ruins of what was once a thriving economic and religious center. According to its UNESCO listing, it was considered one of "the most sacred of all islands." Excavations began in 1872 and have unearthed a good part of the port, including the Apollonian Sanctuary. There is a museum as well that displays a collection of many of the smaller objects found at the site.

Please note that rowboats are used for this excursion.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Parikia

Parikia, the capital of Paros, is a gorgeous village full of small whitewashed houses and imposing mansions. The most famous site in Parikia is the church of Panayia Ekatontapyliani—the 6th-century church with 100 doors, including a secret one!  We’ll then head to Lefkes, tucked into the island mountains. The village was the first capital of Paros and built on the hills to protect the original inhabitants from pirates. Our last stop will be Naoussa, a beautiful fishing village with a tiny harbor bursting with restaurants and cafés. After our excursions, we’ll return to our ship.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Rhodos

The "island of roses" is one of the golden Dodecanese islands, which cultivate their originality: Hellenic in their soul, Byzantine in their memory, Oriental in their character and yet definitively Greek. Rhodes is an important cultural and economic center in the archipelago of 12 islands and dozens of islets. The last bastion of Europe before the Orient, the island played a major role in Antiquity, then in the Middle Ages. You will leave the port for Mount Smith from where you will have a splendid panoramic view of Rhodes and the surrounding countryside. After passing through the Amboise Gate, you will reach the highest point of the medieval town, the Palace of the Grand Master, an imposing fortress with lavish interior decorations and a courtyard filled with Roman statues. The museum contains superb mosaics, also dating from the Roman era. The tour continues along the Knights' Road, both steep and narrow, with its characteristic cobbles. This road is lined by prestigious "Inns" where the Knights of the Order were received according to their language and country of origin. Today, this street still gives off a certain aura of nobility and inaccessibility. You will also be able to admire the rich Gothic-style decorations, the arched windows, the flat roofs and the honey-colored facades.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Athens and the Acropolis

We’ll set off by coach with our guides for the Athens Acropolis, situated on a 150m-high rocky plateau and which in Ancient times was a vast sanctuary for the worship of the Goddess Athena and numerous other gods in Greek mythology. You will have the chance to discover the different temples on the site including the Parthenon, built in the 5th century BC and dedicated to Athena, whose gold and ivory statue stood in the sanctuary. It was destroyed during the siege of the city during the 12th century crusades, and the Parthenon was turned into a Catholic church when the Franks occupied Athens, then into a mosque by the Turks in the 17th century. You will also visit a number of other remarkable monuments still standing such as the Erechtheion, an elegant little temple dating back to the 5th century BC; the Temple of Athena Nike, known in Ancient Greece as the "temple of victory"; the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis; the ancient Theatre of Dionysos and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus...

You will then return to the coach to finish off with a panoramic tour of the modern city of Athens, also taking in the Agora, the center of public life for the ancient Athenians. This square open space served a variety of purposes: political, religious, economic, commercial and cultural.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Good shoes are recommended.
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate. 
Santorini Island

Santorini is the most famous of the Cyclades and also the most beautiful. Its earthquake crater is invaded by the sea, and the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. At the very top of the island you can make out dazzlingly white villages. The immense, half-closed Caldera punctuated by eruptive cones is a reminder of the cataclysm that shook the island in the Minoan era, the eruption causing a tidal wave. You will have the chance to visit the islands’ most picturesque sites, to admire the most fascinating views, to briefly get a taste of local life and enjoy the natural and authentic flavors of this corner of the Mediterranean. We’ll reach the island on board rowboats. Departure by coach for Profitis Ilias, the highest point on this splendid island, whose colors and contrasts will accompany you throughout the morning. You will then take the direction of the village of Oia, the postcard village of Santorini with its beautiful white houses clinging to the side of the cliff and overlooking the Aegean Sea. The last stage on our tour will be the delightful village of Fira, with its blue cupolas that blend in with the sky. We’ll travel back down to the port by cable car and board our rowboats again back to the ship.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Lindos

We’ll cross the island to visit the charming fishing village of Lindos. For many tourists, the natural landscape, astonishing views, and impressive archaeological site are second to none in the islands. As we walk the streets towards the Acropolis, you’ll see ruins from the variety of civilizations who have called this island home. You'll have a superb view of the whitewashed village against the yellow rock and blue sea below from the top of the hill.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
The Kaisariani Monastery

This beautiful Eastern Orthodox monastery sits in the forest at the foot the Mount Hymettus, right outside of the city. The verdant slopes of Mount Hymettus are a haven from the hustle and bustle of Athens, especially in the hot summer. Monks first built the monastery in the 11th century over a shrine to the goddess Aphrodite. The frescoes on the ceiling of the church are a fascinating study of Eastern Orthodox art. We’ll follow the trail through the garden to the small church above, a grotto-like chapel sanctuary covered from top to bottom with icons and religious objects.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
Faliraki Beach

Transfer to Faliraki Beach. Sunlounger and umbrella rental included.

PLEASE NOTE

  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.