“NO ONE REALISES HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS TO TRAVEL UNTIL HE COMES HOME AND RESTS HIS HEAD ON HIS OLD, FAMILIAR PILLOW” – LIN YUTANG
If you’re wanting to explore the Greek Islands, but may be strapped for time and money, a Greek Island cruise is a great way to get a taste and experience what Greece has to offer without breaking the bank.
I was fortunate enough to spend time in Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi (Turkey), Patmose, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, and Preveza. The price of the cruise included twin-share accommodation, all meals, soft drinks/bottled water (we did pay a small extra to have alcohol included as well), access to cruise facilities including gym, pool, running track, theater shows, movie nights, yoga and much more. We also had a number of shore inclusions such as walking tours (though we did do a few additional activities that we paid extra for).
DAY 1: ATHENS
Following an overnight cruise into Athens, my first point-of-call was the famous Acropolis. It’s a bit of a climb to the top, but the views are phenomenal and the ancient buildings including the Parthenon have quite a historic significance. There was quite a bit of restoration work going on whilst I was there, but it was still incredible. At night the entire citadel is lit up and it looks absolutely stunning.
DAY 2: MYKONOS
The following day I boarded the cruise ship heading for Mykonos. The blissful beaches and party culture are hard to top! It is the type of city that attracts all kinds of people from all over the world. As I wound my way through the maze of charming tiny streets, I found myself falling in love with Mykonos and was sad to have only had the one day to explore.
DAY 3: KUSADASI (TURKEY)
The cruise does most of it’s travelling overnight whilst guests are sleeping which means each day we were waking up in exciting new places! On day 3 were docked at the Turkish port town of Kusadasi. Here we had a local guide take us to see the Ephesus. This stunningly preserved ancient city was once visited by Mark Antony and Cleopatra and is a remarkable structure.
DAY 3: PATMOS
The next port of call was Patmos, where we had the opportunity to explore the monasteries, traditional settlements and country churches. There was an optional excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage sites: the 11th century Monastery of the Apocalypse and to the Grotto of St. John – the hilltop cave where John the Apostle lived for many years.
DAY 4: RHODES
Next on the itinerary was Rhodes where I wandered the walls of Rhode’s medieval town center, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a bite to eat, I headed down to the beach and rented a deck chair with an umbrella in the sun. There was a diving board out past the shoreline that was great fun! It doesn’t look that big, but when you swim all the way out there (and it takes a while) it looks huge. If you’re not good with heights, you may want to start at the lower board and work your way up. Don’t tire yourself out though, the swim back to shore will feel like forever!
DAY 5: CRETE
This morning the day started off with a visit to the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete. There was an optional excursion to the Palace of Knossos but I made the decision to miss this one as I had chosen to do a tour through Santorini later in the day. I spent the morning wandering Heraklion before we jumped back on the cruise ship.
DAY 5: SANTORINI
I was most excited for Santorini and I was not disappointed. It’s natural beauty matched with iconic blue-domed whitewash churches will make your jaw drop – there is nothing else quite like it. I had the afternoon free following my island tour to explore the narrow streets and fall head over heels for this romantic city.
DAY 6: PREVEZA
Today was our last day on the cruise, disembarking at Piraeus. From here, I traveled over the Peloponnese, up the mainland and through the mountains to the coastal town of Preveza where I spent my last night in Greece. There were some delays getting here, so unfortunately I didn’t arrive until the evening.
Although my time in Greece was short, it was memorable. A cruise was the perfect way to see and experience more of Greece in the time I had and the budget I was on. I know I will return again having really enjoyed my time here. It is a truly remarkable part of the world with beautiful people, sensational food and stunning beaches. Until next time, Greece!