Discover Athens, Olympia, Delphi & the Greek isles in depth when you combine the Spotlight on Greece tour with Greek Island Cruising! Visit the Acropolis & Parthenon in Athens, the first Olympic stadium in Olympia & the Temples of Hera and Zeus in Delphi, all with a local Greek Guide. Then it's time to soak up the rays as you float your way around the Aegean Sea. From Turkey to the islands of Greece, it’s all about culture, relaxation & discovery!
|Accommodations:|| Hotel, Cruise ship
as per itinerary
|Meals:|| , Breakfast, Dinner, Breakfast, Breakfast, Supper, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast
as per itinerary
|Sightseeing:||Greece & Turkey, including Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Symi, Chios & Mykonos|
|Transportation:||Modern air-conditioned coach & cruise ship|
Jet off to the trip of a lifetime awaiting you in Europe!
Check-in to your hotel and spend the afternoon getting a sneak peak at mythical Athens, a city crammed with ancient wonders and busy with modern, urban soul. Later, meet up with your fellow travellers and Tour Rep back at the hotel. Wrap up the day on the shady slopes beneath the Acropolis and jump start your trip with an optional dinner in the rustic district of Plaka, where traditional tavernas spill out onto the pavements. Tonight’s festive atmosphere is perfect for getting to know your group and Tour Manager over local wine.
Step back in time in Europe’s oldest city to the birthplace of democracy. Get the run down on the Parthenon and the Acropolis from our expert Local Guide, as you wander around the famous columns above the city sprawl. Then we check out the first modern Olympic Stadium from the 1896 Games. Travelling across the Peloponnese, past rugged mountains, cypress trees and citrus groves, the group drops by the impressive man-made Corinth canal. Next up is epic Mycenae, a former military stronghold. Unravel 4000 years of history with your Tour Manager and get inside the legend with a visit to Agamemnon’s Palace. You’ll learn about the heroics, myths and curses connected to this site. Check out the impressive Acronafplion citadel that looms over Greece’s original capital, Nafplio, where we stop by for free time and lunch. Park yourself at a portside café or a grill-house in the narrow streets of the old town and order local specialties, like fried shrimp or koutsomouris (small red mullet). Tonight, we pull in to the hometown of the Olympic Games and UNESCO World Heritage site, Olympia. Finish up the day with a couple of drinks at the hotel by the pool.
This morning our Local Guide shows off the important sites of the first Olympic Games in 776BC and gives you the run down on this sporting sanctuary. Take a seat in the impressive 45 000 seat stadium and get a look into ancient beliefs with a visit to the Temples of Zeus and Hera. After a lunch stop in a traditional Greek village, watch rural Greece go by from the coach, before crossing the Corinthian Gulf and arriving in Delphi. Delphi is one of Greece’s most important sacred destinations and a scene stealer. After dinner round up some friends and discover Delphi’s casual bars, where you can try out the national drink, ouzo.
With lush valleys and a cliff-side position on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, Delphi is all about spine-tingling views and incredible ruins. Learn how this spectacular site was the centre of the universe for Ancient Greeks and a place of prophecy, as your Tour Manager leads you through the limestone columns of the Sanctuary of Apollo. Afterwards we head back to Athens where the tour winds down this afternoon in the heart of the city at Syntagma Square, home to the Greek parliament. Make the most of another night in Athens, before you depart for your Greek Island cruise in the morning.
This morning, we board our cruise ship bound for Istanbul. Settle into your cabin and watch the sun set over the Aegean then kick off the cruise with your new friends in the nightclub.
Today, we wake up in Istanbul! With a day here, there’s plenty of time to get a real feel for this cultural melting pot. Begin with an optional tour of Istanbul and get an insider’s angle on the city with our Local Guide, who’ll show off the city’s core sites. Cross the Galata Bridge for stunning views, check out Emperor Constantine’s Hagia Sophia and then eat at the magnificent Topkapi Palace, former home of the sultans. Our Rep shows you one of the city’s major draw cards, the stunning Blue Mosque. It’s an amazing building with a series of domes and minarets dominating the skyline, complete with a breathtaking interior of tens of thousands of blue tiles. After that, we head right into the heart of the city and plunge into several kilometres of shops at the Grand Baazar. It’s an unforgettable shopping experience, where tacky trinkets and authentic treasures are sold side by side. With carpets, jewellery, spices, music, electronics and more, the place is buzzing, so make sure you’ve got your haggling hat on. Otherwise, live a bit of Istanbul’s daily life. Try your hand at backgammon in a sidewalk café and watch the crowds go by as you sip on Turkish coffee. Chill out in a tea garden, or take to the time-honoured tradition of the hammam (steam bath house) and get scrubbed down on heated marble stones. Tonight, head to Greece’s stunning islands as you sail between two continents - Europe and Asia - on the world’s narrowest navigated straight.
Then its on to the Aegean paradise of Mykonos - the island of white-washed houses, windmills and blue domed churches. Get ready for 24 hours on Mykonos! We'll head on land & make our way to the hotel for the evening. Enjoy the sunset over “Little Venice” and soak up the atmosphere at this idealic location. Grab yourself some delicious Greek cuisine at one of the cute little restaurants that dot the area & sit back & soak up the atmosphere of Mykonos town.
With a full free day, hang out on this island with its azure seas, golden beaches, and young, vibrant party culture - it's not hard to see why it's one of the most famous islands in Greece. You could opt to head to Paradise Beach, world renowned for its warm water & party vibe. Grab a sun lounger & a cocktail & rotate between sunbathing & swimming for a blissful experience. before returning to the ship this evening for dinner & entertainment.
Wake up to Patmos, with its sacred spots and wild countryside. Get the background from our Rep on why the island attracts both pilgrims and holiday makers. Explore the monasteries, traditional settlements and country churches. Get into the spirit of the island with an optional excursion that takes you to Patmos’ 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. Our next port of call is the Turkish town of Kusadasi. Rummage through the Grand Bazaar and go local bargaining for leather goods, jewellery and or local crafts. Otherwise hook up with the group and our Local Guide for an optional excursion to ancient Ephesus, a stunningly preserved city that Mark Antony and Cleopatra once visited.
Fit in some last minute shopping in Turkey before boarding your cruise ship and setting sail to Rhodes in the Greek Islands. On the way you’ll make at stop on Patmos, with its sacred spots and wild countryside. Get into the spirit of the island with an optional excursion that takes you to Patmos’ 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. Rhodes is one of the most beautiful & popular Greek Islands. It’s medieval castles, amazing sea views & pristine clean beaches make it a fantastic place to chill out. After dinner with the group, head out into Rhodes for a taste of local life in this gorgeous World Heritage-listed Old Town. There are lots of fantastic & varied places for a slice of Rhodes by night – it’s all action here. Head to Orfanidoy Street & the Old Town for a look – from clubs to bars, to beach bars – there’s something to suit every taste.
Today we start the day off with a visit to the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete. Choose an optional excursion to the Palace of Knossos where our Local Guide will tell you the story of this 4000 year old mythical Minoan Palace, where the minotaur (half-man/half-bull) was slain. Next up: Santorini. This island will make your jaw drop with its stunning natural beauty – the result of a massive volcanic eruption. From the water look up at the iconic blue–domed, whitewashed churches. Once we’re back on land, head up the cliff and the twisting stone steps, save your breath on a donkey ride or take it easy in the cable car for views of neighbouring volcanic islands. Your Rep will fill you in on Fira – dramatically perched on the edge of the crater - as the group explores its narrow streets. Get tips on the best places to pick up a piece of Santorini’s famous jewellery and where to try out the delicious local speciality, domatoktedes (fried tomato balls). Otherwise head to one of the distinctive black or red sand beaches, and soak up the breathtaking scenery. You could jump on an optional boat ride out to the active volcanic island of Nea Kamini. Cruise past lava formations and get up close to the active crater.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer into central Athens where the tour ends once you arrive.
All these highlights along with city sightseeing are included in your tour price!