8 Days Cruises in Aegean – Visit 5 Greek Islands & Turkey
8 Days / 7 Nights Cruise in Aegean Sea
8 DAY / 7 NIGHT CRUISES “GREECE & TURKEY”
Day 1: Departure 11.00am Lavrion (Athens)
Day 2 :
Istanbul Arrival 08.00am. Begin the excursion with a drive through the business centre of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks of the Golden Horn and under the Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens. On the way, you can see the Süleymaniye Mosque, dedicated to Sultan Süleyman The Magnificent. Continue around the mighty city walls, which once protected Constantinople from the many invasions and attacks it suffered over the centuries.
In the Old City, the first visit will be to the Byzantine Hippodrome, which was once one of the largest chariot race arenas in the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, where large groups of pilgrims start their pilgrimage to Mecca. It is decorated with 21,000 blue Iznik tiles from where it gets its name, the “Blue Mosque”. Walk to the famous Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church of Divine Wisdom, where you can admire the superb mosaics and the marble decorations.
Walk through the large gardens to Konyali Restaurant and experience typical Turkish cuisine. After lunch, the tour continues with a visit to the magnificent Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. See the famous treasury and the “Spoonmaker’s Diamond”, the 7th biggest diamond in the world. During the tour you will also have the opportunity to get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets, jewellery or leather goods. Departure 18.30pm.
Mykonos Arrival 15.30. Beneath its sophisticated surface, lies a quite essentially Greek island. Hundreds of tiny chapels dot this blue and white-washed island with its beautiful windmills. Find a table on the waterfront and bask in the serenity of sunset over its picturesque harbor. Delos, once a Sacred Island, is the legendary birthplace of the Sun God Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. For 500 years, tiny Delos was the religious & commercial hub of the entire Aegean. Today, the only remaining inhabitants are the keepers of its treasured ruins.
Depart from the port of Mykonos by boat, and sail along the western coast of the island, through Diles & Rhenia Islands, to the ancient harbour of Delos where you begin the guided walking tour. First you see Agora and beyond it, the Sacred Way, which leads to the Temple of Apollo. Next, you see the remains of a Hellenistic Quarter with its harbour, water house and luxurious villas, such as the House of Cleopatra, the House of the Dolphins, the House of the Masks, the House of Dionysos, and many other interesting buildings. Note the architecture and the mosaic floors, which have survived over 2,500 years.
Continue and admire the spectacular Avenue of the Lions, where five Naxian marble lions from the 7th century B.C. crouch, vigilantly guarding the now dry sacred lake. Re-board the boat for the return journey to Mykonos town. Here you will have the chance to walk along the cobblestone streets of this famous island with its numerous shops, cafés and restaurants before you return to the port to re-join the ship. Depatrure 23.59pm
Day 4: Mykonos-Lavrio-Mykonos Arrival 06.00am Lavrion. Departure 13.00pm and arrival 18.00pm Mykonos. Departure 23.30pm
Patmos-Kusadasi Arrival 07.00am. This island is known as the site of the apocalyptic revelations of St. John the Divine, written here during his exile from the Roman Empire. The cave where he lived is near the site of the Monastery of the Apocalypse. The Monastery of St. John, built on one of the island’s highest points, houses priceless icons and manuscripts in its Treasury. Depart from the port of Scala and enjoy a short drive to the village of Chora, where the Monastery of St. John is built within the walls of a strong fortification.
As you walk uphill towards the entrance of the monastery marvel at this magnificent structure, which was built 900 years ago. View the courtyard, the monks’ dining room and the old bakery before you visit the main church noted for its outstanding frescoes and interior decoration. Next, visit the small museum where priceless ecclesiastical treasures, books, manuscripts, mosaics, icons, splendid medieval textiles, vestments and jewellery are housed. Return to your motor coach and continue to the nearby Grotto of the Apocalypse.
Walk down the steps to the Grotto of the Apocalypse. Here you will see the niches in the wall that mark the pillow and ledge used as a desk by the author of the Book of the Revelation and the crack in the rock made by the voice of God honouring the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, drive back to the port of Scala and enjoy some free time in this quaint and picturesque town.
Arrival 14.00 Kusadasi. Drive through the colourful town of Kusadasi to reach Mt. Koressos. Situated in a small valley, the humble chapel lies on the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. Despite the many controversies, the Christian World still favours this belief and the site has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican for pilgrimage. Continue on to Ancient Ephesus accompanied by your guide walk through the Magnesian Gate which is the entrance to the ancient city of Ephesus.
Your guided walking tour will take you through one of the most magnificent excavations in the world. See the Odeon (concert hall), the Fountain of Trajan, the steam-heated Baths of Scolastika, the Temple of Hadrian and the Latrians, the Library of Celsus and The Great Theatre, the largest one in antiquity with a capacity of 24,000 seats where St. Paul preached. Walk back to the coach along the Arcadian Way, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra once rode in procession. While driving back to Kusadasi and just outside Ephesus, view the Basilica of St. John, which was erected over his grave in the 6th century A.D. by Emperor Justinian. Before returning to the ship, get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets, jewellery or leather goods. Departure 20.00pm
Rhodes Arrival 07.00am Rhodes. The beautiful “Island of Roses” has a rich and varied history. On a hill above the charming town of Lindos rises an ancient acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena. Below lies the bay of St.Paul, where the apostle landed during his voyages. Drive along the picturesque south-eastern coastline, dotted with white-washed villages, to Lindos, one of the most important of the three great cities of ancient times. See how this entire city is guarded by medieval walls which were constructed by the knights of St. John in the 13th Century.
Within them stands the ancient Acropolis of Lindos, on the brink of a precipice 122 m above the sea. From the Acropolis, marvel at the breathtaking views covering the great expanse of the Aegean Sea and St. Paul’s Bay, where the apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus. Proceed on foot uphill, to the great staircase leading from the Hellenistic Portico to the Acropolis and Temple of Athena. Should you wish to make your way up by mule, a fee must be paid to the local muleteer. After the guided tour of the Acropolis, enjoy some free time on your own in Lindos village before meeting up with your motor coach.
Return to Rhodes city and enjoy a panoramic drive through the new part of the city before continuing to Mount Smith to see the ruins of ancient Rhodes, the Temple of Apollo and Diagoras Stadium. Afterwards your motor coach will drop you off at Porte d’Amboise, the start of the walking tour through the medieval city of Rhodes. Follow your guide through the northern part where once lived the knights and their attendants. View the Palace of the Knights, continue your walk down Chevaliers Road to the Marine Gate and return back to the ship. A short visit to a ceramic factory is included. Departure 18.00pm.
Crete-Santorini Arrival 07.00am Crete (Heraklion). Heraklion is just three miles away from the fantastic ruins of the Palace of Knossos. Discovered in 1899 and partially reconstructed, the elaborate Palace is believed to be the mythical Labyrinth of King Minos and the seat of ancient Minoan culture. Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. After a short drive through the town of Heraklion the tour will arrive at the Knossos excavations.
Here, Sir Arthur Evan’s archaeological discoveries revealed a civilization dating back to 4000 B.C., when a great empire flourished on the island of Crete. Based on the wealth of artefacts that were found, Evans theorized that this was the site of the ancient Minoan Kingdom. These findings will be viewed in detail, as your guide will lead you on a journey of discovery to learn of the sophisticated culture that flourished thousands of years ago on this island.
The Palace, decorated with frescoes and shields houses the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King’s Chamber with the alabaster throne, the Queen’s Apartment, beautiful courtyards and shrines. Having visited this remarkable site your coaches will take you back to the Venetian lion-guarded port of Heraklion to rejoin your ship.
Arrival 16.00pm Santorini. The island of Santorini is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek Islands. In the town of Thira white-washed houses,narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques cling to steep cliffs, accessible by cable-car or mule. Driving along the road you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring islands. A unique sight is the various layers of lava that can be seen on the face of the rock, each layer being another phase of the activity of the volcano.
Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. Explore the village walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters where one gets the impression that they are a beautiful travel poster. 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.
Day 8: Lavrion Arrival 06.00am