Witness the splendor of the Greek Isles on this exciting cruise through the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. Dip your feet into the warm, blue waters as you move from island to island in comfort aboard your charming motor-sailer, the M/S Galileo. Begin your adventure in Athens with visits to the Acropolis and all the monuments that have adorned Athens through the millennia. On an off-the-beaten track cruise, discover less visited pristine islands with quaint villages and blue-domed churches and enjoy a night out in town on the Bohemian island of Mykonos and a full-day in scenic Santorini. Along the way, find yourself surrounded by classic Greek hospitality and distinctive cuisine – you may never want to return home!
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Greece; specifically May, June, September and October. Conditions are perfect between Greek Easter and mid-June, when the weather is pleasantly warm in most places and beaches and ancient sites are relatively un-crowded. Mid-June to the end of August is high season and is very hot – the beaches are crowded and the ancient sites are swarming with tour groups. Conditions are once again ideal in September until the end of October. November to February are the wettest months and it can get surprisingly cold. Snow is common on the mainland and in the mountains, and it occasionally snows in Athens. But there are also plenty of sunny days and it is quiet during this time of year.
Arrive in Athens on day 2, where you will be escorted to your luxurious hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to take in the sights of this ancient city on your own. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight at the trendy area of Psiri. Savor delicious Greek cuisine, and sample “ouzo,” a Greek aperitif, and regional wines. Next day, explore some of Athens’ most important sites including the Parthenon, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Royal Palace, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis Museum. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Plaka, the unique old section of Athens dotted with shops and taverns. Your hotel is a landmark in Greek hospitality with modern amenities and warm service, elegant décor and sublime views. SAINT GEORGE LYCABETTUS. (Meals Aloft, D; B,L)
Enjoy a morning at leisure before boarding your vessel this afternoon in Piraeus. Your 8-day voyage will be aboard the M/S GALILEO, a classic vessel with outside cabins, modern amenities, shaded outdoor decks, an outdoor bar and a sun deck. Enjoy a welcome briefing, as you set sail for the island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf. Stroll the narrow cobbled streets or find a table on the waterfront and bask in the serenity of a glorious sunset over its picturesque harbor. Sail overnight to Poliegos, in the south of the Cyclades. (B,D)
Arrive at Poliegos, a small island known for its beautiful beaches and calm waters. One of the largest uninhabited islands in the Mediterranean, it is home to some rare and endangered endemic species of fauna and flora – the Mediterranean seal, the endemic adder, the blue lizard, the falcon Falco Eleonore, and 32 endemic, rare or endangered species of plants. Swim and snorkel along the private beach before a barbeque lunch on deck. In the afternoon, arrive at Folegandros, an island with just over 600 inhabitants across three small villages. Enjoy dinner on your own out in town at one of the local Greek tavernas. Try matsaka, handmade spaghetti with rabbit, as well as kaltsounia, a type of local cheese pie. (B,L)
Perhaps the most breathtaking Greek Isle awaits you this morning – Santorini. Board a cable car to the town of Thira, providing a backdrop of white-washed houses, narrow streets, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques clinging to steep cliffs. You can enjoy Santorini on your own, or take an optional exc ursion. Worth visiting is the Archaeological Museum with its fascinating collection – models and wall paintings from the Acrotiri excavations; the village of Pyrgos, formed by traditional houses built all around the Venetian castle; a winery; and Oia on the rim of the. Walk along the cobblestone streets adorned with whitewashed houses with blue shutters and return to the ship in the late afternoon. (B, L or D)
Start your day with a swim in the enchanting bay of Antiparos before heading off to Parikia, the island’s capital and port town. Fertile hills dotted with small churches, picturesque villages and stunning beaches await you. Visit Lefkes in the central part of Paros and the fishing village of Naoussa with its tiny port, and return to Parikia taking another scenic route. Marvel at the Byzantine church of Ekatondapiliani – one of the greatest early Christian monuments in Greece. Stroll around town, practice your dancing skills, and have some fun tonight during Greek night. (B,L)
Arrive Mykonos, famed for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, nightlife, beautiful whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches. A highlight can be a visit to Delos (at additional cost,) an island-museum filled with ruins resembling those found in Delphi and Olympia, including notable sculptures such as the fragments of a colossal Apollo and nine marble lions. Return to Mykonos for a night out in town, and end your evening as the Mykonians do, with a glass of ouzo and traditional “mezedes,” followed by a visit to one of the many nightclubs. (B,D)
Leave Mykonos at daybreak for Syros, the principal administrative center of the Cyclades, and the home of the capital city of Ermoupolis. Enjoy scenic beaches, neoclassical buildings and Miaouli Square, the town’s main center dotted with coffee shops and restaurants nestled amongst palm trees. Winding steps take you past houses with colored doors and up to the 13th-century Catholic Cathedral of St. George, perched on the hilltop in Ano Syros, the first Catholic village of the Aegean, and the perfect spot to see the harbor of Ermoupolis. (B,D)
Visit the last island of your journey, Kythnos, with its impressive Kolona Bay. Take a swim in the crystal blue waters or relax on the golden sands of its beaches knowing that this is one of the last places rarely touched by tourists in all of Greece. Pass by Cape Sounion in the distance, where the white marble pillars of the majestic Temple of Poseidon, built in 444 BC, stand on a high promontory and are illuminated at night. Set sail for Marina Zeas for one last night on board. (B,L)
Return to Athens for a last chance to explore the city on your own, and enjoy a farewell dinner in the evening at a local restaurant. The following day, board your flight home. SAINT GEORGE LYCABETTUS. (B,D; B, Meals Aloft)
Discover classical Greece on a journey to some of Greece’s most famed landmarks. First stop, Meteora (‘suspended in air’) – massive pinnacles with 24 monasteries on top rising towards the sky in a strange but breathtaking landscape that has been sculpted by wind and water over thousands of years. Then, drive by mountain villages to Delphi, home to the Oracle of Apollo, declared the center of the world by Zeus himself. Beautiful artifacts, priceless works of ancient and Byzantine art, and amazing ruins coupled with authentic accommodations, make this the perfect ending to your Grecian adventure.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
Sign up today for exciting news, upcoming promotions and interesting stories in the world of conservation, nature and travel. For every person that signs up, Classic Escapes will donate $1 to our featured conservation.