Things You Need To Know When Planning A Cruise to The Greek Islands
You can visit the whitewashed houses and blue domes of Santorini atop the steep cliffs, witness the incredible history of the Acropolis of Athens, or wander the cobbled alleys of romantic Mykonos.
That said, traveling around the Greek islands can be overwhelming - there are flights to guarantee, hotels to book, boat reservations to make, and you don't even begin to count your meals, entertainment, etc.
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Source: Tips For Travellers
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about planning your cruise to the Greek islands
1. When is the best time to cruise to the Greek islands?
The cruise season to the Greek islands generally runs from late April to October. Some guests prefer to start their cruise early in the season to avoid the high temperatures of July and August. A typical summer day can easily reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sailing in October is less busy and you can enjoy a pleasant climate, ideal for walking, hiking, and sightseeing. The water won't be that hot for swimming, but Greek beaches and ancient places won't be that crowded.
2. What are the departure ports for a cruise to the Greek islands?
Piraeus, located about 12 kilometers southwest of Athens, is one of the most visited cruise ports in the Mediterranean Sea. It's no wonder that many cruise lines have chosen Piraeus as their port of departure, thanks to its proximity to Athens and the myriad wonders to explore. Note that although Piraeus is close to Athens, travel time to the city can be around an hour, depending on traffic.
Limassol is the largest city in Cyprus, an island nation east of the Mediterranean Sea. Cruise ships dock at the new Limassol port, located about three miles from the city center. Downtown Limassol may not have the famous sights of Athens, but the city center offers a more carefree holiday vibe and great shops to visit.
Civitavecchia, the closest cruise port to Rome, is the starting point for a variety of itineraries exploring the Greek and Mediterranean islands. Thanks to its proximity to Rome, it is a great stop for two to three days before or after your cruise to explore the city. Here, you can wander through one of the many museums, marvel at the masterpieces of artists such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo, learn about the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City, and go back in time at the ruins of the Colosseum and the Roman ruins. Forum.
3. Where does a cruise on a Greek island take you?
No matter how many photos or videos you see about Mykonos, nothing will prepare you for the in-person experience. Walking through narrow alleys between whitewashed houses facing an impressive blue sea takes you to a magical place. Mykonos, known as the island of the winds, is famous for its iconic windmills, colorful harbors, crystal clear waters, traditional taverns and many sophisticated local shops.
There's Little Venice, a waterfront neighborhood full of lively bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Also visit Paradise Beach, Super Paradise, and Paraga to enjoy one of the best beach parties on the island.
Many cruise lines stop in Mykonos for 11-12 hours, giving you plenty of time to experience all that the city has to offer.
Santorini is the base for many cruise itineraries in Eastern Europe and the Greek islands. Going on a shore excursion here is highly recommended, but it requires a bit more advance planning than it sounds.
There are two big cities in Santorini. The first, Thira, is the most popular. A cable car ride (or famous donkey ride) takes visitors up the steep side of the harbor towards the city. The second city is Oia, pronounced ee-yah. This small town is the location for most of those iconic Santorini photos. Thira is beautiful and has many interesting shops and restaurants, but Oia is considered the more picturesque of the two, thanks to its spectacular hillside views.
A cruise to the Greek islands cannot be complete without a visit to Rhodes. This island is not only the largest of the Dodecanese islands, it also offers visitors a great balance between history, impressive architecture, delicious food, and a laid-back vacation atmosphere.
History is everywhere on this island. There are ancient remains of the Acropolis of Lindos, a citadel used by almost everyone who claimed the island, from the Greeks to the Ottomans. It also has the tall columns of the Temple of Athena Lindia. Another stop is the old town, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This neighborhood will enchant you with its narrow streets, high walls, classic Greek taverns and local shops.
One of the best things about sailing the Greek islands is that each port will surprise you in a different way, and Corfu is no exception. Corfu is an island located at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea and is the perfect place to enjoy historical sites, wonderful beaches with spectacular blue waters, and hillside villages.
Although the city itself is not far from the port, on a sunny day you may want to take a taxi to the slightly less-traveled attractions located in the old town: the Church of Saint Spyridon, the Palace of Saint Michael and the Museum of Asia of St. George. Art, Museum of Notes, Church of San Jorge, and Old Fort.
Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Although Piraeus is a popular departure port for many Greek island cruises, it can also be a port of call worth visiting during your cruise. The port of Piraeus is the closest to the city of Athens, where you will find many essential places of the Greek capital, such as the famous Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Parthenon, and the Acropolis Museum.
Many cruise ships dock at this port for 10-12 hours, giving you plenty of time to experience the best of the city. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Greece, sample the fresh flavors of local cuisine, or explore the narrow streets of Plaka, located below the world-famous Acropolis.
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