Duration: 12 Days
When you think of Greece, do you envision breathtaking beaches, the plazas of philosophers, the tracks of ancient Olympians, or Greek mythology’s temples of gods? Experience it all and more with an affordable vacation in Greece. You choose how to spend your days with MyCOSMOS excursions, and your CosmosGO mobile app has all the details on guided tours, restaurants, and activities to make the most of your days in the Mediterranean. Discover some new destinations on this Cosmos Lite à la carte tour and escape to legendary Greece for eight glorious days, followed by a relaxing 3-night Aegean Islands cruise. Your affordable vacation in Greece begins and ends in Athens Explore the Acropolis and Parthenon or simply unwind on the white-sand beaches. Travelling from Athens, you’ll get a look at the Corinth Canal on your way to the mountain resort of Vytina—a favorite holiday spot for locals and great for hiking. In Olympia, visit the archaeological area to see Zeus’ temple, and the birthplace of the original Olympic Games. In port city of Patras, you could visit the Byzantine castle of emperor Justinian I, and the ancient Roman amphitheater on your own. En route back to Athens, take in the views along the Gulf of Corinth and then enjoy an included stunning rack-and-pinion train ride along enchanting Vouraikos Canyon from Diakopto to Kalavryta.
From Athens, transfer to Piraeus to board your cruise ship and sail across the blue Mediterranean Sea to the island of Mykonos. From the blue and white houses and windmills of Mykonos, sail to Kusadasi on the turquoise coast of Turkey for an included excursion to explore the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine excavations of Ephesus. You’ll cruise to the tiny Greek island of Patmos, then dock in Heraklion on the island of Crete to explore the palace of Knossos. Your ship sails on to the “Black Pearl of the Aegean”—Santorini—with its blue-domed churches, white houses, and breathtaking views from clifftops perched on the volcanic caldera. Return to Piraeus to disembark your ship and return to Athens. An affordable vacation in Greece and Mediterranean cruise for the ages!
History, Beaches and Street Art Kalimera! Welcome to Greece and its capital city, Athens. Settle into your hotel and, if you have time, start exploring with the help of the CosmosGO app. Athens is a charming city full of contradictions, where modern life meets ancient history. Meet your Tour Director in the early evening, who will give you some practical information about the city, including some hints on how to appreciate its unique features.
The Acropolis and Other Hills. The focal point of Athens is the Acropolis, a sight you should not miss. However, there are other areas of the city that are worth exploring. Hike up Lycabettus hill for the best view of the Parthenon, especially at sunset, or take a tram to Faliro for a walk on the beach. Check out MyACCOUNT to find out about the optional excursions available. (B)
From the Proud City to the Peloponnese Peninsula. Combining well-known sites with undiscovered Greek locales, your journey begins with a stop at the Corinth Canal. Driving through the countryside, you'll reach Vytina, a mountain resort and one of Athenians' favourite weekend destinations. (B) Today's Distance: 71 mi/ 115 km
Tradition, Food, and Hikes. Vytina is a traditional village overlooking the verdant slopes of Mount Mainalo. it sits at an altitude of approximately 1,050 metres from sea level. its unique architecture, cozy style, and warm hospitable locals have made it an unexpected hidden gem of Greece. Take some time to go out and enjoy a walk, or relax under the shade of a tree. (B)
Where the Olympic Flame First Burned. Leaving the magic mountains of Arcadia, go back in time and visit Olympia. On MyACCOUNT you can pre-book a guided tour of the archaeological area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll visit the remains of the temple dedicated to the god Zeus, where the Olympic games started in 776 BC. The village itself is fun to visit, with many souvenir shops, tavernas, and bars. Continue to the port city of Patras. (B) Today's Distance: 109 mi/ 175 km
Not only a Port. Patras is widely known for being an important ship port, but it is a city full of energy, with its narrow streets, archways, attractions, and traditional homes. Wander in the beautiful old town and in the hillside castle built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian ist. Several cultural events still take place here during the summer. Explore the ancient Roman amphitheatre and see the Rion-Antirion bridge, the spectacular suspension bridge connecting the Peloponnese peninsula with mainland Greece, a masterpiece of engineering and an outstanding landmark for the region. (B)
Canyons, Coasts, and Cities. See more of the diversity of Greece during today's journey back to the city of Athens. Enjoy magnificent views along the Gulf of Corinth and then an included stunning rack-and-pinion train ride along the Vouraikos Canyon, ranking among the ten most beautiful in Europe. The railway was built in 1896 with a gauge of just 750mm. On the ride from Diakopto to Kalavryta, marvel at the canyon's wild beauty, roll alongside the river, and be awed by the enchanting scenery. Spend some free time in Kalavryta, maybe enjoying lunch at one of the renowned tavernas, and then you'll continue your coach journey to Athens. (B) Today's Distance: 134 mi/ 215 km
Cruise the islands! Start your seafaring adventure in Piraeus, embarking on the ship and cruising to the islands. The first destination of your Aegean Sea cruise is lively Mykonos. This island flaunts its double personality the minute you set eyes on its coastline. its rugged rocky landscape blends seamlessly with smooth sandy beaches and hills in the distance with their iconic windmills. (B,L,D)
Out of Greece, into Turkey and back. Arriving in the port of Kusadasi in the morning, you'll find a colourful bazaar and bustling streets full of shops and cafes. The real highlight of this call is the half day included excursion to Ephesus, the ancient city that shaped the Greek, Roman, Turkish, and Christian civilisations. As you walk through this UNESCO World Heritage site, you'll be like stepping back in time, breathing in centuries of legendary cultures, visible in the Ephesus Agora, Odeon, the Houses of the Patricians, the beautiful Temple of Hadrian, and the astonishing Library of Celsus. Back on board in the early afternoon, depart for the Greek island of Patmos, famous for its Medieval walls and white houses. (B,L,D)
Of Legends and the Caldera. Arrive in Crete, and dock in Heraklion, with its distinct Venetian heritage. On the half-day included tour, visit the Minoan palace of Knossos and imagine the legends of Daedalus, Theseus, and the Minotaur come to life. Your next port of call is Santorini, with its striking cliffs, legendary tales, white houses, and blue-domed churches. The island surrounds the underwater caldera of a volcano and offers breathtaking views from the top of its hills. (B,L,D)
Back on land. After disembarkation, return to Athens in the morning. Your hotel rooms may not be ready for check in, but you can leave your luggage and complete the exploration of the city of Athens. Maybe visit the Archaeological or the Acropolis Museum, roam the streets of Plaka to do some shopping, or enjoy a meal sitting in one of the many restaurant verandas. (B)
Your land and sea adventure ends in Athens this morning (B)