SEMI-INDEPENDENT TOUR: Combine classic Greek history with sun-kissed islands on this 8-day group tour which takes in the key sites of the mainland and includes a 3-night island hopping cruise. Discover the legendary Acropolis in Athens, marvel at the cliff-top monasteries of Meteora and relax on the beaches of Mykonos. Cross into Turkey to see the ruins of Ephesus and wander the streets of white-washed Oia and Fira on Santorini.
Welcome to Athens!
Welcome to Greece! On arrival in Athens, you will be met and transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to head out and explore the city, an incredible contrast of the ancient and the modern.
Today we embark on a guided coach tour of Athens. We take in important highlights of the city including the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Zappeion and the Panathenaic Stadium, which is the only stadium in the world built entirely from marble. We also see the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Later we head to Athens' most iconic attraction - the legendary Acropolis. The Acropolis is an ancient citadel built atop a rock overlooking the city. As well as the amazing view, we take in the highlights of the site, including the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylae and the most famous of all ancient Greek architecture, the Parthenon. We visit the excellent Acropolis Museum and the afternoon is at leisure to wander the streets of the picturesque Plaka district.
Overnight: Athens | Breakfast
The Delphi Sanctuary
Athens - Delphi - Kalambaka. Leaving Athens, we head north towards Delphi, which was once one of the world's most sacred sites and an important pilgrimage destination. We admire the UNESCO-listed Sanctuary of Apollo and follow the footsteps of ancient Greeks on the Sacred Way. Admire the remains of the Temple of Apollo, home of the legendary Pythian Oracle. After our visit, we cross the mountains of Central Greece to Kalambaka.
Overnight: Kalambaka | Breakfast, Dinner
Meteora & Thermopylae
Kalambaka - Meteora - Athens. Today we visit Meteora, where tiny sacred monasteries perch atop incredible towering rock formations. Meteora is considered one of the most beautiful regions in the whole of Greece and the view from the cliffs is breathtaking.
After our visit to Meteora, we begin to make our way back to Athens. We stop at Thermopylae, where King Leonidas and 300 Spartans made a famous last stand against the Persians in 480 BC. A statue now stands here in the Spartan king's honor. After a quick photo opportunity, we continue to Athens, where the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Athens | Breakfast
Cruising to Mykonos
Athens - Mykonos. Enjoy a final breakfast in Athens before we transport you to Piraeus Port where you board your boat for a four day Greek island cruise. Your tour is independent from here. Settle in onboard before you depart for Mykonos, the island famous for its pristine white sand beaches and busy nightlife. There's free time to explore Mykonos town and relax with a glass of wine in one of the islands many bars.
Overnight: Mykonos (onboard) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ephesus & Patmos
Mykonos - Kusadasi (Turkey) - Patmos. Today we have a trip into Turkey as we dock at Kusadasi and you can join an optional visit to the legendary marble ruins of Ephesus. Highlights of these famous ruins include the Temple of Serapis and the colossal Library of Celsus.
After our visit, the ship sets sail for the small Greek island of Patmos. Here you can join an optional visit to the famous monastery of St John and the Grotto of the Apocalypse. This site is believed to be where John of Patmos had the visions that he recorded in the Book of Revelation.
Overnight: Patmos (onboard) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Crete & Santorini
Patmos - Crete - Santorini. Early this morning we dock at Heraklion, Crete. There's an optional visit to the Minoan Palace of Knossos. Legend has it this is where King Minos dwelt and kept his son, the Minotaur, hidden in a labyrinth beneath the city.
We sail to the enchanting island of Santorini this afternoon. Santorini is considered one of the prettiest islands in the world, with black sand lava beaches and pretty whitewashed towns. There's free time to explore the island and you may opt to ride the cable car up to Fira town or join an optional excursion to Oia village, perched on the rim of a volcanic caldera.
Please note: For the winter period departures (the first two March departures, October 30th, and all November departures) the cruise will NOT be calling at Heraklion. Instead, it will be arriving in Santorini in the morning and spend the whole day in Santorini.
Overnight: Santorini (onboard) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Santorini - Athens. Today we cruise back to Athens. Enjoy breakfast onboard before disembarkation at Lavrio port and an included transfer to the airport.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to those who don’t have anyone to share a room with or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Polis Grand, Athens
In the heart of Athens, the Polis Grand is a contemporary hotel with excellent facilities. Guest rooms are well appointed with elegant furniture and all modern conveniences. Some rooms are equipped with a balcony with fantastic views over to the Acropolis. The hotel benefits from a number of eateries which serve up an array of Greek and international cuisine as well as tasty coffee and delicious pies. Definitely head for a cocktail in the evening at the roof garden bar for amazing views across the city.
Titania Hotel, Athens
Nestled in the historic centre of Athens, the Titiana offers beautiful accommodation all classically designed. The ensuite guest rooms are furnished to a high standard with neutral tones and wooden flooring. Breakfast is served in the impressive rooftop Olive Garden restaurant which affords amazing views across the city including the Acropolis. The hotel also benefits from complimentary Wi-Fi and a fitness centre.
Hotel Amalia , Kalambaka
Hotel Amalia is embedded on 14 acres of beautiful greenery. Built from traditional materials to match its surrounds, the hotel features extensive gardens, a large swimming pool and distant views of the Meteora Rocks. Guestrooms are spacious and fully equipped with the latest facilities. In the dining area, a rich American buffet breakfast is served with both local and international cuisine available for lunch and dinner. Relax by the fireplace in the hotel’s cosy lounge bar and listen to piano music as you sip a cocktail.
Hotel Divani Meteora , Kalambaka
Offering the chance to enjoy traditional Greek hospitality within a contemporary setting is the Hotel Divani Meteora. Surrounded by natural beauty, the hotel is set in front of the World Heritage-listed Meteora sandstone monasteries. The fully renovated hotel has a welcoming decor, with warm shades and a luxury wooden floor. A tranquil restaurant offers delicious Mediterranean cuisine and there is an outdoor and indoor pool. You can also unwind after a day of exploring in the sauna steam bath or bubbling Jacuzzi.
Celestyal Olympia Cruise Boat, Island Cruise
The Celestyal Olympia is a cruise ship that combines distinctive Greek hospitality with relaxing rooms and an abundance of onboard facilities. Each of the ship's cosy staterooms provide comfort, with air-conditioning, fresh toiletries and towels twice daily, and 24/7 room service. Indulge in complimentary drinks at one of the Olympia's five onboard bars, hit up the casino, relax at the spa or gym, or dine at one of the ship's signature restaurants. With a 1,664-guest capacity, and over 500 crew members, there is something for everyone aboard the Celestyal Olympia.