From the Cycladic charms of Santorini and Mykonos, journey into the heart of Greece by way of an iconic Corinth Canal transit to discover idyllic Ionian Sea treasures in Nydri and Parga and Dalmatian Coast wonders in Dubrovnik.
Venture through Greece’s largest port city, Piraeus, as you make your way to the cradle of Western culture and the birthplace of democracy. Athens, among the world's oldest cities with a history spanning 3,400 years, has long been the location of myth and muse, and its ancient heritage is still an incredible source of inspiration. Here, the Acropolis crowns the city as home to the Parthenon and other legendary temples and monuments.
Santorini (Thíra), Greece
Of all the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is often considered the most dramatic with its dark landscape and iconic whitewashed buildings. The rich soil is ideal for grapes and local vines produce a cherished crop known for its special volcanic taste. Picturesque "Thíra," or Fira Town, laid out along the edge of a cliff at the rim of the now extinct caldera, exudes an easy charm.
Delos Island, Greece, Greece
One of the most significant archaeological and mythological sites in all of Greece, Delos earns its UNESCO-celebrated status in spades. It is a tiny island in the heart of the Cyclades Archipelago in the Aegean Sea, is believed by Greek Mythology to have been the birthplace of Apollo, and considered to be the most sacred of all islands in ancient Greek culture. Excavations have unearthed tremendous monuments, sanctuaries and other facets of the Hellenistic history. Due to its remote location and the fact that it was largely uninhabited since the 7th century AD, its well-preserved ruins are fascinating journey through time and culture, situated in the heart of one of the most breathtaking stretches of sea in the world.
Mykonos, a former 18th-century pirates' bastion, is now a sophisticated and cosmopolitan island resort. This quintessential Greek island offers a maze of winding streets, graceful windmills, inviting beaches, domed churches and whitewashed houses accented in blue. Dotting the waterfront are cafés, taverns and tempting shops. Guests may spend the day exploring the island independently. Feel free to investigate its fine boutiques and pleasant, labyrinthine streets.
Hydra (Idhra), Greece
If there is a holiday retreat where rustic meets chic, it is Hydra, one of Greece’s Saronic Islands. Put on the map in the 1950s and by artists, celebrities and musicians and a perennial favorite for locals, the island is a place to see and be seen, with the harbor putting on a veritable show of taste and fashion with each catamaran’s arrival from Piraeus. People-watching has become an unofficial pastime, along with sipping cappuccino at the cafes centered on the crescent-shaped port. Energized by your brew and ready to explore, head out by foot and in fact, by foot is the only way to conduct your discovery. Other than a few city-operated vehicles, no cars, scooters or motorcycles are allowed on the island. Walking along the steep, stone streets, some of the best-preserved anywhere, you will surely appreciate a sense of stepping back in time and an intimate look at the 18th- and 19th-century mansions, or archontika. Be sure to yield to the primary mode of transportation, the donkey, and any temptation you may have to wander into a gallery or quiet back lane.
One of the seven Ionian Islands, Lefkada is among the most scenic and pristine islands in Greece, offering picturesque stretches of forest-draped mountains, vast olive groves and magnificent beaches. Surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters, its hilly landscape offers exceptional vantage points for witnessing breathtaking vistas. The island's main town, Nydri, situated at the mouth of a charming inlet, is a haven for yachters seeking to relax and savor Greek delicacies at one of its many tavernas and cafés. The Nydri seafront is named in honor of the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and boasts a bronze statue of him looking out to his island of Skorpios. Further inland are the stunning Nydri Waterfalls.
The sight of Parga as you sail into its sapphire bay will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a picture postcard or a travelogue from the 1960s. Colorful, terracotta-roofed houses sitting along the sloping hillside look frozen in time. But indeed, time moves on during your visit, and you surely will want to set aside an hour or so for a stroll through Parga’s tiny avenues that yield simple discoveries like family-run stores and cafes, old churches and ancient ruins. When it comes time for the sun to set, the locals welcome you to pull up a chair at the waterfront tavernas and kafenios, or coffeehouses, to toast your happy travels.
Few places in the world boast such clear architectural accounts of their full histories as does UNESCO-listed Kotor and its bay. Roam the city squares and enjoy sweeping ocean views as you follow footsteps through time, including fortifications dating from the 9th century, significant churches and cathedrals from the 12th-15th centuries, the 17th-century Prince’s Palace and the 19th-century Napoleon’s Theatre.
Dubrovnik is one of the most recognizable cities in Europe. Behind the walls, find sleek Venetian-style buildings and a rich Slavic culture. Home to lavender, olive oil, and gorgeous beaches, Dubrovnik will leave a lasting impression on all your senses.