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Day 1: Arrival in Athens – Transfer to hotel. Overnight.
Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning city tour of Athens which will give you the opportunity to observe the striking contrasts that make Athens such as fascinating city.
Your guide will take you to the center: Constitution Square, the House of Parliament, the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier. Driving down Herod Atticus Street you will see the Evzones in their picturesque costume and the Presidential Palace. On your way to the Acropolis you will see the Panathenaic stadium (where the first Olympic Games of the modern era were held in 1896) and the Athens of the 2nd century A.D., the temple of Olympian Zeus and the Adrian’s Arch.
On the Acropolis visit its museum and the architectural masterpieces of the Golden Age of Athens: the Propylea, the temple of Athena Nike, the Erechthion and finally, the “harmony between matter and spirit”, the monument that “puts order in the mind”, the Parthenon. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Athens.
Day 3: Breakfast at the hotel, then transfer to the port of Lavrio and embarkation for the 7-day cruise to the Greek islands and Turkey. Sailing to Istanbul. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 4: Breakfast on board. In the morning arrival in Istanbul. As you approach from the sea, the graceful minarets of countless mosques appear at the horizon and the Islamic call to prayer carries over the water. Free time or optional excursion. Istanbul’s blend of East and West has resulted in some of the most magnificent architecture in the world. Visit the Topkapi Palace which overlooks the Bosporus, Marmara Sea and the Golden Horn, and presents a maze of buildings that was the great palace of the Ottoman sultans, from the 15th to the 19th century. Afterwards pass from the Hippodrome – that once was one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire, Sainte Sophie – the 4th century Christian church, the Blue Mosque and finally the Grand bazaar – one of the most popular places in Istanbul with over 4000 shops offering a large variety of gold, carpets, leatherwear and souvenirs. In the evening sailing to Kusadasi. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 5: Breakfast on board. In the morning sailing to Kusadasi. Lunch on board. In the afternoon arrival in Kusadasi. This seaside resort has undergone vigorous development in recent years and is an excellent place to shop for Turkish goods. The optional tour to nearby Ephesus is not to be missed, for here the history truly comes to life. Walking towards the ancient harbor, down the marble road rutted by the wheels of countless chariots, you pass such architectural masterpieces as the Magnesian Gate and the Library of Celsus before arriving at the great amphitheater where Saint Paul was arrested and cast out of the city. In the late evening sailing to Santorini. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 6: Breakfast on board. In the morning arrival to Santorini. This island is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Greek islands. Around 1500 B.C., a volcanic eruption destroyed the center of the island, leaving a crescent shaped rim of cliffs around a harbor formed in the volcano’s caldera. The town of Fira is accessible by donkeys or by cable car. Free time or optional excursion to Akrotiri located on the Southern point of the island. The excavation site has been roofed over to fashion a unique museum. Everything is in place as it was before the gigantic earthquake, including the narrow “streets” which wind through the area which has been cleared of the ash that filled the houses and engulfed the town. Akrotiri is often compared to Pompeii but the ruins here date back to the prehistoric times, around 1500 B.C. In the afternoon sailing to Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 7: Breakfast on board. Early morning arrival in Agios Nikolaos, Crete. In the beautiful town of Agios Nikolaos you will experience the warm Cretan hospitality and have the chance to visit the scenic villages of the prefecture of Lasithi, the monasteries and the famous islet of Spinalonga. In the afternoon sailing to Rhodes. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 8: Breakfast on board. In the morning arrival in Rhodes, the capital of the Dodecanese islands. Free time or optional excursion to Lindos and the medieval town. Drive along the picturesque Eastern coastline, scattered with white washed villages, to Lindos. The most important of the three great cities of ancient times is guarded by the medieval walls constructed by the Knights of Saint John in the 13th century. Within, stands the ancient Acropolis of Lindos on the brink of a precipice 400 feet above the sea. From the Acropolis there are breathtaking views to the great expanse of the Aegean Sea and Saint Paul’s Bay where the apostle cast anchor during his historic voyage to Ephesus. You will proceed on foot uphill to the Great Staircase leading from the Hellenistic portico to the temple of Athena. Return to Rhodes city. Enjoy a stroll through the medieval town and view the Palace of the Grand Master, the medieval houses and the Hospital of the Knights of Saint John housing now the archeological museum.
In the early evening sailing to Symi. In the afternoon arrival in Symi, the charming islet of Symi, whose capital resembles a theatrical stage. A stage filled with traditional settlements, mansions and a rich maritime history. In the late evening sailing to Chios. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 9: Breakfast on board. In the morning arrival in Chios, which is allegedly the birthplace of Homer and many others, is the most divinely fragrant island of eastern Aegean, with the mastic trees and the vineyards, the well preserved medieval villages and the lovely, secluded, pristine beaches. Lunch on board. At noon sailing to Mykonos.
In the afternoon arrival in Mykonos. See up close the iconic windmills, take a stroll in the narrow cobblestoned streets that lead to traditional settlements and the port, see the dazzling white, boxy houses, Little Venice and the ever famous Cycladic sunset. Late at night sailing to Lavrio. Lunch/dinner and overnight on board.
Day 10: Early morning arrival in Lavrio. After breakfast disembarkation and transfer to the airport.