Aegean Classic (incl. 4 days cruising)
Check-in to your hotel and spend the afternoon getting a sneak peek at Athens, Europe’s oldest city. This evening meet your Trip Representative and fellow Contiki travellers. Start your trip off with a night to remember and get to know your group at an optional dinner in the rustic district of Plaka. Perched on the shady slopes beneath the Acropolis, Plaka is full of traditional tavernas that spill out onto the pavements.
Athens to Mykonos
Today, board a typical Greek ship to Mykonos and take advantage of the amazing views across the Aegean and of the rocky islands with your camera. Mykonos is famous for its blissful beaches and party culture. No matter what you’re after, chances are this island has got it! You’ll soon understand why this happening hub draws people from all walks of life, from jetsetters to backpackers. Head into Mykonos town and wander through the maze of tiny streets lined by whitewashed cube-shaped houses. Maybe grab a table in the village and snack on fresh local specialties, like olives, feta and tzatziki dip. Chill for the evening with friends on the island’s world famous beaches and cool off in the azure waters. Wrap up the day with a drink at one of Mykonos’ hip bars and watch the sun go down. But don’t stop there, toast the start of the cruise back on board and hit the ship’s nightclub with the group.
Cruising to Patmos via Kusadasi
In the morning, wake up to the Turkish port town of Kusadasi. Rummage through the Grand Bazaar and go local bargaining for leather goods, jewellery or local crafts. Otherwise hook up with the group and our Local Guide for an optional excursion to ancient Ephesus, a stunningly preserved city that Mark Antony and Cleopatra once visited. Our next port of call is Patmos, with its sacred spots and wild countryside. Get the background from your Rep on why this island attracts both pilgrims and holiday makers. Explore the monasteries, traditional settlements and country churches. Get into the spirit of the island with an optional excursion that takes you to Patmos’ UNESCO World Heritage sites: the 11th century Monastery of the Apocalypse and to the Grotto of St. John – the hilltop cave where John the Apostle lived for many years.
Cruising to Rhodes
Next up is Rhodes, smack in the middle of three continents, serving up a mix of relics from different civilisations. Choose to learn more about the island as the group travels through history in an optional excursion with a Local Guide. Head up to the Acropolis of Lindos and wander within the walls of Rhode’s medieval town centre, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Use your free afternoon to explore the modern side of Rhodes or discover more of the old town. There’s some of the best shopping in the region with great prices on local goods like honey, olive oil, leather and silver. Relax on the awesome beaches, put your feet up with a glass of local wine and order fresh seafood or calamari (squid rings) - typically Greek food! Back on board, we set sail to the port of Heraklion.
Cruising to Santorini via Crete
Today we start the day off with a visit to the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete. Choose an optional excursion to the Palace of Knossos where our Local Guide will tell you the story of this 4000 year old mythical Minoan Palace, where the minotaur (half-man/half-bull) was slain. Next up: Santorini. This island will make your jaw drop with its stunning natural beauty – the result of a massive volcanic eruption. From the water look up at the iconic blue–domed, whitewashed churches. Once we’re back on land, head up the cliff and the twisting stone steps, save your breath on a donkey ride or take it easy in the cable car for views of neighbouring volcanic islands. Your Rep will fill you in on Fira – dramatically perched on the edge of the crater - as the group explores its narrow streets. Get tips on the best places to pick up a piece of Santorini’s famous jewellery and where to try out the delicious local speciality, domatoktedes (fried tomato balls). Otherwise head to one of the distinctive black or red sand beaches, and soak up the breathtaking scenery. You could jump on an optional boat ride out to the active volcanic island of Nea Kamini. Cruise past lava formations and get up close to the active crater.
Arrival into Athens
After breakfast and a farewell to our hosts, we disembark and head to Syntagma Square. Set right in the heart of Athens and home to Greece’s parliament, you can either end the tour here or take the opportunity for a ME Time Locally Guided tour of the Acropolis & Parthenon. Take the tour and make the most of your last experience with your fellow travellers… it’s worth it.