Greece: A Unique Adventure

 Greece: A Unique Adventure

Are you wondering where to go for your next vacation adventure?  Would you enjoy a destination with stunning scenery, fascinating history, interesting culture and great food?  May I suggest you consider a cruise around the Greek Islands?

When it comes to stunning scenery there are very few places on earth as gorgeous as the Greek Isles.  Each of them is quite dissimilar from the others, so every port of call will introduce you to a new and wonderful experience.

The history of Greece pre-dates the Roman Empire, so historically and culturally speaking there are layer and layers of interesting places and customs to experience.  Any cruise around the Greek Isles needs to include my favorite, Crete.

The Minoan civilization of Knossos on Crete predates Ancient Greece.   This pre-historic land of King Minos featured paved roads as well as water and sewage facilities.  The level of sophistication at Knossos has to be seen to be believed.  In 1450 BC the Minoan civilization abruptly ended, apparently due to a tsunami. 

My second favorite Greek Island is Mykonos.  This gorgeous little island offers quaint back alleys perfect for a relaxing stroll as well as gorgeous beaches and wonderful cuisine.  The most famous landmarks on Mykonos are the windmills that were built by the Venetians during the 1500’s and still operating today. 

Probably the most famous Greek Island is Santorini, reputed to be the site of the ancient city of Atlantis.  The city of Santorini sits above a caldera, an enormous crater left from a volcanic eruption.  The crescent moon shape of the harbor surrounded by towering cliffs makes disembarkation in Santorini one of the most unique experiences you’ll have in cruising. Be sure to stay long enough to enjoy the view at sunset, it’s one of the most beautiful you’ll ever witness.

Rhodes is yet another famous Greek Island, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes (no longer remaining).  The Templar Knights built a huge walled fortress around the medieval city of Rhodes back in the 1300’s, which remaining standing to this day.  The medieval city is a world heritage site, and an interesting and fun place to spend a day.

Just a short drive from the port in Rhodes is the acropolis of Lindos.  Lindos was an ancient citadel, fortified through the centuries (from the 10th century BC) by the Greeks, Roman, Byzantines, Knights of St John and the Ottomans.  Standing at the Temple of Athena dating back to 300 BC and gazing across the Mediterranean Sea is an event I will never forget.

The Island of Patmos is another fascinating way to spend a day.  Patmos is where St. John was exiled, and where he received and wrote the book of Revelation.  You are able to actually enter the cave where St John spent his incarceration (the Cave of the Apocalypse), and gaze out over the Aegean just as he did. The Monastery of St. John the Divine is at the top of the hill (founded in 1088) and is a World Heritage Site.  The skull of the St. Thomas as well as over 200 parchment manuscripts are among the treasurers contained within the walls of this ancient place.

Greek Island cruises are best when combined with Greek mainland tours.  Athens is at the top of my “best of the best” destinations, and can be added at the beginning or end of any Greek Island cruise.  All in all you should plan to invest at least 11-14 days on a tour of Greece and the Greek Isles.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel.  Contact Joy at 918-339-4805