It’s undeniable that the Greek Islands have always been the best preferred destination for travelers.
For one, Greece is an enchanting, romantic destination. This is where you can walk alongside stunning coastlines, explore the remains of ancient cultures, and feast on fresh Mediterranean cuisine.
On one of the luxury Greek Island cruises, you can travel to far-flung beaches, drift out to sea on catamarans and kayaks, and dip into tiny tavernas where you can eat and drink like a local. From the sun-soaked stone structures in Santorini to the white-sand beaches in Mykonos, a Greece cruise is the best way to experience the magnificent Greek Islands, especially on holidays.
Greece is truly a world-renowned destination for history buffs. That’s because you can roam through the Acropolis and marvel at human creation, or visit the Museum of Cycladic Art to investigate Aegean and Cypriot artifacts.
You can also explore the 400-year-old remains of a city buried under volcanic ash outside of Santorini. Another excellent getaway idea is to traverse the historic forts of Corfu, or jump on a boat ride to Delos that is said to be the birthplace of Apollo.
Get marveled at Elafonisi Beach, a paradise of pink, powdery coast and shallow waters off the island of Crete. Take a memorable cruise through the remarkable Corinth Canal on a shore excursion in Athens. Stand in awe at the foot of Mount Olympus, Greece’s highest mountain and the mythical home of the Greek gods.
Truly, there are a lot of places you can explore in Greece.
Cruises to Santorini, Greece allows you to discover the simple beauty and history of the island.
Though it’s no longer a well-kept secret, Santorini’s beauty cannot be abbreviated. The island’s colorful structures rise against the blue-and-white buildings and the turquoise Aegean sea below.
Less speculative than Athens, more tranquil than summer party town Mykonos, Santorini is one of the most-visited stops on any number of Mediterranean cruises, and for excellent reason.
Santorini’s cruise port was built when the island’s volcano erupted in 1650 BC. The port is positioned at the base of the capital city of Fira. When your Santorini cruise harbors in Fira, you’ll need a small boat to the shoreline and then, in the picturesque Greek style, make your way to the top of the island by either cable car, donkey, or on foot.
While you’re on a Santorini cruise, the island will reveal to you its romantic, carefree spirit. Once there, you can traverse the village of Oia, observe the sunset from Amoudi Bay, or take a half-day excursion to Nea Kameni and Palia Kameni (two islands shaped by volcanic eruptions) for a plunge in their ancient, therapeutic hot springs.
Top Sights and Attractions for Cruises to Santorini
Amoudi Bay is one of Santorini’s hidden jewel. It is a small port on the northwest side of the island where tourists and locals mingle for romantic evening walks along the bay’s rocky shores. You can savor a drink and fresh seafood, like cooked octopus or a fried cheese dish called saganaki, in various waterfront restaurants.
The village of Oia (pronounced Ia) can be found north of Fira, located atop a sizable cliff. The village gives you a panoramic view of the island of Thirassia in the distance.
While in Oia, you’ll see shops, taverns, restaurants, and different attractions. This includes art galleries and the Maritime Museum, which memorializes the naval archives of the area.
Kamari Beach is known for its black sand and is home to a popular beach resort. During the summer season, Kamari Beach is an amazingly popular destination for tourists. They boast water sports, energetic resort nightlife, and the comfort of being right at the waterfront while envelope conveniently by bars, nightclubs, and cafes.
One of the most bizarre wineries you’ll ever visit, Venetsanos Winery was literally sculpted into the cliffs just beyond the port of Athinios. The winery was designed and created in 1947 and ran until 1967. After a 47-year pause, the winery became operational again in 2014.
Because of the steep cliffside, the winery was constructed to accommodate Santorini’s one-of-a-kind atmosphere. What’s cool about this winery is that they use the soil inclination to demonstrate the four levels of wine-making.
Mykonos (also known as Hora) is conceivably the most recognized and famous of the Greek isles. That’s because it is considered as the refined and glossy younger sibling of Athens.
Its gleaming white buildings pop against soberly blue waters and bougainvillea blossoms. Mykonos cruises relish in incredible nightlife, alluring white-sand beaches, and a stay-up-all-night character. So much so that it is one of the most sought-after destinations for Mediterranean cruises.
Approachable, warm, and friendly even during high tourist season, Mykonos is an effortlessly cool destination.
Cruises to Mykonos, Greece harbor into the New Port, where at least 2-3 cruise ships visit daily, and even more arrive on the island on bustling summer weekends. The peak period for Mykonos is July and August when temperatures spike.
The Old Port of Mykonos allows excursions to the neighboring island of old Delos if you’re looking for a quick getaway from the main island. You can also see Little Venice, molded after the Italian town, and take in glimpses of the Aegean from on high.
As you proceed on your cruise, you’ll look back fondly on the pure beauty of Mykonos.
Top Sights and Attractions for Cruises to Mykonos
Little Venice or Alefkandra was founded by rich Italian merchants in the 18th century. See one of Mykonos’ trademark sunsets off of the Aegean Sea from Little Venice. The seaside is filled with fishing houses, painted in every color possible. For visitors, just follow the road from the Mykonos city’s heart to its landmark windmills.
The Windmills are an exceptional staple of the island’s landscape. Settlers built the windmills in the 16th century to mill wheat; today, the windmills face the harbor to welcome you to Mykonos. Only seven of these spontaneously recognizable structures are maintained and still standing today.
The Island of Delos
According to Greek mythology, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the island where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were born. No town or village was ever made on top of the ruins that were originally built on Delos.
To view this well-preserved island for yourself, you can take a small boat from Mykonos to the island. Delos also has a small cafe and little museum filled with Greek vases and sculptures.
About a twenty-minute car drive inland is Ano Mera, a town where you can experience a more laid-back, small-town energy to contrast with the bustling town of Mykonos. Climb to the Gyzi Castle for a glimpse of the surrounding village and where you’ll discover ruins of an old cemetery and a local market. Check out the Paleokastro Monastery or the Panagia Tourliani to witness historic religious places in Ano Mera.
As the capital of Greece and one of Europe’s most busy cities, Athens boasts 5,000 years of history.
At night, the city of Athens shines from afar, light echoing off the ancient ruins. Today travelers gather to learn of its history while on cruises from Athens. After all, the art, theatre, architecture, and philosophy of Athens had ripple impacts through the foundation of entire civilizations.
Take in thousands of years of history through timeless trips while taking a cruise to Athens. The departure port of Piraeus is one of the most bustling commercial ports in the world, sustaining many Mediterranean cruises, and sits on a natural, sandy lagoon where local Athenians often unwind on summer weekends. It also gives travelers a chance to explore, shop, and eat traditional Greek dishes.
A Greek island cruise from Athens wouldn’t be impeccable without viewing the metropolis’ major sites. This includes the impressive Acropolis, the Parthenon, a hike up Mount Lycabettus, and trips to museums that hold marvelous treasures dating back to the 5th century BC.
Though Athens is a city of ruins, it’s the very heart of modern Greece.
Top Sights and Attractions for Cruises to and from Athens
The Acropolis and the Parthenon
Greek island cruises from Athens are incomplete without a trip to the Acropolis.
You’ll hike the 490 feet up into the Plaka District along narrow, paved streets beset by aromatic olive trees. At the Acropolis, the world-famous Parthenon stands isolated from any other edifice in the modern or ancient world. It’s instantly recognizable as a representation for everything Athens, comparable to Rome’s Colosseum or the Taj Mahal in Agra.
When you visit the Parthenon, you’ll see why its Doric pillars have withstood war, invasion, disruption, and simply the test of time.
The Plaka district encircles the Acropolis. Walk through this charming stretch of narrow cobblestone streets into handcrafted shops, restaurants, innumerable cafes, and bars.
In the 1970s, the district was a top area for nightlife, but breaking down on the local noise ordinances turned the Plaka District into a calmer, more commercialized neighborhood. Shops and restaurants immediately boomed there, and now the Plaka is famous with tourists looking for shopping and leisure.
Athens is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and it’s one of the most important events in the world today. That said, Athens has hosted the Olympic Games in 1896, 1906, 2004, as well as the Special Olympics in 2011.
The city’s Panathenaic Stadium, a 45,000-seat open-air stadium, is immediately recognizable and centrally positioned in the heart of Athens.
Make it a point to visit the Acropolis Museum, boasting a full catalog of Greek art, culture, and philosophy recording back to the 5th century BC. You’ll uncover artifacts from the Bronze, Roman, and Byzantine ages as well.
This collective effort between a Greek architect and an American architect began in 2009, making it one of Athen’s most modern, can’t-miss attractions for tourists and history buffs.
Athens is distinguished for its hilly, rolling landscape. Its highest point is Mount Lycabettus, which rises over 900 feet high. Going to the stop is an adventure in and of itself.
Begin by taking a cable car to the top of the mountain. Then, hike around 100 steps from the cable car station to the summit. There, you’ll see breathtaking scenic views of the metropolis, the port of Piraeus, and its various docked ships.
There is no shortage of memorable experiences to have in Greece. Its seascapes and cityscapes are fascinating, from the majestic ruins of the Acropolis to the buzzing, modern city square of Athens.
You can visit an olive farm in Crete or board a tour of Mykonos Town’s organic wineries. Another thing you can do is take an exclusive cooking lesson on how to create local favorites in Santorini’s main square.
Greek Island Holiday Cruises
The Greek Islands offer a captivating history tied with legend and magnificent landscapes. Plus, it features olive groves, small villages adhering to hillsides, and clear turquoise seas. It is absolutely a winning mixture for a refreshing island-hopping holiday.
Cruise lines offer a wide selection of Greece cruises on a variety of small ships, consisting of small luxury vessels, megayachts, tall sailing ships, and gulets.
Southern Cyclades and Turkish Coast by Star Clipper
A seven-night tall ship sailing from Athens along the picturesque Turkish coast leads to the charming Greek Islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Hydra.
Travel the rich history of Rhodes island before touching Bodrum, which was formerly the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Navigate through the pure stretch of the Dalyan River, past hot sulfur pools and peaceful villages, to the volcanic island of Santorini. Walk along streets lined with white-stone houses and blue roofs or cherish the fantastic views from the cliff tops.
Cruise to the traditional Greek island of Hydra, the last stop before returning to Athens, ending this unforgettable sailing cruise around the Southern Cyclades.
Classical Greece by Variety Cruises
Explore the treasures of Greece, including stunning Santorini, Crete, and Mykonos on this relaxing megayacht voyage from Athens.
Traverse the authentic Greece of dazzling white cliff-top villages, ancient olive groves, and isolated turquoise bays on this unprecedented megayacht cruise. The cozy small yachts can tour islands well off the usual tourist trail, anchor in calm bays for relaxing swim stops, and moor in picturesque harbors near old bars and tavernas.
Search the immaculate twin bays of Kythira, the classical Greek fishing town of Hydra, and the captivating old walled town of Monemvasia. The same thing goes for the fascinating Mykonos and stunning Santorini. Optional excursions include exploring the ancient places of Knossos, Delos, Mycenae, and Akrotiri on Santorini.
Venice to the Adriatic and Greece by Viking Cruises
Uncover early civilizations on this 7-night cruise beyond the Adriatic Sea to Croatia’s exciting Dalmatian coast, Montenegro, and the remarkable Greek Islands. Covers return flights from the UK and shore tours.
Sail from Venice along the scenic Adriatic coast to explore the historic architecture and medieval towns of the Eastern Mediterranean.
After an overnight stay in the beautiful city of Venice, journey to the walled cities of Split, home to the Palace of Diocletian and 12th-century Dubrovnik. From there, you can traverse the well-preserved medieval town of Kotor which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Spend a whole day on the gorgeous island of Corfu with its traditional pastel houses. You can also explore the legendary city of Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, then arrive in ancient Athens, home to the Temple of Zeus and the renowned Acropolis.
Treasures of the Adriatic by CroisiEurope
This unique cruise travels in the exceptional natural beauty and architectural richness of Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, and Albania, with highlights including the magnificent island of Corfu and the attractive town of Sarande, the gateway to the old ruins of Butrint.
Explore four varying countries on this relaxing roundtrip voyage from Dubrovnik, with a wonderful choice of optional shore excursions.
Experience an overnight stay in Dubrovnik, nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, before sailing along with the stunning Albanian and Montenegrin coastlines to the magnificent Greek island of Corfu. Take the chance to travel to the UNESCO-listed old town and the embellished 19th-century Achilleion Palace.
The Albanian town of Sarande is the gateway to the unimaginable ruins of Butrint, which can be toured on an optional excursion. There is also the opportunity to explore UNESCO-listed Gjirokaster, controlled by the mighty Gjirokaster Fortress.
Proceed to Vlore, the third-largest city in Albania. Spend time at leisure or choose the optional full-day tour that can take you to the UNESCO-listed city of Berat with its white Ottoman houses, and Apollonia, the biggest archaeological site in Albania.
A mixture of ancient and modern, Durres is a quick drive from the Albanian capital of Tirana and its engaging National History Museum. Enjoy a visit to the charming town of Bar in Montenegro, with its enchanting old town, before sailing back to Dubrovnik.
Divine Cyclades by Elixir Boutique Cruises
This unwinding modern yacht cruise on 58-passenger Elysium showcases 14 unspoiled Greek Islands. This includes picture-postcard Santorini and the archaeological site of Delos, with the chance to swim and snorkel.
This brand new Greek Islands yacht cruise is the latest island-hopping experience, taking in 14 incredible islands and extending refreshing swim stops plus precisely designed wellness activities.
Set sail from Piraeus to Cape Sounion for your initial swim in the azure waters, before experiencing an alfresco dinner onboard as you view the sunset. Step ashore on the white-washed island of Sifnos, experience a swim off the volcanic island of Milos, and explore the hidden gem of Kimolos and its neighboring authentic fishing villages. Nearby is Goupa with its interesting boat garages, known as ‘strata.
Manganari is one of the most stunning sandy beaches in Greece and ideal for a refreshing dip. The next stop is the famous island of Santorini with its popular blue-domed churches, where you can enjoy a memorable sunset over the Aegean.
Traverse the extraordinary sea caverns on Pano Koufonisi island, enjoy a swim at the isolated island of Despotiko, and walk the winding alleys of Naxos island. You can also explore the UNESCO-listed island of Delos, the mythological birthplace of god Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, before traveling to lively Mykonos with its iconic windmills.
The lesser-known island of Serifos and attractive Kythnos is the last port of call on this impressive yacht cruise.
Greece Intensive Voyage by Azamara Cruises
Discover the myths and spectacular sceneries of the Greek Islands on this luxury cruise by visiting Mykonos with its towering windmills and the ancient sites of Rhodes.
The artistic landmarks waiting to be discovered in Greece are endless. This includes ancient ruins blanched by the sun for over a millennium and is commonplace throughout the country. So much so that it is an excellent example of modern architecture and bewitching designs.
Sail from Athens with its ancient wonders to the charming island paradise of Mykonos. From here, island-hop to magnificent Patmos and historic Rhodes before arriving on Crete, for a visit to Agios Nikolaos which seamlessly fuses the beauty of a small fishing village with the beauty of a chic resort town.
The next morning, you’ll arrive in picture-postcard Santorini, a pleasure to travel. Continue to the wonderful seaside town of Pylos and the lemon-scented island of Corfu. Explore UNESCO-listed Kotor with its towering ancient walls, before setting sail to the romantic Venice where this cruise comes to an end.
Autumn Escape in the Aegean Sea by Ponant
Sail across the Aegean Sea in Autumn, exploring Greece and its popular Cyclades and Dodecanese islands.
Join your luxury megayacht in Athens for this six-night Mediterranean voyage. First get to Kusadasi in Turkey. It is an old fishing town with a history dating back 5,000 years. Not far from the Ephesus site, Kusadasi is now one of the country’s most popular seaside resorts.
You can also explore Delos, a small island in the Cyclades archipelago. Like an open-air museum, Delos contributes unique assertions of the civilizations that succeeded one another in the Aegean world.
Sail on to Mykonos, which is also known as the “Queen of the Cyclades.” It is an archipelago of white windmills, sinuous lanes, and whitewashed structures, with a small port where fishing boats and dinghies slackly bob at the bottom of the terraces.
Then explore Patmos, dubbed as the “Jerusalem of the Aegean Sea”. This island, where Saint John is said to have penned the Apocalypse, offers unique landscapes blending white sandy beaches and rocky coves.
Santorini, one of the gems of the Cyclades awaits, unfolding the grandiose circle of its caldera. Afterward, set sail to Nafplio, the exit point for visiting the great Epidaurus Theatre and the Mycenae site, registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO before visiting the island of Hydra, renowned for its incomparable light.
Adriatic and Aegean Allure by Oceania Cruises
Sail the clear waters of the Adriatic and Aegean on this magnificent luxury cruise, with highlights including invigorating Mykonos, the stunning Croatian city of Split, and an overnight stay in enchanting Venice.
Explore a land of pristine scenery, and notes of the Greco-Roman Era, Middle Ages, and Renaissance on this superb journey to the highlights of the Adriatic and Aegean.
Drift along Mykonos’ winding streets past whitewashed residences and stand beneath the iconic windmills before traveling to Kusadasi, gateway to the old ruins of Ephesus. Traverse the picturesque Patmos, home to the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Monastery of St John, and explore Turkey’s most famous beach resort, Marmaris.
Take the chance to visit Chania’s museums, which document its strong history and folklore. You can also explore the ancient Olympia from Katakolon to honor the temples, altars, and treasuries. Stand on the spot where ancient athletes trained before competing. The Greek island of Corfu possesses incredible scenery, while the Croatian city of Split is notable for the UNESCO-listed Diocletian Palace.
Continue to lovely Ravenna, once the western metropolis of the Roman Empire and home to an unimaginable eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most of the early Christian collections. Discover the Habsburg splendor of Rijeka, and enjoy an overnight stop in enchanting Venice, a city well-known for its canals, bridges, and opulent palazzi.
Temples, amphitheaters, and villages that were buried in volcanic ash are still revealing the secrets of the past. Greece and the Greek Isles possess history for the ages.
Cruise to Greece to enjoy climactic sunsets across crystalline waters while traversing the white cliffs of Milos. You can also bring yourself to the ancient past at ruins located on nearly every Greek island.
The Temple of Aphaia hovers over Aegina, while Delos Island hosts the unimaginable Terrace of the Lions. You’ll discover the world-famous Acropolis on Rhodes Island and the Akrotiri on Santorini. But don’t skip to watch the sunrise over the Aegean while touring the renowned windmills of Mykonos.
Some Greece cruises add calls to the Turkish port of Kusadasi for visits to the remarkable remains of Ephesus and to the fascinating city of Istanbul in the north. On mainland Greece, calls to Katakolon are a chance to see the equally extraordinary remains of Olympia.
Greek Island cruises may also take in the climatic island of Sicily, the Italian Riviera, and the Croatian shore and islands.