Cosmos

Greek Odyssey with Aegean Cruise (6510) - 2014

15 Day Tour from Athens to Athens


Greek Odyssey with Aegean Cruise
Sunset over Oia Village on Santorini Island in Greece
Sunset over Oia Village on Santorini Island in Greece
In Meteora, Greece monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars
Discover the Turkish port of Kusadasi
Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece
Delphi, Greece, known in ancient times known as the Navel of the Earth
The gorgeous coastline in Mykonos
Delphi Ruins
The monasteries in Meteora, Greece are built on natural sandstone rock pillars
Kusadasi is a resort town on Turkeys Aegean coast
TOUR FOR 8+ PEOPLE

Optional Excursions

The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be available. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

Availability is subject to sufficient participation, weather conditions, seasonal suitability, days of operation, group interests, and general feasibility for your vacation. The approximate value listed gives you a good, general idea of what you can expect to pay but may vary once you are on your vacation. Some information provided might be in a foreign currency; you can use our online currency converter for exchange rate information.

By Night Escorted by your Tour Director, depart from your hotel and make your way along the harbour front until you reach the port of the Caique boats. Here you will be welcomed on-board by the Captain and taken to the island of Bourtzi which is located approximately 450m from shore. You will have time to explore the Bourtzi Fortress, built to provide protection to the town of Nafplio mainly against pirates.

Approximate value: €30 EUR per person


A Taste of Athens Situated on the Galatsi hill, this venue is a true taste of everything Greek beginning with the panoramic views of Athens for as far as the eye can see. An outside barbecue awaits your choice of souvlaki and while this is cooking, see the presentation of the traditional loom, wood fired oven and the water mill used for grinding flour. While you enjoy your souvlaki with olives, bread with olive oil and of course Greek ouzo, the Zafiro chef will provide a tutorial lesson of how to make some of the basic Greek dishes of mousaka, greek salad & tzatziki. The menu for tonight will include the traditional appetizers of spinach pie, feta cheese pie, stuffed vine leaves, beans in tomato sauce, meatballs, tzatziki and aubergine salad dips and Greek salad and the main course served is moussaka. This is accompanied with unlimited red or white wine. While enjoying your meal you will be entertained by the musicians and 6 Greek dancers in traditional costumes performing well known Greek dances such as Syrtaki and Hasapiko. Don't miss the opportunity to join in the circle dancing and maybe even break a plate!

Approximate value: €45 EUR per person


Aegean Cruise An early departure from the hotel with your Tour Director at approximately 7:15am, and drive to the designated port for embarkation on today's cruise of the Saronic Gulf. Departing at 8:00 am, begin sailing towards the island of Hydra, located approximately 37 nautical miles from the southern mainland. You will notice that donkeys are used for transportation on this small island as cars, by law, are prohibited. On Hydra you will stay approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes allowing for a walk around the shops along the quay or a swim in the Aegean Sea. Departing Hydra, en-route to the island of Poros, a Greek style buffet lunch is served with many of the local traditional foods including Greek salad, stuffed vine leaves, fish roe salad, beans, beetroot, tzatziki, local cheeses, and main courses with fish, beef, pork, chicken or vegetables are served.

Approximate value: €88 EUR per person


A Taste Of Crete This rustic natural excursion is an ode to the Cretan countryside and its values. It is characteristic, that the island of Crete has the most traditional vineyards of the whole of Europe. Grapes have been cultivated here since the Minoan era, a tradition spanning 4,000 years! So undoubtedly the Cretans are hearty connoisseurs when it comes to wine. In fact, 70% of the production of Cretan wine comes from the "Peza" valley. This will also be the first stop of your excursion. Next follows Vathypetro, a small Minoan palace with exterior courtyards of ashlar masonry, with storage facilities and porticoes, which was discovered in 1949 by Spyros Marinatos. Passing through villages and vineyards, you reach Archanes, an important Minoan settlement, built at the foot of Mount Juktas. Here you will have the time to try the Cretan delicacies, taste the local wine and take in the local music at the area's central square, under the generous shade of the trees.

Approximate value: €49 EUR per person


Akrotiri Village & Excavation In prehistoric times, the people who inhabited what today is known as Santorini, called the island Strongyle ("round"). These people enjoyed a high standard of living; they built two-story houses, tilled the earth and were skilled artists, recognizing the beauty of color. Around 1650 B.C., a volcanic eruption caused the centre of Strongyle to sink, leaving a caldera with high cliffs - one of the world's most dramatic geological sights. You will have the chance to visit the village of Akrotiri with its famous antiquities. There you will be taken back in time when you see these amazing ruins leaving you to imagine what life was like before the village was destroyed around 1650 B.C., by the eruption of the volcano of Thira.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Anavatos, Nea Moni, Chios Town Leave the port of Chios and follow the panoramic road that climbs the foothills of Mount Provatas to reach the center of the island where the monastery of Nea Moni stands. Nea Moni is today one of the most famous buildings of the Byzantine period. The main church is a very important speciment of Byzantine architecture in the Aegean Sea and is decorated with mosaics world known for their technic and colours. The village of Anavatos is built on a cliff 450 meters above the sea, with steep sides to the south and west. Once again the outside walls of the houses were used together with the cliff, to shape the perimeter of a fortress. The 400 houses inside the walls were narrow, and built of grey stone with flat wooden roofs, low doors, tiny arched windows and wooden terraces. The village was abandoned after the horrible slaughters of 1822 and is now a national monument for all the Chians and Greeks. Although the village is deserted today, it shows us a unique picture of a ghost town. Coffee break at the small cafe of the village.

Approximate value: €39 EUR per person


Ancient Ephesus At Ancient Ephesus you find Immortal relics of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian era. At the archaeological site you will be given a guided tour among the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of Kouretes, the Baths of Scholastica, Trajan's Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Residences of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, the Temple of Hadrian. The Great Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C., could accommodate 24,000 spectators and it is famous even nowadays for its acoustics. The finds from the excavations, which have yet brought to light only 13% of ancient Ephesus, reside in the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus, in the city of Selcuk. Your day couldn't close in a better way than a beautiful walk through the Covered Bazaar in Kusadasi. Here, you will be able to ramble, bargain for jewellery, cosmetics or leather products at the little shops. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Bosphorous Cruise & Bazaars Istanbul is the only city in the world that belongs to two continents: Europe and Asia. The Bosporus strait divides these two continents and the two parts of Istanbul are connected by the Galata and Ataturk Bridges. In your private tender boat you will find yourselves gliding through the Bosporus, among various other vessels with both sides of the city, the Orient and the Occident, looking at you and the rich past emerging. With your boat you will pass by the palaces Dolmabahce and Ciragan. On the Asian side, you will visit the Beylerbeyi Palace, the summer residence of the sultans, the Castle of Anatolia and the magnificent Kanlica Villa, which seems to "lean" on the Bosporus. The magic of this voyage comes to a close at the never-sleeping market of the Grand Bazaar. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.

Approximate value: €30 EUR per person


Byzantine Heritage & Bazaars After passing briefly through the commercial center of the modern city and the Galata Bridge, you will reach the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at Fener. Here, a visit to the Patriarchal Church of St. George is a must. Next stop, the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora, also known as Kariye Mosque, which is considered as the second most important monument in Istanbul after Hagia Sophia and one of the largest galleries of Byzantine mosaics internationally. In the Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar that follows, you will have the free time to explore, smell and touch a great variety of imported seasonings, confectionery, nuts, cheeses and delicatessen meats. For the conclusion of the excursion, you will have the opportunity to "lose yourself" in the Grand Bazaar, the Kapali Carsi with its 4,000 shops. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.

Approximate value: €69 EUR per person


Citrus & Chios Town Chios town has always been the capital of Chios island. Built from antiquity until nowdays at the center of the east coast, facing Minor Asia it has always been an active and commercial town, center of the whole island. The Castle of Chios town , coming from the Genoese era of the island , stands really close to the harbour. Walk from port to the Castle and through the narrow streets of the fortress and taste the Genoese and Turkish influence with the Old Turkish graveyard and the old mosque. After the visit to the Castle walk through the Central square and then through the public garden and the Korais Library. With the bus we drive to the south of Chios town towards Kambos.Among the orange and lemon plantations in the south of Chios town, approximately 7 klms from Chios harbour lies Kambos. Kambos is an area with orange and lemon plantations and mensions build among the treeswith 2 floored houses and beautiful yards. Xydas family (owners of one of these estates) has created a small cafe and museum in one of this estates, Citrus museum. In the museum visitors can see the history of the people of Kambos and history and tools of the cultivation of orange and lemon trees that has made Kambos famous throughout the history of Chios, starting from the Genoese occupation of the island till nowadays. You can also enjoy a coffee and local spoon sweet at the yard of the estate. Return to Chios port.

Approximate value: €39 EUR per person


Elounda & Spinalonga Drive from Agios Nikolaos to the resort of Elounda, an unforgettable beauty famed throughout the Aegean for its gorgeous green hills, its sugar-sand beaches and its pristine, inviting sea. From Elounda sail the calm waters of the Bay of Elounda for the island fortress of Spinalonga, a former Venetian bastion and, until 1957, a leper colony. Spinalonga also features in Victoria Hislop's debut novel, The Island, which was adapted by Greek television channel Mega into a 26-part drama, To Nisi, the most successful television series ever broadcast in Greece. Leave Spinalonga for a small nearby bay to swim in its turquoise waters and enjoy a barbecue on the beach.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Ephesus & The Terrace Houses Passing with your tour guide through the Magnesian Gate you will wander, feeling awe in time and space, through the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of Kouretes, the Baths of Scholastica, the Great Theatre, Trajan's Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum and the Temple of Hadrian. Opposite Hadrian's Temple, at the foot of the Bulbul hill and the covered part of the archaeological site, protected by the heat and natural elements lie the Houses of Koressus or Terrace Houses. Here lived the rich families of Ancient Ephesus and you will be surprised by the excellent state of preservation of these comfortable villas, especially their interior decor. The oldest unearthed houses date since the 1st century B.C. and were two-storied and built based on the city planning and they even had "heating", and hot and cold water. The excursion comes to a close at Kusadasi with the colorful Covered Bazaar and the little shops that brimming with the jovial energy of bargaining. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.

Approximate value: €59 EUR per person


Ephesus & Virgin Mary's House Before his crucifixion, Jesus entrusted the safety of the Virgin Mary to St. John the Evangelist. St.John moved Mary to Ephesus for safety. Virgin Mary lived here until the 101st year of her life. In 1957 the Vatican recognized the "House of the Virgin Mary" as the place where the Virgin spent the last years of her life and since then it is an important pilgrimage site for both Christians and Muslims. Next stop the city of Ancient Ephesus, the Ionian colony, which is one of the largest open-air archaeological museums in the world. Together with your tour guide, you will pass the Magnesian Gate. Traces of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian period are scattered everywhere: the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of the Kouretes, the Thermal Baths of Scholastica, Trajan's Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Houses of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, Hadrian's Temple, the Great Theatre. The excursion is completed at the Covered Bazaar of Kusadasi with some free time for shopping and bargaining! During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.

Approximate value: €59 EUR per person


Highlights of Istanbul and Lunch In the Old City you will visit the Byzantine Hippodrome. It had a capacity for 100,000 spectators, while the horse racing and chariot racing that here offered an opulent spectacle. You will admire the Kaiser's German fountain, the bronze Serpent Column of Delphi, the Egyptian Obelisk and the Walled Obelisk of Constantine VII. The next monument is the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed or "Blue Mosque". It is the most beautiful mosque of Istanbul, built upon the order of 20 year old Sultan Ahmed I, whose grave lies inside the mosque. The Church of the Holy Wisdom of God is your next magnificent destination. Hagia Sophia is a symbol of the city and a very important monument that is a pole of attraction not only for those seeking religious tourism. After a delicious meal at a local restaurant, you will visit the Topkapi Palace. In the interior of the Palace, which is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. For the end of this excursion you will have plenty of free time to stroll around the maze-like complex of the Grand Bazaar; where 400,000 visitors meet daily, among the 4,000 shops and 58 streets! During the excursion you will have the opportunity to do some shopping such as carpets, jewelry, leather and other souvenirs.

Approximate value: €99 EUR per person


Mesta Anavatos The village of Mesta is the most distant of the medieval villages but it is also the most well-preserved. The form and architecture here is totally unique. The houses are build side-by-side to each-other, so tightly that there are only two entrances to the village. The streets are very narrow, and most of them are covered with arches and vaults. The whole village has been intendently planned and built as a maze, in order to prevent the pirate raiding parties from reaching easily the most important buildings located in the center of the village. About 17 kilometers West from the city of Chios is the village of Anavatos. It is built on a rocky elevation with sides so steep it can only be approach from one point. The natural defenses of the site make it probable it was originally founded to control the island's west coast during the period of piracy. The village is now completely deserted but the overall shape of the settlement is quite well-preserved to give a unique picture of a ghost town surrounded by a wild and rough natural environment.

Approximate value: €39 EUR per person


Oia Village First you head up to the monastery of Prophet Ilias, for a breath-taking view, deep inhalations of clean, pure, Cycladic air and memorial photos, so as to be the envy of all who didn't come along. The tour continues its passage towards the north. To the east, in the background, you will have settlements like Kamari and Monolithos, while you will pass through Fira, the small traditional villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli with delicate architecture and beauties, to eventually arrive at the settlement of Oia. During the entire route, to the west you will have before your eyes the lace-like caldera, the little islands of Thirasia, Palea and Nea Kameni and an unsurpassable panoramic view. In Oia you will have plenty of time to stroll through the marble-paved alleys, to gaze at the adorably cute shops, to take pictures, to become acquainted with the characteristic buildings, carved into the rocks and the unusual captains' manors, the settlement Ammoudi at the foot of the caldera. After your curiosity has been sated of the area which is characterized as being of "exceptional natural beauty", your return begins.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Old City & Philerimos The Acropolis of ancient Rhodes stands proudly on the hill of St. Stephanos, also called Monte Smith. You will wander through the ruins of the Hellenistic Temple of Apollo, with its amazing columns. Further below, the restored Ancient Stadium of Diagoras once hosted games in honour of the sun god Helios. The next destination is Philerimos, to the northwest, one of the great touristic attractions of the island. The hill of Philerimos, above the homonymous bay, once "hosted" ancient Ialyssos, one of the three Rhodian cities that participated in the Trojan War. Stone steps surrounded by cypresses lead to the Gothic Monastery of Our Lady of Philerimos, dedicated to the Virgin Mary (the Life Giving Source). In the area you will also visit the Byzantine Church of St. George Hostos, with rare frescoes from the 14th-15th century which depict knights. Here also resides the "Golgotha", a path of 12 copper reliefs which depict the Passion of Christ. Back to the city of Rhodes where you will stroll through the Street of the Knights, all the way up to the Palace of the Grand Master.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Old City Walking Tour Walking along the paved Street of the Knights, one of the best preserved medieval arteries, you will come across residences of people of several different historic nationalities, who once belonged to the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Before you reach the Palace of the Grand Master, you will bide for a while around the area of Bourgos and the Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, erected in 1808, the Turkish Baths, the Hospital of the Knights in Museum Square the Church of Our Lady of the Castle, which has guarded the place since the 11th century A.D. The pinnacle of this tour in the Medieval City of Rhodes is Castello. The Palace of the Grand Master is a magnificent, endless edifice, the most important sight of the Old Town.

Approximate value: €30 EUR per person


Palace Of Knossos The ancient city of Knossos, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that "gave birth" to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The first excavations were begun in 1878 by the Heraklian Minos Kalokairinos. A bit later (1900-1913 & 1922-1930) the excavations by the British Sir Arthur Evans were to complete the scientific research, bringing to light the Minoan palace in its entirety, which was, according to tradition, the residence of the wise King Minos.

Approximate value: €49 EUR per person


Rhodes & Lindos Lindos is situated 55 km (40 miles) from the city of Rhodes and "bears" above it the Acropolis of Lindos, with the ancient Temple of Athena, built in 300 B.C. Here and there you will come across the captains' mansions, built between the 16th and 18th century. In the centre of the village lives and breathes the Church of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) of Lindos, with frescoes from the 15th century. Ascend to the Acropolis of Lindos. Here lies the Temple of Athena, of Doric order, which was erected on the location of an older monument. The ancient city-state of Lindos was for many centuries the most important on the island. It reached its heyday in the 6th century B.C. At the old city of Rhodes you will go through D8217'Amboise Gate to walk on the Street of the Knights. Along this street you will find the residences of the Knights, separated according to Order, which bear until today their corresponding crests.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Santorini Sailing & Volcano The little islands of Palea and Nea Kameni are of particular geological interest, since underneath them lightly slumbers an active volcano. From the cruise ship you will be transported easily within a few minutes by small boat to Nea Kameni which resembles a moon landscape! You will walk up to the verge of the crater, the heart of the volcano, a unique geological phenomenon which will overwhelm you with awe. In Nea Kameni nowadays there is gas-steam activity at the top of the crater, while its beaches are embraced by thermal springs. The next stop of this special excursion, is Palea (or Palia) Kameni with its therapeutical, warm waters. The sea temperature here is 5C higher than in the rest of the locations and the green-yellow water contains sulphur. After the trip to the volcano, you will have the chance to walk, take keepsake photos, to touch the magic and energy of Fira. Finishing your trip in the main town of Santorini, you will descend by funicular (the ticket is included in the fee of this excursion) to the Old Port to reach the cruise ship by small boat.

Approximate value: €55 EUR per person


Sultanahmet Square The Mosque of Sultan Ahmed or "Blue Mosque" was built upon the orders of 20 year old Sultan Ahmed I, whose grave lies inside the mosque. The tour will bring you to the symbol of Constantinople (Istanbul8217's historical name): Hagia Sophia. The Byzantine Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God was the Orthodox Cathedral of Constantinople. After the conquest of the city by the Ottomans, it was turned into a mosque until 1934, when it became a museum.

Approximate value: €49 EUR per person


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