All artificial works of art route into Ancient Greece. Where else you can find a divine nature combined with first manmade masterpieces? Get astonished with a handmade prodigy of the Corinth Canal. Visit Ancient Same blessed with holy miracles. Fill up with insouciance of the mountaimns, witness fields of bright red poppies and see loggerhead turles. They are true feast for the eyes. And it is a true miracle someone created all this beauty...
Ten kilometres southwest of central Athens, Piraeus is dazzling in its scale, its seemingly endless quays filled with ferries, ships and hydrofoils. While technically its own city, it melds into the Athens sprawl, with close to half a million people living in the greater area.
The most attractive quarter lies east around Zea Marina and Mikrolimano harbours. The latter is lined with cafes, restaurants and bars often filled with people who've disembarked from their yachts for the day.
The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The canal is 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles) in length and was built between 1881 and 1893.
The Corinth Canal, though only completed in the late 19th century, was an idea and dream that’s dates back over 2000 thousand years. It saves the 700-kilometers (430 mi) journey around the Peloponnese! The strip of land that connects the Peloponnese and mainland Greece is called the “Isthmus”. At its narrowest point, it is only 4 miles wide, and in ancient times, one could see from one side to the other.
Located in the Fokida region of Central Greece, Itea is a small waterfront town located in close proximity to the archeological site of Delphi. Featuring a relatively new port that hosts a number of vessels, Itea’s view of waters and imposing mountains in the horizon make for a pleasant stroll or coffee by the sea.
Zakynthos is the only Greek island having international status of the natural wildlife preserve. The island has been called “The flower of Mediterranean East” for its beauty and balmy gardens. Mirror-like waters of Zakynthos may be seen on almost every postcard of Greece.
Yachts floating on the water surface appear to be suspended in the air. It would be a crime to visit and not to swim in this magical place! Once in town, one may go to the National Sea Wildlife Preserve or visit the temple of Saint Dionysus, the local winery and the olive oil pressing factory or walk along the coastal avenue – Strata Marina – the liveliest street in the town, filled with coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
Kefalonia is the island of sailors and mountain climbers, Greeks and Venetians, winemakers and travelers. Here stands Enom – the tallest mountain of Ionic islands (1628 m), covered with unique pine trees. Those willing to make a pilgrim tour may get into the Saint Gerasim monastery. There you will find an ancient sycamore tree still standing, said to have been planted by the saint himself. His cave-cell is located under the building of the monastery. Then we shall go for Andrew the First-Called Apostle monastery, the museum with miracle-making icons of Stephano Tsagarol, the Monastery of Saint Crucifixion in Pessado and the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary with benches. It is also possible to pop into the local winery, where six kinds of Kefalonian wine are being made out of Robola grape.
Another excursion will go to the famous Drogarati cave with stalactites, stalagmites and unusual acoustics, due to which Maria Kallas and Luchano Povarotti took the floor there once. Then the observation ground above the famous beach Mirtos awaits us, followed by a lunch in the picturesque nearby village of Agia Efimia. Our trip will end with the visit to the underground lake Melissani; the cave that once stood over it was destroyed during an earthquake. Now the lake is exposed to the sun, which creates beautiful light show on the water with colors ranging from sky-blue to intense dark-blue.
Ithaki is known worldwide as the motherland of Homeric hero Odysseus. The island became a symbol of returning home, as was here that his beloved wife, P enelope, has been waiting for him for 20 years. Ithaki attracts with its rich archeological heritage. Katharon – the most significant monastery on the island is located north from the capital at the elevation of 500 meters above sea level in Anogi. This is the monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A unique view of the island opens up from its bell tower - Arcadia mountains, Arkhinades islands, eastern coast of Kefalonia and even the entrance to Patra Bay can be seen on the horizon. The coastlines of Peloponnesus and Zakynthos are visible in good weather. Ithaki is a refuge of romantics. Lonely bays, stately calmness, quietness and silence and conciliatory atmosphere attract them here. It is an ideal place to restore spiritual balance.
Despite being connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway, making it one of the few Greek islands that you can drive to, Lefkada remains surprisingly unaffected by tourism.
Laid-back Lefkada Town is a charming place to spend a day or two, while the hills of the interior still conceal timeless villages and wild olive groves, and the rugged west coast holds some amazing beaches, albeit in some cases badly damaged by recent earthquakes. Only along the east coast are there some overdeveloped enclaves; if you continue all the way south you’ll find stunning little bays and inlets, as well as windy conditions that attract kitesurfers and windsurfers from all over the world.
Lefkada was originally a peninsula, not a true island. Corinthian colonisers cut a canal through the narrow isthmus that joined it to the rest of Greece in the 8th century BC.
Saranda is the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera, and come the summer months it seems like half of Tirana relocates here to enjoy the busy beach and busier nightlife along its crowd-filled seaside promenade. What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a thriving city, and while Saranda has lost much of its quaintness in the past two decades, it has retained much of its charisma.
* Please note the quoted timing (arrival /departure time to/from the islands) is indicative and may slightly change due to weather conditions and especially for the sake of better provisioning of all the activities and benefits of the cruise.