6 Tips For Cruising The Greek Islands
When you think of spending decadent days cruising azure blue waters, soaking up the sun and enjoying tantalizing food and wine, the Greek Islands tick all the boxes. Spectacular waters, hidden bays, islands smattered with cobblestoned paths amid boutique shops and traditional cafes and restaurants … it’s easy to see why the Greek Islands have been a favourite spot for celebrities and cruise-enthusiasts for many years.
So what are our tips for cruising the Greek Islands?
- Best time to travel – Cruise season runs from May through to October, however in the peak of the summer (July and August) it can get uncomfortably hot – especially if you’re trying to climb the hill to see the Acropolis! It’s also very busy at that time so we would recommend travelling either side of this. For those wishing to see the grape harvest, September is the month to be on Santorini!
- Travel Prepared – With the climate in mind, be sure you travel prepared with plenty of sunscreen, hat, glasses, drink bottle and breathable clothing.
- Tenders – Getting ashore in most Greek Islands is by tender, rather than ports, so it’s important to have sufficient mobility that you can get on and offer tenders.
- Size of Ship – In the Greek Islands, you’re spoilt for choice with cruise lines. You can find anything here from gulets, charter yachts, small ships through to large luxury cruise ships. Things to keep in mind here are: Do you want flexibility to construct your own itinerary and charter your own vessel and ‘wing it’? or do you want a set itinerary based on the experience of cruise lines? If you travel by small ship, you’re more likely to visit lesser known islands which can often be the highlight of the trip.
- Deciding your itinerary – The first question to ask yourself is if you want to solely do the Greek Islands, or do you want to combine Greece with Turkey, or with other parts of the Mediterranean? If you want to solely do the Greek Islands, choose a cruise starting and ending in Athens that hops between several islands. If you want to incorporate Greece as part of a bigger itinerary, consider the options that might start in Athens, cruise the islands, up the Croatian coast and end in Venice for example. Or if you want to include Turkey, there are longer cruises that either go one way between Athens and Istanbul or round-trip.
- Choosing between the islands – This is the biggie! Did you know that Greece has around 6,000 islands? Don’t worry, only 227 are inhabited! Everyone has their own opinion on their favourite island but as a general guide Santorini, Mykonos and Crete are three of the most popular. Here you’ll find the white-washed buildings with blue roofs that depict the many postcards, the cobblestone streets and the delightful cafes and restaurants lining the waterfront. For history buffs – Delos is said to be the birthplace of Apollo and the entire island consists or ruins including temples, statues, mosaics and a theatre. Kefalonia is known for fantastic beaches and excellent wineries. Then there’s Skopelos – the setting of the film “Mama Mia”, Rhodes for nightlife and, of course, Patmos to get to the heart of Greek religious history.
The trick here is to decide what kind of island experience you are looking for – would you prefer to be soaking up the sun and enjoying a gin and tonic, or would you rather be discovering ancient ruins and the local history? Or perhaps a touch of both? Then chat with our team about which islands and itineraries will suit you best.
Cruising the Greek Islands is one of life’s luxuries – it doesn’t get much better than this! And incorporating a relaxing cruise in between other components of a European holiday can give you a much-needed week of relaxation to re-charge the batteries too. It’s a great way to link two European cities or to see several islands or destinations in a short time. To speak to one of our team about cruising the Mediterranean, you can request a call here.