When we think of summer, we think of Greece. The warm sunshine, sparkling blue seas and quaint, whitewashed villages make it the perfect destination for relaxing and slowing down. Athens, Mykonos and Santorini are tried and true cruise destinations. But there's much more to this beautiful country! Greece includes more than 6,000 islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and many stunning coastal towns. A small, luxury cruise ship is the perfect way to explore them. These Instagram photos of a few of our favorite lesser-known ports will have you daydreaming in no time.
Lesvos is the third biggest island in Greece, after Crete and Evia. It's famous for producing Ouzo and olive oil, so make sure you sample both when you visit. Soak in authentic Greek culture by relaxing in one of the cafes surrounding the village square.
Gythion is a charming Grecian town perched on the Mani peninsula, and a memorable stop on the way from Istanbul to Croatia. Quaint pastel houses and fishing boats dot the harbor, making it a picturesque stop for cruisers. The cuisine is fresh and local - think figs, olive oil, oranges and seafood. Swim, surf and relax at Mavrovouni Beach, or go on an excursion to historic Sparta.
Visiting Hydra is like traveling back in time. This island is home to one town, no real roads, and no cars. Instead, you'll travel by donkey or taxi boats to visit the beaches, tavernas, monasteries and churches that this unique destination has to offer. If you're feeling adventurous, hike two hours to the top of Mount Eros and be rewarded with incredible views.
Don't forget to pack your swimsuit for a cruise to Skiathos. This tiny island boasts more than 60 beautiful sandy beaches. While here, you can visit the fascinating Evanelistra Monastery, the medieval town of Kastro and the thermal springs of Kyllini.
A visit the stunning monasteries of Meteora is a must while in Volos, Greece. You'll be awed by both the history and beauty of this incredible destination. Last year, world traveler Lee Abbamonte visited with Azamara Club Cruises and wrote about the unforgettable experience.
Kos, Greece was made for small cruise ships like Azamara's. We dock right next to the town's impressive fortress, providing guests the perfect jumping off point for exploring the colorful town. History buffs will love this port. The large ancient excavation site of Ancient Agora features fascinating ruins of temples, shrines, and a gymnasium. See artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age at the Archaeological Museum.
Corfu, Greece is the setting of Shakespeare's The Tempest and is said to cast a spell on all who land upon its shores. It will certainly charm guests with its beauty - many consider this to be the most beautiful of all Mediterranean islands. It's a statement that's hard to argue against once you've strolled along Old Town's narrow alleys, taken in the fragrances of olive and lemon trees and watched the sunset reflecting on the sparkling sea.
Patmos is best known for the imposing Monastery of St. John. You can't miss the huge fortress atop a hill, standing out among the traditional white and blue houses surrounding it. You'll love exploring the many courtyards, arcades, galleries and rooftop terraces of the monastery.
Thanks to yachts, stylish shops, idyllic beaches and quaint cafes, the island of Cephalonia is known as" the Saint-Tropez of Greece". Don't miss out on swimming in the bright turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea while you're here. Focki Beach is a favorite for sunbathers and picnickers while snorkelers will want to pay a visit to Emblisi Beach.
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