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Five glorious Greek tours

09/03/2018

With Oceana heading to the Med, we look at five fabulous shore excursions in gorgeous Greece that’ll have you dreaming of sunnier days ahead

The Acropolis in Athens

The Acropolis in Athens

Ah, Greece. What’s not to love about this Mediterranean wonder? Turquoise seas lap white sandy beaches, and on shore, a world of history, culture and adventure awaits. Where else can you stretch out on a sun-drenched slice of sand one day, and explore ancient temples the next? Then there’s the food – from moussaka to souvlaki, it’s hard to put a foot (or fork) wrong.

 

Oceana spends her summers based in Valletta, Malta, embarking on cruises around the Mediterranean, many of which visit a number of Greek destinations. Make the most of your time in this beautiful country with a diverse range of shore excursions that will introduce you to the wealth of things to see and do. Here, we’ve listed five of our favourite on-shore tours.

 

Learn Greek cooking in Mykonos

Love Greek food? Learn to cook it yourself on the Greek Cooking Experience tour in Mykonos. You’ll be taken to a typical Myconian homestead, or spíti, where you’ll be welcomed with the traditional loukoumi (Greece’s version of Turkish delight) and a glass of liqueur. Next, it’s a tour of the kitchen garden and a lesson in how to cultivate your own vegetables year-round, followed by a small taster of local specialities – rusk with kopanisti (cheese), louza (smoked ham), tomatoes and olives, wine and raki. During your cooking lesson, you’ll learn how to make Greek spinach pie, stuffed tomatoes and peppers and tzatziki. Afterwards, relish the fruits of your labour over a delicious lunch.

 

Soak up the history at the Acropolis in Athens

The Acropolis is unsurpassed in its beauty, architectural splendour and historic importance. See it in all its glory on The Acropolis – Crown Jewel of Athens tour. A narrated drive will take you from the port of Piraeus to Athens, past a wealth of important sites including the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Constitution Square, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace. Upon arrival at the Acropolis, you can explore such sties as the Propylea, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Acropolis’ crowning glory, the Parthenon. Afterwards, stop to admire the Old Olympic Stadium, built for the first modern Olympic games and used as the marathon finish in the 2004 games.

Santorini

The white streets of Santorini

Explore the west coast of Crete by jeep from Souda Bay

Hop in a jeep and discover the west coast of Crete – with a stop at a local winery – on the Manousakis Winery & Vineyards by Jeep tour. Setting out from the port of Souda Bay, your adventure will take you up to Vatolakos Hill. Here, you’ll head off-road and experience panoramic views looking across to the north of the island. Arriving at the Manousakis Winery, a guide will provide a fascinating insight into the history of the family-owned winery. You’ll discover the process of winemaking and visit the production facilities, including the bottling line and cellar. And of course, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of wines accompanied by a selection of cheeses and dakos (wheat rusks).

 

Photograph the blue domes of Oia in Santorini

Think of Santorini, and you’ll likely picture the architecture – specifically whitewashed buildings and blue domes – of the village of Oia. See it for yourself (and get a few Instagram-worthy snaps) on the Best of Santorini shore excursion. While in Oia, stroll the cobblestone lanes and take in the spectacular views of Fira and the volcano. You’ll also make a stop at Panagia Episkopi Church, the oldest remaining Byzantine church on the island. The rich volcanic soil in Santorini is particularly favourable to viniculture, and you’ll have a chance to visit one of the local wineries. Enjoy a traditional Greek lunch at a tavern before heading up the Mountain of Prophet Elijah to admire the views.

 

Sail to the island of Spinalonga (tour from Heraklion)

Crete’s stunning coastal vistas are on full display on the Spinalonga and Elounda tour. A scenic drive will take you to the popular resort town and old fishing harbour of Elounda. From there, it’s a short boat ride to Spinalonga, also known as the ‘island of tears’. Housed within the formidable Venetian fortress walls are the remains of the last leper colony in Europe, which you can explore on a guided tour. Sailing across Mirabello Bay, you’ll return to Elounda. The town’s charm has been carefully preserved despite its growing popularity as an upmarket holiday resort. Enjoy some free time to explore its boutiques and restaurants, chill out on the beach or relax in the town square.

 

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