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Greek Isles & Turkish Delights

Rates & Dates:

Trip Length: 7 Days/ 6 Nights

Prices from: $7,799 pp/do*

Ships: Star Pride

Notes: *Reverse Route
*Per Person/Double Occupancy. Special Single Rates apply where listed.

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A single voyage covers thousands of years of civilization’s greatest feats — from the Acropolis of Athens to the palaces of Istanbul. Explore the tiny streets and narrow alleys of Mykonos, and escape to Delos, the fabled island of Apollo, where you’ll walk in the ancient footsteps of the gods. Listen for echoes of history as you explore Ephesus, the world’s largest outdoor archaeological site, and treat yourself to superlative grilled seafood, accompanied by an ouzo salute to the sunset. From the coffee houses of Bodrum to the country lanes of Rhodes, discover the Greek Isles as they were meant to be traveled, by sailing yacht.

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Day 1: Athens/Piraeus, Greece: What can you say about one of the oldest cities in the world? Athens covers a dozen hills like warm honey, framed by mountains and the blue Aegean. It was front and center in laying the foundations of western civilization, and is home to some of the most famous ruins and museums in Europe. If those aren’t reason enough to pause here, the city is also renowned for its nightlife. Head to the excellent New Acropolis Museum to orient yourself before exploring the Parthenon and Temple of Athena. Shop for matia (bright blue charms to ward off the evil eye) on pedestrian-only Ermou Street. If you’re here overnight, head to a bouzoukia for some mezethes, music, and ouzo, or attend a performance at the ancient amphitheater on the slopes of the Acropolis just as Athenians did back in 161 A.D.

Day 2: Mykonos, Greece: Weather permitting… today we visit Mykonos, the classic Greek isle, with hundreds of white-washed churches and cubist houses; round, thatched windmills catching the brisk breeze; and a harbor bobbing with fishing boats and luxury yachts. Sit in the shadow of a café and watch as native fishermen and jet set Europeans pass by. Or explore the Parportiani church, a Byzantine architectural masterpiece.

Day 3: Santorini, Greece: Cruise into the largest caldera in the world and you’re in Santorini, a vision in whitewash white, volcanic black, and blue. A blue so distinctive and bright it’s become known as “Santorini blue” everywhere but in Santorini, where it’s called kyanos. What most people don’t know is that the people of the Cyclades don’t simply like the color, they believe it keeps away evil, a job it must do extremely well as it’s hard to imagine a more sublime place to spend the day. Catch iconic photos from traditional Greek windmills to donkeys with colorful collars and bells around their necks. And don’t miss the romantic village of Oía with its cave houses (once the homes of sailors) and boxy white houses (which belonged to ship owners).

Day 4: Rhodes, Greece: Even without the ancient Colossus standing guard over the harbor, it’s an impressive sight. Gazing up at the city walls rising from sheer cliffs, you can imagine the despair the various forces must have felt over the eons as they repeatedly (and often fruitlessly) laid siege. You, however, are greeted warmly upon arrival and welcomed into the cobblestoned old town, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. There are no cars here, just passageways designed for knights in shining armor, medieval inns that once housed them, and museums that tell of the many civilizations that collided here at the meeting point of three continents. Walk beyond the walls to the “new” city with its elegant Venetian buildings, stroll Rodini Park where Julius Caesar, Brutus, and Marc Anthony studied rhetoric, or head to Elli beach for sun and golden sand.

Day 5: Bodrum, Turkey: The 15th-century Castle of St. Peter, built by the Crusaders, presides over the city’s dual harbors. Colorful peacocks strut their stuff trying to claim your attention, but they have nothing on the white sugar cube houses, palm-lined boulevards, and shockingly blue Aegean below. For a picture-perfect seaside playground, Bodrum offers a surprisingly rich history, or maybe it’s the other way around. Visit the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Surrender to the captivating magic of bathtub-warm waters and the Marina. Shop the bazaar for Milas cloth scarves and silver jewelry. Stroll the marina to see the other private yachts in port. (None as grand as yours, of course.)

Day 6: Kusadasi, Turkey: Kusadasi offers many historic sites including the Virgin Mary House, but it is Ephesus that steals the show. Once an important trading stop along the Silk Road, its well-preserved ruins reflect what was one of the most beautiful and advanced cities of the ancient world. Walk the marble-lined streets past the huge theater where St. Paul once preached, the gladiator’s graveyard, the incomparable facade of the Celsus Library. If you were wealthy, you might have lived in one of the grand terrace houses, their ornate frescoes and mosaics still shining. You would have shopped at the agora, worked out at the gymnasium, and bathed in the public baths. Life was good. But they didn’t have a graceful private yacht waiting for them in the harbor

Day 7: At Sea: This is your invitation to a day of indulgence. Treat yourself to a luxurious spa experience. Stretch out by the pool with your favorite beverage. Grab a great book or your favorite movie from the library. Stretch your muscles with our with our state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Dine in sumptuous casual style, or wrap yourself in the comfy waffle-weave robe and enjoy your meal in the privacy of your beautiful stateroom. Your delight is our single priority for your day at sea.

Day 8: Istanbul, Turkey: Ah, Constantinople, Queen of Cities and the Door to Happiness. Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents—Europe and Asia—and its appeal is truly universal. The Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans all ruled their empires from here, leaving behind some of their finest monuments and a fascinating blend of cultures. Visit the harem at Topkapi Palace, where the clatter of silver soles once warned concubines of the approaching sultan. Admire the Iznik tiles and stained glass windows of the Blue Mosque, and the mystical light bathing the nave of Hagia Sofia. Shop the Grand Bazaar for a coffee cezve, magic lamp, embroidered slippers, or hand-woven kilim. Temper a tiny cup of potent Turkish coffee with bites of sweet lokum (Turkish delight).

Photo Credit: Windstar Cruises