Greece’s morphology offers itself unlimited island exploration. With a rich coastline and so many places to visit, a cruise vacation is a great option to get a great taste of the endless blue. Cruising Greece from port to the next port is an unforgettable experience, as it gives you the opportunity to see plenty of destinations, and it can be an affordable solution all the same.
Here are some of the most popular cruise ports in Greece and what to see there:
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8 Ports To Include in Your Greek Cruise
The port of Piraeus is perhaps the busiest of Greece, as it is the point of departure for many island destinations, connecting the capital with the rest of the country.
If you reach Piraeus during your cruise, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Acropolis. The highlight of the capital is a monument of immense historical value, with the famous Parthenon and the Erechtheion and the Caryatids, among other sights. You can book a guided tour for the full experience of the Athenian citadel. Nearby, you will find the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an amphitheatrical theatre worth visiting!
Grab the chance and visit the new Museum of Acropolis, found near the Acropolis, with its significant findings of artifacts. The museum has immense modern architectural beauty and a rich collection of the history of ancient Greece.
Afterward, you can stroll the picturesque paved Aeropagitou Street to enjoy the scenery and grab a coffee or a bite in the many locales there.
If you have time, check out these options in the center of Athens:
- Mount Lycabettus for panoramic views of Athens
- Philopappos Hill for great pictures of the Acropolis
- Monastiraki square for shopping and souvenirs
- Syntagma square for photos
Cosmopolitan Mykonos is a very popular cruise stop, and 1 day suffices to discover most of the island as a cruise passenger. You arrive at Tourlos port, and you can either get a private transfer or catch the bus.
The iconic windmills of Mykonos are the island’s highlights, and you should start your exploration of the island there. The most popular mills are the 5 Kato Myloi” and “Apano Myloi” with Boni Windmill, found in the region of the Old Port of Mykonos. In Boni Windmill you can find an open-air agricultural museum.
Afterward, you should head to Mykonos town to stroll down the quaint, narrow alleys and shop souvenirs from lovely boutiques. Enjoy your walk while marveling at the classic white-washed Mykonian beauty.
If you have time, head to Little Venice, also known as Alefkandra, a picturesque seaside spot with countless options for dining or a drink by the sea.
Click here for my one day Mykonos Itinerary.
The volcanic island of Santorini boasts one of the most beautiful sunsets found in the world. The beauty of its wild landscape combined with the vibrant nightlife makes it a popular cruise destination.
As a cruise passenger, you will arrive at the Old Port of Fira, from which you can either catch a cable car or walk the 600 steps to reach the picturesque village of Fira. Ascend the stairs with the amazing caldera views and start strolling around Fira and its beautiful alleys.
From Fira, you can follow one of the most beautiful hiking routes in Greece, leading to Oia, the most-visited cosmopolitan spot on the island. Along the way, you will enjoy views over steep cliffs, calderas and the endless blue contrasting with the volcanic dark rocks of the Santorinian landscape. The path is 10 km long but relatively easy, with a path along mild road terrain for the most part. It lasts approximately 3 hours.
Once you reach Oia, you can grab something to eat and catch a breath, or enjoy a refreshing cocktail. Nearby, you can also visit the famous blue-domed churches with panoramic views.
If you have time, consider:
- Visiting the Maritime Museum of Oia
- Exploring a Venetian Fortress
- Walking around Ammoudi port with 300 steps to climb.
- Enjoying the unforgettable sunset of Santorini from Oia
- Going shopping at chic boutiques
Click here for my one-day Santorini Itinerary.
Katakolon is the seaport connecting to Ancient Olympia, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. If you visit Katakolon as a cruise passenger, you get the chance to explore the site and learn about ancient Greek culture and heritage. Once you arrive, grab the chance to quickly stroll through Katakolon town, to take some pictures and get a taste. You will find countless taverns, bars, and cafés.
From the port, it will take approximately 40 minutes to reach the site of Ancient Olympia, located 40 km away. You can either catch the train from Katakolon to Olympia (although the schedules may be a bit tricky) or take a taxi.
In Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic games, you will find ruins of ancient gyms, a stadium, and temples dedicated to the gods Hera and Zeus. On-site, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, with exhibits such as the statue of Hermes Praxiteles, a masterpiece of sculpture.
You can enjoy a meal in the modern village of Olympia or head back to Katakolon, which is full of options.
Heraklion is the largest port city and capital of Crete, known for the vivid nightlife but the archaeological value of Knossos, as well. The Minoan Palace of Knossos is the top thing to do in Heraklion. There are very frequent bus routes from the old town to the site.
The Minoans are one of the oldest European civilizations, dating back to 2700 BC. The well-preserved palace is just 5 km outside of the town. The wonderful palace showcases replicas of the original frescoes. The original ones can be found in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
Continue the rest of your exploration of Heraklion in the Old town. The old harbor is a nice place to stroll and discover the Venetian Fort of Koules, from the 16th century. You will get one of the most excellent views of the endless sea from its roof. In the vicinity, you can find the Venetian arsenals as well. Alternatively, the promenade offers opportunities for evening walks and dinner in the local taverns and restaurants.
What else to do if you find the time:
- Visit the Natural History Museum of Crete
- Take photos at the Cathedral of St. Minas
- Explore the Historical Museum of Crete
- Visit the Agios Titos Church
- Go shopping in Old Town
- Visit the Town Hall and the fountain of Morosini in Lion Square
The wonderful island of Rhodes is also known as the ‘Island of the Knights‘ thanks to its medieval fairy-tale-like Old town, with castles and architecture that will take your breath away.
Head to The Old Town of Rhodes, with the incredible Palace of Grand Master situated at the end of the Street of the Knights. Walk in the Old Town through St Catherine’s Gate and find the palace, built in the 14th century upon the ancient temple of Helios (The God of the Sun). It is one of the biggest castles in Greece. You can find some very significant frescoes and statues from the Greek and Roman period.
Walk along the Old Town’s walls and get panoramic views of the Aegean. Don’t miss the old port of Mandraki and Hippocrates Square in the vicinity.
On the hill near the town, you will find the Acropolis of Rhodes, remnants of the Ancient Greek past. There, you can marvel at the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, the Nymphaea, the Odeon, Artemision, and the Temple of Pythian Apollo.
What else to explore:
- Visit the Archaeological Museum in Town
- Go to the Aquarium
- Spend the afternoon in the Valley of Butterflies
- Go to Ialissos village and visit Filerimos Monastery and Ancient Ialissos
- Visit Ancient Karimos
- Book a day boat trip to Lindos
In southeast Aegean, Patmos is a tiny island known as one of Christianity’s oldest pilgrimage destinations. It carries a unique character and a cosmopolitan character worth exploring.
Just 3.5 km from the port, you can find Chora of Patmos, the capital of the island built upon an imposing hill to protect the island from the pirate attacks back in 1000 A.C. there you can find the Byzantine fortress and the Monastery of St. John. The town is architecturally stunning, and a walk there will bring you closer to the island’s history.
Grab an early drink in Agia Levia’s square and enjoy the sunset at the trendiest bars there. You can also go shopping at various chic boutiques nearby.
Since you are here, you can’t neglect to visit the Cave of Apocalypse, not only because of its religious significance but because it is a UNESCO world heritage site, a church of significant beauty and history.
A jewel of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is a stunning island with rich beauty and amazing nature; lush vegetation, and emerald waters.
Head straight to Corfu town, known for the traditional Ionian beauty, with distinct influence from the Venetian occupation. The Old town has two awe-inspiring Venetian fortresses, a French-style arcade, and the famous grand Palace of St. Michael and St. George. Visit the main square of Corfu with the Liston, a series of buildings decorating the surroundings. Wander around and enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere.
In town, you can also find the Church of Spiridon, the aristocratic Casa Parlante, and the Corfu Museum of Asian Art. Discover hidden gems by strolling around the Campiello neighborhood with its cobblestone alleyways and colorful dwelling.
- Visit Agios Stefanos village
- Enjoy the views from Angelokastro
- Pay a visit to the Monastery of Paleokastritsa
- Swim at Porto Timoni secluded beach
- Explore the Temple of Artemis
- Spend the afternoon at sandy Marathias beach