Voyage to Classical Greece

A Cultural & Culinary Adventure aboard the Callisto

Overview

On this insightful cruise to the isles of the Aegean Sea, explore the lasting legacy of Greece that, perhaps more than any other land, has exerted a profound and lasting influence in the development of the Western world. The ideas and concepts that are still part of the Western tradition were founded in this fabled land, along with Greece’s long and uninterrupted culinary tradition. It was the Greeks, who, more than 2,500 years ago, made the culinary arts a subject of serious study and laid the foundations for the now-celebrated Mediterranean diet.

On this journey, you will explore storied Athens, including its celebrated ancient monuments and food scene, then fly to Crete and board the 34-guest cruise ship Callisto for a discovery of several of the most significant Greek islands. Crete gave rise to Europe’s earliest advanced civilization, the Minoan, which flourished during the Bronze Age (c. 1900 BC-1425 BC), and you’ll explore the palace of Knossos and admire the incredibly elegant and sophisticated art of the Minoans in the superb Heraklion Museum. Crete is also a culinary powerhouse, and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the island’s famed cuisine.

From Crete, sail to islands both well known to travelers and beyond the commercial tourist circuit, island gems that can be reached only by a small ship. On volcanic Santorini, one of the world’s most iconic islands, you’ll tour excavated Akrotiri and have time to enjoy the island’s emblematic architecture, scenery, food, and wine. On little-visited Amorgos, visit the 11th-century monastery built on the side of a cliff that rises sharply from the sea, and admire the cubic whitewashed architecture, typical of the islands in the central Aegean including Paros. Frequented mostly by private yachts, Sifnos is one of the most delightful of Greek islands and has kept intact its original character, as you will see when you explore its impeccably kept villages. Before ending your voyage, a stop at atmospheric Nafplion allows easy access to two of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, Epidaurus, with its remarkable 4th-century BC theater, and Mycenae, the legendary home of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the war against Troy. The nearby region of Nemea produces award-winning wines, and you will enjoy lunch at one of wineries, accompanied by its wines.

This custom-designed itinerary, the small size of the ship, and the planned activities ashore combine to make this voyage a truly memorable travel experience.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1, Oct 22, 2022
Athens, Greece

Arrive in Athens and transfer to the Athens Capital Center Hotel, centrally located and convenient to many attractions. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2, Oct 23, 2022
Explore Athens

One of the world’s most venerable cities, Athens is the capital of Greece and Europe’s oldest city. Its ancient monuments are testimonials to its glorious past that gave birth to democracy and many other ideas and institutions that form an integral part of the Western tradition. In the morning, explore the Agora, the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens and the living heart of its democracy. See the remains of the civic buildings and visit the Agora Museum. Continue to the hill of Areopagus, where, in 51 AD, St. Paul addressed the Athenians. After lunch at a local restaurant, tour the Acropolis and its celebrated monuments, including the sublime Parthenon. Built in the 5th century BC, the Parthenon and other structures of the same period represent the highest achievement of architecture and art of the Classical period. You'll also visit the Acropolis Museum and view an outstanding collection of sculpture. Dinner on your own and overnight at hotel.

Day 3, Oct 24, 2022
Athens / Heraklion, Crete

Experience another side of Athens this morning as you explore the city’s bustling market and the narrow streets that surround the area, which are lined with cafes and small eating places that serve some of the most compelling and authentic food in the city. On this leisurely walking tour you will stop at traditional family-owned eateries and try specialties such as authentic Greek yogurt topped with walnuts and aromatic Greek honey; bougatsa, a velvety cream-filled phyllo pastry, a favorite of Athenians; and souvlaki, prepared with a recipe that is decades old. From the market, continue to the airport for the afternoon flight to Heraklion, the main city of the island of Crete (flight duration: 45 minutes). Upon arrival, transfer to the port to board Callisto. Overnight aboard, docked in port.

Day 4, Oct 25, 2022
Heraklion

Crete was home to Europe’s earliest civilization, the Minoan, which flourished during the Bronze Age, starting around 2000 BC. The largest of the Greek islands, it is known for its archaeological sites, incredibly beautiful and varied landscape, a population renowned for its hospitality, and its cuisine and diet, a centuries-old culinary tradition that has been studied for its health benefits by the world’s doctors and dietitians. Crete is also one of Greece’s primary production centers of high-quality olive oil. In the morning, visit the colorful market of Heraklion, an organic farm, and enjoy lunch at a restaurant specializing in Cretan cuisine. In the afternoon, tour the Minoan palace of Knossos. Clustered around a spacious courtyard, this ancient palace contains a maze of rooms, which reveal the brilliance and refinement of the Minoan civilization. Visit also the superlative Heraklion Museum, where you will admire the exquisite art of the Minoans. Sail from Heraklion in the evening.

Day 5, Oct 26, 2022
Santorini

Be on deck this morning as the ship approaches Santorini to admire one of the most iconic sights of the Mediterranean, the white-washed town of Phira, the island’s main town, perched on the 1,000-foot-high palisade of the volcanic caldera. Known in classical antiquity as Thera, the island was a flourishing trading center inhabited by a sophisticated society during the Bronze Age. In the late 17th century BC, a massive volcanic eruption collapsed half of the island and buried its town, now called Akrotiri, in a thick layer of ash and pumice, preserving its houses, squares, and streets as they existed 3,700 years ago. Visit Akrotiri and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, which exhibits the artifacts excavated at Akrotiri. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant that offers spectacular views of the caldera and serves local specialties. Santorini is celebrated for its wines, especially its refreshing dry whites, made from an indigenous grape variety. In the afternoon, visit the Domaine Sigalas, where you will sample its excellent wines. Also, time at leisure will be available for independent activities.

Day 6, Oct 27, 2022
Amorgos

Known for its dramatic scenery, Amorgos has been settled since the 5th millennium. Today it is one of the most attractive islands of Greece and remains outside the circuit of mass tourism. Land at the island’s main port, which hugs a curving bay, and visit Minoa, Amorgos’ most important ancient city, which was founded in the 10th century BC. Continue to the Monastery of Chozoviotissa, built in the 11th century in a spectacular setting of precipitous cliffs above the sea. Spend time in Chora, the island’s enchanting main town, sited on a plateau and crowned by an old castle. Amorgos offers wonderful walking opportunities on well-marked paths.

Day 7, Oct 28, 2022
Paros

Home of Archilochus, the great 7th-century BC lyric poet, who was considered as great as Homer, Paros was also the source of fine marble that was used by the master sculptors of antiquity and later periods. The island’s pristine main town, Parikia, features the characteristic architecture of the Cycladic islands, of which Paros is one, that consists of cubic whitewashed houses and chapels. Its labyrinthine narrow streets are lined with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Tour Parikia, including the Ekatontapyliani Church (Our Lady of a Hundred Doors). Built in the 4th century, the church is one of the most important early Christian churches in Greece and a place of worship for over 1,700 years. Visit also the Archaeological Museum, whose exhibits chronicle Paros’ long history. Explore the island, including the ancient marble quarries, the attractive village of Lefkes, and the picturesque harbor town of Naousa. Since 1910, Moraitis Winery is the island’s premier wine maker and you will visit it to taste its wines.

Day 8, Oct 29, 2022
Sifnos

Famed in antiquity for its wealth that was produced by its gold and silver mines, the small island of Sifnos is one of the most delightful of Greek islands. Unaffected by commercial tourism, it has kept intact its unspoiled character. Your exploration of the island will include Kastro, its former capital and an impeccably kept village, with its architecture retained from the medieval period; Apollonia, a labyrinth of white houses, flowers, and belfries; and its twin village Artemonas, with its impressive Venetian-style mansions. Sifnos has a long tradition of pottery and you may wish to visit some of the workshops.

Day 9, Oct 30, 2022
Nafplion, Epidaurus, and Mycenae

Set on a spacious bay and crowned by two citadels, Nafplion is one Greece’s most attractive old towns. Drive to Epidaurus, the sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of healing. Epidaurus was in antiquity a religious shrine, health center, and popular spa. Its incredible 4th-century BC theater is famed for its perfect acoustics and harmonious proportions. Continue to Mycenae, the most important center of the Mycenaean civilization that flourished in the 2nd millennium BC. Called by Homer “rich in gold” and “well-built,” Mycenae was the home of Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the war against Troy. The nearby fertile area of Nemea has been producing fine wine from antiquity to the present time. We will enjoy lunch at the Skouras Winery, accompanied by its wines. Return to Nafplion to spend time at leisure before sailing in the evening.

Day 10, Oct 31, 2022
Piraeus / Depart

Disembark in the morning in Zea Marina, the yacht harbor near Piraeus, the port of Athens, and transfer to Athens airport for the return flight home.

Highlights

Highlights

Explore Athens: the Agora, Acropolis, and the lively local food scene
On Crete, tour Heraklion’s Minoan palace of Knossos and savor delicious Cretan cuisine
Visit Santorini’s Akrotiri and sample excellent wines at a local winery
Spend time in Chora, Amorgos’ enchanting main town, and enjoy wonderful walking opportunities
Tour the whitewashed houses of Paros, the tidy villages of Sifnos
Explore the archaeological sites of Epidaurus and Mycenae

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $7490  
Arrive: Athens, Greece
Depart: Athens, Greece
Lodging: 7 nights aboard a 34-passenger vessel, 2 nights hotels
Meals: All meals aboard ship, including wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Activity: Small Boat and Yacht Cruising, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
Trip Level:

6-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours