10 Things to See On a Small Ship Cruise in Greece

You might be surprised to learn the many travel bucket-list places you can see on small ship cruises in Greece. While those big vessels can bring you to major ports, they generally can’t access those smaller gems, and itineraries are often more focused on time spent on the ship, with facilities like water parks and Broadway-style entertainment. 

With a Greece small ship cruise, you’ll not only get to sail on an elegant yacht-like cruiser, soaking up the Mediterranean sun and the island scenery, but you’ll also get to spend more time in the destinations, discovering many different delights, including these. 

Oia, Santorini, sunset
UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delos

A Legendary Sunset from Oia Village on Santorini

One of the highlights for anyone visiting Santorini, are its legendary sunsets, with the very best enjoyed from Oia village. The whitewashed buildings and blue domed churches that spill down the dramatic caldera are a stunning vision that’s been splashed across countless postcards representing the Greek islands. Small-ship cruises often include land tours that will bring you here as the grand finale of the day to gaze at the glorious colors as they’re splashed across the endless expanse of the sapphire Aegean. It’s one of the world’s most celebrated sunsets, and one that almost always gets an applause.

The Sacred Site of Delos

If your Greece small ship cruise is visiting Mykonos, there’s a good chance that it includes an optional excursion to the sacred archaeological site on Delos to view some of the most extensive remains from the golden age of classical Greece. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features fascinating ruins that primarily date back to the 5th-century BC, with some even older than that. Look forward to marveling at remarkable mosaics, a theatre, temples and statues for a trip back through time.

Hydra town
The Ancient Palace of Knossos on Crete

Authentic Greece in Car-Free Hydra

Visiting Hydra on your small ship cruise is also like a walk back in time, but here on this tranquil inhabited isle, you’ll get to experience authentic daily life where transport is by donkey, on foot, or via boat, as motor vehicles aren’t allowed. On this unspoiled Saronic Gulf island, growth has been limited as new buildings aren’t allowed, only the restoration of old ones. Peacefully stroll the narrow, cobbled streets, discover tranquil squares and gaze up at stone mansions built by Italian artisans, once owned by Hydra’s most important families, revealing its wealthy past. Hundreds of donkeys are as used public transport so instead of the hum of an engine, you’ll hear the clip-clopping of hooves, giving the island an especially alluring atmosphere.

The Ancient Palace of Knossos on Crete

A Greece luxury cruise that stops on the island of Crete often includes tours to visit the ancient Palace of Knossos, the island’s largest Bronze age archaeological site. You’ll discover the myths that surround it while learning about Europe’s oldest city and the Minoan civilization. Many excursions here also include a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, which showcases many of the treasures uncovered here and from other Minoan palaces and sites. 

Monemvasia
Mykonos town and windmills

The Ancient History and Castles of Monemvasia

Monemvasia is a must experience for those who have any interest in castles or ancient history, and it’s another destination that can be visited on small ship cruises. One of the country’s most impressive walled castle towns, it was carved into a huge rock that rises from the sea along the coast of the Peloponnese Peninsula. You’ll be awed after stepping through the gates, discovering the cobblestone streets that are lined with enticing squares, picturesque churches and grand, centuries-old mansions. Bourtzi Castle dates back to the 15th-century and is located in the middle of the harbor, built to defend the city from invading pirates. 

The Windmills on Mykonos

Many cruises include Mykonos on their itineraries as one of the most famous Greek islands, known for its upscale shops, restaurants and lively nightclubs. Its most iconic symbol, however, may be the whitewashed windmills that overlook Mykonos Town. They stand out on the skyline and were once used for grinding its agricultural yields so produce could be shipped elsewhere. While they are no longer in operation today, they’re still an important part of the island’s rich agricultural past. Many have been beautifully restored, some transformed into museums like the Boris Windmill.

Akrotiri, Santorini
Patmos

Santorini’s Own ‘Pompeii,’ Akrotiri

Santorini is home to its own “Pompeii,” an archaeological excavation site that features ruins from the old city of Akrotiri. The structures date back a time before 1700 BC, which was when it was buried by a massive volcanic eruption. Considered one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the Aegean, it was once a thriving town, and by visiting today, you can still see multi-level buildings, drainage systems and lots of pottery by joining a tour on a cruise that visits Santorini.

The Sacred Island of Patmos

Part of the Dodecanese islands group in the Aegean, not far from Turkey, if you take a cruise that visits this archipelago you’ll not only enjoy a nature lovers’ paradise with postcard-perfect beaches and stunning crystal-clear blue bays, but experience the world’s second-most holy place after Jerusalem. This is where all religions believe the creator of the world appeared, a sacred island that inspired St. John to write the Book of Revelations, the closing pages of the New Testament. It’s been a place of pilgrimage for many who come to be immersed in its spiritual heritage while basking in its serene beauty.

Acropolis, Athens
Ruins of Delphi

The Acropolis 

A small ship cruise from Athens often starts with a tour in this capital city that gave birth to western civilization. The highlight is the iconic Acropolis, with a guided excursion providing an in-depth look while learning about its history through the eyes of an expert. You’ll be walking in the footsteps of the ancient greats, admiring the remarkable architecture, envisioning what it might have been like to be here so many years ago.

Delphi

Instead of taking off on your cruise the day after your arrival into Athens, some itineraries add a full day trip to the ancient ruins of Delphi, the seat of the oracle of Apollo and the most important Greek temple. This UNESCO-listed site offers the ideal blend enchanting natural beauty and a glimpse at a fascinating time in history, a place that was revered by the ancient Greeks as the center of the Earth. You’ll be able to see everything from the Temple of Apollo and Athenian Treasury to a hippodrome and theater that once hosted the ancient Pythian Games.

Explore many of the highlights of Greece on this 9-day small ship cruise here, or call our travel experts at +44 208 004 2345 to start planning a memorable holiday filled with exciting destinations like this and more.  

Experiences in Greece

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