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Ancient Mediterranean Treasures Viking Cruise from Istanbul to Athens

Explore the Mediterranean world on a Viking Cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Witness the origin of civilization as you sail the Aegean Sea and visit historic sites in Troy, Ephesus, Rhodes, and Crete. Discover the architectural gems of ancient Athens during an overnight stay. Includes roundtrip airfare from Calgary.
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Ancient Mediterranean Treasures Viking Cruise from Istanbul to Athens

MUST BOOK BEFORE MARCH 31, 2024
DEPARTURE DATE: December 16, 2024
Countries Visited: Greece, Turkey
Departure Port:Istanbul, Turkey

OVERVIEW

Trace the shores of history

Witness the origin of civilization as you cruise the fabled Aegean Sea. Spend two days in majestic Istanbul, with its Byzantine treasures and intriguing blend of Eastern and Western influences. Travel to the ruins of Troy, long steeped in myth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See historic sites in Ephesus and marvel at the gorgeous islands of Rhodes and Crete. Discover the architectural gems of ancient Athens during an overnight stay.

Travel Dates & Pricing

TRAVEL DATEPRICETYPE
December 16, 2024from $5,998 CAD - Veranda stateroomPer Person

What's Included

  • 8 Day Cruise from Athens to Istanbul
  • Veranda stateroom
  • Airfare from Calgary
  • Airport transfers

Itinerary

DAYDATEPLACE
1Mon Dec 16Istanbul, Turkey
2Tue Dec 17Istanbul, Turkey
3Wed Dec 18Troy (Çanakkale), Turkey
4Thu Dec 19Ephesus (Kuşadasi), Turkey
5Fri Dec 20Rhodes, Greece
6Sat Dec 21Crete (Heraklion), Greece
7Sun Dec 22Athens, Greece
8Mon Dec 23Athens, Greece

Day 1 – Istanbul, Turkey

Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. Istanbul exudes a fascinating mix of Western and Eastern cultures. Its strategic locale led to its role as a significant center of trade—eventually becoming a cultural crossroads along the world-famous Silk Road. One of the city’s stunning centerpieces is Hagia Sophia, founded as a basilica, converted to a mosque, then a museum; it is now a mosque again and features exquisite mosaics and frescoes. The city’s Grand Bazaar offers a rich taste of Turkish culture, from a vast selection of carpets and fabric to luscious dates and the local sweet favorite, Turkish Delight.

Day 2 – Istanbul, Turkey

Straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait, no other city in the world bridges two continents. Istanbul’s history is evident on every corner, from the cascading domes of the Blue Mosque to the courtyards of the Topkapi Palace. Visitors and locals alike flock to the European districts of Karaköy and Galata to browse shops and visit galleries, while across the strait lie the fashionable areas of Kadıköy and Moda. At night, the Old Town’s buildings illuminate the skies, and across the Sea of Marmara, twinkling lights of ships follow a trail to the Asian continent.

Day 3 – Troy (Çanakkale), Turkey

Çanakkale was an object of desire dating back to the ancient Greeks. Today, the nearby ruins of Troy, once a powerhouse of Asia Minor, provide a glimpse of the region’s former glory. The remarkably preserved structures of this UNESCO World Heritage Site offer hints of life here in the days of Alexander the Great and the later Roman Emperor Augustus. But it is the fabled Trojan Horse that is most prominent here. In Homer’s Iliad, the wooden steed gave ancient Greeks entry to the city during the Trojan War, and its legend is still very much alive today.

Day 4 – Ephesus (Kuşadasi), Turkey

One of antiquity’s best-preserved cities, Ephesus offers an unparalleled look into the lives of the ancients. Many of its ruins have endured from the time Ephesus was one of the largest metropolises of the ancient world. Excavations reach back to the 10th century BC, when this city hosted one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—the Temple of Artemis. Today, Ephesus is still full of wonders: the towering facade of the Library of Celsus, the massive amphitheater that once sat 25,000 spectators and residences adorned with frescoes.

Day 5 – Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes is home to the Palace of the Grand Masters, a remarkable and sprawling fortification. Its historic quarter is Europe’s largest active medieval town. Outside the city, forests of pine and cypress blanket mountain slopes; vineyards and groves of citrus and olive soak up the Aegean sun. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem conquered the island in the 14th century, bringing great wealth from the Holy Land. Under their rule, the city was reconstructed to mirror the medieval ideal. Many of the buildings from this era remain and make for rewarding strolls.

Day 6 – Crete (Heraklion), Greece

Crete was home to the Minoans, Europe’s earliest recorded civilization. Its capital, Heraklion, grew from the riches of the Venetian Empire, which ruled here for four centuries. Crete enjoyed a Renaissance building boom that helped bolster Heraklion as the region’s most strongly fortified city. The island is blessed with generous beaches, soaring mountains and coursing rivers. It is also where the distinct mantinades—couplets of love accompanied by Cretan instruments—could break out at any number of cafés where patrons sip tsikoudia, a grape-based brandy distilled in the hills.

Day 7 – Athens, Greece

Athens (Piraeus), Greece
Athens has been called the “birthplace of democracy.” Its legacy looms large from atop Acropolis Hill, the pinnacle of ancient Greece. This open air museum is an astonishing repository of once-mighty structures. From its colonnaded Parthenon—more than 2,600 years ago—revered Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle formulated new ideas of government and debated its role in civic life to captivated audiences. Remnants of spiritual life are also here in the several temples to Athena and Zeus.

Day 8 – Athens, Greece

Athens (Piraeus), Greece
For a more intimate experience of Athens, the charming Plaka District invites guests with its labyrinth of cobblestone lanes. Neoclassical architecture lines the narrow streets of the “Neighborhood of the Gods,” so named for its location. Browsing its shops or simply perusing its nooks and crannies are pastimes favored by visitors and locals alike. This historic area is the ideal setting in which to enjoy traditional small plates of mezes and a sip of ouzo. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.

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