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Destination focus: Glories of Greece

Destination focus, Greece, cruise

The delights of Greece are well documented, but there is always something new to discover. From the cultural joys of the capital and the historic treasures of Corinth to the golden beaches of Skiathos and the neoclassical charms of Galaxidi, this marvellous destination never fails to impress and surprise.

Athens

Athens is the oldest capital in Europe and a large part of the town’s centre has been converted into a three-kilometre pedestrianised zone – the largest in Europe – leading to the city’s major archaeological sites.

It’s not all ancient history, however, the suburbs offer a long stretch of beaches and amazing seaside tavernas, something unique for a European capital. Just 10 miles south of the city, typically around a 35-minute drive, visitors will find a place where urban sprawl gives way to an idyllic palm-fringed setting.

They can swim, relax at a waterfront café, and take part in their favourite water sports. Athens’ subway goes directly to Piraeus from where visitors can catch a ferry to the islands.

Greece: Athens, cruise
Athens has history galore – and gorgeous beaches

Galaxidi

Through the stunning mountainous landscapes of Fokida one reaches a town with great tradition and naval history: the picturesque pride and joy of the southern coast of central Greece, Galaxidi.

Brave seamen used to sail around the Mediterranean Sea to seek refuge in the two natural ports of the little town, Agora and Chirolakas and the naval museum bear witness to its history. Captains’ mansions and cobbled narrow streets guarantee a relaxing stroll.

Traditional architectural elements conjure up tales of the old times: colourful façades, marble arches around the gates, yards with flowers and pebbles, and stone balconies decorated with figureheads.

The town hall, housed in the Tsalaggyras mansion, the Folk Art Museum, and the Girls’ School, are some of the best-preserved old buildings. As for ancient monuments, you will find them in the park: the tomb of King Locros and the remnants of the walls of ancient Oianthi.

Destination focus: Greece, Galaxidi, cruise
The town of Galaxidi boasts a proud naval history

Itea & Delphi

Itea is a small waterfront town located in close proximity to the archaeological site of Delphi. Featuring a relatively new port that hosts a number of vessels, Itea’s view of waters and imposing mountains in the horizon make for a pleasant stroll by the sea.

In just 15 minutes, passengers can get from there to Delphi. Visited by an estimated 500,000 tourists each year, the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of Delphi is one of the most stunning in the world.

Located close to the port of Itea, there are hidden archaeological treasures, such as Mycenaean Tolophon and ancient Kirra in the Bay of Itea on the Corinthian Gulf, awaiting discovery. Once only walked by locals and pilgrims, the ancient paths at the foot of Mt Parnassos are becoming increasingly popular among hikers, who all-year-round can choose paths with varying degrees of difficulty.

Destination focus, Greece: Delphi, cruise
Delphi attracts as many as half a million tourists a year

Korinthos

The city centre has wide roads, parks, squares and a picturesque port with fishing boats. Beautiful pedestrian walkways entice visitors for a stroll, a coffee and shopping, with monuments, museums and historical sites surrounding the city.

Must-see sites include the seaside zone, especially around the small port of Floisvos with its marina. Close by guests will find Kalamia, an extensive and established pebble-strewn beach, with many coffee shops and taverns all along it.

Then there is the city’s impressive Court House, where the statue of Archbishop Damascenus stands in the small square in front. The Apostle Paul metropolitan church, on the street of the same name, was built after the 1928 earthquakes and is also worth a visit.

The “Apostle to the Nations” lived and taught here for a short period and is the city’s patron saint.

Destination focus, Greece, Korinthos, cruise
Korinthos is home to a picturesque port

Skiathos

It’s the pine forest and clear waters – accompanied by more than 60 beaches – that draw many a visitor to this island in the Northern Sporades, although there’s little double that the buoyant nightlife has its own appeal, as evidenced by the area of Ammoudiá, which pulses late into the night with its open-air clubs and venues.

Those in search of golden sands should head to the aptly named Golden Sand beach, or Krassa Bay, also known as Banana, which is popular among adrenaline junkies as they can indulge in an array of water sports.

Peace and quiet, however, can be found on the western part of Skiathos, particularly in Mandráki, Eliá, Agkistros and Small and Big Asélinos.

Destination focus, Greece, Skiathos
Skiathos’ pine forests are a major tourist draw

Skopelos

The so-called greenest island in Greece – that’s just one of Skopelos’ claims to fame. However, it’s far more likely that people will recognise the name as this was the setting for the film Mamma Mia and many have since have flocked to Skopelos to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood stars and experience what the island has to offer, such as its impressive Byzantine monasteries, the Aϊ Yiannis chapel and ancient pirate graves carved into rock.

During the summer months, the beaches of Delphi attracts as many as half a million tourists a year Korinthos is home to a picturesque port Skiathos’ pine forests are a major tourist draw Skopelos is the country’s greenest island.

Miliá and Pánormos are very popular, and guests should not leave the island without trying a piece of traditional cheese pie, made from local ingredients.

Destination focus, Greece: Skopelos Stafylos beach, cruidr
Skopelos is the country’s greenest island

Volos

The city of Volos – one of Greece’s most important ports – is situated at the foot of Mount Pelion, a popular site for hiking and climbers, overlooking the Pagasetic Gulf.

The city’s location in the Magnesia region of Greece lends itself to much excitement about its mythical past – the ancestor of its peoples was Magnes, believed to be the son of Zeus and Aeolus.

Magnesia is also said to be the birthplace of the Centaurs, which only adds to the mythical air that surrounds Volos. A stroll through the city showcases grand mansions and old-school charm, while modern-day highlights also stretch to a gorgeous seafront dotted with restaurants serving local delicacies.

One of the most striking sights in Volos is on Argonauts Avenue, which features an exact replica of the ancient ship Argo.

For further information on Greece, please visit visitgreece.gr.

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