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Cruising Worlds

Like a prism that can be seen from many sides, Greece opens up different worlds, in each of the island groups briefly sketched below.  Each of them is an archipelago of strong appeal, making the choice of the first cruise difficult. It should not be so; for whatever will be your point of entry in these worlds, it will only mark the start of a physical and mental journey that will perpetuate itself in time.
It is hard to sail the Greek waters only once.

One day you shall return to sail thru another archipelago, enjoy another world, and another ...
until the prism dissolves into a kaleidoscope.


Remote and varied, scattered along the Turkish coast, these islands are a universe of their own. They are links between the Orient, Greece and the West, and share a medieval character. Inside the walls of the Old Town in Hybiscus adorned Rhodes one relives the time of the ​Crusaders who ruled for centuries before the Turks and Italians after them. And Classical times come alive in the dreamy acropolis of Lindos, in Cameiros and in Ialyssos.

Luxurious Rodos contrasts sharply with the sacred island of Patmos dominated by its monastery fortress, and under the spell of the book of the Apocalypse written here by St Johnthe Evangelist.

The antitheses continue between the barren Kassos and Astypalaia, volcanic Nisyros, and softer Tilos, between cosmopolitan Kos, colourful Symi and sponge fishing Kalymnos and Karpathos with its traditional Olympus village.
And like everywhere in Greek waters, rise small idyllic islets like Lipsi and Arki welcoming  those dreaming of serene existence.




The land and sea intermingle here as golden bays and promontories of pine

and spruce and plane trees are washed by the foam of mostly open water.

Huge in size but thinly populated, Evia projects into sky and sea awesome mountains, fertile plains and towns and villages of strong local character.

The Sporades to the Northeast, also unspoiled, unfurl magnificent seashores like those of popular Skiathos and of quieter Skopelos where one can endlessly point out and visit as many as 360 churches Skyros, Theseus’ dying place, farther apart, a harder island, uncovers to the passionate rich folk art and architecture.

The smaller islands: Piperi, Scantzoura, Planitis, K Panagia jealously retain their ultramarine paradises and Alonissos has made itself a shining reserve for marine wildlife.




Only a few miles after the harbour of Peiraeus, unfold the smooth and gentle. islands of the Saronic and Argolic gulfs.  Each of them develops a strong individual character whilst sharing an everyday Greek feeling.


First among them Aegina of prehistoric origin watches over the sea with its magical Doric temple of Aphaia, its pistachio plantations, its neoclassical harbour and  fabulous  fishing villages.

Lemon scented Poros with houses built along a narrow channel links further to the south and west part of the gulf with the major maritime protagonists in the Greek war of independence:

The rocky, stylish, and amphitheatrically built Hydra, now an artist colony, and the softer pine covered Spetses, famous for its patrician villas, lively nights and traditional boatyards.
And in between, from aquamarine waters rise mysteriously deserted rocks, homes of seagulls, mirage like anchorages of nowhere.




Sailing in the light breeze of the Ionian is the easiest entry into the Greek galaxy of Islands.
Precious and gentle, refined by centuries of Venetian rule, these garden islands of flowers, pines, cypresses, olive groves and vineyards hover in emerald waters and bathe often in  the  misty light of the Sirroco.


The largest, cosmopolitan Corfu, has emerged from a palimpsest of cultures: Italian, Russian, Austrian, French. Their legacy is evident in the palatial architecture of the main town. Remote, sparkling coves embrace the fragrant landscape.
Past the blissful retreats of unspoiled Paxi and Atipaxi rises Lefkas of the white cliffs, surrounded by turquoise islands such as Onasis’ Scorpios and  Meganisi.
To the south floats Kefalonia of green mountains and azure sea caves, graced by charming seaside towns like Fiskardo and Assos and a short distance away blazes Odysseus’ Ithaki with its enchanting shores.
Zakynthos, in its Venetian aura, also laced with brilliant grottos and beaches, is now home of the endangered sea turtles.




Spread in the heart of the Aegean like stars across the sky are the Cyclades.
These islands are more pagan in character than any other group. Bold, naked and vibrant, beaten by the wind and the bluest sea, they are brilliant jewels, ignition to the senses and the spirit.


In the centre floats Delos birthplace of Apollo god of light. A vast and radiant site, bearing testimony to it ancient role as sacred and commercial centre. Nearby, sparkles Mykonos, a haven for the jet set, lively day and night in the beaches and the nightlubs.

Across the waves rises Syros. Neoclassical, aristocratic and business like, the capital of the Cyclades is urban, sophisticated, and stark in its seashores. And from the north emerges Tinos , the Lourdes of Greece, where in mid August, faithful gather in the monastery of Panagia for cure and worship. A short venture in the interior uncovers magical villages marked by special dovehouses.


Cascading from north to south: Kea, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, an incantation of barren rocks crowned by blazing white clusters of cubist houses and below, terraced fields and lacelike coastline of indigo bays and fishing hamlets.
Milos, Polyaigos, Kimolos unfold geological marvels of sea caves and lunar beaches, while pretty Paros and Antiparos seduce lazier visitors.


Far south, the caldera of Santorini opens up revealing towns glittering like diadems on dark cliffs along the rim of the sunken volcano. Sailing past frozen black lava, islands of white ash and black pebble beaches lies  Akrotiri. An entire Minoan city preserved in volcanic ash.


And all thru the island, villages half built into the rock are scattered among vineyards producing an astonishing variety of lovely wines.
Folegandros, Sikinos and Ios of sparkling harbours ease the  way back north to lush, exhuberant Naxos and to forbidding Amorgos. Between them, swim the Little Cycaldes, the essence of the Archipelago. Incandescent rocks over blue infinity.

The sound of  surf, of wind and goat bells. Here time dissolves.




Approaching Halkidiki means leaving the Mediterannean behind and coming under the spell of the Balkans: A dark green world wild and pure, with harsh climate and its own flora and fauna. Faith is still alive as a fact of nature.


The Byzantine spirit reigns in these parts, especially on Mount Athos where over one thousand year old monasteries and hermitages are spread on the promontory overlooking the North Aegean. Here monks and hermits live in sacred space and time. Only men can be permitted to visit, but women may circumnavigate the peninsula to catch glimpses of a forbidden world, in a fairy tale like setting.

To the east, Thassos abundant in ancient monuments and natural beauty, forbidding Samothraki whose waterfalls and lakes and high mountains were the backdrop of the ancient mysteries of Cabiri, and further south, gentle Limnos, acts as a bridge to the East Aegean islands .



The great island stands proud at the south edge of the Aegean, under a blazing sun, breathing the winds of Africa.

Almost a separate continent in itself, Crete, spreads its rapidly changing scenery from arid mountains to tropical beaches and bears the marks of many lives:

Once a centre of power, as source of Minoan civilization, it later survived the Saracens, the Genoese, the Venetians and the Turks, developing a multifaceted culture and above all, a strong and untameable character.


The sailor receives an exhilarating welcome in the harbours of its northern coast: in Medieval Chania, Oriental Rethymno, vibrant Venetian Iraklion with its marvellous market and museum, and worldly Agios Nikolaos further east.

Close to the shores lie Knossos, Phestos and other Minoan sites of exceptional liveliness and beauty..


Beyond rich plains, gorges, mountain ranges and villages where time has stopped, the great island unwinds its rugged south coast. Here, the island best expresses its spirit in  sombre castles tucked in the wilderness, Byzantine Monasteries on silent bluffs, and countless silent, isolated and mystical places which inspired El Greco and Kazantzakis.


Crete may recede behind your wake but it will never leave you. Once you have touched its shores, the addictive, obsessive music of the lyra and the lute enters your blood. A sweet poison, a haunting presence.

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