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Setting sail from Athens (Piraeus)
Athens is a city awash with historical and cultural significance. Towering over the city are the gleaming columns of the Parthenon, surely one of the most iconic sights in the whole of Europe. And yet Athens is much more than an open air museum; this is a dynamic, bustling metropolis, and a place where history is still very much unfolding. For all its faults, the Greek capital possesses an energy and an optimism that are manifest in everything from the burgeoning art scene to the restaurants and bars that continue to pop up on a regular basis.
Obviously don’t miss the Acropolis, nor the new adjacent museum, where space has pointedly been left for the frieze we call the Elgin Marbles – it is really excellent. Then take time to stroll on the hills and slopes around the outcrop.
Glamorous Mykonos is the most popular of the Cyclades islands, well known as a haunt of the rich and the famous. It’s also the gateway to the nearby island of Delos, home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands, a green and fertile place where the landscape is littered with ancient temples, Byzantine churches and Venetian towers. The rugged terrain means it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, but there are also some lovely beaches and the buzzing city of Hora (Naxos Town).
Greece: Agios Nikolaos
The charming port of Agios Nikolaos, on the north east coast of Crete, offers a beguiling blend of characterful tavernas, lively bars and designer boutiques. The town is centred around little Lake Voulismeni, and nearby attractions include some lovely beaches and the Minoan ruins at Gournia.
Italy: Siracusa (Sicily)
Malta’s tiny capital, established by the Knights of St John, packs in an awful lot of history considering its diminutive size. The atmospheric old streets, bathed in Mediterranean sunshine, are full of attractive honey-golden buildings, along with an impressive selection of bars and restaurants.
Gozo is Malta’s laid back little sister, a sleepy island characterised by ruggedly beautiful coastline, medieval citadels and prehistoric temples. It’s also a popular destination for divers, with some of the most spectacular underwater scenery anywhere in the Mediterranean.
The island of Spetses lies just off the coast of the Peloponnese, and is popular as a second home for well-to-do Athenians. Wander the streets of charming Spetses Town and you’ll find some excellent restaurants, while the surrounding countryside is a verdant landscape of pine forest and gently rolling hills.
The volcanic island of Santorini (known officially as Thira) is one of the most spectacularly beautiful in the Mediterranean. The pretty village of Oia, with its whitewashed houses and windmills tumbling down the hillside, is particularly photogenic.
Sun-kissed Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, is steeped in history; the medieval heart of Rhodes Town was once home to the crusading Knights of St John, and later fell to the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The hillside village of Lindos, with its pretty whitewashed houses, is another highlight.
Kos is the second largest of the Dodecanese Islands after Rhodes, and is best known for its excellent beaches. There are plenty of cultural treasures here too: Kos Town’s harbour is guarded by an impressive castle built by the Knights of St John, and the island is scattered with Greek and Roman ruins.
Greece: Athens (Piraeus)
Athens is a city awash with historical and cultural significance, but it's much more than an open air museum; this is a dynamic, bustling metropolis, and a place where history is still very much unfolding.
The beautiful Byzantine town of Monemvasia is dramatically located on a steep chunk of rock, originally a coastal headland until an earthquake in AD 375 turned it into an island. Nowadays access is via a narrow causeway, and the pretty streets of the medieval citadel are home to more churches than people.
Greece: Katakolon (Olympia)
The little seaside town of Katakolon, on the western coast of the Peloponnese, is the gateway to ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Games and the place where the Olympic flame begins its journey every four years. Make the most of your visit with a guided tour of the ruins, and don’t miss the treasures of the Archaeological Museum.
The port of Brindisi sits at the end of the old Via Appia, and was once an important transit point for pilgrims and crusading knights heading east to the Holy Land. Brindisi's compact old town is pleasant enough, but you may prefer to head inland to visit the stunning baroque city of Lecce.
We never fail to be moved when we see the terracotta roofs and honey-golden walls of Dubrovnik, and a stroll around the perfectly preserved old town is a highlight of any visit to the Dalmatian coast. Make sure you take the time to walk around the walls and soak up the marvellous sea views.
Located on the quieter northern stretch of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, the walled port city of Zadar is an intriguing blend of old and new, where Roman ruins and psychedelic modern art installations sit alongside one another.
Arriving in Venice
Venice is a city like no other, a marble maze of turquoise canals criss-crossed by beautiful bridges, overflowing with palaces, churches and charming little piazzas. No matter how many times you've seen it in photographs, that first glimpse of the Grand Canal will simply take your breath away; it hardly seems credible that such a eye-popping scene could exist outside of a Canaletto painting. Of course Venice is a city that draws big crowds, especially in summer, but don't let this put you off; even the busiest areas are never more than a few steps from a quiet courtyard or a secluded square.
The long, long queues for St Marks might put you off, but just book online in advance for timed entrance and bypass the exhausted tourists.
Your home from home
Any one of Seabourn's lovely little trio of spacious and elegant sisters is the perfect choice for a combination of contemporary style and traditional expert hospitality.
What we love
When Seabourn built Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, over a period of just three years, we were delighted. Not only because each one is beautiful, but also because their similarity means that they are interchangeable, enabling you to travel all over the world in a familiar environment.
|Crew||330 International Staff|
|Style||The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.|
|Odyssey 2009, Sojourn 2010, Quest 2011|
|Cruising Speed||19 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in Athens
At Mundy, we have long been hunting for the perfect Athenian hotel - our favourite so far is the Electra Palace in Plaka.
Excursions from Athens
Delphi is an absolute must – you’ll need a full day though, it’s quite a drive.
Our favourite hotel in Venice
The Metropole is an old favourite for its quieter location and lovely lagoon views.
See more of the Veneto
If you’ve time, take the train to Padova and visit the Scrovegni Chapel.