With countless miles of coastline, nearly 6000 islands, unparalleled history and amazing cuisine, it could take an entire lifetime to explore. With the experts at Direct & Vision Travel along with Azamara’s Destination Immersion approach to cruising, you will discover smaller, less travelled ports as well as enjoy late and overnight stays. Let us take you beyond the initial layers of Greece for an insider’s look at one of the world’s most stunning destinations.
During our recent “Live From Greece” event, we shared 5 of 26 incredible ports that Azamara will call on in 2021 with Captain Filip’s suggestions for culinary experiences at great local restaurants and where to soak up the Mediterranean sunshine at fantastic local beaches. Here are those recommendations and his insider look at these AzAmazing Greek ports.
Known for having “three faces to the sea”, Agios Nikolaos located on Crete’s east coast, seamlessly blends the charm of a small fishing village with the glamor of a chic resort town. It really is a beautiful city. It is also the perfect base for exploring smaller islands around Crete.
Knossos Palace & Archaeological Museum of Heraklion: Uncover the secrets of Crete’s history on this journey to the Knossos Palace. Then, travel to the Museum of Heraklion, boasting a stunning collection of artifacts from Cretan history and prehistory.
Archaeological Museum: Located near Lake Voulismeni, this museum displays treasures from the Neolithic, Minoan, and Roman eras. Nearby cafes and restaurants offer sweeping views overlooking the lake.
Marina: Stroll along the docks and keep an eye out for opulent yachts that often drop anchor. Sample sweet or savory crepes at a slipway café.
Spinalonga Island: Spinalonga, home to an ancient acropolis, a former defense fortress, and then a leper colony – up until 1957. This is a great destination to explore on foot while burning calories from all the super meals onboard the ship! Only accessible by a smaller boat, it watches over the lovely fishing village of Elouda on mainland Crete. Guests love these unique and authentic spots.
Gioma Meze – https://giomameze.com/?lang=EN
Piato Restaurant – https://www.agiosnikolaoscrete.com/business/piato/
Karnagio Restaurant – https://www.greeka.com/crete/lassithi/eat-drink/restaurants/agios-nikolaos/karnagio/
Tavern Kroustas – https://restaurantguru.com/O-Kroustas-Kroustas
Beaches: Voulisma Beach | Vai Beach | Almyros Beach | Amoudi Beach
Venetian splendor gives Chania, Crete’s second largest city a distinctly Italian air. Greek and Ottoman influences add to the city’s unique history and culture—each era certainly worth exploring. Framed by a dramatic mountain backdrop, Chania is an exceptional destination for history buffs, with plenty of tavernas and cafés to recharge after a day of discovery.
Firka Fortress: Built in the late 1530s, this fort has had many purposes over the years. In 1913 it was the site where King Constantine witnessed the raising of the Greek flag, signifying the reunification of Crete with Greece.
Venetian Lighthouse: An integral part of the expansion and modernization of the harbor in the late 1500s, the lighthouse stands as a city landmark. Enjoy a walk along the harbor to get a closer view.
Venetian Dockyards: A monument to Chania’s importance as a trading center for the Venetian Republic, the dockyards are where great merchant ships came for repairs and refitting. Crete was once heavily forested and supplied a great deal of lumber for shipbuilding. Many of the original dockside warehouses have been remarkably well preserved.
Georgioupolis: A delightful coastal village and it’s charming white church set on a pier in the water.
Tamam Restaurant – https://www.tamamrestaurant.com/
Beaches: Elafonisi | Balos | Falassarna | Fragostello Beach | Kalathas Beach | Kalyves Beach
This tiny island is a place of deep importance for Christianity. After being exiled by Domitian in AD 95, in the Cave of the Apocalypse, Jesus appeared in a crack in the ceiling inspiring John the Apostle to write the Book of Revelations. Patmos is a beautiful island with excellent beaches, great mountain scenery perfect for avid walkers and wonderful villages to explore.
Chora: Stroll Patmos’ capital with its whitewashed homes, narrow lanes, and coastal views.
Grotto of Revelation: Visit the ancient grotto where St. John saw visions that became the Book of Revelations.
Monastery of St. John: Built in honor of St. John some 993 years after his exile to the island, see the stunning jewels and artifacts of this former Monastery complex, now a museum.
Benetos Restaurants – http://benetosrestaurant.com/
Kyma Restaurant – https://restaurantguru.com/KYMA-Patmos
Ktima Petra – https://restaurantguru.com/Ktima-Petra-Patmos
Beaches: Geranou | Agriolivado | Petra | Lampi | Meloi | Psili Ammos | Diakofti | Vagia
The city where Jason and his Argonauts set sail on a quest for the Golden Fleece, Volos combines the allure of the sea with mystical charms and mythical legends. Not only is it considered one of the country’s prettiest cities, but it’s also believed to be the birthplace of Centaurs. Volos is famed for its fish tavernas so be sure to try dishes like freshly caught calamari which pairs perfectly with the local anise-favored spirit tsipouro (not to be confused with ouzo).
Argonauts Avenue: Stroll along the pedestrian waterfront promenade, Argonauts Avenue, passing bustling cafes, charming shops, bobbing fishing boats, and impressive yachts, taking in the daily life of Volos. At the end, discover Argo, a replica of the ancient ship, built following ancient texts.
Sesklo: Head to the hills and explore the remains of one of the most important Neolithic Greek and European settlements (and the most ancient site discovered in Europe), sitting above the village of Sesklo.
Meteora Monasteries: The Meteora monasteries rise where Pinios River emerges from the deep canyons of the Pindus Range and surges into the Thessalian Plain. Visit two monasteries with frescoes, beautiful gold leaf, wood carvings, wall paintings, and icons dating back to the 14th century.
Stafylos – https://restaurantguru.com/Stafylos-Volos
Beaches: Horefto Beach | Abovos Beach | Agiou | Dimitriou | Achialou | Alikes | Pigadi
Rolling hills blanketed by pine forests, sheltered coves with sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters await you in Spetses. Fittingly, the Venetians named the island “spezia”—meaning spice—due to its position on a major spice route. Untouched by commercial development, today this jewel off the Peloponnesian coast is a favorite getaway for the elite of Athens, and it’s bound to become one of yours too. It’s not uncommon to see flashy yachts moored alongside authentic wooden fishing boats, and boisterous fisherman selling their fresh catch next to coffee-sipping socialites on the seaside promenade.
Bouboulina’s Museum: Honoring the heroine that played a large role in the Greek War of Independence, the former home of naval commander Laksarina Bouboulina houses an ornate wood-carved Florentine ceiling, a unique collection of weapons, and fine furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Monastery of Agios Nikolaos: A short walk from port, this former monastery includes a striking marble bell tower, and was the site where the island’s residents raised the revolutionary flag at the beginning of the War of Independence in 1821.
Agia Paraskevi Beach: Take a bus from town and head to one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. A dense pine forest provides plenty of shade, and sunbeds make for a relaxing retreat.
Local Cuisine: Spetses is known for its “Spetsofai”, translated in English as “sausage or tender pieces of pork with Picante peppers” casserole. In order not to lose the taste of the dish, the ingredients need to be chopped in very coarse pieces.
Kapelogiannis – https://restaurantguru.com/Kapelogiannis-Spetses-2
Bouboulina – https://restaurantguru.com/Bouboulina-Spetses-2
Beaches: Ligoneri Beach | Zogeria Beach | Kounoupitsa Beach | Agios Mamas Beach | Kouzounos Beach
To book your Azamara voyage to Greece or any of the world’s spectacular destinations we visit, please contact your local Direct or Vision Travel advisor.