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Star Clippers Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

Explore the stunning Greek Islands and Turkish Coast on a unique tall ship sailing voyage

Stunning tall ship Star Flyer exploring the beautiful and diverse Greek Islands and Turkish coast from Athens and Istanbul. Destination-packed cruises explore the ancient history and dazzling island scenery of this area, visiting smaller ports that large cruise ships cannot venture into.

  • Santorini
  • Mykonos
  • Acropolis in Athens

About Eastern Med Cruises

The Northern Cyclades cruise explores the perfectly preserved Byzantine walled town of Monemvasia and lively Mykonos as well as the magnificent ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. The Southern Cyclades cruise sails the scenic Turkish coast between Dalyan and Bodrum, also visiting historic Rhodes, breath-taking Santorini and the traditional Greek port of Hydra.

Sail from Istanbul on Yachtsman's Paradise Sailing Cruise and visit the verdant Sporades islands of Skiathos and Skopelos, setting for the film Mamma Mia, and cruise past the monasteries clinging to the cliffs on Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain.

Combine a sailing cruise through the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Coast, visiting Dubrovnik and Hvar, with the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos on a longer cruise from Athens to Venice.

Cruise Collection

Eastern Med

All of our Star Clippers Eastern Mediterranean cruises are shown below. Tick the boxes to filter by date, ship and cruising area.

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  • Greece and Sicily

    7 Nights - Piraeus to Valletta

    Star Clippers Ship - Star Flyer Star Flyer

    Board the magnificent Star Flyer for this 7-night sailing cruise from Athens to Malta, calling at the lesser-known ports of Hydra, Monemvasia and Syracuse 2018 - Oct
    Save 20% PLUS exclusive £50pp discount!

    Greece and Sicily Cruise Only
    From £1114pp
    View Full Details

  • Southern Cyclades and Turkish Coast

    7 Nights - Athens and back

    Star Clippers Ship - Star Flyer Star Flyer

    Sail to picturesque Greek Islands and Turkey's Turquoise Coast with the opportunity to see the famous Lycian tombs in Dalyan and explore Santorini and the small island of Hydra 2017 - Jul, Aug
    2018 - Aug
    Save 10% on 2018 PLUS exclusive £50pp discount on all dates!

    Southern Cyclades and Turkish Coast Tall Ship Cruise Cruise Only
    From £1259pp
    View Full Details

  • Northern Cyclades and Turkey

    7 Nights - Athens and back

    Star Clippers Ship - Star Flyer Star Flyer

    Join Star Flyer on this 7-night sailing voyage visiting the archaeological jewels of Patmos and Monemvasia, fashionable Mykonos and Kusadasi in Turkey for Ephesus 2017 - Aug
    2018 - Aug
    Save 10% on 2018 PLUS exclusive £50pp discount on all dates!

    Northern Cyclades and Turkey Sailing Cruise aboard Star Clipper or Star Flyer Cruise Only
    From £1259pp
    View Full Details

  • Greek Islands and Croatia

    10 Nights - Athens to Venice

    Star Clippers Ship - Star Flyer Star Flyer

    Join tall ship Star Flyer on this sailing holiday exploring the idyllic Greek islands and Croatia coast visiting the historic city of Dubrovnik and the islands of Korcula and Hvar 2017 - Sep, Oct
    2018 - Jul, Sep, Oct
    Save 10% on 2018 PLUS exclusive £50pp discount on all dates!

    Greek Islands and Croatia aboard Star Clipper Cruise Only
    From £1822pp
    View Full Details

  • Eastern Med Highlights

    Antalya

    The delightful town of Antalya has an ancient Roman harbour, now restored and alive with cafes and pleasure boats. There are a superb collection of artefacts in the museum, Ottoman mansions, Byzantine churches and mosques, and a popular Water Park. Hadrian's Gate was once part of walled defenses against pirates and invaders, and below the arch are grooves left behind by carts over the centuries.

    Antalya (Turkey)

    Argostolion

    This is the largest of the Ionian Islands, and is largely unspoilt by tourism. The main port and capital is Argostoli, a modern town with a busy central square, the Plateia Valinou and shops along Lithostroto Street. Cephalonia is famous for the remote, curving arc of Myrtos Beach backed by steep cliffs and the underground lake of Milissani. The most picturesque coastal village is Fiskardo, which is also the oldest settlement on the island.

    Arrecife

    Arrecife is the busy capital of Tenerife, offering good shopping along the attractive Calle Leon y Castillo, and a popular city beach. In the harbour is the 15th-century fortress of Castillo de San Gabriel, connected to Arrecife by a causeway. Castillo de San Juan displays works by the town's famous artist, Cesar Manrique and also houses a restaurant.

    Athens

    Piraeus is 12 kilometers south-west of Athens and is the city's port. The port town itself has a long nautical history, as told in the Maritime Museum, and close to the port is the area of Piralki and its fish taverns. Walking beyond the peninsula, the coast is dotted with picturesque creeks. The hillside area of Kastella has narrow alleys, the church of Profitis Ilias and fantastic views of the Acropolis.

    Athens (Greece)

    Bodrum

    Bodrum is a lively port on the Aegean Sea overlooked by the Crusader castle of St Peter. It is a successful combination of modern holiday resort and ancient sites. The hillside is dotted with whitewashed houses, and along the coast are sandy beaches backed by pines and olive groves. Bodrum is home to the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

    Bodrum (Turkey)

    Cairo

    Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and its chief port. Although a Middle-eastern city, it has a Mediterranean atmosphere. It was the site of the lighthouse of Pharos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which is now the site of Qaitbey Fort. Alexandria is also famous for its library and the Kom el Shokafa Catacombs, large burial grounds three floors deep.

    Cairo (Alexandria, Egypt)

    Chios

    Chios is well-known for its wild jasmine and a cluster of medieval villages, the Mastihochoria. Mesta, a castle-village, is little-changed since the 14th century and Pyrgi has uniquely decorated black and white plastered houses. Chios is also renowned for the World Heritage Site of Nea Moni, an 11th-century monastery with wonderful mosaics. The prettiest region of the island is Kambos, a green valley where the Genoese built their villas among citrus groves and ancient cisterns.

    Chios (Greece)

    Corinth Canal

    The Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and the Aegean Sea, allowing ships to avoid a journey of 430 miles around the Peloponnese Peninsula. It is almost 4 miles long, with steep cliff walls reaching a height of 52 meters. The journey through the canal is dramatic, as the width of the water is just 79 feet, and most vessels must be boarded by the pilot and towed by a Tugboat.

    Corinth Canal (Greece)

    Delos

    The sacred and uninhabited isle of Delos is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It was a holy sanctuary where death and birth were forbidden by the Delphic Oracle, and the impressive remains lead off from the Sacred Way and include the Maritime Quarter, Terrace of Lions, the House of Dionysus and the Sanctuary of Apollo.

    Delos (Greece)

    Haifa

    Haifa is one of Israel's prettiest cities, crowned by Mount Carmel. There are several interesting sights, including the lush gardens of the Carmel Nature Reserve, the cave of the Prophet Elijah and the former German Colony, established in 1868 as an agricultural community and now one of Haifa's most picturesque areas. Wadi Nisnas is a network of narrow alleys, restaurants, old stone houses and Turkish haanim which is occupied by Jews and Arabs.

    Haifa (Israel)

    Heraklion

    The town of Heraklion has a picturesque harbour, tree-shaded squares and a splendid Venetian loggia and fountains. Boutiques can be found on Daedalou Street, and curios and gifts along 1866 Street. Koules Venetian Fortress is situated on the harbour walls close to the Natural History Museum of Crete, where visitors can stand on the 'experience an earthquake' platform. The famous Minoan Palace of Knossos is only 25 minutes' drive from Heraklion.

    Heraklion (Crete)

    Hydra

    This interesting island has no roads or vehicles, and the only transportation is by donkey. It has a wild and sparsely populated interior, and some magnificent mansions built by 19th-century shipping magnets. In the 50s and 60s it was a favourite haunt for artists, among them Leonard Cohen, who were inspired by its natural beauty. There are coves and beaches close to Hydra Town.

    Hydra (Greece)

    Istanbul

    It is often said that Istanbul is where east meets west, and there are numerous places of interest in the Old City, opposite the port. The highlights are the Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and the landmark of the city, the Blue Mosque, which is decorated with blue Iznik tiles and houses a market, public kitchen and theological school. The palace of the Ottoman Sultans, Topkapi, houses sacred Muslim relics including the Prophet Mohammed's cloak and sword.

    Istanbul (Turkey)

    Izmir

    Izmir is surrounded by mountains on Turkey's scenic Aegean coast and has some of the region's best beaches. Below the modern skyline along the waterfront are Gustav Eiffel's Konak Pier and the attractive Pasaport Quay. Founded by Alexandra the Great, there are many interesting sights, including the Agora, the lovely Clock Tower near the pier, the old Kemeralti bazaar and the castle of Sancakkale.

    Izmir (Turkey)

    Katakolon

    The small seaside town of Katakolon has a beach at the end of the pier, and tavernas and bars along the waterfront. It is used as the gateway to the ancient site of Olympia, 35 kilometers away, which is where the Olympic Games began.

    Khania

    The Venetian harbour and town of Chania on Crete is an historic area with a thriving nightlife and waterfront restaurants. The Old Town area of Kastli is interwoven with narrow alleys and pretty balconied houses. Aside from the pleasure of exploring this picturesque town, places of interest include the Byzantine Museum, the Ottoman Baths and the Fortress of Souda on an island in the bay.

    Kos

    The island of Kos has long been a popular destination and has good facilities for tourists. It lies just off the Turkish coast, with mountainous terrain and good sandy beaches. Kos Town has a mixture of ancient, medieval and modern buildings, with broad, leafy streets. Connected to the town and harbour by a bridge is the 14th-century Castle of the Knights of Saint John. South of the town is the Asklepieion, the ruins of an ancient Greek centre of medicine.

    Kos (Greece)

    Kusadasi

    The large port of Kusadasi is also a tourist resort, and has a lively nightlife, a long palm-lined boulevard and numerous sandy beaches offering watersports, including the best-known, Ladies Beach. Calls to Kusadasi usually include a visit to the magnificent and well-preserved site of Ephesus, 18 kilometers away.

    Kusadasi (Turkey)

    Limassol

    The city of Limassol on the south coast of Cyprus is one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean and also the largest tourist resort on the island, with pleasant beaches, tavernas and cafes. Above Kourion Beach are the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, and the Cyprus Medieval Museum is situated in the Castle of Limassol. Close to the town are the ruins of Amathus and the former headquarters of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, Kolossi Castle.

    Marmaris

    The lively resort and modern port of Marmaris is based around the original Old Town and its fort. Along the seafront is a promenade, and several marinas offering sailing and diving facilities. The Old Town area has a traditional Grand Bazaar, Turkish Baths in the Cami Aylu district and a small caravanserai, an old inn for travellers and their animals. Marmaris Castle was built by Suleyman the Magnificent and now houses galleries and exhibition halls.

    Marmaris (Turkey)

    Mykonos

    Mykonos is one of the most fashionable and cosmopolitan of the Greek islands. Its hills are dotted with white-washed cube houses and churches, and the thatched windmills for which the island is famous. Pink pelicans are often spotted from the waterfront tavernas. The main sight in the town is lovely white domed Parportiani Church, which incorporates 5 separate buildings. The cruise port is a mile north of Mykonos Town, where ferries make the 40-minute journey to the sacred island of Delos.

    Mykonos (Greece)

    Mytilene

    Lesbos is Greece's third-largest island and lies just off the coast of Turkey, with its port adjacent to the town of Mytilene. There is a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty in the harbour, and the landscape is green and fertile. Sights include a Roman aqueduct, an interesting Petrified Forest created during a volcanic eruption, thermal springs and sea caves, and an excellent museum in Mytilene.

    Mytilene (Lesbos, Greece)

    Nauplia

    Nafplion is one of Greece's most attractive towns with narrow streets, elegant Venetian houses and neoclassical mansions. On a high cliff overlooking the harbour is the Palamidi Fortress, built by the Venetians in the 15th century and accessible by a flight of 857 steps. Bourtzi Castle sits on an island in the bay, and hosts the summer music festival. Calls to Nafplion might include a visit to the ancient site of Mycenae.

    Paros

    Whitewashed cube houses, narrow paved alleys and wild flowers make Paros one of the most popular of the Cyclades. Cafes line the main street of the capital and port, Parikia, where the Monastery of the Hundred Doors was built in 4AD by Eleni the mother of Emperor Constantin. The white marble mined on Paros was used by sculptors in antiquity, notably for the Venus de Milo.

    Paros (Greece)

    Patmos

    Skala is the pretty harbour of Patmos, built below the fortified monastery and the Sacred Grotto where St John wrote the Book of Revelation, both open to visitors. It is easy to get around by boat or bus, and around the harbour there are numerous picturesque tavernas and a few nightclubs. Beaches can be found at nearby Grikos and Diakofti.

    Patmos (Greece)

    Piraeus

    Piraeus is 12 kilometers south-west of Athens and is the city’s port. The port town itself has a long nautical history, as told in the Maritime Museum, and close to the port is the area of Piralki and its fish taverns. Walking beyond the peninsula, the coast is dotted with picturesque creeks. The hillside area of Kastella has narrow alleys, the church of Profitis Ilias and fantastic views of the Acropolis.

    Piraeus (Athens, Greece)

    Portoferraio

    This is the capital of the Tuscan island of Elba. Around the harbour are yellow, pink and ochre-painted houses and the old quarter sits inside a Medicean fortress. The home of Napoleon, Villa dei Mulini and his private house, Villa San Martino, are open to the public, and the streets of the town are decorated with flower-filled balconies. Portoferraio has excellent botanic gardens at Giardini Ottone and good views from the Roman ruins of Villa Romana Della Grotta.

    Portoferraio (Italy)

    Rhodes

    Rhodes port in the ancient Mandraki harbour is next to the walled Old Town with shops, restaurants and chief sights all within walking distance. These include the Palace of the Grand Masters built by the Knights of St John, the Sulemain Mosque, Byzantine churches, Venetian mansions and old Crusader inns along the Street of the Knights. The famous Acropolis of Rhodes on a hillside beyond the city is not to be missed.

    Rhodes (Greece)

    Santorini

    The best way to arrive in Santorini is by sea, with spectacular views of the high caldera walls and the cliff-top town of Fira. Cruise ships berth in the old port, where the journey to the town is via donkey or cable car ' either option provides dramatic views of the Mediterranean and the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Along the narrow alleys of the cliff-top are brilliant white and blue buildings, and the much-photographed church of Ag Mina.

    Santorini (Greece)

    Suez Canal

    Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal took 10 years to build, and after several extensions is now 120 miles long, running at sea level for its entire length with no locks. It runs between Port Said in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Suez in the Red Sea, and allows shipping to avoid the long journey around Africa and the Cape, connecting Europe to the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

    Thessaloniki

    Thessaloniki is a free port and one of the Aegean's largest, being the trade hub of the Balkans and the cruising gateway to the eastern Mediterranean. This sophisticated city has several attractions, among them the Roman Place of Galerius, large squares beside the waterfront, traditional tavernas and an excellent Archaeology Museum.

    Volos

    The busy cruise, cargo and ferry port of Volos is surrounded by ancient sites and is situated on the Pelion Peninsula. To the west are the ruined acropolis of Dimini and of Sesklo ' the oldest in Greece - and across the Thessaly plains, the monasteries of Meteora, built on top of limestone pillars. Volos' waterfront and centre is full of shops, and bars and cafes are tucked away around St Nikolas Square.

    Zakynthos

    Zakynthos is the most southerly of the Ionian islands. Its landscape is a mixture of mountains and plains, with a main town and port clustered around a waterfront of bars and white-cube houses. Navagio Bay is the beach famous for the shipwrecked hulk of the Panagiotis, and the offshore islet of Marathonisi is a nesting site for Caretta-Caretta turtles. The Blue Caves near Volimes are a major attraction and can be reached by local hire boats.

    Zakynthos (Greece)

    Blue Water Reviews

    Turkey and the Greek Islands on Star Clipper

    Weds 17th Jun 2015

    Ann, one of our cruising specialists, was recently invited to experience Star Clipper in the Greek Islands and she shares her amazing experience with us.

    Ever since I started selling cruises I have wanted to experience a tall ship cruise. During May I was able to fulfil this wish and I wasn't disappointed in any way.

    I joined the Star Clipper, one of the ships in the Star Clipper fleet, in Bodrum, Turkey for four nights, visiting Dalyhan River, Santorini and Hydra. My first sight of the ship in the port of Bodrum was amazing and I was surprised at her size, which is quite small but very impressive. She caused a lot of interest amongst the other ships there and I felt very proud when I boarded!

    We were checked in and then shown to our cabins. To welcome me in to my cabin was a plate of petit fours, grapes and a bottle of water, which was a lovely touch. Cabins were styled in keeping with the ship, featuring rich blues and golds, with dark wood. My cabin was a category 2 which also had a third fold away bed. Although not huge, it was perfectly large enough certainly for two people as you would not spend a lot of time in the cabin and there was plenty of storage for clothes. The bathroom was compact and the shower was along the lines of a wet-room which made the most of the space. They also had their own branded toiletries which were replenished. There was a daily information sheet in the cabin with information on the next port of call as well as the meal times, the daily programme and other interesting facts about Tall Ships from days of old.

    The outside areas had two small pools with plenty of loungers for relaxing. The crew were maintaining the ship when not sailing and it was interesting to see them mending the ropes, painting where it was needed as well as fixing the beautiful teak deck. They definitely took pride in the ship, making sure she looked her best at all times.

    Sail away came and everyone gathered on the sun deck to witness and hear this. The haunting music of The Conquest of Paradise by Vangellis was played as the sails were slowly raised. We celebrated our first sail away with a cold glass of prosecco - magical.

    Most of the meals are served in the dining room which is also decorated in keeping with the era of the ship. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style with a vast array of hot and cold dishes to choose from, in keeping with the international guests on board. The evening meal is served from 19.30 and open seating. You are able to choose from the a la carte menu and again I was very impressed with the standard of food served. Although drinks are not included with the meals, they are priced very similar to UK restaurant prices, a small bottle of water costs 1.80 euro and a gin and tonic 5.50 euro.

    There was no formal entertainment on board, however the Cruise Director gave a talk each morning on the Sundeck relating to the port we were about to visit or about bygone tall ships and their captains. In the evening, there may be a quiz or a film shown and on one evening the crew put on a show which was very entertaining!

    There are excursions offered for the ports of call, bookable on board which will give you the opportunity to see more of the areas that you visit. They are hosted by locals to the area who are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

    Ann at the helm of Star Clipper Star Clipper Relax on deck under the sails Superb buffet selection Star Clipper at sea Star Clipper cruising past Santorini Star Clipper Enjoy breathtaking views from Santorini Blue domed churches of Oia Star Clipper in the distance Cruising specialist Ann with fellow passengers Star Clipper Star Clipper cruising towards Hydra There are no vehicles on the island of Hydra Hydra harbour Goods are transported by mules on the island of Hydra View of the Acropolis from the St George Lycebettus Hotel

    After a good night's sleep and excellent breakfast, we boarded the tender ship to take us to Dalyhan River Beach. This was a two leg journey, the second being by Zodiac. This was a beautiful and peaceful location however if you wanted to be more energetic then you could try your hand at some of the watersports provided by the ship. We used the kayak to try and see some of the famous turtles that breed there ' it's a long time since I've done this as my arms later told me!

    Once back on the ship we had yet another beautiful lunch, and the afternoon was spent on the deck relaxing by the pool as we sailed towards Santorini. On arrival at Santorini the following day, we sailed in to the Caldera and Peter the Cruise Director explained how Santorini as it is today came to be. We were then taken ashore by the tender boat from Santorini and not the ship's tender boat. The shore excursion took us down to the South of the island and Akrotiri, then to the highest point of the island for a fantastic photo opportunity and up to the North of the island to the famous town of Oia with its blue domed churches. We finished in Fira where we took the cable car down to the port ' this supplements the donkeys that will take you up and down the very steep hill!

    Once back on the ship, we then got ready for the Captain's Dinner. This meal means you can dress up a little more if you wish and most people did which is quite nice. Overall the dress code for meals is smart casual and for the rest of the time on the ship it's casual.

    Hydra was our next port of call, the island where there are no vehicles. Transport is by donkeys and horses and you can hire these to take you around the island. Whilst we were moving to our anchor point, Peter the Cruise Director gave us information on the island's history. This is a very pretty and peaceful Greek island.

    Sail away this night was done at 10.00pm which proved to be very emotional, as the ship was illuminated with lots of lights along her outline. The haunting music and the sails being raised meant quite a few tears were shed by the majority of the passengers!

    We arrived at our final port of Pireaus at approximately 7.00am. We had our last meal together before leaving the ship to go and visit the St George Lycebettus Hotel in Athens. This is the hotel used by Star Clippers for their pre and post hotel stays and I can certainly see why ' it's in a fabulous position overlooking Athens and the food was excellent.

    No time is lost by the crew in turning the ship around for the next passengers, and I felt very envious of them. I would have gladly stowed away just to spend more time on this very special ship.

    Review by Ann, Blue Water Holidays

    Blue Water Blog

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