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Istanbul to Piraeus

Discover the ancient history of the Greek Isles and Turkish coast on this awe-inspiring 7-night cruise from Piraeus.

Cruise Only
7 nights

Luxury Holiday
Agios Georgios Corfu
Istanbul
Kusadasi
Patmos

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!

SD

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Istanbul to Piraeus Special Offer

Journey from Turkey's largest city, Istanbul and discover all the wonders along the way to the ancient city in Athens, Piraeus.

Experience an intriguing meld of Greece and Turkey on the island of Bozcaada, an often-overlooked stunner with a fascinating past. Located on the northern Aegean Sea, Myrina, Lemnos is a true hidden gem. The island and its beaches remain uncrowded even during the popular summer season. This comprehensive SeaDream Land Adventure includes a guided tour of the stunning archaeological site of Ephesus including the recently excavated Terrace Houses, but also adds a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary. For any traveller arriving to this region, it simply can’t be missed! Mykonos is one of the most visited Greek Islands. It is part of the Cyclades group and lies between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos.

SD1033 Operated by SeaDream Yacht Club

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Istanbul to Piraeus Itinerary

Day 1 - Istanbul

The only city in the world that can lay claim to straddling two continents, Istanbul—once known as Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine and then the Ottoman Empire—has for centuries been a bustling metropolis with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Istanbul embraces this enviable position with both a certain chaos and inventiveness, ever evolving as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan crossroads. It’s often said that Istanbul is the meeting point of East and West, but visitors to this city built over the former capital of two great empires are likely to be just as impressed by the juxtaposition of old and new. Office towers creep up behind historic palaces, women in chic designer outfits pass others wearing long skirts and head coverings, peddlers’ pushcarts vie with battered old Fiats and shiny BMWs for dominance of the noisy, narrow streets, and the Grand Bazaar competes with modern shopping malls. At dawn, when the muezzin's call to prayer resounds from ancient minarets, there are inevitably a few hearty revelers still making their way home from nightclubs and bars. Most visitors to this sprawling city of more than 14 million will first set foot in the relatively compact Old City, where the legacy of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires can be seen in monumental works of architecture like the brilliant Aya Sofya and the beautifully proportioned mosques built by the great architect Sinan. Though it would be easy to spend days, if not weeks, exploring the wealth of attractions in the historical peninsula, visitors should make sure also to venture elsewhere in order to experience the vibrancy of contemporary Istanbul. With a lively nightlife propelled by its young population and an exciting arts scene that’s increasingly on the international radar—thanks in part to its stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2010—Istanbul is truly a city that never sleeps. It’s also a place where visitors will feel welcome: Istanbul may be on the Bosphorus, but at heart it’s a Mediterranean city, whose friendly inhabitants are effusively social and eager to share what they love most about it.

Day 2 - Bozcaada

Experience an intriguing meld of Greece and Turkey on the island of Bozcaada, an often-overlooked stunner with a fascinating past. You’ll learn that according to mythology Achilles defeated a local king during the Trojan War, a dramatic harbinger of the island’s turbulent history under the rule of Greece, the Republics of Genoa and Venice, the Ottoman Empire and even Russia. As you weave along cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses, pop into charming shops featuring handmade keepsakes and delicious marmalades, including a much-heralded tomato jam. Hugging a rocky headland that extends into the sea, the 15th-century Bozcaada Castle stands as one of Turkey’s largest and best-preserved fortifications. While walking the crenellated parapets, you’ll enjoy wonderful views of the town and the surrounding vineyard-covered hills. Several superb wines are crafted on Bozcaada, including internationally acclaimed varietals from the Amadeus and Corvus vineyards, which you can sample at one of the town’s taverns. In the evening, relax at a welcoming seaside café and snack on tantalizing meze as the sun slowly sets behind the magnificent castle.

Day 3 - Myrina, Lemnos

Located on the northern Aegean Sea, Myrina, Lemnos is a true hidden gem. The island and its beaches remain uncrowded even during the popular summer season. The capital of Lemnos, Myrina, is stretched between two bays and offers two distinct districts to explore. Nestled in between the bays is the Byzantine Castle of Myrina, a major tourist attraction overlooking the peninsula. The stone-paved streets of Myrina provide a picture-perfect backdrop as guests stroll through this charming destination. No trip to Myrina is complete without spending time relaxing at one of its beautiful and peaceful beaches.

Day 4 - Kusadasi

Kusadasi is a resort town on Turkey's Aegean coast and the center of the seaside district of the same name in Aydin Province. Some visitors simply want to go shopping at the grand bazaar and see a carpet demonstration. Hopefully you have practiced your negotiating skills for these authentic copies, original reproductions as well as the real deal. Others will make time to see the Wonders of Ephesus. This comprehensive SeaDream Land Adventure includes a guided tour of the stunning archaeological site of Ephesus including the recently excavated Terrace Houses, but also adds a visit to the House of the Virgin Mary. For any traveler arriving to this region, it simply can’t be missed!

Day 5 - Patmos

Patmos is in the South Aegean Islands, particularly a member of the Dodecanese Islands of Greece. It is north of Leros and is most known for its connection to John the Apostle from the Book of Revelations; therefore Christian pilgrims frequent this destination. In mythology, Patmos was named “Letois”, which is another named for the goddess Diana, Leto’s daughter. Since ancient authors seldom mention Patmos in early text, information on early inhabitants is limited. It is widely believed the original people of Patmos were the Carians from Asia Minor, as discovered by the earliest archaeological findings date back to the Bronze and Mycenaean periods. The mountain in the country of Caria was named Latmos, which is where historians believe the name Patmos is derived from. Dorians also colonized in Patmos, and over time, Ionians followed suit. The primary port in Patmos is Skala, which was one of the most important sea ports in the Mediterranean around the 16th century. Early Christian basilicas were constructed in the name of John of Patmos, however between the 7th and 9th century when Saracen attacks were still problematic, the Grand Royal Basilica was destroyed. A monastery began construction in 1101 when Christodoulos assumed authority over Patmos. The population began expanding as immigrants from the fall of Constantinople and Candia to place in the 15th and 17th centuries, respectively. The island was under the Ottoman rule for years and was interrupted by Venice during the Candian War, Russia during the Orlov Revolt, and Greece during their War of Independence. During the Italo-Turkish War, Italy occupied Patmos until 1943, when Nazi Germany held power over the island until 1945. Since Patmos rejoined in 1948, it has become the tranquil and frequented destination it is now. Tourists visit the Monastery of St. John, Chora, the Cave of Apocalypse, Psili Ammos Beach and other beautiful points of interest in “Europe’s most idyllic place to live,” as named by Forbes in 2009.

Day 6 - Santorini

Santorini, officially named Thira, is the southernmost Greek island that is within the Cyclades archipelago, in the southern Aegean Sea. Part of the regional unit Thira, the municipality of Santorini is comprised of the island Santorini, Therasia, and other uninhabited islands of Christiana, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Nea Kameni. The geological history of Santorini is quite complex due to the area’s volcanism and is currently a water-filled caldera: a rectangular lagoon that is surrounded by three steep cliffs. The name Santorini is a contraction of the name Santa Irini, which is based on an ancient cathedral found in the island’s village of Perissa. This name was given by the Latin Empire in the 13th Century. During the Ottoman Empire, Santorini was called “Santurin” or “Santoron”, and in early times, it was named Kalliste, Strongyle, and Thera. Santorini is the site of the Minoan Eruption (also known as the Thera Eruption), one of the largest eruptions ever in recorded history. The origins of Plato’s story of Atlantis is believed to have a connection to this eruption that destroyed the early settlements on what was formerly a single island. The descriptions found of Plato’s Atlantis strongly resembles Thera, and with seismological, archaeological, and volcanological evidence, these claims are further supported. There is also speculation that the eruption is related to the Exodus of the Israelites, as well as causing the plagues described in the Bible in ancient Egypt. The economy is sustained by two principal industries: tourism and agriculture, and has recently been voted as one of the world’s most beautiful islands in various outlets such as the Traveler’s Choice Awards in 2015. The wine industry in Santorini is becoming more relevant as well, made up of Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani grape varieties, which is best exemplified in Vinsanto (“holy wine”) which contains all three Aegean varietals. Although Santorini is highly arid, it’s unique ecology and climate allows it to grow unique and prized produce, such as cherry tomatoes, Lathyrus clymenum (a legume), and capers. Thus, tourists indulge in local specialties such as Brantada, Fava, and the traditional dish Santorinio Sfougato.

Day 7 - Mykonos

Although the fishing boats still go out in good weather, Mykonos largely makes its living from tourism these days. The summer crowds have turned one of the poorest islands in Greece into one of the richest. Old Mykonians complain that their young, who have inherited stores where their grandfathers once sold eggs or wine, get so much rent that they have lost ambition, and in summer sit around pool bars at night with their friends, and hang out in Athens in winter when island life is less scintillating. Put firmly on the map by Jackie O in the 1960s, Mykonos town—called Hora by the locals—remains the Saint-Tropez of the Greek islands. The scenery is memorable, with its whitewashed streets, Little Venice, the Kato Myli ridge of windmills, and Kastro, the town's medieval quarter. Its cubical two- or three-story houses and churches, with their red or blue doors and domes and wooden balconies, have been long celebrated as some of the best examples of classic Cycladic architecture. Luckily, the Greek Archaeological Service decided to preserve the town, even when the Mykonians would have preferred to rebuild, and so the Old Town has been impressively preserved. Pink oleander, scarlet hibiscus, and trailing green pepper trees form a contrast amid the dazzling whiteness, whose frequent renewal with whitewash is required by law. Any visitor who has the pleasure of getting lost in its narrow streets (made all the narrower by the many outdoor stone staircases, which maximize housing space in the crowded village) will appreciate how its confusing layout was designed to foil pirates—if it was designed at all. After Mykonos fell under Turkish rule in 1537, the Ottomans allowed the islanders to arm their vessels against pirates, which had a contradictory effect: many of them found that raiding other islands was more profitable than tilling arid land. At the height of Aegean piracy, Mykonos was the principal headquarters of the corsair fleets—the place where pirates met their fellows, found willing women, and filled out their crews. Eventually the illicit activity evolved into a legitimate and thriving trade network. Morning on Mykonos town's main quay is busy with deliveries, visitors for the Delos boats, lazy breakfasters, and street cleaners dealing with the previous night's mess. In late morning the cruise-boat people arrive, and the shops are all open. In early afternoon, shaded outdoor tavernas are full of diners eating salads (Mykonos's produce is mostly imported); music is absent or kept low. In mid- and late afternoon, the town feels sleepy, since so many people are at the beach, on excursions, or sleeping in their air-conditioned rooms; even some tourist shops close for siesta. By sunset, people have come back from the beach, having taken their showers and rested. At night, the atmosphere in Mykonos ramps up. The cruise-boat people are mostly gone, coughing three-wheelers make no deliveries in the narrow streets, and everyone is dressed sexy for summer and starting to shimmy with the scene. Many shops stay open past midnight, the restaurants fill up, and the bars and discos make ice cubes as fast as they can. Ready to dive in? Begin your tour of Mykonos town (Hora) by starting out at its heart: Mando Mavrogenous Square.

Day 8 - Piraeus

It's no wonder that all roads lead to the fascinating and maddening metropolis of Athens. Lift your eyes 200 feet above the city to the Parthenon, its honey-color marble columns rising from a massive limestone base, and you behold architectural perfection that has not been surpassed in 2,500 years. But, today, this shrine of classical form dominates a 21st-century boomtown. To experience Athens—Athína in Greek—fully is to understand the essence of Greece: ancient monuments surviving in a sea of cement, startling beauty amid the squalor, tradition juxtaposed with modernity. Locals depend on humor and flexibility to deal with the chaos; you should do the same. The rewards are immense. Although Athens covers a huge area, the major landmarks of the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods are close to the modern city center. You can easily walk from the Acropolis to many other key sites, taking time to browse in shops and relax in cafés and tavernas along the way. From many quarters of the city you can glimpse "the glory that was Greece" in the form of the Acropolis looming above the horizon, but only by actually climbing that rocky precipice can you feel the impact of the ancient settlement. The Acropolis and Filopappou, two craggy hills sitting side by side; the ancient Agora (marketplace); and Kerameikos, the first cemetery, form the core of ancient and Roman Athens. Along the Unification of Archaeological Sites promenade, you can follow stone-paved, tree-lined walkways from site to site, undisturbed by traffic. Cars have also been banned or reduced in other streets in the historical center. In the National Archaeological Museum, vast numbers of artifacts illustrate the many millennia of Greek civilization; smaller museums such as the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum illuminate the history of particular regions or periods. Athens may seem like one huge city, but it is really a conglomeration of neighborhoods with distinctive characters. The Eastern influences that prevailed during the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Empire are still evident in Monastiraki, the bazaar area near the foot of the Acropolis. On the northern slope of the Acropolis, stroll through Plaka (if possible by moonlight), an area of tranquil streets lined with renovated mansions, to get the flavor of the 19th-century's gracious lifestyle. The narrow lanes of Anafiotika, a section of Plaka, thread past tiny churches and small, color-washed houses with wooden upper stories, recalling a Cycladic island village. In this maze of winding streets, vestiges of the older city are everywhere: crumbling stairways lined with festive tavernas; dank cellars filled with wine vats; occasionally a court or diminutive garden, enclosed within high walls and filled with magnolia trees and the flaming trumpet-shaped flowers of hibiscus bushes. Formerly run-down old quarters, such as Thission, Gazi and Psirri, popular nightlife areas filled with bars and mezedopoleia (similar to tapas bars), are now in the process of gentrification, although they still retain much of their original charm, as does the colorful produce and meat market on Athinas. The area around Syntagma Square, the tourist hub, and Omonia Square, the commercial heart of the city about 1 km (½ mi) northwest, is distinctly European, having been designed by the court architects of King Otho, a Bavarian, in the 19th century. The chic shops and bistros of ritzy Kolonaki nestle at the foot of Mt. Lycabettus, Athens's highest hill (909 feet). Each of Athens's outlying suburbs has a distinctive character: in the north is wealthy, tree-lined Kifissia, once a summer resort for aristocratic Athenians, and in the south and southeast lie Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni, with their sandy beaches, seaside bars, and lively summer nightlife. Just beyond the city's southern fringes is Piraeus, a bustling port city of waterside fish tavernas and Saronic Gulf views.

Price Includes

  • 6-night full-board cruise
  • Included gourmet meals
  • Included fine wine with lunch and dinner
  • Open bar with select premium brands
  • Water sports marina and mountain bikes
  • Included gratuities
  • Beauty Salon and Thai certified Spa
  • Fitness Centre and Golf Simulator
  • Sleep under the stars on Balinese DREAM bed
  • Formal evening wear not required

Please contact us for the latest dates and prices

Call us now on 01756 706500

Map for Istanbul to Piraeus