This summer, Eurodam will offer three incredible Greece itineraries beginning in August. In addition to “Idyllic Greek Isles”, the ship will cruise on an “Ancient Wonders” itinerary departing Aug. 22. Not only will Eurodam visit Náfplion, Mykonos and Rhodes in Greece, but it also will explore Haifa, Israel. Read on to see what makes these gorgeous ports some of the most sought-after locales in the Mediterranean.
Náfplion is one of the most beautiful towns in the eastern Peloponnese. It sits on the Argolic Gulf with the formidable Palamidi fortress standing over it, keeping a watchful eye out towards the sea. According to mythology, Nafplios, the son of Poseidon, founded Náfplion. The legends continue — the area reputedly played a hand in the Trojan War as well as the Argonaut expedition. Over the years, Náfplion was taken over by Frankish, Venetian and Turkish forces, and these influences are evident everywhere — in the medieval castles, the Ottoman fountains and especially in the neoclassical architecture. Much of the life in Náfplion centers on the medieval Old Town, with its cobblestone alleyways and Venetian homes. Numerous cafés and tavernas sprawl along the waterfront, facing a port that dates back to the Bronze Age. Turkish mosques sit alongside modern museums, bridging the gaps in culture and time.
Despite its smaller size, there are more than 600 churches and small chapels on Mykonos — most of them dating back to the Byzantine times. It is estimated that there is one church per local family! Mykonos Town alone hosts 60 of them, with Panagia Paraportiani being the most famous and most photographed. The iconic landmark is located in the Kastro neighborhood and was built in 1475; however it wasn’t completed until the 17th century.
Rhodes draws more visitors than most other Greek islands. Its capital, Rhodes Town, offers an enduring blend of history and architecture, and the island’s interior is filled with lushly forested hills. To the south, Lindos, one of the most stunning villages in all of Greece, is watched over by a picture-perfect ancient ruin on the hill above. The island owes its rich history to a good climate and a strategically valuable position between Asia and Europe. Adding to this is a fine natural port where its former main attraction, an immense statue of the sun god Helios — the Colossus of Rhodes — once stood. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the statue made Rhodes a must-visit destination for ancient world travelers until it collapsed in an earthquake in 226 B.C.E. Even the statue’s ruins were grand enough to bring curious travelers to Rhodes for another 800 years until the metal pieces were melted and sold off by an occupying army.
HAIFA (NAZARETH), ISRAEL
Haifa, the largest city in northern Israel, has an enviable location, built along the slopes of Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean. The port is also a gateway to a region with an almost unreal collection of captivating historic sites and natural beauty — snowcapped mountains, undeveloped wilderness and diverse, culturally rich cities that trace their histories back to ancient empires. For many travelers, Haifa and the surrounding area offer the chance to visit sites associated with the life of Jesus. Travelers can follow in his footsteps in Nazareth and along the Sea of Galilee. Others are drawn by the area’s natural wonders and scenic beauty, such as the forests and volcanic hills of the Golan Heights. Wherever you turn and whatever draws you to Haifa, you’ll find fascinating multicultural cities where Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities thrive side by side.
Stay tuned for details about the third itinerary offered on Eurodam this summer: “Adriatic Allure” that cruises from Piraeus to Venice departing Sept. 5.