GREECE

When cruising Greece, a country of thousands of sundrenched islands scattered along the Aegean and Ionian seas, you’ll cruise in the wake of mythic mariners. iExplore the Acropolis In Athens, where democracy, philosophy and theatre were born. On your Holland America Line cruise, unpack once and then cruise the Greek islands. Walk the warm, black sands of Santorini. Sample ouzo at a Mykonos taverna. Visit Olympia, site of the ancient Olympics, and the Church of Our Lady of the Castle, a Byzantine gem on Rhodes.

Europe Cruises | Mediterranean | Northern Europe | Transatlantic

Featured Ports

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Gythion (Sparta), Greece

Once the port of ancient Sparta, this lovely fishing town draws its name from gi theon, which means \"land of the gods\" in Greek. It’s the entryway to the rugged, mountainous realm of the Spartans—the fiercely independent people who rejected foreign rule time and time again, and fought vicious internal feuds as well. Today Gíthion (also called Githio) presents a gentler aspect, with its lush hills, splendid beaches and neoclassical houses. It's a great base from which to explore the mysterious Mani’s stark landscapes, brooding villages and numerous churches, relics of the area’s intense religious fervor.
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Katakolon (Olympia), Greece

A distinctly Greek welcome can be experienced in the Peloponnese like nowhere else. The region reveals what it means to be Greek: traditions that go back thousands of years, simple but delicious and healthy cuisine, towering mountains, crystal blue seas and, above all, the true hospitality of the people. In Greek, xenos means "stranger," but the word also means "guest," and a respectful traveler will be treated like a favored friend.

In addition to unmissable Olympia, the Peloponnese offers lesser-known ancient sites, natural wonders and an insight into the traditional rural life. See as much as possible—your efforts will be more than rewarded.

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Kavala (Neapolis), Greece

Northern Greece is often overlooked as a destination, and many will not even have heard of the Macedonian port of Kavála. But the city, and the region it opens into, are both picturesque and culturally important, with a history that encompasses classical times as well as the more modern era. Kavála has long been one of the first ports of call for Middle Eastern traders, providing an entry into the markets of Europe. The port was also important for Normans, Franks, Venetians and the Ottomans; in the 19th century it grew rich exporting local tobacco. Nowadays Kavála still provides a spellbinding gateway into Northern Greece.
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Mytilene, Nisos Lesbos, Greece

Lesbos is well known for olives and ouzo production, and visitors can see evidence of both everywhere. The island's charms extend beyond those pleasures, though: It’s a beautiful place of open plains, sweeping hills and sandy beaches with views of Turkey across the water. Lesbos is also home to a remarkable petrified forest, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mitilíni's many churches and 19th-century mansions make it one of the prettiest towns in the northern Aegean. The most famous citizen of Lesbos, the poet Sappho, is honored with various tributes around town, including colorful street art inscriptions and a beautiful statue in Sappho Square.
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Pylos, Greece

Pine-covered hills wrap around the lovely town of Pylos (often referred to as Navarino, its Italian name), in the Messenia region of Greece's Peloponnese. Cobblestoned streets lead down to the harbor, where outdoor cafés overlook the bay. This pleasant scene, however, belies a turbulent history. In 425 B.C.E., the Athenians won a rare victory here over the Spartans, and 22 centuries later, a critical battle of the War of Greek Independence unfolded in these waters. Travelers come for more than history, however. Besides rolling hills covered in olive groves, the region has some of Greece’s best beaches, where fine golden sands meet clear turquoise sea.

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Thessaloniki, Greece

Lying on the ancient trade route linking the Adriatic with Istanbul, Thessaloníki has long been home to a confluence of cultures. This vibrant port city was only incorporated into the state of Greece in 1912—almost a century after the rest of the country was liberated from the Ottoman Empire. Although a devastating fire destroyed much of the city in 1917, echoes of its former occupants are everywhere: in Roman ruins, Byzantine chapels, Ottoman baths and crumbling synagogues. With its many museums and monuments (including 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and a number of film and music festivals, Greece's second city is a cultural powerhouse.