And we'll see how a cruise ship can be an efficient way to link up great island stopovers. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. Start a New Topic. The island of Rhodes, while arid, is fun to explore. 2–3 days: Athens A tidy embankment is so pretty they call it "Little Venice." Travel with Rick on this video guide to the islands of Greece (including Santorini … We'll tour ancient ruins, then climb to the summit for a grand view, and sample Greek cuisine within splashing distance of the sea. Local guides demonstrate still-working wells. Going to Greece this summer for the first time..Have used Rick Steves' audio tours for France and Italy and now I am looking forward to learning about Greece… I hope you've enjoyed our Greek island cruise as we've explored just three of the countless islands that make the Aegean Sea such a popular destination. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. At the tiny church built to bless those who go to sea, a fisherman and his wife pop in for a few meditative moments among age-old icons and flickering candles. So for more than 2,000 years, water has come out of this well. Today, inviting whitewashed villages seem to crowd its dramatic ridges as if jostling to enjoy the views. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. Rick produces a best-selling guidebook series, a public television series, and a public radio show, and organizes small-group tours that take over 30,000 travelers to Europe annually. While pricey, if two couples split the cost, enjoying the services of a private guide can cost about the same as the cruise line's bus tour. The Ottoman Turks finally defeated the Knights of St. John in the 1500s. Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on the Greek Islands. Sure, there's nothing culturally broadening about this — in fact, the only thing broadening about all this lazy time on ship with unlimited food and drink is the effect it might have on your waistline. If you do opt for a cruise, you'll live within a strict schedule: sail by night, sightsee by day — about 10 hours per stop. Today, luxury yachts crowd the harbor. Cruisers enjoy toggling effortlessly between their daily adventures on shore and evenings back "home" on their floating resort. Plan your own trip or take one of Rick's value-packed European tours and vacations. Strategically set with natural harbors flanking an easy-to-fortify pinnacle, its history goes back long before Christ. While it's traffic-free, if you need to get somewhere you can always hop on what's nicknamed the "Lindos taxi." His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | For more info on traveling in Europe, see www.ricksteves.com. He was a thoroughly nice and professional gentleman and clearly loves what he does. An hour's drive south takes us to the island's other popular attraction. Santorini is a dramatic island — the rim of a volcanic crater with spectacular vistas. Guide: Those two are the Kameni Islands. Cruising is designed for the masses, and it has its pros and cons. Sailing these fabled seas, I find myself drawn to the top deck. It never recovered and was eventually abandoned. Artists fall in love with Oia and move in. This Colossus of Rhodes was one of the "seven wonders" of the ancient world. In addition to town walks and tours of the Delos archaeological site, he enjoys leading a 2.5-hour "Food on Foot" town walk around Mykonos, with tasting stops, and an all-day "Ambrosial Mykonos" experience, including a town walk and a drive around the island to an artisanal creamery, brewery, and vineyard, plus a beach break. The windy roads feel like a fairground racetrack for tourists, busy with an array of easy-to-rent vehicles. The Aegean Sea offers the quintessence of Mediterranean island charm. It's destroyed. A humble Greek Orthodox chapel celebrates that visit to this day. Imagine Delos in its heyday — a booming center of trade: streets lined with 3,000 shops where you could buy just about anything. Viewpoints here are some of the most striking in the Greek seas, as tourists clamber for just the right angle. Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / Greece; Please sign in to post. Within minutes you'll be powering up the switch-backs into the island as your guide narrates the drive. Exploring each island under the reliable sun, we'll compare beaches from the ultimate party beach…to quieter, more idyllic hideaways. Rick Steves is America's leading authority on European travel. This point, where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet, is famously windy — long powering windmills. As you observe the chain of islands dramatically swirling in 360 degrees, you can understand why historians believe that these Cycladic Islands got their name from the way they make a circle (or a "cycle") around this oh-so-important little island of Delos. With little building material on the island, it just made sense to dig into the cliffs. Greece. Delos was important in three different ancient eras: first as a religious site, then as the treasury of the Athenian League — that was sort of the "Fort Knox" of the ancient world. Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are my recommended priorities. Right, we got some sardines here, grilled, and on the other side, we've got a very nice grilled calamari, also served with salad, the lemon, and the olive oil. The iconic row of sphinx-like lions still heralds the importance of the place. Five mills still stand, perfectly positioned to catch the prevailing breeze. The island of Delos is a 30-minute boat ride from Mykonos; boats depart three times each morning and return to Mykonos three times afternoon — and in peak season a late-afternoon boat may run as well (boat schedules can change depending on weather, cruise-ship arrivals and departures, and other factors). And it retains a certain hip cachet. The dazzling white-washed town of Lindos, originally a wealthy maritime center because of its harbor, is now totally overrun by tourists. The famed statue called the "Colossus of Rhodes" once towered above the city. We bid our guide goodbye to enjoy a last couple hours in Fira, Santorini's main town. The formidable Thalassini Gate is a reminder of the age of chivalry and the famed Knights of Malta. Survey the remains of the ancient harbor: foundations of shops and homes, and hillsides littered with temple remains. Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author and television personality. But it was destroyed by an earthquake a couple hundred years before Christ, and today nothing survives. Along with its beaches, Mykonos offers a major historic attraction. Rick Steves’s guidebook to Greece is of course loaded with practical advice for trip planning and for consulting during a trip, but it also has a large narrative thread commenting on the history, culture, and character of Greece and its people, and it has many focused threads addressing particular places and features. Today these mansions have been refitted as restaurants and bars for tourists enjoying fresh fish and romantic views. Delos ranked right up there with Olympia, Athens, and Delphi. While Rick Steves Greece covers a few islands (Hydra, Mykonos and nearby Delos, and Santorini), most travelers headed to more islands will want to supplement their Rick Steves book with a guide to the islands (we recommend Lonely Planet Greek Islands). The island's main city, also called Rhodes, was one of the great cities of antiquity. Terms of Service | Privacy. The real attraction here is the beaches. These "cave houses," surrounded by air-filled pumice, are naturally insulated — staying cool in summer and warm in winter. I spent a day with him and his crew while they planned, wrote and filmed for his television program Rick Steves’ Europe. Rick Steves rick steves travel audio europe europe greece mediterranean And just beyond the acropolis is the more exotic St. Paul's Beach, named for a legendary visit by the apostle Paul nearly 2,000 years ago. We deliver Private Custom Tours at very affordable rates All our tours are fully customizable to suit your travel needs, interests, schedules, and dates. Mykonos' status in the last generation was as a fashionable destination for jet-setters. I find the ports are least crowded and most relaxed and enjoyable during that last hour. For 2,500 years, a hill-capping acropolis has overlooked the town. I spent a day with him and his crew while they planned, wrote and filmed for his television program Rick Steves’ Europe. Innovative cisterns collected rain water — these round arches date from the third century BC. The Kameni Islands are actually made of lava rock. It was a hundred feet tall and polished bronze. Rick visited Rhodes in order to learn about the culture and history of our beautiful island. No problem, we can create and customize a personalized itinerary for you. Can you tell me about them? The book includes maps and guides to many of the major attractions in Greece. Of its hundreds of islands, we'll visit three: Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. Plumbing ran under the streets, and water was plentiful. In the 14th century the knights built the Palace of the Grand Master — an imposing residence and capital for their leader. Ancient Greeks believed that this easternmost point of the Greek world, where the rising sun first kissed Greek soil, was the home of the sun god, Helios. Should I get Rick's Pocket Athens guide in addition to this Greece guidebook? Santorini is small, driving is fun, and traffic is sparse. Huge granite cannon balls littering the grounds are a reminder of why it was said that when the Turks attacked, cannon balls rained down on the city. Rhodes is built upon layers of civilizations — Italian, Greek, and Turkish, with a dash of medieval Crusader lore from all over Europe tossed in. Enjoying the island with a local guide and then taking a short break to enjoy a cliffside bar — filled with happy travelers from around the world — is a reminder that even if on a cruise, you can exercise your independence and spark some great travel moments. One of the Mediterranean's great king-of-the-mountain thrills. Related travel information at www.ricksteves.com . This was one of the Aegean world's finest cities. I'm Rick Steves. Being on the top deck as you approach the day's destination gives you a quiet, bird's eye view. I found Rick to be as pleasant as he appears on his shows. Rhodes, the most fortified of the Greek isles, was one of the great cities of antiquity and a powerful crusader fort — home of the Knights of St. John. Approaching an exotic and fabled island like Santorini — as the moon sets and the sun rises, just kissing the lip of the breathtaking cliffs — is worth getting up for. Rick Steves provides all of the essential information needed by visitors to Greece. In fact, you can still feel that Turkish influence to this very day. see our FAQ. About a century before Christ, Delos was devastated by a terrible war. I enjoy the scenic arrivals and departures by cruise ship. With Rick Steves. Rick Steves provides all of the essential information needed by visitors to Greece. By Rick Steves. Greek tour guide Anastasia Gaitanou tells Rick how Athens has grown into a visitor-friendly destination, complete with a new Acropolis museum. Because Santorini's pier is small, giant cruise ships drop anchor and tender their passengers in on small shuttle boats. Giddy-up! With the crush of the crowds, the limited time, and the scattered array of interesting sights, investing in a bus tour like this to see Santorini can make sense. Antonis: …one of the 200 wells and cisterns in the city, fresh, drinkable water from the rich aquifer underneath us, and it was enough to supply the 30,000 people at the peak of the flourish of the city. Just plop onto whatever appeals — don't worry; the drinks will come to you. This idyllic ensemble of whitewashed houses and characteristic domes is delicately draped over a steep slope at the top of a cliff. Whether from Spain, France, or Germany, each group built its own headquarters here to feel like home. Most cruisers get nervous about missing the ship and head back earlier than necessary. The bazaar-like back lanes are a delight to wander, and the main shopping drag still feels a bit like a Turkish bazaar. It's easy to enjoy Mykonos town with no planning, no tour, and no guide. Those paying for the cruise line's excursion get off the ship first, and head for an alternative port — where buses and guides await. And tour groups are sure to have free time at the best photo ops. While the beach becomes a raging dance floor after dark, the DJ is busy all day as the cruise set joins backpackers from around the world to enjoy the scene. There are 3,000 passengers on this ship. In this sampler of Greek isles we'll enjoy their fascinating history, inviting beaches, and dramatic beauty. In a few scenic minutes we're across the island. This time I thought I'd take you on a little cruise. There's no right or wrong — it depends entirely on your mood and your style. Our ship functions as our floating hotel, and takes us effortlessly from port to port as we settle into the relaxing tempo of an Aegean holiday. There's a pier for only one ship, so most ships drop the hook and shuttle their people in by tender. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe.His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Visit Rick’s blog to learn about his visit to Rhodes While extremely arid, the stony countryside of Mykonos — complete with whitewashed churches and staggering views — is a delight for a quick road trip. Rick's 48 itineraries include Italy, France, Turkey, Ireland, Britain, Spain, and much more! So, they honored Helios by building a colossal statue. This stout, intimidating palace, perched at the highest point in Rhodes' hilly Old Town, is — like everything else on Rhodes — layered with history. Greece, like all of the other Rick Steves tours, I have taken, was an excellent venture with a conscientious tour guide and congenial travel mates. Honeymooners find the B&B of their dreams…and savor breakfast in unforgettable settings. Rick visited Rhodes in order to learn about the culture and history of our beautiful island. Individuals go to the tiny "old harbor," where they can ride a donkey up the zig-zag trail, or hop a cable car up to the scenic lip of the island crater. Of Santorini's many beaches, Kamari is one of the best. And it's hard to imagine having had more Greek island fun in a few days than what we just experienced. Rick: 30,000? My reward? Typical of Greek island resort beaches, it's lined with rentable lounge chairs and a strip of seafood restaurants. It's on an uninhabited neighboring island, a 30-minute shuttle-boat ride away. But the ease of not having to change hotels with every new destination and the abundance of entertainment on board can contribute to a nice vacation. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. Antonis is an excellent local guide who enjoys introducing visitors to the hidden nooks and crannies of Mykonos. Greece. Since his first book came out in 1980, Steves has written tour-books for countries, cities and regions. Mykonos is another small island with a small port inundated by cruise-ship crowds. Rhodes then became part of the Ottoman Empire for several centuries. In a few minutes they're pulling up the gangway and I'm back on the ship. I've left our bus tour early for a rendezvous with a private local guide. Dimitris: We had a big earthquake back in 1956, 7.8 Richter scale, destroyed very many houses like this captain's house over here, and on the other side, you can see the Venetian fortress. Tell us about your Tour! You can use a guidebook and be your own guide, or you can just hang out and be thoroughly on vacation. Greek Islands - Audio Europe: Greece by Rick Steves Audio Europe published on 2015-02-11T02:09:15Z. And, for many, it's their Greek isle dream come true. Rick: Very nice. Mykonos is small — any point on the island is within a 20-minute drive. It offers little beyond lovely sand, turquoise water, and tranquility. Rhodes, or "Rhodos," as locals call it, is the fourth largest of the Greek islands. Many of these dwellings originated as humble caves. And, like most of them, we're heading for the beach. If you prefer a quieter scene, more remote beaches are a short drive farther out. Explore the Greek Islands! The most trendy is Paradise, one of the ultimate party beaches in the Aegean. In honor of Holy week, I’m sharing daily clips from Rick Steves’ European Easter, my one-hour public television special that’s airing now nationwide (check your local listings) and streaming online.. Today’s clip traces Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations. It's the epitome of a Greek island town: a busy breakwater, fine little beach, and inviting lanes. Gradually these cheapest bits of real estate were developed, and, with tourism, they became today's expensive villas, hotels, and restaurants. Until next time, keep on travelin'. The homes of sea captains, whose wealth came from trade, are now fancy hotels and gift shops. And those once-formidable walls now seem only to protect a fun-loving tourists' mecca and a vibrant artist's colony. In the 14th century, the Knights of St. John added on to an existing Byzantine fortress here to create a residence and political headquarters for their leader, the grand master. Most visitors find that two hours on the island is plenty to wander the site and see the museum; add more time if you want to climb Mount Kynthos. Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. ​Dimitris: This is the Mediterranean diet. See, you can eat them! Nope! Centuries before Christ, Delos attracted pilgrims from across the Western world. Rick Steves' Europe. We'll learn of Crusader history and marvel at stunning Greek isle views. Coming from all over Europe, they gave Rhodes a cosmopolitan feel. He prioritizes attractions and provides recommendations on how to make the most out of a traveler's limited time. We'll island-hop through the Aegean, sampling three classic Greek getaways — Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes — and basking in their dramatic beauty. 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