You are invited to join a truly superlative journey to Greece, in the idyllic days of September, that includes a cruise to islands in the fabled Aegean Sea that are off-the-beaten path and untouched by mass tourism. Scattered across Homer’s “wine-dark” sea, they are the enchanting jewels of the Greek islands. As is appropriate for this voyage to “undiscovered” islands, the cruise will be aboard a small ship that is akin to a private yacht rather than a commercial cruise ship.
On this custom-made itinerary, the islands were selected not only because they are uncrowded and have preserved their original character, but also because they represent a wonderful cross-section of history, culture, architectural styles and nature. Sifnos was famed in antiquity for its wealth on account of its gold and silver mines. Today, its villages built in the classic Cycladic style of cube-shaped whitewashed houses are among the loveliest in Greece. Amorgos, where we will visit one of the most iconic sites in the Aegean archipelago, was a center of an important prehistoric culture. Chios, considered to be the birthplace of Homer, was famed in antiquity, as is today, for the richness of its flora that includes aromatic herbs, and abundance of birds and butterflies. King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, met and fell in love with his wife Olympia at Samothraki’s Sanctuary of the Great Gods. This remote island, with its peaks, gorges and woods, possesses a primeval grandeur. It was in Skyros that “god-like” Achilles hid in order to avoid joining the Trojan War. The island’s main town is now built in a dramatic position, hugging a steep hill that is crowned by a fortress.
In addition to visiting ancient historic sites and exploring unspoiled villages, as our trip coincides with the fall bird migration, when the islands become stopping places for the southbound journey of birds, we will also have opportunities for bird watching. For this purpose, we have included a call in Alexandroupolis, in the northeastern corner of mainland Greece, for a rare opportunity to explore the Evros River Delta, one of Europe’s most important bird habitat wetlands, where over 300 species of birds are found. Just to the north, we will also visit the Dadia National Park. This forested pristine area is home to 36 of Europe’s 38 species of birds of prey, and one of only two remaining places in Europe where the magnificent black vulture can be seen. For those who wish instead to discover historic cities in Greece’s north, an alternative excursion will lead to lovely Xanthi. Introducing you to the rich history and culture of Greece and providing insight throughout the trip is Sophia Valsamaki, our superb guide. Fluent in Greek, English and French, she has led tours throughout her country for over 30 years and enjoys welcoming visitors as family.