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Sifnos Island, Greece

Treasures of the Peloponnese

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Le Lyrial (CDP)
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Embark from Athens to explore the Peloponnese region of Greece. Stop at Sifnos in the Cyclades and discover this harmonious island's gentle landscapes and rich endemic flora. From the main port of Kamares, set off to the picturesque fortified village of Kastro, sitting atop a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea. Sail to Milos, known for the famous statue of Venus found in a field there and now displayed in the Louvre in Paris. In Gythio, the main port of ancient Sparta, discover the Byzantine city of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When the ship calls at Pylos, explore the wonderful archaeological site of Delphi clinging to the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Finally, cross the Corinth Canal, sailing through the Peloponnese isthmus to arrive in Athens, the City of the Gods, the end of your Mediterranean odyssey.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Athens | Embark
Day 2 : Kamares, Sifnos
Day 3 : Adamas, Milos
Day 4 : Gythio
Day 5 : Pylos
Day 6 : Paxi
Day 7 : Itea | Crossing the Corinth Canal
Day 8 : Athens | Disembark

Highlights

  • Enjoy a kid-friendly, family cruise, with specific entertainment.
  • Explore a circumnavigation of the Peloponnese to ancient Greek sites
  • Visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Tour Athens, cradle of the gods, before or after your cruise.

Ship

Le Lyrial (CDP)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Sifnos Island, Greece Iconic Athens Visit ancient Delphi on Itea Cruise the Corinth Canal on your small ship cruise Visit the island of Gythion with the spectacular Dirou Caves Pylos, site of the battle on Navarino The Acropolis Theater - Athens, Greece A statue in Athens, Greece.

Day 1 Athens | Embark

The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surrounded the Acropolis. Explore this enchanting city, presided over by the ancient Acropolis high on the rocky plateau. In the city below, visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colorful streets, where in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic shrimp will tempt your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.

Day 2 Kamares, Sifnos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nestled in the Cyclades, the harmonious and much less crowded island of Sifnos is home to many treasures. Exploited since antiquity for its gold and silver mines, this little-known pearl boasts gentle landscapes and is a botanical paradise. The rich endemic flora can be admired along the island’s mountain paths that have been walked for thousands of years. From the main port of Kamares, set off to discover the nearby sandy beach which runs along a lagoon and whose dunes are covered in sea daffodils. The picturesque fortified village of Kastro is another of the island’s wonders. Sitting atop a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, this spot, where people have lived since prehistoric times, is very much an open-air museum.

KASTRO & ARTEMONAS
From the pier, board your coach for a 25-minute drive to Kastro village. Located at the top of a rock with steep sided cliffs, the village offers a panoramic view over the sea and the neighboring islands. Capital of the island until 1836, Kastro played a very important role in the history of Sifnos. Inhabited since prehistoric times, it has kept all the characteristics of a fortified village, rebuilt in 1630 during Venetian colonization. The narrow streets, old houses with wooden balconies and coats of arms carved above the doors, small lanterns, chapels give a special atmosphere to this small village. Following the visit of Kastro, continue to the village of Artemonas, a picturesque traditional village seemingly unscathed by modern life. In the village's old aristocratic neighborhood, admire some neoclassic mansions built 200 years ago and whitewashed houses. From Artemonas your tour will continue on foot, walking mostly downhill the stone paved pedestrian alleys of Pano Petali, offering panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding islands.

Day 3 Adamas, Milos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Although Milos is especially renowned for the famous statue of Venus found in a field there and now displayed in the Louvre in Paris, this mineral island is also a geological treasure. Its volcanic origin is evident in its breathtaking landscapes and the colors of its cliffs, ranging from pure white to deep red. You’ll discover the wild beauty of the shorelines lined with the most beautiful beaches in Greece from a ship deck, and you’ll enjoy privileged access to emerald-green coves. Tiny fishing ports like Adamas hide there, with brightly-painted doors and terraces. Milos is a charming port of call in the heart of the Cyclades.

Day 4 Gythio

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located in the south of the Peloponnese, on the Mani Peninsula, Gytheio was the main port and naval base of ancient Sparta, located around fifty kilometers inland. In Roman times, the port experienced significant expansion thanks to trading in imperial purple dye; in fact, the region had an abundance of murex, the rock snails from which this dye, loved by the Romans, was extracted. The town is nestled against Mount Koumaros and dominated by a citadel. Take a stroll and fall under the charm of the calm that reigns over the stairways bordered by small neoclassic houses with steps overrun with wild flowers.

Choose from the following excursions:

THE BYZANTINE CITY OF MYSTRAS
From the pier, board your coach and start your 1-hour drive to Mystras. On the lower slopes of Mount Taygetos, a short distance from Sparta, stands the silent remains of the city of Mystras. Many ruins have remained unharmed by time. Wander along the cobblestone streets, between churches and noblemen’s houses to reach the citadel crowning the summit. During its two centuries of existence as the Byzantine capital of the Peloponnese, many churches and monasteries were erected in Mystras, representing all the painting trends of the capital. Going up the hill, you will enter the gate of Mystras castle, which was built by the Franks in 1249. The most important monument you will see on your way up is the Cathedral of Agios Dimitrios. On the floor of the church is the two-headed eagle, symbol of the Palaiologos dynasty, carved into a plaque. Towards the northern corner of the enclosure stand the two most impressive churches of Mystras, Agii Theodori and the Panagia Odigitria with fabulous wall paintings. On the slope to the east stands the Pantanassa monastery built on the 15th century, today a hospitable convent.

Or

TASTE OF LAKONIA REGION
From the pier, board your coach and start your 40-minute drive to Sparta, the administrative capital of the prefecture of Laconia. Once arriving, visit the Museum of Olive and Greek Olive Oil. The Museum aims to highlight the culture and technology of the olive and oil production. Unique in Greece, the museum is located in the heart of Laconia, one of the main olive producing locations in Greece. The Museum’s ground floor is devoted to the development of olive oil production technology from Antiquity until the early industrial era. Hence, you can admire post-Byzantine technology and machinery. After your visit, re-board your coach for a short drive to Theodorakakos Private Estate located outside Sparta. The owner will greet you and accompany you during the visit of his winery. His comments you will allow you to learn more about on the wine making. Then, take the opportunity to taste 3 different types of wine with some local snacks.
 

Day 5 Pylos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The picturesque port of Pylos is located in the south west of the Peloponnese. Backed against the lush green hills of Messenia, it looks out onto the Navarino Bay. Admire the gorgeous view as you walk uptown amid pink oleanders that cascade over the jetty. A stone’s throw away, the historical center’s winding streets form a maze of houses with whitewashed facades and terracotta roof-tiles. On the attractive main beach, relax in the shade of the age-old plane trees and taste the delicious local biscuits made of sesame and honey.

Choose from the following excursions:

NESTOR'S PALACE & METHONI FORTRESS
From the pier, board your coach for a 40-minute drive through the verdant landscape of western Peloponnese to the ruins of King Nestor's Palace. Once arriving, visit the room where the Queen took her bath as well as the remains of what must have been a magnificent throne room with a huge hearth in its middle. Most of the roofs and walls were constructed out of wood and stone, but today only the stone remains. After your visit to Nestor's Palace, proceed to Methoni village. Methoni has been identified as the city Pedasus, that Homer mentions under the name "Ampeloessa" (of vine leaves), as the last of the seven "evnaiomena ptoliethra" (well-peopled cities), that Agamemnon offered Achilles to subdue his rage. Along with the rest of Messenia, the town gained its independence from the Spartans in 369 BC. During the 4th century BC, Methoni was elaborately fortified and continued to remain autonomous well into the Imperial Roman era, when it enjoyed the favor of some emperors. During the Byzantine years it continued to remain a remarkable harbor and one of the most important cities of the Peloponnese, seat of a bishopric. Today the walls of the fortress, even in ruins, continue to be impressive. The castle of Methoni occupies the whole area of the cape and spreads towards the southwestern coast to the small islet that has also been fortified with an octagonal tower. The castle is protected by the sea on its three sides. A deep moat separates the castle from the land and communication was achieved by a wooden bridge. The Venetians built their fortress on the ancient battlements and repaired the bridge during both periods that they occupied the castle.

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THE HIDDEN TREASURES OF PELOPONNESE
From the pier, board your coach for a 75-minute drive through the fertile land of Messenia. The second largest state of the Peloponnese in ancient times, Messenia was coveted by the Spartans who waged three wars of conquest before taking control of it. This forced the Messenians to emigrate to Italy where they founded the city of Messina. This city was the 4th-century BCE fortified capital of the ancient Messenians, noted in its times for its impressive military architecture. The fortified city, with its 5.5 mile (9 km) enclosing wall, was part of the strategic barrier against Sparta organized by Epaminondas. Messenia was the southernmost of a chain of walled cities including Megalopolis and Argos. Your first stop will be the Arcadian Gate, consisting of two sets of gates separated by a rather unusual round courtyard. The inner gate has a gigantic monolithic lintel, now half fallen. The outer gate is composed of two towers (of which only the foundations remain), from which attackers were assaulted with hurled javelins or arrows. Your next stop will be the Archaeological Museum located between the Arcadia Gate and the village of Mavromati, which displays fragments from the architecture of the site. Admire sculptures including the marble statue of the goddess Artemis Lafrias, restored from fragments, and the six statues of the priestesses from the temple of Artemis Orthia; small bronze objects and a model of the Asklipion. After the museum, proceed on foot to the Archaeological site where you can visit well-preserved ruins like the Temple of Asklipion, the Agora, the Stadium, the Gymnasium and the Ancient Theater.

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NESTOR'S PALACE & NIOKASTRO CASTLE
From the pier, board your coach for a 40-minute drive through the verdant landscape of the western Peloponnese to the ruins of King Nestor's Palace. Once arriving,  visit the room where the Queen took her bath as well as the remains of what must have been a magnificent throne room with a huge hearth in its middle. Most of the roofs and walls were constructed out of wood and stone, but today only the stone remains. After your visit of Nestor’s Palace, proceed by coach to Niokastro Castle, situated at the southern part of the port of Pylos. It was initially built by the Turks in 1573 and was used as a replenishing station. Due to its strategic importance, it quickly became one of the major castles in the Peloponnese during the Turkish occupation. It was conquered by the Venetians in 1686 but was occupied again by the Turks some years later. Niokastro is one of the most well-preserved castles in Greece and today it houses the underwater archaeological department.

Day 6 Paxi

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Paxi Island is one of the Ionian islands’ best kept secrets, only reachable by boat. Be lured in by the port of Gaios and the colorful houses surrounding the orthodox church of Analipsi. On the northern tip of the island, dive straight into the translucent waters of the Lakka bay. After that, climb into a caïque and head for the little island of Agios Nikolaus, where the Venetian fort awaits your visit.

Day 7 Itea | Crossing the Corinth Canal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tucked away in the Gulf of Corinth, this little port is situated in continental Greece, north-west of Athens. Take an easy stroll along the old cobblestone quays, while gazing at the summits encircling the Bay of Itea. We wouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted by a visit to the Delphi Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, just ten kilometers from Itea. A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ancient ruins are surrounded by steep mountains, and their Archaeological Museum is chock-full of cultural delights.

Choose from the following excursions:

SACRED SITE OF DELPHI
From the pier, board your coach for a 30-minute picturesque drive through olive groves before reaching the Archaeological Site. Once arriving, take the Sacred Way that was followed by ancient pilgrims and visitors to the site. The path begins at the southeast corner of the site and winds its way up the hillside, past ancient treasuries and monuments, to the temple of Apollo. It is an imposing temple of the Doric order whose existence was woven through the turbulent history of the site and endured numerous incarnations. The remains that you can see date back to the 4th century B.C.E. The Temple of Apollo was first built around the 7th century B.C.E. by the two legendary architects Trophonios and Agamedes. The exterior was decorated with shields captured from the Persians at Plataea. This temple was also of the Doric order and had 6 columns at the front, and 15 columns at the flanks. Today, you can see one complete column of the facade and portions of five more columns. Also visible are the foundations of the outer colonnade and the interior sekos. Continue your walk and pass the spare ruins of the Senate of Delphi, followed by a pile of rocks, marking the site of the early Delphi Oracle which, according to legend, was guarded by the snake Python. For those who wish, the Theater can also be visited. A few steps from the sanctuary of Apollo, the Delphi museum has exhibited for over a century the objects found at the archaeological site. Here is one of the four largest museums in Greece, with Athens and Olympia. Vases, bronzes, sculptures found in temples and treasures, offerings made to Apollo by pilgrims, objects of gold and ivory found under the slabs of the Sacred Way. At the end of your visit, join your coach and enjoy magnificent views over the Bay of Itea before reaching the charming town of Delphi. Once arriving, you will enjoy free time left to browse the shops before your return on Itea.

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MONASTERY OF SAINT LUCAS & ARACHOVA
From the pier, embark your coach for the one-hour drive to the Saint Lucas Monastery. On the way, you will pass by Delphi and Arachova villages. The historic walled monastery is one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine architecture and art and is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Greece. It was founded in the early 10th century by the hermit Saint Lucas, whose relics are kept in the monastery. The main shrine is the tomb of Saint Lucas, originally situated in the vault, but later placed at the juncture of the two churches, the church of Theotokos and the Catholic Church which is the oldest in the complex. Continue your journey with the visit of Arachova village. Arachova is a mountain small village and its quaint houses are built up on the north slopes of Mount Parnassos, with 3300 inhabitants, at 800 – 1,100m altitude. In 2000 B.C.E, Homer mentioned in the Iliad two famous generals who took part in the Trojan War Epistrophos and Schedias from the old towns of Anemoria and Kiparissos. These towns were situated around where Arachova stands today. Later, in about 334 B.C.E, Philip the Second King of Macedonia destroyed both towns and their populations dispersed over the hills until a new town, Arachova, was built. Today the "jewel of Parnassos," Arachova remains vital because it keeps its traditions alive and the residents maintain a simple, hospitable lifestyle. From the first moment, feel a different wind blowing up here, and understand why the locals work so hard to upkeep the area's natural beauty. This town is famous for its hand-woven carpets and blankets and for its wines and cheeses. After a short walking tour and time to browse through the narrow streets with the numerous souvenir and local product shops, return to the ship.

The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, turning the Peloponnese into an island as it separates the region from the Greek mainland. Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is a little over six kilometers long and enables merchant vessels and passenger to avoid a long 400-km detour around the peninsula. The two sides of the canal reach a height of approximately fifty meters. From the exterior decks, don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the ship as it navigates along the narrow strip of water encased between tall, ochre cliffs. What an experience!

Day 8 Athens | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surrounded the Acropolis. Explore this enchanting city, presided over by the ancient Acropolis high on the rocky plateau. In the city below, visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colorful streets, where in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic shrimp will tempt your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.

Le Lyrial (CDP)

Per person starting at
$3,830
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Superior Stateroom
Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, desk, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. balcony located on Deck 3. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, desk, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
35 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
37 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
1 cabin, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Deluxe Suite
3 cabins on Deck 6, 290 sq. ft. + 54 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, sofa, armchair and pedestal table, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
11 cabins, 398 sq. ft + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with shower, desk, sofa, armchair & table, 2 TVs, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Privilege Suite on the Le Lyrial
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Privilege Suite
8 cabins, 398 sq. ft + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with shower, desk, sofa, armchair & table, 2 TVs, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
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Grand Deluxe Suite
1 cabin, 484 sq. ft. + 96 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi and shower, desk, TV, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Grand Privilege Suite on the Le Lyrial
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Grand Privilege Suite
7 cabins, 398 sq. ft. + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with bathtub and shower, desk, minibar, TV, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Owner's Suite on the Le Lyrial
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Owner Suite
On Deck 6, 592 sq. ft. + 129 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi and shower, desk, sofa, table with 4 chairs, armchair and table, 2 televisions, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.

Notes

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
• Free and unlimited Wi-Fi (Internet access may be slower or in some situations interrupted, depending on certain geographic locations or other circumstances beyond our control)
• All meals while on board the ship 
• Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner, featuring Veuve Clicquot Champagne
• “Open Bar” (Pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands. List available upon request.)
• Evening entertainment and events
• 24-hour room service (special selection)
• Ladurée macarons served aboard
• English-speaking lecturer on selected sailings
• Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
• Park entry fees into protected areas
• Port and safety taxes
• Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers

Please Note:
Please do not forget to bring your medical certificates when it is required to participate in an expedition cruise. 

These voyages include activities such as Zodiac® landings (sometimes wet landings), Zodiac® outings, moderate walks, to more active hikes accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides. Considering the nature of the programs, a reasonable level of mobility is required to enjoy these expeditions.

Due to the exceptional nature of this itinerary, the calls/sites listed are only a guide. The final route will be confirmed by the ship’s Captain with priority being given to passenger safety. Pack ice may also force the Captain to change course at the last minute. Zodiac® landings or outings accompanied by your expedition team offer plenty of opportunities to discover and experience what Antarctica and/or South Georgia have to offer at close range. These will of course depend on the weather conditions, the ice, the wind and the sea state.
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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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