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Colorful local boats in Greece

Cruising the Greek Islands of the Southern Aegean: with Smithsonian Journeys

Roundtrip Athens - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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Set sail on the L'Austral for an 8-day cruise to the southern Aegean's most stunning Greek islands, and take in the archipelago's rich cultural history and cool, turquoise waters. On your journey, stop by Patmos' Byzantine monastery, cruise Santorini's caldera, and savor the archipelago's local cuisine. Your cruise ends in Athens, the mythical city where the Acropolis and other landmarks showcase the rich history of the Classical era.
Sunset over Athens' portDiscover beautiful Symi islandExplore the beautiful walkways of SantoriniIconic AthensExplore the Athenian agoraColorful local boats in Greece
Highlights
  • Engaging discussions onboard with two Smithsonian Journeys Experts.
  • Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Athens, Patmos, and Delos.
  • Cruise Santorini's half-moon-shaped bay, Caldera.
  • Relax and refresh in the caf├ęs and shops in Mykonos
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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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 surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle 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: Patmos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Patmos is one of the legendary must-see islands in the Dodecanese. This is where Saint John resided, presumed author of the last book in the Bible. The cave of the Apocalypse and the Saint John Monastery are dedicated to him. These sites, which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, are located at the top of a hillside planted with vines and orchards. On the shore, the crystalline coves of Kambos and Lampi offer absolutely gorgeous swimming areas.

Day 3: Rhodes

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
With its particularly agreeable climate, the island of Rhodes invites you to walk its pathways and discover its immaculate villages and sumptuous medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the centre of the island the mountains are covered in forest and on the western slopes we find vineyards and crops. Rhodes also owes much of its charm and its character to the Knights of St John who reigned over the island from 1310 to 1522 and built impressive defensive walls punctuated with majestic gateways. Do not miss this delightful island with its peaceful beaches and its large walkways, perpetuating the myth of the famous Colossus, the legendary statue that is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Day 4: Santoniri

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The spectacular volcanic island of Santorini stands out proud in the Cyclades. Its basalt cliffs offer particularly expansive views of the Aegean. To enjoy these views, you can head for the capital, Fira. Its floral belvederes of bougainvillea provide a bird’s-eye view of several thousand metres of coastline. Further away, the gorgeous village of Oia looks like a stairway of blue and white houses on the slopes of the volcano. In the south of the island, you will be able to visit the stunning ruins of Akrotiri, an ancient city destroyed by an eruption and covered with a thick layer of lava stone.

Day 5: Amorgos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
It’s no accident that the island of Amorgos was chosen as a shooting location for Luc Besson’s film, The Big Blue. You too will fall under the charm of this island as your ship edges closer. Amorgos is the most easterly island in the Cyclades and stands out for its rocky inlets with crystal-clear water and its small, picturesque villages. This port of call will be your chance to visit one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades, Chora, and discover its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses overlooked by a castle. Byzantine churches, windmills and courtyards brimming with flowers complete this typical tableau of timeless Greece.

Day 6: Delos | Mykonos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This legendary Cyclades island of Delos stands just a few miles southwest of Mykonos. The ceremonial solemnity of this ancient holy sanctuary will not leave you indifferent. The sheer size and importance of this UNESCO World Heritage site which covers over half of the island is thrilling in itself. From the Stoa of Antigonos, the Terrace of the Lions, to the carved marble animal statues, you will make discovery after discovery, against a backdrop of the Aegean stretching to the horizon. The theatre steps on the hillside are a particularly good place from which to enjoy the expansive view.

Mykonos, nicknamed “little Venice,” is famous for its Alefkandra district where houses are built right on the water’s edge. Their multi-coloured loggias are emblematic of this Cyclades island, as are the pelicans and windmills. You can get close up to the birds on the quaysides of the old port. Up on the hillside, you can see the windmill sails turning. In the cobbled streets of the pedestrian centre, bougainvillea bedeck immaculate facades. As you weave in and out of the little streets, snatches of coastline will undoubtedly call you to the island’s beaches, the quietest of which can be found on the northern coast.

Day 7: Napflion

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The engaging town of Nafplion is staggered up green hillsides of the Argolic Gulf, to the east of the Peloponnese. Do not be surprised by its extremely varied cultural heritage. Some of the must-see visits are the ancient agora on the plateau of Akronafplia, Italianate arcades in Syntagma square as well as the baroque fortress of Palamidi on a hillside of the same name. At the top of the hill, views of the gulf and the surrounding mountains are simply awesome. If you want to chill out by the water’s edge, walk along the Arvanitia promenade to a beautiful creek in the shade of cedars and cypresses.

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 surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle 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.

Disembark after breakfast and continue on your independent travels, or begin your journey home. 

Ship/Hotel

L'Austral

Enjoy a gourmet meal at the Gastronomic Restaurant.
Stunning views from the bar and lounge
Relax on the sun deck.

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$5,930
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Wifi
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Visa Fees
  • Optional Excursions - Ponant allows you to pre-book your excursions approximately six to two months prior to the cruise* departure. Please note that this is subject to change. Please contact us for more details.
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Luggage Handling 
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions

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