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Discover the Beauty and Beaches Of the Greek Isles
by Roy Witman ©2009

From the enchanting writings of Homer to the celebrities of Greek mythology, the country of Greece has touched the lives of us all whether we realize it or not. The Trojan War, Helen of Troy, the first Olympics, Alexander the Great, Plato, Aristotle, the Biblical city of Ephesus, the list goes on. And of course, virtually everyone is familiar with the Greek gods and goddesses Zeus, Athena, Apollo and Hades. Whether you long for a closer look at the real or mythical side of Greece, a tour of the Greek Isles will satisfy your curiosity. Let's take a look at two of the most popular destinations that can be reached via Holland America and other cruise lines.


The unofficial colors of Santorini are blue and white thanks to the abundance of whitewashed buildings and the azure-blue sea that surrounds the island. The contrast makes for a very dramatic presentation as you approach from the sea.

The fun of your visit to Santorini begins the moment you depart the cruise ship. Reaching the city requires a walk of about 600 steps, which, if you so desire, you can take on foot. However, most opt for either riding a cable car - which offers great views - or riding a donkey, a fun experience for all ages.

As your sightseeing of the island begins, you might elect to take a bus ride to the highest mountain peak where the views are absolutely outstanding! A local winery welcomes tourists as do all the residents of the quaint village you'll pass through during your excursion.

You may also choose to visit the ancient archeological site of Akrotiri. This historic wonder has been preserved under volcanic ash for nearly 3,600 years and helps depict what life in the Minoan period would have been like.

Don't forget to make at least a short visit to the local beaches. Because Santorini is a volcanic island, you'll find white sand beaches plus a few unusual varieties including grey sand, black sand and red sand.

With plenty of craftsmen, boutiques and jewelry to choose from, shopping is also a fun pursuit. In addition, there are excellent open-air restaurants and cafes that let you enjoy authentic Greek cuisine. But one of the most popular activities is watching the sunsets.

When the sun hangs low in the sky, the cascade of oranges and golds sends a fiery blaze across the sky that reflects off the water below. Amazing!


Rhodes is a delightful island where you can participate in the three S's: shopping, sunning and sightseeing. This walled city offers spectacular beaches that range from crowded, tourist hotspots near luxury resorts to virtually untouched, secluded hideaways. There are dozens of beaches and bays to choose from around the island.

You can also partake in virtually every type of water sport. Thanks to the shape and position of the island's curves, you often find perfect conditions for windsurfing. When the sun goes down, the nightlife heats up with plenty of clubs available.

An aquarium, the Valley of the Butterflies and the ancient village of Lindos are popular attractions for families. As you ascend to the Lindos ruins, the streets are lined with vendors selling their wares. Good buys can be had on practically everything imaginable including jewelry, leather goods, furs, carpets and more.

If you're looking for a vacation that's out of the ordinary, touring the Greek Isles is an excellent choice. With plenty to do for all ages, you'll expand your mind and your cultural knowledge while enjoying friendly people, exceptional food and intriguing sites.

Read more about Greek Island Cruises.
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