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. Cruising is designed for the masses, and it has its pros and cons. Visitors here can enjoy the building's fine interiors, a wide-ranging collection of artifacts, and the highlight of the entire palace: its fantastically detailed floor mosaics. 2–3 days: Athens 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. Its main street — thronged with tourists whenever there's a cruise ship in the bay — seems like little more than a long line of shops, cafés, and restaurants, all with staggering views. The most trendy is Paradise, one of the ultimate party beaches in the Aegean. The book includes maps and guides to many of the major attractions in Greece. Today these mansions have been refitted as restaurants and bars for tourists enjoying fresh fish and romantic views. Related travel information at www.ricksteves.com . It's so iconic and beautiful that it's included in most major cruise-ship itineraries. We bid our guide goodbye to enjoy a last couple hours in Fira, Santorini's main town. Rick: 30,000? See, you can eat them! The island of Rhodes, while arid, is fun to explore. Fira is the island's commercial and transportation hub. 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. It never recovered and was eventually abandoned. 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. I am grateful that he chose our business to introduce him to Rhodes and to assist him and his crew in getting around the island. Can you tell me about them? An hour's drive south takes us to the island's other popular attraction. Excursions also include scenic views from the bus, and the stress-free efficiency of getting smoothly from point to point. 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. The palace was fortified with three walls and two moats for good reason: the ever-present Turkish threat. My reward? The iconic row of sphinx-like lions still heralds the importance of the place. He prioritizes attractions and provides recommendations on how to make the most out of a traveler's limited time. Visitors can stroll past 500-year-old cannon balls, browse Turkish markets, and enjoy a romantic, white-sand beach. This Colossus of Rhodes was one of the "seven wonders" of the ancient world. Gradually these cheapest bits of real estate were developed, and, with tourism, they became today's expensive villas, hotels, and restaurants. Wealthy shipping merchants built this row of fine mansions with brightly painted wooden balconies that seem to rise out of the sea. Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / Greece; Please sign in to post. You can use a guidebook and be your own guide, or you can just hang out and be thoroughly on vacation. 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. Delos ranked right up there with Olympia, Athens, and Delphi. With Rick Steves. Everything you need is here. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Cruisers enjoy toggling effortlessly between their daily adventures on shore and evenings back "home" on their floating resort. The lime that makes the whitewash is a good antiseptic — villagers knew it would naturally disinfect the rainwater that was collected on rooftops. I found Rick to be as pleasant as he appears on his shows. We're sailing to three iconic Greek islands: Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. The black sand is a reminder of the island's volcanic origin. Agios Sostis, an old hippie beach at the north end of the island, has none of the thumping party energy of Paradise Beach. And it retains a certain hip cachet. It offers little beyond lovely sand, turquoise water, and tranquility. Back lanes offer tranquility away from the cruise crowds. 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. 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. 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. Rick Steves European tours and vacations feature the best value and travel experience around. 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 were fine mosaics — like this one of the god Dionysus riding a panther. From USA + Canada: 01130 - 693459699001130 - 6934596990, From Australia: 001130 - 6934596990001130 - 6934596990, From EU: 0030 - 69345969900030 - 6934596990, @1998 - 2020 RhodesPrivateTours.com | Experts in Rhodes Custom Tours, The original âRhodes Private Toursâ by Nicholas A. Rhodes, Private Day Tours and Shore Excursions on Rhodes Island Greece, Nicholas and Rick Steves on Rhodes island, Nicholas with Rick Steves' crew, watching what they'd filmed, Get to Know the Historical Sites and Natural Beauty of Rhodes Island, https://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/mediterranean-islands/. He also has expanded into radio, newspaper and the Internet. In the morning, we'll be in Santorini. 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. Punctuated by romantic nights at sea, our itinerary promises plenty of unforgettable sightseeing. Dimitris: Well, we have here a Greek salad and a Santorini salad. There's a range of beaches on Mykonos. Ippocratus Square is the busy heart of the old town. He was a thoroughly nice and professional gentleman and clearly loves what he does. So, they honored Helios by building a colossal statue. Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. Greece. The Kameni Islands are actually made of lava rock. 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. As is standard around here, beaches rent comfortable lounge furniture with umbrellas. And, like most of them, we're heading for the beach. Mykonos is another small island with a small port inundated by cruise-ship crowds. I spent a day with him and his crew while they planned, wrote and filmed for his television program Rick Steves’ Europe. He has started a new genre of travel writing recounting his favourite moments in collections of anecdotes from his many years of travel. Wear good shoes, and bring sun protection and plenty of water. And those once-formidable walls now seem only to protect a fun-loving tourists' mecca and a vibrant artist's colony. To this day, the street feels medieval, with carved reliefs that show off that original national pride. From Athens to Mount Ararat, join Rick as he meets the people and explores the ancient sites of Greece and Turkey. I've left our bus tour early for a rendezvous with a private local guide. It's easy to enjoy Mykonos town with no planning, no tour, and no guide. I enjoy the scenic arrivals and departures by cruise ship. This is a stop that lends itself to unstructured free time — just lazing on the beach, wandering, and browsing the shops. Rick Steves' Europe. Innovative cisterns collected rain water — these round arches date from the third century BC. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. see our FAQ. 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. We'll learn of Crusader history and marvel at stunning Greek isle views. Rick: Very nice. Start a New Topic. Rick: These salads look delicious. The Ottoman Turks finally defeated the Knights of St. John in the 1500s. Local guides demonstrate still-working wells. I cap my visit by climbing to the summit of the island. Survey the remains of the ancient harbor: foundations of shops and homes, and hillsides littered with temple remains. Visit Rickâs blog to learn about his visit to Rhodes The real attraction here is the beaches. Mykonos is small — any point on the island is within a 20-minute drive. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. But, even with four ships in the harbor today, there seems to be plenty of room. 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. Greece. They taste good. One of the Mediterranean's great king-of-the-mountain thrills. For more info on traveling in Europe, see www.ricksteves.com. For 2,500 years, a hill-capping acropolis has overlooked the town. In a few scenic minutes we're across the island. 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). To protect Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, and provide hospitals for their care. So for more than 2,000 years, water has come out of this well. The island's main city, also called Rhodes, was one of the great cities of antiquity. This lane, called the Street of the Knights, originally hosted knights from their various countries. Presided over by hotels that run bars for young beachgoers, the Paradise action is nonstop. Honeymooners find the B&B of their dreams…and savor breakfast in unforgettable settings. To purchase Rick's ebooks, please visit your favorite digital bookseller and search for "Rick Steves." While we could fly or take a local ferry, this time our mode of transportation is a cruise ship. We caught the first tender — beat the crowds and beat the heat. At the top end, a 500-year-old minaret marks the Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent. Being on the top deck as you approach the day's destination gives you a quiet, bird's eye view. While it's traffic-free, if you need to get somewhere you can always hop on what's nicknamed the "Lindos taxi." Artists fall in love with Oia and move in. The knights then retreated hundreds of miles west to the island of Malta, where they built an even more fortified headquarters. Originally protecting a temple of Athena, today the acropolis is mostly the crumbling remains of a Crusader fortress built by the Knights of St. John. 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. As in many Greek island towns, on Mykonos the windmills have harnessed the steady wind for centuries — grinding grain to feed its sailors. I spent a day with him and his crew while they planned, wrote and filmed for his television program Rick Stevesâ Europe. So much to see, so little time. He prioritizes attractions and provides recommendations on how to make the most out of a traveler's limited time. And at the quiet end of town, the old windmill reminds all of a more rustic age gone by. Oblivious to the rich historic heritage surrounding them, vacationers here are expert at relaxing under the steady Greek sun. Rhodes then became part of the Ottoman Empire for several centuries. And it's hard to imagine having had more Greek island fun in a few days than what we just experienced. Until next time, keep on travelin'. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. To help you get started, I've listed my top picks for where to go in Greece, and my plan for your best two-week trip to Athens and the Peloponnese. The dazzling white-washed town of Lindos, originally a wealthy maritime center because of its harbor, is now totally overrun by tourists. I love how, in the middle of all this modern tourism, the traditional culture carries on. Santorini is a dramatic island — the rim of a volcanic crater with spectacular vistas. After 14 centuries of silence and darkness, it was finally excavated in the late 1800s, and today, the ruins of Delos are ours to explore. This time I thought I'd take you on a little cruise. It's destroyed. 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. There's a pier for only one ship, so most ships drop the hook and shuttle their people in by tender. A humble Greek Orthodox chapel celebrates that visit to this day. Oia is the postcard image of the Greek isles. Back outside the walls, the city beach sprawls in a beautiful arc away from the harbor. They were also called the "Knights of St. John Hospitallers." Rhodes is built upon layers of civilizations — Italian, Greek, and Turkish, with a dash of medieval Crusader lore from all over Europe tossed in. Their mission during the 12th century Crusades? And the once-menacing shores of Turkey are just 12 miles away. Welcome aboard! See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. Nope! Today, inviting whitewashed villages seem to crowd its dramatic ridges as if jostling to enjoy the views. To get the absolute most out of our Santorini day, I've booked half a day with Dimitris. The formidable Thalassini Gate is a reminder of the age of chivalry and the famed Knights of Malta. Rick Steves in Rhodes Island. Plan your own trip or take one of Rick's value-packed European tours and vacations. Title Author Replies Last Post ; Athens restaurants with Gigante Beans on the menu? Of Santorini's many beaches, Kamari is one of the best. Just plop onto whatever appeals — don't worry; the drinks will come to you. Culture thrived here, enough to keep this theater — which could seat 6,000 — busy. 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. We'll tour ancient ruins, trace the vestiges of the Crusaders, sample rustic cuisine, savor classic Greek-island views, and compare beaches — from the ultimate party beach to idyllic quiet hideaways. 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. Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on the Greek Islands. This was one of the Aegean world's finest cities. In the 14th century the knights built the Palace of the Grand Master — an imposing residence and capital for their leader. The homes of sea captains, whose wealth came from trade, are now fancy hotels and gift shops. Most cruisers get nervous about missing the ship and head back earlier than necessary. While tourism dominates the economy, Mykonos still has a traditional charm thickly layered with white stucco, blue trim, and colorful bougainvillea. The famed statue called the "Colossus of Rhodes" once towered above the city. It's been there since the 14th century. And tour groups are sure to have free time at the best photo ops. We'll island-hop through the Aegean, sampling three classic Greek getaways — Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes — and basking in their dramatic beauty. Travel with Rick on this video guide to the islands of Greece (including Santorini … The whitewash, while scenic today, was originally practical: White reflects the powerful heat of the sun. Those paying for the cruise line's excursion get off the ship first, and head for an alternative port — where buses and guides await. Since his first book came out in 1980, Steves has written tour-books for countries, cities and regions. The bazaar-like back lanes are a delight to wander, and the main shopping drag still feels a bit like a Turkish bazaar. By Rick Steves. Centuries before Christ, Delos attracted pilgrims from across the Western world. 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. Exploring each island under the reliable sun, we'll compare beaches from the ultimate party beach…to quieter, more idyllic hideaways. Explore the Greek Islands! While extremely arid, the stony countryside of Mykonos — complete with whitewashed churches and staggering views — is a delight for a quick road trip. Because Santorini's pier is small, giant cruise ships drop anchor and tender their passengers in on small shuttle boats. Rick Steves rick steves travel audio europe europe greece mediterranean In 1309, the Knights of St. John claimed Rhodes as their headquarters and transformed it into a bustling, highly fortified European city governed by their "Grand Master.". I find the ports are least crowded and most relaxed and enjoyable during that last hour. 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. Rick Steves provides all of the essential information needed by visitors to Greece. Get the most out of every day and dollar with Rick Steves Greece & Turkey guidebooks, Snapshot guides and Pocket travel guides Once a complete island like its neighbors, it was a volcano that about 3,500 years ago blew its top, creating a caldera — this flooded crater. https://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/mediterranean-islands/, Look for Rhodes in Rick Stevesâ new episode about the Greek Islands. Lindos is the most beautiful town on the island. In fact, you can still feel that Turkish influence to this very day. Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author and television personality. Whether from Spain, France, or Germany, each group built its own headquarters here to feel like home. 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. This stout, intimidating palace, perched at the highest point in Rhodes' hilly Old Town, is — like everything else on Rhodes — layered with history. And we'll see how a cruise ship can be an efficient way to link up great island stopovers. The windy roads feel like a fairground racetrack for tourists, busy with an array of easy-to-rent vehicles. If visiting by cruise ship, it's smart to get an early start. How to choose? Prices are high, and, in season, the island is crammed full of vacationers. âRhodes Private Toursâ is a Leading Provider of Exclusive and Personalized Tour Experiences. Lindos' beach is a broad and sandy strip, great for families. It's on an uninhabited neighboring island, a 30-minute shuttle-boat ride away. The pope recognized the Knights of St. John as a religious order, and they eventually became "soldiers of the cross" — with an economic agenda and a mighty navy. Santorini is small, driving is fun, and traffic is sparse. I'm Rick Steves. While it's surely not for everyone, many find it efficient and economical for island hopping in the Mediterranean. Rick chats with two experienced guides about enjoying the best of the wide variety of Greek islands. These days, tacky trinket stalls share the lanes with top-end fashion boutiques. Mykonos' status in the last generation was as a fashionable destination for jet-setters. Rick Steves is America's leading authority on European travel. But it was destroyed by an earthquake a couple hundred years before Christ, and today nothing survives. Rick visited Rhodes in order to learn about the culture and history of our beautiful island. There are 3,000 passengers on this ship. As the nearest Greek island to the Holy Land, Rhodes was a natural gathering point for Crusaders from all over Europe. Along with its beaches, Mykonos offers a major historic attraction. Greek Islands - Audio Europe: Greece by Rick Steves Audio Europe published on 2015-02-11T02:09:15Z. 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. This point, where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet, is famously windy — long powering windmills. From Athens, we sail into the Aegean Sea. Because the knights were from aristocratic families they had lots of money and lots of power. 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. Rick's 48 itineraries include Italy, France, Turkey, Ireland, Britain, Spain, and much more! Giddy-up! He has created and hosted travel shows on Americaâs Public Broadcasting Service since 1991. If you prefer a quieter scene, more remote beaches are a short drive farther out. Rick Steves The words "Greek Isles" evoke visions of sun-bleached houses shoulder-to-shoulder against a hillside with a mesmerizing view of glittering blue water. Viewpoints here are some of the most striking in the Greek seas, as tourists clamber for just the right angle. Post questions and answers about travel in Greece. 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. Many of these dwellings originated as humble caves. No problem, we can create and customize a personalized itinerary for you. This idyllic ensemble of whitewashed houses and characteristic domes is delicately draped over a steep slope at the top of a cliff. Its wild, mountainous landscape has hosted the interminable rise and fall of cultures which makes for fascinating sightseeing today. 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. Destroyed by the Ottoman Turks, it was rebuilt in a fanciful style just a century ago. The island of Delos was one of the most important places in the ancient Greek world, with temples honoring the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. It was a hundred feet tall and polished bronze. 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). Rick encourages travelers to become what he calls âtemporary locals,â not just visiting big cities but venturing out to experience small towns and villages away from popular tourist sites. While cruisers may miss evenings in port, what they do get to experience are the evenings at sea — whether it's a dance party by the pool or quietly enjoying the full moon and anticipating new adventures tomorrow. Coming from all over Europe, they gave Rhodes a cosmopolitan feel. Windy — long powering windmills — a booming center of trade: streets lined with rentable lounge chairs a... Now seem only to protect a fun-loving tourists ' mecca and a vibrant 's! 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