Day 1 - Piraeus (Athens), Greece No modern metropolis is more steeped in myth than Athens, Greece. From the gritty port of Piraeus—gateway to Greece’s fabled isles—to the Parthenon—eternal symbol of Western civilization—Athens has attracted adventurers and classicists for centuries. This heritage is still very much alive for modern visitors sightseeing in Athens: ancient stadiums and temples dwell alongside apartment blocks, modern performances are staged in the marble amphitheaters where Greek drama was born and millennia-old monuments are scattered in the archaeological park that circles the Acropolis. One of the world’s oldest maritime powers, Athens is blessed with a balmy climate and stunning coastline. The seaside suburbs of Athens are scalloped with sandy beaches, fancy yacht clubs and glamorous beach bars. While the Athenian lifestyle is known for late-night dinners and dancing until dawn, the city shines brightly by day in the bustling markets, lively cafés and fascinating museums that illuminate Greece's past and present. Contemplate the magnitude of all that culture and ancient tourist attractions while marveling at the sun setting into the Aegean or rising over the Acropolis.
Day 2 - Scenic cruising Dardanelles
Day 2 - Istanbul Blurring the line between east and west, Istanbul stands at the crossroads of two continents. The city's architecture is rivalled only by its spectacular natural setting on the Bosphorus Strait. See the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and the Byzantine Church of St Sophia. Take time to wander through the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market and sample baklava and shish kebabs.
Day 3 - Istanbul Blurring the line between east and west, Istanbul stands at the crossroads of two continents. The city's architecture is rivalled only by its spectacular natural setting on the Bosphorus Strait. See the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and the Byzantine Church of St Sophia. Take time to wander through the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market and sample baklava and shish kebabs.
Day 4 - Mykonos Informality rules on this sunny isle where pleasure-seekers from around the world come to play. Ramble along narrow streets past white-washed houses and blue-domed churches, bouganvillea-covered walls and thread-like, step-laden footpaths leading everywhere.
Day 5 - Souda (Chania) The port of Souda on the Aegean Sea is home to a Greek and NATO naval base and is located six kilometers (three miles) from Chania—the second-largest city on Crete, which itself is the largest of the Greek Islands. Once you’re in Chania, set your compass for the historic waterfront with its famous Venetian Harbor dating to the 14th century. Walk along the breakwater to the restored 500-year-old lighthouse for views that are particularly photogenic from late afternoon until sunset. The atmospheric tangle of streets that is Old Town is easily explored on foot, and you can stop at one of the many outdoor cafés for a bouyatsa (custard pastry) or a glass of Cretan red wine.Soúda can also be a jumping-off point for a visit to Rethymnon, located about 54 kilometers (33 miles) to the east. Shaped by centuries of invasion, namely by the Venetians and Turks, its Fortezza was built by the Venetians in the late 16th century and captured by the Ottomans in 1646. The Old Town has the same kind of architectural character as Chania, but on a smaller scale.
Day 6 - Katakolon In the quiet of the original Olympic stadium, where the torch was first lit and the winners were crowned with a laurel wreath, let your imagination run. Step into the ruined archives of Greek mythology at the Temple of Zeus—one of the few remaining Wonders of the Ancient World.
Day 7 - At Sea
Day 8 - Venice, Italy Discover la Serenissima by gondola and ride with someone special under the Bridge of Sighs; wonder at the opulence of Ducal palaces and try on a gaudy, feather-bedecked Carnival mask. Linger over cappuccino on the Ca d'Oro, and be sure to dodge the pigeons in the Piazza before you step into San Marco Cathedral for an eyeful of giltwork and divine frescoes.
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