To this day, the street feels medieval, with carved reliefs that show off that original national pride. Agios Sostis, an old hippie beach at the north end of the island, has none of the thumping party energy of Paradise Beach. Honeymooners find the B&B of their dreams…and savor breakfast in unforgettable settings. I found Rick to be as pleasant as he appears on his shows. The homes of sea captains, whose wealth came from trade, are now fancy hotels and gift shops. Rick Steves provides all of the essential information needed by visitors to Greece. 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. Mykonos' status in the last generation was as a fashionable destination for jet-setters. Keeping my eye on the clock, I hop the cable car back down to the old port, where our ship's shuttle, or tender, awaits. We bid our guide goodbye to enjoy a last couple hours in Fira, Santorini's main town. The knights then retreated hundreds of miles west to the island of Malta, where they built an even more fortified headquarters. This time I thought I'd take you on a little cruise. 2–3 days: Athens While it's surely not for everyone, many find it efficient and economical for island hopping in the Mediterranean. We caught the first tender — beat the crowds and beat the heat. 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). His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. It never recovered and was eventually abandoned. see our FAQ. The last tender isn't leaving for 15 minutes…that's plenty of time for one last ouzo. While there are lots of Greek islands to visit, we're dropping in on just three classics. Rick Steves provides all of the essential information needed by visitors to Greece. It offers little beyond lovely sand, turquoise water, and tranquility. Survey the remains of the ancient harbor: foundations of shops and homes, and hillsides littered with temple remains. Because Santorini's pier is small, giant cruise ships drop anchor and tender their passengers in on small shuttle boats. ​Dimitris: This is the Mediterranean diet. My reward? He has started a new genre of travel writing recounting his favourite moments in collections of anecdotes from his many years of travel. Rick Steves in Rhodes Island. And those once-formidable walls now seem only to protect a fun-loving tourists' mecca and a vibrant artist's colony. He has created and hosted travel shows on America’s Public Broadcasting Service since 1991. Rick: Very nice. Rhodes is built upon layers of civilizations — Italian, Greek, and Turkish, with a dash of medieval Crusader lore from all over Europe tossed in. 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. Lindos' beach is a broad and sandy strip, great for families. Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / Greece; Please sign in to post. And we'll connect it all by cruise ship, enjoying fun on board as we sail. Antonis: You can still drink if you want. By Rick Steves. Welcome aboard! If you prefer a quieter scene, more remote beaches are a short drive farther out. As we enter the historic harbor, the walls of the fortified town seem to tell a story. There are 3,000 passengers on this ship. And at the quiet end of town, the old windmill reminds all of a more rustic age gone by. There's a range of beaches on Mykonos. Rick visited Rhodes in order to learn about the culture and history of our beautiful island. Video: Watch Greek Islands, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. 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. Santorini is small, driving is fun, and traffic is sparse. Travel with Rick on this video guide to the islands of Greece (including Santorini … If visiting by cruise ship, it's smart to get an early start. While we could fly or take a local ferry, this time our mode of transportation is a cruise ship. The palace was fortified with three walls and two moats for good reason: the ever-present Turkish threat. Many of these dwellings originated as humble caves. I enjoy the scenic arrivals and departures by cruise ship. Cruising is designed for the masses, and it has its pros and cons. From Athens, we sail into the Aegean Sea. He was a thoroughly nice and professional gentleman and clearly loves what he does. Rick chats with two experienced guides about enjoying the best of the wide variety of Greek islands. As is standard around here, beaches rent comfortable lounge furniture with umbrellas. Mykonos is another small island with a small port inundated by cruise-ship crowds. I hope you've enjoyed our Greek island cruise as we've explored just three of the countless islands that make the Aegean Sea such a popular destination. Rick: This is a healthy diet. From Athens to Mount Ararat, join Rick as he meets the people and explores the ancient sites of Greece and Turkey. 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. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. The book includes maps and guides to many of the major attractions in Greece. Title Author Replies Last Post ; Athens restaurants with Gigante Beans on the menu? And we'll see how a cruise ship can be an efficient way to link up great island stopovers. He also has expanded into radio, newspaper and the Internet. Greece. Within minutes you'll be powering up the switch-backs into the island as your guide narrates the drive. The book includes maps and guides to many of the major attractions in Greece. Should I get Rick's Pocket Athens guide in addition to this Greece guidebook? Culture thrived here, enough to keep this theater — which could seat 6,000 — busy. And I love the way the blue and white of the townscape seems inspired by the colors of the Greek flag. I've left our bus tour early for a rendezvous with a private local guide. Approaching an exotic and fabled island like Santorini — as the moon sets and the sun rises, just kissing the lip of the breathtaking cliffs — is worth getting up for. How to choose? Ippocratus Square is the busy heart of the old town. Rick Steves rick steves travel audio europe europe greece mediterranean Excursions also include scenic views from the bus, and the stress-free efficiency of getting smoothly from point to point. The most trendy is Paradise, one of the ultimate party beaches in the Aegean. Assuming a sunny floating resort is what you're looking for, cruising can be both economical and efficient — especially when lacing together far-flung islands within a limited vacation schedule. Rhodes, or "Rhodos," as locals call it, is the fourth largest of the Greek islands. Punctuated by romantic nights at sea, our itinerary promises plenty of unforgettable sightseeing. Locals manage to eke out an existence as they have for centuries. Since his first book came out in 1980, Steves has written tour-books for countries, cities and regions. 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. Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author and television personality. At the top end, a 500-year-old minaret marks the Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent. Of its hundreds of islands, we'll visit three: Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. Those paying for the cruise line's excursion get off the ship first, and head for an alternative port — where buses and guides await. 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. 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. Imagine Delos in its heyday — a booming center of trade: streets lined with 3,000 shops where you could buy just about anything. 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. Get the most out of every day and dollar with Rick Steves Greece & Turkey guidebooks, Snapshot guides and Pocket travel guides My Account. It's destroyed. Plan your own trip or take one of Rick's value-packed European tours and vacations. And tour groups are sure to have free time at the best photo ops. See, you can eat them! Prices are high, and, in season, the island is crammed full of vacationers. Start a New Topic. 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. Giddy-up! Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. Back outside the walls, the city beach sprawls in a beautiful arc away from the harbor. I love how, in the middle of all this modern tourism, the traditional culture carries on. And with Dimitris, I know exactly what I'm eating. Innovative cisterns collected rain water — these round arches date from the third century BC. This was one of the Aegean world's finest cities. The Kameni Islands are actually made of lava rock. Dazzling mansions of wealthy merchants with colonnaded inner courtyards. Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on the Greek Islands. Greece, like all of the other Rick Steves tours, I have taken, was an excellent venture with a conscientious tour guide and congenial travel mates. Viewpoints here are some of the most striking in the Greek seas, as tourists clamber for just the right angle. And the once-menacing shores of Turkey are just 12 miles away. The difference with the local salad is that we use the local tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes, the local cucumbers, and instead of the feta cheese, we use the goat cheese, and we add the capers and the caper leaves. 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. We'll tour ancient ruins, then climb to the summit for a grand view, and sample Greek cuisine within splashing distance of the sea. In fact, you can still feel that Turkish influence to this very day. Exploring each island under the reliable sun, we'll compare beaches from the ultimate party beach…to quieter, more idyllic hideaways. 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. About a century before Christ, Delos was devastated by a terrible war. This lane, called the Street of the Knights, originally hosted knights from their various countries. Everything you need is here. Strategically set with natural harbors flanking an easy-to-fortify pinnacle, its history goes back long before Christ. 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. The island of Rhodes, while arid, is fun to explore. 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. Wealthy shipping merchants built this row of fine mansions with brightly painted wooden balconies that seem to rise out of the sea. Artists fall in love with Oia and move in. The bazaar-like back lanes are a delight to wander, and the main shopping drag still feels a bit like a Turkish bazaar. Local guides demonstrate still-working wells. I cap my visit by climbing to the summit of the island. Greece Travel Tips I - Audio Europe: Greece by Rick Steves Audio Europe published on 2013-10-01T21:15:22Z Greek travel expert Penny Kolomvotsou discusses the spruced-up capital of Athens, the villages of the mainland and the islands, and how travelers can best experience Greece's rich history in the ruins of its ancient past. 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). Santorini is a dramatic island — the rim of a volcanic crater with spectacular vistas. Until next time, keep on travelin'. Wear good shoes, and bring sun protection and plenty of water. Dimitris: Well, we have here a Greek salad and a Santorini salad. The lime that makes the whitewash is a good antiseptic — villagers knew it would naturally disinfect the rainwater that was collected on rooftops. Rick Steves' Europe. While tourism dominates the economy, Mykonos still has a traditional charm thickly layered with white stucco, blue trim, and colorful bougainvillea. Rick: 30,000? 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. This Colossus of Rhodes was one of the "seven wonders" of the ancient world. Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are my recommended priorities. Rick's guidebooks are also available as ebooks that can be read on any Apple, Android, Kindle, Nook, or Kobo device, or on your computer. Their mission during the 12th century Crusades? They taste good. In a few minutes they're pulling up the gangway and I'm back on the ship. These "cave houses," surrounded by air-filled pumice, are naturally insulated — staying cool in summer and warm in winter. The formidable Thalassini Gate is a reminder of the age of chivalry and the famed Knights of Malta. 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. And, for many, it's their Greek isle dream come true. So much to see, so little time. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Centuries before Christ, Delos attracted pilgrims from across the Western world. Explore the Greek Islands! The Aegean Sea offers the quintessence of Mediterranean island charm. Gradually these cheapest bits of real estate were developed, and, with tourism, they became today's expensive villas, hotels, and restaurants. These days, tacky trinket stalls share the lanes with top-end fashion boutiques. Rick Steves European tours and vacations feature the best value and travel experience around. 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. Antonis is an excellent local guide who enjoys introducing visitors to the hidden nooks and crannies of Mykonos. The Italians rebuilt it in the 20th century as an over-the-top imagining of a medieval fortress that scarcely resembles its original self — but in some ways, that makes it even more interesting to tour. Rick Steves is America's leading authority on European travel. A humble Greek Orthodox chapel celebrates that visit to this day. Presided over by hotels that run bars for young beachgoers, the Paradise action is nonstop. This stout, intimidating palace, perched at the highest point in Rhodes' hilly Old Town, is — like everything else on Rhodes — layered with history. Mykonos is small — any point on the island is within a 20-minute drive. Rick: These salads look delicious. No problem, we can create and customize a personalized itinerary for you. It's been there since the 14th century. 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. But, even with four ships in the harbor today, there seems to be plenty of room. 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. Rick Steves' Europe Travel Guide | The thriving capital of Greece sprawls out from the foot of its magnificent Acropolis. And it's hard to imagine having had more Greek island fun in a few days than what we just experienced. This point, where the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas meet, is famously windy — long powering windmills. Visit Rick’s blog to learn about his visit to Rhodes 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. This idyllic ensemble of whitewashed houses and characteristic domes is delicately draped over a steep slope at the top of a cliff. They were also called the "Knights of St. John Hospitallers." It's the epitome of a Greek island town: a busy breakwater, fine little beach, and inviting lanes. Today, luxury yachts crowd the harbor. I find the ports are least crowded and most relaxed and enjoyable during that last hour. The island's main city, also called Rhodes, was one of the great cities of antiquity. To purchase Rick's ebooks, please visit your favorite digital bookseller and search for "Rick Steves." 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. Whether from Spain, France, or Germany, each group built its own headquarters here to feel like home. You can use a guidebook and be your own guide, or you can just hang out and be thoroughly on vacation. But it was destroyed by an earthquake a couple hundred years before Christ, and today nothing survives. Destroyed by the Ottoman Turks, it was rebuilt in a fanciful style just a century ago. He prioritizes attractions and provides recommendations on how to make the most out of a traveler's limited time. To protect Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, and provide hospitals for their care. With little building material on the island, it just made sense to dig into the cliffs. It's so iconic and beautiful that it's included in most major cruise-ship itineraries. It's easy to enjoy Mykonos town with no planning, no tour, and no guide. Visitors can stroll past 500-year-old cannon balls, browse Turkish markets, and enjoy a romantic, white-sand beach. Just plop onto whatever appeals — don't worry; the drinks will come to you. In the morning, we'll be in Santorini. Coming from all over Europe, they gave Rhodes a cosmopolitan feel. While extremely arid, the stony countryside of Mykonos — complete with whitewashed churches and staggering views — is a delight for a quick road trip. I'm Rick Steves. 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. It was a hundred feet tall and polished bronze. We're sailing to three iconic Greek islands: Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. There's no right or wrong — it depends entirely on your mood and your style. 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. Typical of Greek island resort beaches, it's lined with rentable lounge chairs and a strip of seafood restaurants. 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. So for more than 2,000 years, water has come out of this well. With each port you've got sightseeing options: You can take the organized tour and be on their time table, or, you can hire a private guide. And it retains a certain hip cachet. Tell us about your Tour! The real attraction here is the beaches. A tidy embankment is so pretty they call it "Little Venice." Dimitris: We had a big earthquake back in 1956, 7.8 Richter scale, destroyed very many houses like this captain's house over here, and on the other side, you can see the Venetian fortress. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. The Ottoman Turks finally defeated the Knights of St. John in the 1500s. The dazzling white-washed town of Lindos, originally a wealthy maritime center because of its harbor, is now totally overrun by tourists. And, like most of them, we're heading for the beach. Greek Islands - Audio Europe: Greece by Rick Steves Audio Europe published on 2015-02-11T02:09:15Z. 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. The famed statue called the "Colossus of Rhodes" once towered above the city. Delos has virtually no shade and minimal services, beyond a café selling basic snacks. Sailing these fabled seas, I find myself drawn to the top deck. Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. Related travel information at www.ricksteves.com . Of Santorini's many beaches, Kamari is one of the best. 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. https://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/mediterranean-islands/, Look for Rhodes in Rick Steves’ new episode about the Greek Islands. In a few scenic minutes we're across the island. We deliver Private Custom Tours at very affordable rates All our tours are fully customizable to suit your travel needs, interests, schedules, and dates. 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. With Rick Steves. The windy roads feel like a fairground racetrack for tourists, busy with an array of easy-to-rent vehicles. I found Rick to be as pleasant as he appears on his shows. I spent a day with him and his crew while they planned, wrote and filmed for his television program Rick Steves’ Europe. Because the knights were from aristocratic families they had lots of money and lots of power. -Back on board, we sail farther east toward the island of Rhodes, and we have another evening on board. In this sampler of Greek isles we'll enjoy their fascinating history, inviting beaches, and dramatic beauty. 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. Lindos is the most beautiful town on the island. For more info on traveling in Europe, see www.ricksteves.com. We'll learn of Crusader history and marvel at stunning Greek isle views. As the nearest Greek island to the Holy Land, Rhodes was a natural gathering point for Crusaders from all over Europe. The black sand is a reminder of the island's volcanic origin. 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. Its wild, mountainous landscape has hosted the interminable rise and fall of cultures which makes for fascinating sightseeing today. I spent a day with him and his crew while they planned, wrote and filmed for his television program Rick Steves’ Europe. Today, inviting whitewashed villages seem to crowd its dramatic ridges as if jostling to enjoy the views. 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.". Oia is the postcard image of the Greek isles. Post questions and answers about travel in Greece. Rick encourages travelers to become what he calls “temporary locals,” not just visiting big cities but venturing out to experience small towns and villages away from popular tourist sites. Today these mansions have been refitted as restaurants and bars for tourists enjoying fresh fish and romantic views. 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 “Rhodes Private Tours” 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/. Post questions and answers about travel in Greece. Along with its beaches, Mykonos offers a major historic attraction. So, they honored Helios by building a colossal statue. While it's traffic-free, if you need to get somewhere you can always hop on what's nicknamed the "Lindos taxi." Rhodes then became part of the Ottoman Empire for several centuries. We'll island-hop through the Aegean, sampling three classic Greek getaways — Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes — and basking in their dramatic beauty. Guide: Those two are the Kameni Islands. Greek tour guide Anastasia Gaitanou tells Rick how Athens has grown into a visitor-friendly destination, complete with a new Acropolis museum. Oblivious to the rich historic heritage surrounding them, vacationers here are expert at relaxing under the steady Greek sun. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. Greece. The whitewash, while scenic today, was originally practical: White reflects the powerful heat of the sun. There's a pier for only one ship, so most ships drop the hook and shuttle their people in by tender. Cruisers enjoy toggling effortlessly between their daily adventures on shore and evenings back "home" on their floating resort. Being on the top deck as you approach the day's destination gives you a quiet, bird's eye view. 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. One of the Mediterranean's great king-of-the-mountain thrills. 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. Delos ranked right up there with Olympia, Athens, and Delphi. The iconic row of sphinx-like lions still heralds the importance of the place. Most cruisers get nervous about missing the ship and head back earlier than necessary. 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. Going to Greece this summer for the first time..Have used Rick Steves' audio tours for France and Italy and now I am looking forward to learning about Greece… Rick visited Rhodes in order to learn about the culture and history of our beautiful island. 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. Nope! 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. There were fine mosaics — like this one of the god Dionysus riding a panther. Can you tell me about them? 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. 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. An hour's drive south takes us to the island's other popular attraction. 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. As in many Greek island towns, on Mykonos the windmills have harnessed the steady wind for centuries — grinding grain to feed its sailors. Terms of Service | Privacy. And later, during Roman times, this was one of the busiest commercial ports in the entire Mediterranean. In the 14th century the knights built the Palace of the Grand Master — an imposing residence and capital for their leader. 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.