It was almost the end of our trip and we could not have had a better destination. During our fourth day on board of the Celestyal Cruise, we visited the famous islands of Crete and Santorini. After a good breakfast in the ship’s restaurant, which we were definitely going to miss, around 7 AM, we were ready to disembark and join one of the optional shore trips offered on the cruise.
Crete, the island of the Minotaur
Crete is the largest and most populated of the Greek islands. Despite the significant increase in the number of tourists that visit the island every year, it still retains its charm and unique character. We disembarked in Heraklion, Crete’s largest city, and headed to the ancient city of Knossos, home of the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The walk through these ruins helps you understand the impressive cultural heritage of the island.
Again, around noon and after a quick visit to the capital of Crete, we started our way to what undoubtedly was the star destination of the entire cruise, the island of Santorini.
While sailing to Santorini, the Olympia’s crew gave us the opportunity to visit the captain cabin, located on the upper deck. The views were stunning and the few people who were in the room worked in absolute silence while we were approach to the port of Santorini. Being able to see the captain and his crew maneuver and get us to Santorini’s port was a unique experience that we definitely loved to witness.
Santorini, elegance and glamor
Worldwide known for its white and blue tinted houses, its nightlife, its style and elegance, its white sand beaches and, of course, its volcano, Santorini has become in the last few years one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe.
While waiting for our turn to get on the tender boats, one could definitely feel that Santorini that this was the destination that everyone had been waiting for. A bus was waiting for us in the port to take us to the town of Oia. The drive took about 50 minutes and it was quite enjoyable. Our guide was very nice and told us a lot of stories and interesting anecdotes about the island and local people. Also the wonderful views made one even more eager to get to Oia and be able to witness one the most famous sunset spot in the world.
With only several minutes in Oia we realized that the number of tourists visiting this small village, located in the north of the island on top of an impressive cliff, had nothing to do with any of the other places we had visited during our cruise.
The amount of people walking and trying to get the perfect photo was overwhelming. Although we are not very fans of the large crowds, we ventured into its narrow streets and make our way through the crowd. The city is beautiful. There’s no doubt. Its charming white houses and blue domes, its narrow streets full of small shops and restaurants and its terraces of dream with spectacular views of the Aegean Sea make it the jewel of the Cyclades.