Soak up the sun in Santorini on a seven-day Greek Isles itinerary with Celestyal Journey. Shutterstock

Celebrate Greek Independence Day with these top five cruising ports in Greece

Author: Niamh Payne

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It’s Greek Independence Day (March 25), and we round up five of the best ports to visit in Greece on a cruise

Greece, the country of crystal blue waters, colossal ancient ruins and iconic white & blue buildings, is celebrating 202 years of independence from the Ottoman Empire today.

This national holiday commemorates the Greek War of Independence and has taken place every year since 1821, when the Greeks defeated the Ottomans after four centuries under their rule to create their own independent Greek state.

Expect marching bands, speeches and several parades across the world to celebrate this occasion – one of which being a school flag parade in which children adorned in traditional Greek attire march with Greek flags.

Larger cities like Athens will even host grand military parades, and traditional dishes like hake, which is fried cod, and skordalia, a garlic and potato dip, will be eaten.

In honour of this day, here are five cruising ports you should visit in Greece that reflect all that is beautiful about Greek culture, landscapes and traditions.

Cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean offer regular voyages to the country, so keep on reading to know how to make the most out of your stops at these ports.

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Old Port of Fira

Situated below Santorini’s capital of Fira, the Old Port of Fira is conveniently placed for exploring the surrounding area.

You can choose to visit the town of Fira and its beautiful white buildings by either walking up 600 steps, or taking a scenic cable car ride up to the city.

From there, hiking aficionados can go on a three hour walk to the nearby village of Oia, climbing over the dark volcanic rocks of Santorini and passing by impressive cliffside views and calderas.

Once at Oia, make sure to visit the Maritime Museum of Oia, grab a few drinks at a bar, or go to the blue-domed churches for some stunning panoramic views of the Santorini landscape, especially at sunset.

Gaze in awe at the Acropolis of Athens in Athens, Greece, as your tour is a roundtrip from here. Credit: Shutterstock

Piraeus Port

Being the home of countless historical landmarks, it’s impossible to be bored while at Piraeus Port.

All the splendors of ancient Athens are just a short walk away, like the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Erechtheion.

But if the ruins aren’t for you, then go for a bit of light shopping at Monastiraki Square and walk through lines of street vendors, performers and Greek locals going about their day.

Be sure to also visit a few restaurants, bars and cafes in the city to try some delicious traditional Greek food like moussaka and bougatsa.

And if you happen to find the time, try making your way up Mount Lycabettus for amazing views of the wondrous capital of Greece.

Pastel villages and gorgeous sandy beaches abound in Corfu. Credit: Shutterstock

Corfu Port

When visiting this Greek island port, head over to Corfu’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and admire its colorful architecture and whimsical charm.

There are many religious attractions to see, such as the Church of Spiridon and Monastery of Paleokastistra, and museums to visit, like the Museum of Asian Art.

Take a walk around the decorated Achilleion Palace that was built for Sisi, the Empress of Austria, and for any fans of Greek mythology, make your way toward the ruins of the Temple of Artemis.

Outside of town lies breathtaking landscapes of green foliage and shimmering blue water, all visible from Angelokastro, a Byzantine castle perched on the highest peak of the island’s shoreline.

The beaches in Corfu also offer a wide range of water activities like scuba diving, jet skiing and surfing.

Stroll along the pretty harbour with it’s boutiques and tavernas. Credit: Shutterstock

Mykonos New Port

Walk a little way from Mykonos New Port to end up in the heart of Little Venice.

With stone paths twisting through buildings engulfed by flowers, every corner here looks like it belongs in a postcard.

Mykonos Town also possesses a similar appeal, its scenic alleyways the perfect place to get lost in, and its wide selection of bars and restaurants ideal for grabbing a drink and relaxing in.

Probably the most popular and most photographed attraction in Mykonos though is its historic windmills located on a hill overlooking the port.

These wheat windmills are no longer operational, but were once the main source of income for the residents of Mykonos.

Rhodes is a medieval city full of culture and history. Credit: Shutterstock

Rhodes Port

Admire the architecture in Rhodes old town, which is the best preserved medieval town in Europe, its buildings holding history spanning over thousands of years.

There, stop by the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, a medieval castle showcasing Gothic style architecture, a rare sight in Greece.

A little further away, you can look at ruins from ancient Greece at the Acropolis of Rhodes, like the Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, or the Temple of Pythian Apollo, and visit Kamiros, one of the three ancient cities in Rhodes that has remains of civilization dating from nearly 3,000 years ago.

There is also a nature park called Valley of the Butterflies for those who would rather be surrounded by rich nature than archeological sites.

So, whatever way you choose to celebrate Greek Independence Day, make sure you do it on a cruise.

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