Viking has announced a new 11-day ocean cruise itinerary, Greek Odyssey, that will allow guests to explore the ancient empires of antiquity of the Aegean Sea during the quiet winter season. Sailing roundtrip from Athens starting in January 2021, the new itinerary offers three new ports of call for Viking, including Volos, Thessaloníki and Nafplio in Greece, as well as a stop in Ephesus, marking the company’s return to Turkey.
Sailing on Viking’s 930-guest all-veranda Viking Sea, guests will journey through several millennia of culture and history, from Athens, known as the “birthplace of democracy,” to the island of Crete, home to the Minoan civilization.
Highlights of the new Greek Odyssey itinerary include:
Ephesus (Kuşadasi), Turkey: One of the best-preserved cities of antiquity in the world, guests can visit the remains of the Byzantine Basilica of St. John, take in sights such as the Great Theater and the Library of Celsus, or see the modest home where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary lived out her final days.
Volos, Greece: Now a modern port city, this region was once thought of as the playground of the gods. Guests can experience the scenery of Meteora, where medieval monasteries stand on hilltops, or explore the ancient religious center of Dion, located on the foothills of Mt. Olympus.
Thessaloniki, Greece: Greece’s second-largest city offers a mix of ancient culture and modern life. While in port, guests can walk the waterfront promenade with its cafés and restaurants, or venture outside the city to the remains of the ancient Macedonian kingdom of Alexander the Great.
Nafplio, Greece: Set between mountains and the Bay of Argos, Nafplio is considered one of Greece’s most picturesque and romantic port cities. Guests can discover its Venetian homes and Byzantine churches, take a drive to Palamidi, a fortress towering over the city, or travel to the nearby Peloponnese peninsula, an ancient area filled with history.
Scenic cruising: Mt. Athos: During the one sea day on this itinerary, guests will sail past the slopes of Mt. Athos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the spiritual capital of Orthodox Christianity. Called the “Holy Mountain,” the peninsula’s peaks are home to 20 monasteries whose monks work to preserve and catalogue a collection of liturgical works and art.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.