Things to Know Before Booking Tours and Cruises in Greece

Cape Sounion near Athens, Greece
Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

Travelers to Greece face a bewildering array of tour and cruise options, yet with a bit of research, you will find a tour or cruise that is just right for your particular interests and budget.

Most Greece tour packages are built from similar components. Know your options—the independent traveler can often customize the same tour of Greece for less money than charged by a professional organizer. However having someone else do the research and booking, can lead to a more carefree vacation for you.

Full Tour Packages of Greece

This type of travel arrangement includes hotels, some meals, some sightseeing, and perhaps a cruise or airfare to and from Greece. Airport transfer to and from your hotel is also usually part of the package. Once you've arrived, most transportation is usually by motor coach with a group. These are great for vacationers who don't want to do their own planning or for impulse travelers who want a pleasant, worry-free, initial introduction to Greece. TripAdvisor lists a range of package tours to Greece.

Greek Island Cruises

Once you are in Greece, cruises of the Greek islands may be one of the most memorable ways to experience this beautiful country. Most Greece-based cruise ship tours are relatively inexpensive and provide a pleasant way to see a number of locations in a short period. Yacht tours are also surprisingly affordable. Cruises may include airfare or a night or two in a hotel in Athens.

The cost for a four-day cruise can start around $650 a person with a local small boat organizer. Or, you can go the luxury route and book with a ship company like Windstar which offers a 7-night Greece cruise at $3,599, starting out in Athens and stopping in Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, and Santorini.

Shore and Port Excursions

Once you are on a Greek cruise, shore and port tours are purchased through your cruise ship company. Limited port time at some destinations makes many of these tours your only opportunity to sightsee, especially if the actual destination is a distance away from the mainland. When booking a cruise, read the details about the shore excursions offered—where the tour will take you, how long you will spend there, and what exactly you will see.

Greek Island-Hopping Tours

Like coach bus tours, these Greek island-hopping tours can be booked independently, through a concierge desk, or through a travel agent, either before your trip or on impulse. Usually, these Greece tours include a hotel room plus transportation by ferry, hydrofoil, or plane. Some of them are organized as day tours to a specific island.

Sometimes a meal or sightseeing tour will be included, but this is not always the case. They are mainly used to get you to and from the island and to guarantee that you have a place to stay once you're there.

Tours of Athens and Mainland Greece

Fun and touristy, many people end up on one of these part-day tours of Athens. When taken at the beginning of your stay, a basic Athens tour can be a great way to get an overview of the city and get oriented. Other variations include an afternoon trip to Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon or an evening of entertainment in the historic Plaka neighborhood. These types of tours are usually a good value.

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