Just a short distance from Athens, Piraeus is the biggest port in the Mediterranean and sees over 20 million cruisers each year. This port city is a perfect example of life by the sea, boasting an impressive harbour and authentic seafood dining, as well as the rich and fascinating history of ancient Greece. Whether you’re looking to discover archaeological findings or just want to relax in the sun at a friendly café, Piraeus is the place to be.
Things to do in Athens (Piraeus):
Agia Triada Church
Despite being a modern construction, Agia Triada features Byzantine architecture as well as an impressive dome that is visible from every spot within the church. Overlooking the port of Piraeus, Agia Triada is a must visit to discover the history of the town and take in the tranquillity.
This vibrant and colourful district is nestled on top of a hill with views out over the bay. A walk around this neighbourhood will take you to quaint cafes, neoclassical architecture, Prophet Elias church and the Veakeion outdoor theatre.
Covering the Mycenaean period to the Roman era, the Piraeus Archaeological Museum offers artefacts excavated from Piraeus’ landscape, as well as collections donated from other sites. Visitors will discover monuments, statues, artwork and more.
One of only three surviving Liberty ships, the SS Hellas Liberty is a fascinating vessel to explore. This floating maritime museum was presented to the public in 2010 and covers a range of exhibits people of all ages will enjoy.
With stunning views of the Saronic Gulf and the beautiful vessels moored in the harbour, the bay of Zea is the perfect place to go for a walk, enjoy a delicious coffee and take in the sunshine. You’ll find many hidden gems here, including ancient walls.
Istanbul - Overnight onboard
DAY 4-521 Oct 2023
Istanbul’s history dates back thousands of years, making it an incredibly culturally enriching destination to visit. With warm and welcoming locals excited to show you around, you’ll explore breath-taking mosques with vibrant mosaics, find handcrafted souvenirs at lively markets and enjoy aromatic mezes and fresh seafood as well as locally produced wine. There’s a lot to see here, but be sure to simply explore this wonderful city to truly soak up the culture.
Things to do in Istanbul - Overnight onboard:
One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Basilica Cistern was built in 532 and is the largest surviving cistern in Istanbul. The number of columns and the impeccable symmetry is a staggering sight and a must see, making a great escape on hot summer days.
Built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, the Blue Mosque is named for its hand-painted blue tiles on the interior walls, and the blue lights that illuminate it at night. A walk around this impressive structure is truly awe inspiring- don’t forget to adhere to the dress code though.
This magnificent structure took 13 years to build and was the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Take a tour of the entire palace or different sections and discover the exquisite decoration (particularly the 4.5 tonne chandelier) and the painting museum.
Often considered the eighth wonder of the world, the Hagia Sophia was actually built three times after being destroyed, with the third and final structure being built 532-537 AD. Now, it is a museum filled with Christian and Muslim art, as well as breath-taking architecture.
Selling countless varieties of Turkish delight, Mısır Çarşısı Market (also known as Spice Bazaar) is a fantastic place to find souvenirs, spices, snacks and stories from warm, friendly vendors. Whether you’re looking to buy or not, exploring the market is a great way to be immersed in the culture and atmosphere of Istanbul.
Sultanahmet Square is where you’ll find the tourist hotspots of Istanbul all in one place. Located in one of the most historical parts of the city, you’ll find the largest cistern, two stunning mosques and numerous places to enjoy authentic cuisine.
Topkapi Palace possesses a colourful history with many sultans living there since 1481. A visit here will give visitors insight into the fascinating stories of the Ottoman Empire, through collections of armour, weaponry, pottery, jewellery and more.
Mykonos Town, Mykonos
DAY 623 Oct 2023
Whether you’re in the mood for stretching out on an idyllic beach, itching to explore the maze of streets in search of seafood, or even looking to dance the night away at a seaside superclub, Mykonos has something for everyone. History buffs will be fascinated by the archaeological site of Delos, while Mykonos Windmills provide the perfect holiday snap. A romantic dinner along Little Venice is a must for couples- especially at sunset.
Things to do in Mykonos Town, Mykonos:
This row of 18th century fishing houses looks out onto the crystal clear sea, providing beautiful views both day and night. Though they aren’t fishing houses anymore, the shops, restaurants and bars that have replaced them still give a very enchanting waterfront experience.
Boasting plenty of sun-kissed beaches, including Fokos and Kapari beaches, there's plenty of space and options for a relaxing day on the sand by the blue sea.
Paraportiani Church is one of the most photographed churches in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The whitewashed structure stands out vibrantly against the ocean backdrop, creating fantastic photo opportunities and a romantic place to take a stroll.
Featured on many postcards you’ll find in Greece, the Mykonos Windmills are an iconic sight of the island. Once vital to the economy, the seven windmills are now a beautiful spot to take photos and explore- particularly at sunset.
Day or night, Matoyianni Street is bustling with shopping, dining and bars. It’s the perfect place to find handmade souvenirs, such as jewellery and even sandals, as well as other designer boutiques. Visitors will also love the live music here!
Delos Archaeological Site
This small island is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Greece, and is simply teeming with mythological and historical insights. Visitors will marvel at the artefacts exhibited here, including sculptures of Apollo and Artemis.
DAY 825 Oct 2023
Nestled among the mountains, Kotor provides the setting for a picturesque cruise holiday. A walk around Old Town Budva will take you past timeless architecture, while San Giovanni Castle has the best photo opportunities. Kotor is not just for relaxing and scenic strolls though, with Aquapark Budva providing a fun-filled day for all the family. Don’t forget to stop by the many charming eateries in between for an authentic taste of Kotor cuisine too.
Things to do in Kotor:
If you are looking for a secluded beach tucked away in serenity by beautiful rock coves, head to Jaz Beach where you’ll be able to sunbathe and relax.
St Tryphon’s Cathedral
After being restored numerous times following earthquakes, St Tryphon’s Cathedral continues to represent the expertise of Roman architecture. With many stunning artefacts and decorations, this cathedral is well worth exploring.
Lovćen National Park
A short drive from Kotor, Lovćen National Park is home to imposing mountains including the spectacular Mount Lovćen standing 1,749 metres high. With no shortage of outdoor adventures to discover, visitors will love quad biking and zip lining in particular.
With countless boutiques, authentic eateries, and bars as well as a quaint museum teeming with ancient artefacts, Old Town Budva is a delightful place to explore. Enjoy dessert from a charming bakery, admire the view from the citadel and bask in the peace and quiet.
San Giovanni Castle
After climbing 1,350 stairs to a height of 1,200 metres you’ll find this impressive fortress built between the 9th and 19th centuries. With Byzantine and Venetian roots, this structure is beautifully preserved and teeming with fascinating history to discover.
Nestled in lush surroundings with views over the town nearby, Aquapark Budva is perfect for spending a hot afternoon cooling off. The park features multiple pools and waterslides to suit a range of ages, as well as a restaurant, bars, shops and lockers.
DAY 1027 Oct 2023
Naples is one of the most important cities in Italy. Its foundation dates back to the 8th century BC, and it once had an important relationship with Athens, due to its commercial power and position on the sea. The city is rich in history and there are numerous places of interest to visit, in particular the archaeological excavations of the nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Things to do in Naples:
The opening of the historic National Archaeological Museum of Naples took place in 1816. Built by Ferdinando I of Borbone, at the time king of the Two Sicilies, it boasts the richest collection of works and archaeological finds with regard to Roman history.
Museo d'arte contemporanea
The Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as the Madre Museum, is located inside Palazzo Donnaregina, in the center of Naples. It was established in 2005 with the aim of promoting cultural and artistic development in the territory of Campania.
The construction of the Royal Palace began in 1600 and for a long time was the residence of the Spanish viceroys, before passing to the House of Bourbon and finally to the House of Savoy. The architectural style is a mixture of Baroque and Neoclassical. Today, the palace houses a museum and a library.
The history of Pompeii begins in the 9th century BC, when the area was inhabited by the Opici people - an ancient Latin population. Today the town is famous because of the eruption of Vesuvius, which occurred in 79 AD, which led to its total destruction.
The profile of Naples would not be the same without Mount Vesuvius that dominates the city skyline. Versuvius is known for the violent eruption of AD 79, which became famous for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and was witnessed by Pliny the Younger.
The tremendous eruption of Vesuvius, in 79 AD, not only destroyed Pompeii but also the ancient city of Herculaneum. The archaeological excavations of this city can be visited today and, since 1997, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
San Gennaro Catacombs
The Catacombs of San Gennaro are the most important Christian monument in Naples. The remains of San Gennaro, the main patron saint of the city, have been held here since the 5th century. The labyrinth of corridors also house Christian frescos from the 2nd century AD, and mosaics from the 5th century AD.
Castel Nuovo is a medieval and Renaissance-era castle. Most commonly known as Maschio Angioino, its construction began in the 13th century at the behest of Charles I of Anjou, after he moved the Italian capital from Palermo to Naples in around 1268.
Piazza del Plebiscito
The Piazza del Plebiscito is located in the historic center of Naples and was of considerable importance after the construction of the Royal Palace. Today Palazzo Salerno, Palazzo della Prefettura, and the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola are also located here.
DAY 1128 Oct 2023
One of the most famous cities in the world, Rome has been an epicentre of politics, art, architecture, and food for thousands of years. It is home to some of the most well-known historic sites such as the Colosseum, the pantheon, and Vatican City. It’s easy to spend a day in a hundred different ways in Rome, whether you’re looking to sip on incredible wine and people-watch, indulge in decadent pasta, pizza, risotto, and gelato, or if you’re eager to wander around the streets soaking in all the history you can. Rome is one capital city which will always leave you wanting more.
Things to do in Rome (Civitavecchia):
Found in the heart of Rome, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in Europe at just 0.44km² with a population of 1,000 people. It acts as headquarters to the Roman Catholic Church and is home to The Apostolic Palace - the Pope’s residence –the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel.
St Peter's Basilica
Within Vatican City is one of the biggest churches in the world; St. Peter’s Basilica. Accommodating up to 20,000 people, this is where the Pope delivers services. Its 136 metre high dome was designed by Michelangelo, and was completed in 1614.
The colosseum was opened in 80 A.D. with 100 days of exciting games. It was mostly used for gladiatorial combat and fights with animals until around the 6th century when it began to fall into disrepair. It was then used to store building materials until the 18th century, when the papacy decided it should be preserved. As it stands now, however, more than two-thirds of the structure has been destroyed.
Known the world-over for its elaborate, 15th century artwork courtesy of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Luca, and Perugino, the Sistine Chapel is where new Popes are elected and ordained. It is located within Vatican City, inside The Apostolic Palace.
This Michelangelo sculpture is located inside St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It depicts the body of Jesus after he has been crucified, being held by the Virgin Mary. The statue was originally commissioned by Jean de Billheres – a French cardinal – as a memorial for his tomb.
This is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome. There are myths surrounding the building of the original Pantheon, but the structure we see today was built in 120 A.D. by Emperor Hadrian. It was created as a Pagan temple to “honour all Gods” – which is the translation of “Pantheon”. In the year 609 it was converted to a Christian church, although it is still widely known as the Pantheon.
This popular public square is located where the (now fallen) Stadium of Domitian once stood, in 86 A.D. Since then it has been developed into a social gathering spot, adorned by three magnificent fountains that were commissioned in the 16 and 17th centuries. These are Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro, and Fontana del Nettuno.
DAY 1229 Oct 2023
Livorno is the third most populous city in Tuscany, after Florence and Prato, as well as one of the most important Italian tourist and commercial ports. It did not hold the same importance as nearby Pisa at the time of the Maritime Republics, however. Today it is a highly modern city while rich in historical evidence of the past. You can visit the historic district of New Venice, the Old Fortress, the Mascagni Terrace, and the aquarium.
Things to do in Livorno:
The Livorno Aquarium was first established in 1937, and was reopened again in 2010, following expansion works. It is the only venue of its kind to boast a Greek-Roman archaeological marine area, which houses a reproduction of a ship wreck.
The charm of the Old Fortress portrays the entire history of the city of Livorno. The area has been affected by numerous settlements since the Bronze Age, and the fortification itself has gone through several stages up to the present day.
The neighborhood of Venezia Nuova is the true historic center of the Livorno. During the months of July and August it hosts the music and arts event known as "Effetto Venezia", where you can find shows, cultural events, and stalls.
The Terrazza Mascagni owes its name to the eponymous composer from Livorno. Located on the seafront of the city, the open terrace was designed in the 1920s and then expanded after World War II. It offers gorgeous views of the ocean and a lovely setting for socialising under the sun.
The Mercato delle Vettovaglie, also known as the Central Market, is an interesting 19th-century building overlooking the Fosso Reale canal in Livorno. The interior of the main hall was designed by Lorenzo Gori, and is a beautiful spot for exploring and buying local produce.
Piazza della Repubblica
Piazza della Repubblica has been a popular social meeting place ever since nineteenth-century Livorno. It is most commonly known as "Voltone" by the locals, due to the vault that covers part of the Fosso Reale canal, which it overlooks.
DAY 1330 Oct 2023
World famous for its annual film festival, Cannes will charm you with its picturesque streets and beautiful harbour full of yachts. Dating back to the 1st century BC when it was a quaint fishing village, Cannes is full of medieval monuments and architecture. Make sure you climb the tumbling alleys of Le Suchet up to see fantastic views of the city and Lerins Island, as well as explore Musée de la Castre and stroll la Croisette under the trees or the idyllic promenade.
Things to do in Cannes:
La Croisette offers an unmissable walk under the beautiful trees along the seafront of Cannes, by the beach. At the end of the Promenade de la Croisette you’ll find the iconic red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival - make sure you stop and take the perfect photo!
Musee de la Castre
Musée de la Castre, atop the hill of Le Suquet, lies on the ruins of a medieval castle which was once the residence of the monks of Lérins. Nowadays it’s a fascinating museum with collections including art, musical pieces, and cultural items from around the world.
Notre-Dame de l'Esperance
The Church of Our Lady of Esperance in English, construction started in 1521 and took more than a century to complete. A masterpiece of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, inside you’ll find fine religious works and amazing views of the harbour outside.
Cannes’ medieval district consists of a jumble of charming cobbled alleys going uphill to a stunning view overlooking the port. Here you’ll find restaurants with quintessentially southern French cuisine, and bars and artisan shops full of character.
Festival de Cannes
Starting back in 1946, Cannes Film Festival is one of the most glamorous and well-known events in the film industry calendar. Usually held in May, the event is sadly invite only but you can get a pic on the red carpeted whenever you like!
Stretching along Boulevard de la Croisette, this beautiful beach is the perfect stop to enjoy the southern sun of Mediterranean France. Lie down on the warm sand and admire the bay of Cannes for a few hours of soothing sun, sea and salty breeze.
It’s not hard to see why L'église Saint-Michel Archange was nicknamed the ‘Russian Church’. Built in 1894 for Russian nobility who spent the winter months in the city, this Eastern Orthodox Church is a masterpiece compete with onion-shaped dome.
DAY 1431 Oct 2023
Established as a port town by Loius XIV, Sète is famous for its nautical background and celebrated poet and singer George Brassens. The town’s most famous son now has a popular museum in his honour, while the lake, canals and waterfront are perfect for a day of exploring. The local seafood is fantastic as well, letting you enjoy such delicacies as stuffed mussels before climbing the iconic Mont Saint-Clair to take in the stunning panorama.
Things to do in Sete:
A welcoming beach packed full of Blue Flag destinations and plenty of opportunities to go hiking or biking as well as, of course, swimming.
Complete with small funfair, café bar, and disabled access, this beach is a popular destination for families looking to make the most of the famously fine sand and calm waters protected by the harbour walls on sunny days.
Espace Georges Brassens
Sète’s most popular museum is dedicated, as the name suggests, to the celebrated local musician and poet Georges Brassens. Here you’ll find fascinating guided tours of the exhibitions of photos, letters, and music as well as clips from live concerts.
With its iconic cross monument, this is the perfect spot for 360 degree views of the city and canals of Sète, the surrounding landscapes, and way out to sea. You will also find here the Chapel of Our Lady of Salette, with its beautiful colourful frescoes.
Musee Paul Valery
Opening in 1970, this engrossing museum has hundreds of works by the artist from whom it takes its name, as well as a good number of manuscripts. Additional collections include pieces from the 19th century, mostly representing the city of Sète itself.
DAY 1501 Nov 2023
This vibrant seaside city is home to unforgettable architecture and creative scenes from renowned artists. The buildings you’ll find here are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, such as Park Güell and Casa Batllo, while foodies will be spoilt for choice with 20 different Michelin-star restaurants. At the end of a busy day of shopping, enjoy the energetic nightlife, or relax on the beach with newfound friends. Whatever your interests, Barcelona has the perfect itinerary for you.
Things to do in Barcelona:
Visiting Las Ramblas is an absolute must when in Barcelona. Visitors can experience the weird and the wonderful, from the Museu de l’Erotica to the Miró Mural, in between trying a range of authentic tapas bars and cafes before a much needed siesta.
Although the Sagrada Familia is not technically complete, it’s still an impressive sight to behold. Designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, this spectacular Basilica hosts many masses, events and a place to simply marvel at in wonder.
Barcelona City History Museum
Home of the cultural heritage of Barcelona, the Barcelona City History Museum manages several sites of interest including archaeological sites and historic houses. Visitors will discover the Roman colony, prehistoric Spain, Barcelona’s Jewish community and more.
Comprising of vibrant gardens and beautiful architecture, Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudí and officially opened in 1926. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding showcase of Gaudí’s genius design, Park Güell makes a wonderful place to go for a walk.
Another one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, Casa Batllo is a truly eye-catching building to explore. Visitors are able to explore this fantastic showcase of the designer’s work, and even enjoy live music and other events on the roof terrace.
This modernist building was the last residence to be designed by Antoni Gaudí and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the building with an audio guide, and even enjoy rooftop shows on a romantic evening.
One of Barcelona’s oldest beaches, Sant Sebastià Beach features everything you need for a fantastic day in the sun. With indoor and outdoor pools, changing rooms and amenities for lounging, visitors can go for a dip, enjoy an ice cream and find dinner all in one area.
Camp Nou Stadium
With capacity for over 99,000 people, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Spain and cathedral to the Catalans’ second religion- the beautiful game! Visitors can catch an exciting game of football here or take a guided or un-guided tour of the grounds.
Hotel stay included
Athens Cypria or similar
3 star hotel
18 Oct 2023
2 nights stay
Customer reviews for Oosterdam
Based on 15 reviews
Value for money
This was a cruise out of Santiago Chile. The cruise itinerary was excellent and all ports were visited. I had a pre stay in Santiago for 3 nights first. Although it was great, I would advise as with everywhere, to be careful with personal items. Booking with Iglu was exceptional and I recommend them to all my friends!
6-10 cruisesFully Obstructed Ocean Views
27 Mar 2023
Pleasantly pleased to find a good cruising experience on HAL and much better than previous cruise we had taken. Service staff excellent across all departments. Entertainment much improved since last cruise although we still miss the cast shows. Excellent music in a range of venues, although we'd of liked a little more variety. Food of good quality with good portions. Descriptions on menu could have been a bit more detailed. Sometimes menu items displayed on the App menu were not available. Bar service and quality drinks were very good.
10+ cruisesPartial Ocean View
24 Dec 2022
Enjoyed the cruise overall and the itinerary was great. The ship could do with a little update, but all the crew were excellent and attentive, absolutely faultless. Unfortunately due to entertainers illness (presumably Covid) the last 3 days was a little quiet. The enrichment now includes art talks and was superb, both enlightening and entertaining, particularly Dahli and Banksy. I have booked again with Holland America Line, but am going to try a new ship.
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