Conoce Estas Cuatro Joyas Ocultas en Grecia

Some islands in Greece shout. They’re loud and popular, attracting travelers of all kinds to their shores. In short, everyone knows their names.

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Some islands in Greece shout. They’re loud and popular, attracting travelers of all kinds to their shores. In short, everyone knows their names. Other islands whisper. They’re the ones you visit and return home to tell your friends in hushed tones about the secluded beaches, the sublime food and the unexpected history you found. See unlike other cruise-liners, Celestyal Cruises’ fleet is medium-sized allowing them to sail to under-the-radar destinations. Some of those include Patmos, Milos, Symi and Syros. Here, a taste of what you can expect from these 4 hidden gems.

Patmos

Sometimes referred to as “the Jerusalem of the Aegean”, Patmos boasts a natural beauty, charming villages, and sacred sites. This union creates n other-worldly atmosphere.

 

To get the full experience of Patmos, Celestyal Cruises offers two shore excursions. The one focuses on the religious aspects of the island with visits to St. John's Monastery and the Grotto of Apocalypse. The other includes a countryside tour of Chora. Don’t let the name of the Grotto scare you. The Apocalypse has already come and gone. See, this is the spot where religious scholars believe St. John heard God dictate the Apocalypse to him. It’s an extraordinary experience and no matter your religious denomination, the spiritual aura emanating will move you. Another highlight are the Silent Windmills on a hill in Chora. Two date back to the 1500s while the third was built in the 1800s before they fell into disuse in the 1950s. Now fully restored, they’re a wonderful reminder of the way the past still beats its drum into the present.

Symi

On the approach to Symi, you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of this island before. And if you have heard of it, you’ll blink like a newborn unaccustomed to the light because photos don’t do this postcard-perfect harbor justice. Perched on a hill overlooking the harbor of Yialos are scores of traditional stone houses, their facades painted in indigo, ochre and terracotta. Thanks to its location, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the locals grew massive shipbuilding, fishing and sponge harvesting industries. These neo-classical mansions are the result of that wealth. But, the natural beauty of the island can’t be ignored. It’s the ideal stop for leisurely walks.  

 

With a 3 hour or so respite here, there was just enough time for us to follow the captain’s recommendation and climb the 500-step stairway to Chorio. Replete with a tree-lined walkway and magnificent views of the harbor you can explore the Knights’ Castle built on the ruins of the ancient acropolis in the 14th century. On our way back to Yialos, we took a moment to rest at the gorgeous pebble patio of the Cathedral of Timiou Prodromou. I urge you to do the same.

Syros

If like me, your geography is rather poor, you’ll be surprised to learn that Syros (and not Mykonos) is the capital of the Cycladic Islands. Once the heart of all trade, today it is the administrative center. And like you’d expect from a capital, Ermoupolis is a beautiful city with cobbled streets, two hills, the orthodox and the catholic one staring at each other and a magnificent central square that is definitely worth visiting.

 

After you’ve explored the city center, there’s only one thing left to do - sit at a restaurant. The gastronomy of Syros will be an unforgettable culinary experience.  Local delicacies include its famous loukoumi a sweet featuring bergamot, mastic and rosewater. Or ty the halvadopita: a pie baked with local thyme honey and roasted almonds. Stock on up these memories by purchasing some San Michalis cheese of Syros, an excellent graviera hard cheese, and Syros sausage, which is spiced with fennel. I’ve still got some in my fridge. It only comes out for special occasions.

Milos

While tourists flock to the Louvre to see the Venus de Milo (among other iconic cultural relics), the island on which she was found is still an unspoiled oasis. As a volcanic island, Milos is littered with incredible rock formations and is home to the greatest number of beaches in the Cyclades of every hue of sand and rock you can imagine. You’ll arrive here in the morning and spend the entire day exploring this geological marvel. Pro-tip: Make sure your camera or mobile phone has enough space because you will take hundreds of photos.

 

The offshore excursion will take you to all of the must-visit (and must-photograph) spots on the island. You’ll see Sarakiniko, an inlet of pure white stone and sparkling waters. You will feel like you’ve landed on the moon. Then there’s picturesque Papafranga where you’ll stand at the top of a ravine looking down into clear waters. The tour includes a quick stop at the location where the Venus de Milo was discovered and a glimpse of the outer wall of Filakopi, a city dating back to the Neolithic Period. You’ll end with a visit to the traditional village of Plaka (try the pastries), see an ancient Amphitheatre and stop at a mining museum.

 

Celestyal Cruises offer 3-, 4- and 7-day cruises with stops in each of these hidden gems. As famed English poet John Donne said, “No man is an island” So when you’re visiting one, book a guided excursion. They’re worth it.