On the last full day of our Greek Island cruise, we disembarked in Heraklion, Crete as soon as we could, around 7:30, and grabbed a taxi to Knossos. We had been there before so didn’t take an escorted tour, but for a first visit, I would recommend having a guide. The site is just on the outskirts of Heraklion, about a 20-minute drive from the port. You can read more about Knossos in my previous post on Crete. If you’re interested in mythology and/or ancient history, it’s worth braving the crowds of tourists for a visit. The earlier the better, to avoid the larger crowds and the intense heat of midday.
The site consists of a large palace complex. Take more or less 90 minutes to poke around, more if this is your only visit in port, less, if you want to see anything else. We were headed back to town by 9 to do a quick tour of the superb archaeological museum, where many of the artifacts from Knossos and other Minoan sites are on display. It’s tight to see both Knossos and the museum in the short time in port. We were there 7-11:30am, which works out to about 3 hours of real touring time on land (including travel time). Be at Knossos when it opens at 8, spend an hour or less there, then hightail it to the museum for an hour.
Back on board, we sailed in the wake of Minoan trading vessels (probably) from Crete to Santorini. Five hours of snacking and dozing was welcome after a full morning.
Santorini as we know it today was created by a cataclysmic volcanic eruption, one of the earth’s largest. What we see on approach is the sheer, black wall thrust 1,000 feet up from the sea, both vivid geological remnant and symbolic expression of the island’s origin story. Click to read my post on Santorini.
We had booked a private guide for Akrotiri and she was waiting for us when we disembarked at 5pm. The drive from Fira is about 15 minutes. A guide is highly recommended for this site. Akrotiri is a Minoan settlement that was encased in ash when the island blew apart some 3,500 years ago. Visit if you can.
We were back in Fira by 7 to enjoy dinner and views at Volcano Blue.
We sailed from Santorini at 9. Tomorrow morning we’ll be back in Athens, docking at Piraeus at 6am.
Click to see Greece tours that include Crete and Santorini.