Greece cruise offers scenic views and visits to multiple islands, while the land tour highlights mainland cultural sites and historical landmarks. Both options provide a chance to immerse in Greek history and experience its beauty.
Evili Kesoglou, a former tour Guide from Didymoteicho, Greece has given us a detailed insight into traveling to Greece in our podcast. From her expert opinion and experience, Trip Pursuit has prepared this article to make your travel easier.
So, what is the best way to travel there, the Greece cruise or land?
Land-based holidays in Greece offer more flexibility and in-depth exploration, while cruises provide an all-inclusive, multi-destination experience. Cruises offer convenience and comprehensive packages, while land-based holidays need independent transportation and accommodation arrangements. Based on various tourist seasons in Greece, cruises are available from April to October, but it’s more appropriate to visit by land during winter.
Greece offers both land-based and cruise holidays, each offering unique experiences and advantages. Let’s learn more about it in this article.
Greece Cruise Or Land: Detailed Comparison
Here is an in-depth comparison between Greece Cruise and Greece Land-based holidays.
For natural sightseeing and island visits, a cruise tour in Greece is better while a land tour is for historic and architectural sightseeing.
|Purpose of Visit||Greece Cruise||Greece Land Tour|
|Sightseeing||Yes, but limited time in each destination||Yes, with more time to explore each destination|
|Relaxation||Yes, with plenty of leisure time on board||Yes, but may involve more active touring|
|Cultural Immersion||Limited, with brief stops in each port||More in-depth, with opportunities to interact with locals and experience Greek culture|
|Scenic Views||Yes, with panoramic views of the coastline||Yes, with scenic drives and walks through the countryside|
You see, Greece has more than 200 islands, so cruises are a good option to choose to visit the islands. The longer the cruise line tours are, the more islands you can visit overall. In our Itinerary Podcast by Trip Pursuit, our guest, Evili Kesoglou mentions, if your main purpose to visit Greece is island hopping and absorbing the natural scenic destinations, cruise lines can take you to multiple islands within a limited time.
On the other hand, Greece is known for its historic and archeological places. The country has a long history of different eras of people living in it, so the culture is very rich. And there’s a different level of attraction in visiting Greece by land if you consider the mythological aspect.
“At some point, we had too many cultures living in Didymoteicho. We had the Orthodox, we had Muslims, we had people from Armenia, so it’s pretty big”.Evili Kesoglou
So, if you want to visit Greece for its cultural and architectural immersion, a land-based trip can help you explore better at a slower pace. You can also spend more time on each island if you go by land for an immersive experience.
While a Greece cruise helps to see destinations on the coast side, a land-based trip allows you to sightsee more places along with the islands.
|Sightseeing Experience||Greece Tour by Cruise||Greece Land-Based Tour|
|Coverage of Destinations||Limited, with brief stops in several coastal ports and islands.||More extensive, with the ability to visit inland regions, remote areas, and a greater variety of locations.|
|Time at Each Destination||Limited, with a few hours at each port.||More time to explore each destination, typically staying at least a few days in each place.|
|Sights Seen||Generally limited to coastal views and popular tourist attractions||A wider variety of sights, including iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and lesser-known destinations.|
|Flexibility||Limited flexibility, with a fixed itinerary and schedule.||More flexible, with the ability to customize the itinerary to personal preferences.|
A Greece cruise offers a more packaged, hassle-free sightseeing experience, whereas a land-based trip allows for a more personalized and immersive experience. Evili mentioned how Greece is very popular for its beaches for its blue-green sea like Halkidiki.
“In the majority of Greece, we have steep or very deep beaches. The beaches in Greece don’t have very fine sand, it’s mostly rocks or little stones but you can get used to it. The water is very clear, even around a big city like Athens, even though big cities are usually polluted. There are many beaches around that area that are very beautiful and clean. Everywhere you’d see different types of beaches, the islands, and the mainland”.Evili Kesoglou
Through cruise, based on the length of the packages, you can visit Athens, the Aegean Islands, the Ionian Islands, the Saronic Gulf Islands, and the Peloponnese Peninsula. The cruise will make a stop at each destination, and you can explore the historic sites, stunning landscapes, popular villages, and islands.
A cruise offers a more relaxed, stress-free trip with all-inclusive meals and entertainment, while land-based trips offer more flexibility to plan your own adventure and outdoor activities. A land-based trip will help you explore more places like Meteora and Delphi along with the destinations above.
You can explore the mainland more extensively, along with its mountain scenery, rock formations, ancient ruins, Greek temples, museums, etc., and relax at its beaches and scenic landscapes.
Evili posited how museums in Greece helped conserve different cultures and history.
“The museum got many artifacts, mostly donations from people. So, we were able to create little corners for different cultures. The artifacts were like the costumes they wore, their everyday attires. We were able to showcase their ways of living, their everyday objects, and all those things.”Evili Kesoglou
Accommodation and Meals
For accommodation and meals, cruises are more convenient as they offer all-inclusive services compared to land-based tours.
|Accommodation and Meals||Greece Tour by Cruise||Greece Land-Based Tour|
|Accommodation||Stay options on the cruise include cabins or staterooms; such as the inside cabin, oceanview cabin, balcony cabin, and suite; additional options vary by the cruise line.||In land-based Greece, trips stay options are hotels, resorts, or other types of lodging, with a range of options from budget to luxury.|
|Meals||Cruise dining options include set menus or buffets, and local cuisine at ports. D||Depends on one’s own preference. Popular options include taverna and local restaurants.|
|Types of Food||On a cruise, you can typically expect a mix of international and Mediterranean cuisine, with seafood and Greek specialties.||On land, you can find a wider range of Greek cuisine, including regional specialties like moussaka, spanakopita, and souvlaki, as well as international cuisine.|
On a cruise, you’ll be staying on board the ship, and meals are included in the cost of the cruise. You can upgrade the dining or accommodations in the cruise package. Cruises offer cabins such as –
- Oceanview cabins,
- inside cabins,
- balcony cabins,
These depend on the luxury options.
However, on a land-based trip, you need to find a place to stay and food places to eat. You can choose from a wider range of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, and villas.
In peak tourist season, the cost of accommodation and meals can be quite high. So, if you require cheaper accommodation, negotiating can be a hassle. Now, if you’re on a budget and if you don’t have a problem with staying in the homes of other people, then Airbnb can be a great option.
“If you live solo in an Airbnb or a hotel I think like 70 euros or 80 Euros would be a good budget for the day”.Evili Kesoglou
On a cruise, depending on the packages and dining options, you can try international and Mediterranean cuisine as well as Greek specialties like gyros, feta cheese, and tzatziki. They have a main dining room, specialty restaurants, snack bar, and cafes as well as buffet options depending on the cruise line and ship.
On the contrary, in Greece land tours, you can set your meals as you wish. If you want you can skip breakfasts and you can even have brunches. Now, brunches aren’t an option in the case of Cruises. So, yeah land tours come with a great degree of freedom when it comes to accommodation and meals.
Itinerary and Excursion
On a land-based trip, you can plan your own itinerary and travel at your own pace, while cruises usually have a pre-planned itinerary.
Based on where you want to visit and how long you want to stay, a land-based tour can be more convenient. It allows you to explore more of the historic places, architecture, and other tourist destinations. You also have the ability to choose your own excursions and activities, potentially leading to a more authentic experience.
Here’s a 7-day land tour itinerary for Greece:
- Day 1: Athens – Visit Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Plaka, and National Archaeological Museum.
- Day 2: Athens to Delphi – Visit the Temple of Apollo, Ancient Theater, Delphi Archaeological Museum, and Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia.
- Day 3: Delphi to Meteora – Visit the monasteries of Meteora and enjoy scenic views.
- Day 4: Meteora to Thessaloniki – Visit White Tower, Archaeological Museum, Ano Poli neighborhood, Byzantine Walls, and Castles.
- Day 5: Thessaloniki to Vergina to Pella – Visit Royal Tombs and Archaeological Museum in Vergina, Archaeological Site, and Museum of Pella.
- Day 6: Pella to Kavala to Philippi to Thessaloniki – Visit Old Town and Castle in Kavala, Ancient Theatre, Forum, and Christian Basilicas in Philippi.
- Day 7: Thessaloniki to Dion to Athens – Visit Archaeological Site and Museum in Dion, National Garden, and Panathenaic Stadium and enjoy a farewell dinner in Athens.
On the other hand, cruises have a schedule for the destinations they will make stops at and the itinerary is usually fixed. Excursions offered through the cruise line may also be less personalized and of lower quality compared to those arranged independently. These excursions can either be included in the cruise package or available for an extra cost.
There are several 7-day cruise options for Greece, including:
- Eastern Mediterranean Cruise: This itinerary typically includes stops in Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini, with possible additional stops in Kusadasi (Turkey) and Crete.
- Aegean Sea Cruise: This itinerary usually includes stops in Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and the Turkish port of Kusadasi, with possible additional stops in Crete and other Greek islands.
- Greek Island Cruise: This itinerary focuses on the Cyclades islands and usually includes stops in Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, and additional islands such as Naxos, Paros, or Ios.
- Ionian Islands Cruise: This itinerary focuses on the western coast of Greece and includes stops in Athens, Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and other islands in the Ionian Sea.
- Adriatic Sea Cruise: This itinerary usually includes stops in Athens, Corfu, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kotor (Montenegro), and other ports along the Adriatic coast.
So, based on which places you want to visit, you can decide whether to visit Greece by land or cruise.
A Greece cruise can be more convenient to visit multiple places at once, while on land-based trips, you need rental cars or public transportation for traveling. However, unlike cruises, on land-based trips, you’ll have room for negotiation.
Greece offers various types of cruise tours for showcasing the beauty and rich history of the country, as well as a unique experience. Based on the luxury level, the cruises can be small or large and you can also choose more destinations in the coastal areas or lesser-known islands and beaches depending on the type of cruise.
Contrarily, if you prefer to have more control over your transportation and itinerary, a land-based trip might be a better option. Greece offers common modes of transportation like public buses, taxis, trains, and ferries.
You can also rent a car from one of the many rental agencies if you want to explore Greece at your own pace. Renting a car is expensive but it will save you the hassle to look for transportation each time you travel from one place to another.
Greece has a well-developed public bus network that covers most of the country. So, public buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around for short distances. Trains are a good option for long-distance travel between major cities and tourist destinations. They are cheaper in comparison, but not as fast as other modes of transportation.
Taxis are also readily available in Greece, and you can find one on the street or at a designated taxi stand. Taxis can be more expensive than public buses, but they offer a more comfortable and convenient way to travel.
Moreover, if you want to explore the Greek islands, you can take a ferry from the mainland to the islands. Ferries are a popular and convenient way to travel, but they can be more expensive than other modes of transportation.
Season and Temperature
Both Greece cruises and land-based trips to Greece can be taken at various times throughout the year, depending on your preferences and the season you choose.
|Season||Temperature||Best for Greece Cruise||Best for Greece Land Tour|
|Summer (June-August)||High 20s to mid-30s°C||Exploring archaeological sites, museums, mountain regions with cooler temperatures, smaller crowds||Cooler mountain regions, cultural attractions, archaeological sites, museums|
|Fall (September-November)||Mid-20s to low-20s°C||Comfortable temperatures, and smaller crowds, but some island destinations may close||Mild and comfortable weather, smaller crowds, exploring islands, and archaeological sites|
|Winter (December-February)||Low to mid-teens °C||Unpredictable weather, some ports may close||Winter sports in mountain regions, but some attractions may close|
|Spring (March-May)||High-teens to mid-20s°C||Mild and comfortable weather, smaller crowds, exploring islands and archaeological sites||Exploring archaeological sites, museums, mountain regions with blooming spring flowers, mild and comfortable weather|
So, what is the best month to cruise the Greek islands?
The best month to cruise the Greek islands is from April to October, with the peak season being June to August. Some cruise lines offer cruises year-round, so it’s possible to take a cruise in Greece during any season. During this time, cruises offer various packages for tourists.
In the Shoulder Season which is from April to May and September to October, the temperatures are milder and there are fewer tourists. This is a good time to visit through both cruise and land if you are looking for fewer crowds and lower prices. You can still visit the islands, villages, temples, and other historic places during this time of the year.
However, in the low Season during the winter months of November to March, when temperatures are cooler and there is less tourism. This is a good time to visit if you are looking for more peaceful and less crowded destinations. Some sites and attractions may be closed during this time and it may be harder to find cruises during winter due to the sea.
Moreover, the islands are very isolated during the winter, so you won’t really have the proper experience.
“If you decide to visit, for example, the islands in winter, maybe I won’t recommend them. Because you won’t get the cruise ship, the sea won’t allow that. And also, islands tend to be very isolated, and not many people live during the winter, so you’re not going to have the full experience. So, there are different places to visit depending on different times of the year.”Evili Kesoglou
They can be good for a summer trip just like visiting the Aquatica or Typhoon Lagoon. The weather conditions can vary depending on the region you are visiting, so it is best to check local forecasts and plan accordingly.
Both cruise and land-based tours offer several luxury options with personalized services depending on your itinerary and travel style.
In land-based private tours, you can have your own travel guide, have a customized itinerary matched with your own pace, and enjoy the flexibility of a private tour. For accommodation places, luxury and boutique hotels on historic properties or with contemporary luxury amenities can be an option.
For cruise lines, cruises like the Yachts of Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, and Silversea offer personalized services for luxury tours. The ship amenities include all-inclusive luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, and several itineraries to visit Greek islands, and other destinations.
Another way to experience the luxury of Greece is to island-hop and take a cooking class or wine-tasting tour. You can stay at a different luxurious hotel on each island you visit and also try the country’s culinary traditions.
The cost of a cruise may be higher compared to a land-based trip, as it includes meals, entertainment, and transportation between destinations.
A land-based trip may offer more flexibility to choose budget-friendly options for accommodations and activities, but transportation costs may add up. You’ll have more control over your expenses, such as choosing budget-friendly accommodations and dining options.
Here’s a summary table of the estimated cost per person per day for the 7-day land tour itinerary for Greece, based on different budget ranges:
|Cost Category||Low Range||Mid Range||High Range|
|Accommodation||$20-$40 (budget hotel, hostel, or Airbnb)||$50-$80 (mid-range hotel or Airbnb)||$150-$250 (luxury hotel or high-end Airbnb)|
|Transportation||$5-$10 (including buses, trains, and taxis)||$10-$20 (including buses, trains, and taxis)||$50-$100 (including private transfers and tours)|
|Food (3 meals per day)||$10-$15 (budget meals)||$25-$40 (mid-range restaurants or cafes)||$75-$150 (high-end restaurants or cafes)|
|Excursions||$0-$5 (limited to free activities and low-cost attractions)||$15-$25 (museums, archaeological sites, and tours)||$50-$100 (private tours and exclusive experiences)|
|Total Estimated Cost||$35-$70||$100-$165||$325-$600|
On the other hand, cruise tours can be quite expensive depending on several factors, such as trip duration, cruise ship types, the level of luxury and amenities offered, and the time of year.
Here’s a quick comparison table for the estimated costs of a 7-day Greece cruise based on different itinerary options:
|Cost Category||Eastern Mediterranean||Aegean Sea||Greek Island||Ionian Islands||Adriatic Sea|
|Mid-Range Cabin Cost||$1,000-$1,500||$1,200-$1,700||$1,400-$2,000||$1,500-$2,100||$1,500-$2,200|
|Transportation and Food (included in cruise cost)||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
|Total Estimated Cost||$1,400-$2,000||$1,600-$2,200||$1,800-$2,500||$1,900-$2,700||$1,900-$2,700|
Evili has given us quite an insight into the cost estimation for the Greece cruise tour.
“If you visit Greece during July or August, it’s the most expensive. That’s the active tourist season. If you visit around September, even late September, the sea is still warm and the weather is still nice. It’s hot but not unbearably hot in August and the price is much lower than it used to be. If you want to visit the most tourist places and get a cruise in July or August, places like Santorini, and Mykonos, it’s going to be quite expensive. If you take the same cruise in June or September, the price is going to be lower.”Evili Kesoglou
So, how much is a cruise to Greece?
On average, a one-week Greek cruise tour per person can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, while a luxury cruise can cost around $10,000 or more. For budget-friendly cruise trips, smaller ships with fewer amenities, and traveling during the shoulder season can be an option.
For land-based tours, one week can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 or more per person, depending on the type of tour and the level of luxury. A budget-friendly tour, with basic accommodations, public transportation, and a few organized activities can cost you around $1,500 to $2,500 per person.
For a luxury tour, upscale hotels, private transportation, and a variety of high-end activities and excursions cost more than $3,000 per person.
Greece is generally considered a safe country for tourists so whether touring by cruise or land, you can easily travel around solo or with families.
It’s important to take appropriate safety precautions and protect yourself to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. When traveling by land, you should stay vigilant of your surroundings and keep your valuables securely stored.
Similarly, for cruise vacations, follow safety guidelines provided by the cruise line. Be aware of the risks of theft and pickpocketing, especially in port areas.
Our guest Evili also agrees, “Greece is a safe country for tourists. We don’t have crazy things going on, but if you provoke the situation, regardless of the place, things are going to happen. But generally, it is a female-friendly place.”
Greece is very female-friendly to travel by cruise or land, but avoid walking alone in poorly lit areas at night or when taking part in shore excursions.
You can enjoy a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere for the cruise nightlife, while the nightlife on land is more vibrant and energetic.
Most cruise ships offer a variety of onboard entertainment options and offer shore excursions to nearby towns and islands where you can explore the local nightlife. Cruise nightlife includes live music, dancing, and shows, as well as bars and lounges for enjoying a drink and socializing with other passengers.
In comparison, Greek cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, offer a wide range of nightlife options, including bars, clubs, and tavernas. These cities are known for their lively and bustling atmosphere, with music and dancing often continuing late into the night.
Both Greece cruises and land vacations have their own limitations when visiting various destinations.
One of the biggest limitations of Greece cruises is that you have limited time in port between two destinations. During peak season, popular islands like Santorini and Mykonos may be overcrowded. Sometimes cruises may not also stop at certain destinations for bad weather or extreme crowds.
These can limit your time to explore the islands and ports, or completely miss a destination point that you’ve been setting to visit. Most cruises also offer specific itineraries which can be restrictive for travelers who want to explore destinations at their own pace.
Both Greece cruises and land vacations have their own unique benefits and limitations.
However, if you choose to stay on land in Greece, you will need to find accommodation and transportation between destinations. This can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you’re traveling to multiple destinations or during peak tourist season.
Moreover, English is not widely spoken in Greece, which can make it difficult to communicate with locals when going deeper into the villages and navigating the country.
When answering, “Do they speak English in Greece?”, Evili remarked, “Sadly, the more rural areas you visit, the less likely the people are going to speak English there. I think that’s the same for every part of the world. The difference is that even if the people don’t speak English, they still want to help you. There’s the body language as well and it’s universal. So, language is a barrier but it is not a barrier that you can’t cross.”
Which One To Choose: Greece Cruise or Land?
When choosing between a Greece cruise or a land vacation, there are several factors to consider. A Greece cruise offers the convenience of visiting multiple destinations in one trip without having to pack and unpack multiple times. It also often includes meals and entertainment on board. If budget is not an issue, a cruise tour can be perfect for a family of two or more members.
However, a land-based trip in Greece offers more flexibility in terms of itinerary and activities. You can stay longer in the destinations you prefer and have a more immersive experience.
Whether you are a solo traveler or in a group, the land-based trip can be quite adventurous and enjoyable as you can explore even the steeper northern mountains. You can go for a budget trip or a luxury trip, depending on your itinerary; however, a land-based trip will definitely be cheaper than a cruise tour.
The time spent at each destination on the Greece cruise may be limited, and the quality of excursions offered through the cruise line may be lower than those arranged independently on a land-based trip.
Whereas, travel between destinations on land may take more time and require more planning and coordination, and meals and entertainment must be arranged independently.
Ultimately, the choice between a Greece cruise or a land-based trip depends on your personal travel style and preferences. If you enjoy the convenience and ease of a pre-planned itinerary, a cruise might be the way to go. If you prefer a more flexible and personalized trip, a land-based vacation might be a better fit.
What part of Greece is best for a holiday?
Greece offers many stunning destinations for a holiday. Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete are popular for their beaches, villages, and nightlife. The Peloponnese is famous for its ancient sites and natural scenery. The Cyclades and Ionian islands offer charming villages and tranquil beaches. The options are endless, making it difficult to choose just one place for a holiday in Greece.
How long is a cruise from Florida to Greece?
A cruise from Florida to Greece takes approximately 12-14 days, with stops in Europe and perhaps Greek islands. The trip length varies based on the route.
Are Greek Island cruises worth it?
Greek island cruises offer the chance to see multiple destinations and experience Greek culture, with the convenience of traveling from island to island. You will visit stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and picturesque villages, as well as sample local cuisine. Whether a cruise is worth it will depend on personal travel preferences and budget.
So, now that we’re at the end of the Greece cruise or land, it’s important to keep in mind that both Greece cruise or land are unique in their own ways. You can explore many of Greece’s famous attractions and destinations, as well as its culture and history in different ways through both land or cruise.
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