North Aegean

8-Night Cruise
April-October 2022

Thessaloniki is a very important city to visit. A city that was the heart of Europe’s Sephardic Jewish community for centuries.  En route to Thessalonki, a stop at Chalkis on the island of Evia, to visit the Old Jewish Quarter, highlighting the rich heritage of the Romanite community. The cruise combines the Jewish legacy of Thessaloniki, Veria and Chalkis, with the authentic charm of seaside locales on the wonderful islands of Skopelos, Kea and Hydra.

As with all our cruises, your holiday will start on a Thursday evening at the Grande Bretagne Hotel Athens, followed the next morning by a fascinating tour of the city with your own guide, who will also accompany you for the rest of the cruise to help uncover Greece’s Jewish history, from ancient times to the present.

After your tour of Athens and lunch at a colourful taverna, you will join your ship in Piraeus at 4 pm for the start of the cruise, which is detailed below, in order of ‘ports of call’:

Chalkis, capital of the island of Evia, famous for its seafood and very rare tidal phenomenon. Under the city’s Old Bridge the current changes direction every 6 hours reaching a speed of about 9 mph. A mystery of nature since ancient times and a marvel to watch, especially from your own ship!
Until the 20th century, the city was divided into two sectors. The Old Town, situated at the bridge, was called Castro (citadel) and encircled by fortification walls. Traditionally, the Old Town was inhabited by Turkish families, as well as a sizable Romaniote Jewish community until World War II. Today, the Romaniote Jews are still active in the city’s life and have preserved a 19th century synagogue that still serves this very old Jewish community.

Limni, a picturesque fishing town, located on the west coast of northern Evia overlooking the North Evia Gulf, has maintained its traditional character. This will be a short stop for guests to relax, swim and test the beautiful waters. The name ‘Limni’ in Greek means ‘lake’ and, it is said, the name originated from the calm waters of the secluded bay.

Volos
Volos is a port city on the east coast of Greece’s mainland, next to Mt. Pelion, one of the most picturesque regions in the country. Its small, but active Jewish community still maintains a functioning synagogue and cemetery.
The city is built near the site of ancient Iolcos, homeland of the mythological hero Jason who sailed from here with the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. The graceful stature of the city’s splendid architecture including mansions and municipal buildings complements the traditional lifestyle of the port with small seafood taverns, ouzeries, endless views over the water, fishing boats, yachts – and a replica of the mythological wooden ship, the Argos.
Historians contend that Jews have been living in ancient Dimitriada (today called Volos) since the 2nd century CE. Ancient Jewish tombstones dating back to 325-641 CE, were uncovered in the neighbouring city of Achaikes (today called Nea Achilaos). The first modern synagogue was built in 1870 in the centre of the Jewish Quarter. It was destroyed in WW11 and rebuilt in the same place, but demolished in the earthquake of 1955. In 1960, a new synagogue was built which functions today.

Thessaloniki, also known as Salonica
The second largest city in Greece situated on the Thermaic Gulf, in the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea. The city was founded in 315 BCE by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis in the Roman and Byzantine periods. Thessaloniki was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430 and remained under Turkish rule for five centuries.
Many Sephardic Jews immigrated to Thessaloniki following expulsion from Spain in 1492. The community grew and became prominent, not only in the city, but in the Jewish world. In the mid 19th century, Jewish educators and tradesmen came to the city bringing European thought, which contributed to new intellectual and entrepreneurial perspectives. Thessaloniki maintained a Jewish majority for centuries and was known as ‘mother of Israel.’ However, with the German Occupation in World War II, the Jewish community of Thessaloniki was reduced to near-extinction. Today the Jewish population is about 1200. The proud Sephardic legacy is reflected in many surviving Jewish buildings and artifacts to be found in the famous Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. A visit to Thessaloniki would not be complete without also visiting Veria, a nearby town, 60 kilometers by coach, to the West. The town highlights the grandeur of the Jewish Quarter of Barbuda. Its paved streets, restored mansions, with Jewish inscriptions and flowers re-create the ambience of the 19th century neighbourhood inhabited by wealthy merchants. The oldest synagogue, still in use, is situated in this picturesque town. Built of stone in 1850, it is elaborately decorated with wooden ceilings, carvings and mosaic tiles. It is rumoured to be on the same site as the ancient synagogue (50 CE) where Paul the Apostle preached.

Skopelos
One of the greenest islands in Greece, with amazingly clear waters.
Off the beaten track, Skopelos offers the luxury of a quiet paradise where a traditional lifestyle prevails. The island has glorious nature, with a wide variety of flowers, trees and shrubs, pine and oak forests, fruit trees and olive groves. The town was honoured as a Traditional Settlement of Outstanding Beauty and maintains restrictions to preserve its authenticity; no building above two stories; sloped ceramic or stone roofs; doors, windows and balconies made from wood.
Skopelos gained international fame as the location for the film ‘Mamma Mia’ in 2007, which highlighted the beauty of this delightful island. Anyone who saw the film must remember the wedding scene at the Agios Ioannis church perched on a high cliff top. If you can climb the 100 stone carved steps to the top, it’s worth it, the view is magnificent!
This is a wonderful island, perfect for inspirational walks and unforgettable swims.

Kea, closest Cycladic island to Athens, is a favourite sailing destination of Athenians. Its lively port is lined with restaurants, tavernas, café and bars. Your ship will stop here to break the journey to Hydra, allowing guest to relax and explore the quaint port.

Hydra
Perhaps Hydra, close to Athens in the Saronic Gulf, is one of Greece’s most seductive islands. It has charmed international jet-setters from Onassis and Leonard Cohen, to Athenians in search of a stylish weekend getaway and a world of visitors. Its harbour is crescent-shaped and encircles the lively port where donkeys wait for hire; Hydra is vehicle-free. The island is steeped in a long-standing naval tradition reflected in the elegant sea captains’ mansions which rise above the harbour.
A haven for artists, the shops along the narrow winding streets offer a selection of original artwork, from paintings to ceramics. A choice of trendy restaurants, cafes, museums and historical monuments welcome the visitor to explore this wonderfully quaint town; which is all the more precious against the backdrop of the island’s stunning landscapes.

 Zea Marina Piraeus – Halkis – Limni Evia – Volos – Salonica – Skopelos – Alonnisos – Hydra

Travel Period

From Spring 2022

From

Zea Marina
Piraeus

Duration

8 Nights

Price

On Application

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