My husband and I are going on a cruise around the eastern Mediterranean and are looking for suggestions on places to go and things to do at each stop. Our stops are as follows: Split,Croatia, Mykonos,Greece, Olympia,Greece, and Ephesus/Kusada, Turkey. We will have approximately 6 hrs in each port. I realize we can do the excursions offered by the cruise line, but I am also looking to travel off the beaten path. Neither of us have traveled to the area before so any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Split - walk the streets of the city center, check out Diocletian's palace, take a hike up Marjan Hill where you can see the city from above and be surrounded by beautiful views of the water and pine forest. It takes a few hours to hike up to the top and back, but you can just do part-way depending on your time constraints and stamina. You can also pop into a museum, such as the Archeological Museum (or a number of galleries) if interested. Trip Advisor has a lot of ideas... http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g295370-Activities-Split_Split_Dalmatia_County_Dalmatia.html Kusadasi - get the most efficient transport you can to Ephesus and spend your entire time there - there is a separate ticket to see the Terrace Houses with mosaics, which were well worth it. Ephesus is THE attraction..so you can't miss it. It wouldn't make sense to do anything off the beaten path here given the relevance of this attraction. It would probably be very useful to hire a guide (or take a tour via the cruise ship) unless you want to read about what you're seeing beforehand. I haven't been to Greece so I'll leave that to others...
Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports (second edition now out) has lots of details on your ports, including directions on doing them yourself (as well as when he feels it's better to use a tour). Cruise Critic is the best online source of cruise information. Here's their Eastern Mediterranean Ports page: http://tinyurl.com/l5hg93p Here's their Greece Ports forum: http://tinyurl.com/ax6ys4a and their Other Mediterranean Ports forum: http://tinyurl.com/caj27o5 And here are their Roll Calls, where you can sign up for your specific sailing. In this way, you can arrange to join others on a private tour, so it costs less than taking a private tour by yourself, but still gives you a smaller group and better experience than the ship's tours: http://tinyurl.com/ap7h55m
Susan, Probably should take the cruise excursion to Ephesus. It's a long way to the archeological site and with a good guide,it would very meaningful. In Mykonos you can just walk through the town and have a good lunch. If you want to see Delos, you will have to take the cruise ship excursion. I haven't seen the archeological site but I heard it's amazing. I'm not sure about Split or Olympia. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for all of your help! We are leaving today with your advice in hand.
Check with some of the sources given in earlier posts, but Olympia may be another spot that you may have to rely on the Cruise Excursion. The port for Olympia is somewhat out of the way and Olympia itself is a ways inland. For your time frame, public transport is likely not an option, but a local guide/tour operator may be. For mykonos, as someone said you can walk the town, take a taxi or bus to one of the beaches, or do Delos. For Delos, you can catch frequent bots from the harbor to get you there and back, allowing you to spend as little or as much time as you want on the island.