With 3,000 years of history, you can’t turn around in Athens without encountering the past. The Acropolis, a UNESCO site, the Plaka, and the Acropolis Museum are must-sees. But leave time if you can to climb Pnyx Hill for photos of the Parthenon at sunset, to buy your own set of Greek komboloi (worry beads), and to explore the metro stations that serve as mini-museums for the relics that are constantly being unearthed.
8:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
This Gibraltar-like town tied to the mainland by a single thread of causeway holds treasures that are old even by Mediterranean standards, with town walls and several churches dating to the 12th century. Climb to the upper town for an up-close look at the castle and Agia Sophia, a Byzantine church. Wander the lanes of the lower town lined with Venetian mansions, many of which have been lovingly restored. Savor the sun on a smooth pebble beach.
8:00 AM TO 4:00 PM
Cheerful pastel houses are littered among intriguing whitewashed lanes and staircases. Playful sculptures welcome you to the harbor’s cheerful shops, coffee houses, and waterfront cafés. This is a perfect place to enjoy a cup of rich coffee or a glass of ouzo while you watch the world go by. Or go exploring on an optional tour of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8:00 AM TO 2:00 PM
day 5 Messina (Taormina), Italy
The cobblestone streets of Messina, Sicily, are the perfect launching point for an optional visit to nearby Taormina. Stroll along flower-filled streets in search of a delightful lunch or an artist’s palette of colorful gelati. The ancient Greek Theater is an ideal place to sit back and admire shimmering waters below and Mount Etna, languidly smoking in the distance.
10:00 AM TO 11:59 PM
UNESCO World Heritage Sites abound in Sorrento. Optional tours will take you to the archaeological areas of Pompeii and Torre Annunziata, or the 4th century B.C. city of Herculaneum. Perhaps your choice will be a boat ride to Positano, the legendary home of the Sirens. Perched on a terrace on the spectacular Amalfi Coast, Sorrento offers exceptional views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
Welcome to the island where real Romans go to vacation. Cars are scarce here and with only one main street and a casual, laid-back atmosphere that will have you relaxing in no time. There is little shopping available here and simplicity of this island adds to its charm. Check out the botanical garden or the blue grottoes. Take the bus around the entire island, find a beach to hang out at or sit with the locals and watch the fishing boats come and go.
In this enchanting city the past and present intersect in perfect harmony. Casually intermingled among ancient ruins and majestic cathedrals are the trappings of a modern metropolis: Skyscrapers,cafes, boutiques selling designer footwear. But of course what you seek first in the heart of Rome is its breathtaking history. A good place to begin is the Vatican, with its Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Works by Bernini, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Raphael are just a few of those on display, any one of which is worth hours of contemplation. Then the ancient ruins—Colosseum, Forum, Circus Maximus. And of course the Trevi Fountain for the obligatory coins promising your return to the Eternal City.
8:00 AM TO 10:00 PM
day 9 Portoferraio, Italy
Pine-scented forests and miles of sandy beach await your arrival on the tranquil island of Elba. Enjoy a glass of local Moscato with the fresh catch of the day before pondering your next move. Perhaps you’ll visit the nearby countryside with its small fishing villages and dramatic mountain passes. Or see the calming beauty of Tuscan Archipelago National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Or maybe you’ll decide to walk to the nearest beach and dip your toes into the warm Mediterranean.
8:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
day 10 Bastia, Corsica, France
As the principal port of Corsica, Bastia has vibrant historical neighborhoods with narrow streets and alleys between ancient shuttered buildings of the 18th century. One of the main squares is the Place du Marche, home of a morning market and the impressive 16th century Saint-Jean-Baptiste church. On the other side of the harbor sits the substantial citadel, the beautiful gardens of Jardin Romieu and the once very-elegant houses of the Terra Nova district.
8:00 AM TO 11:59 PM
The popular tourist spot of Calvi with its crescent-shaped bay and gorgeous beaches, is distinguished by a large medieval citadel that overlooks the marina. Built between the 13th to the 16th centuries, it is basically an entire small town enclosed by fortified walls but offering panoramic views of the harbor and the Corsican coast. Another must-see is the “Big Pink Church,” Orthodox-style L’Eglise Santa Maria and make time to take a walk along the Quai Landry esplanade, lined with interesting restaurants.
What an entrance you will make as you cruise into one of the deepest natural harbors in the world. Picturesque Mahon is home to lovely white-sand beaches and delightful architecture, a gin distillery, and a dairy plant where delicious white cheese is made.
8:00 AM TO 4:00 PM
Palma de Mallorca
day 14 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca is steep, green, and fringed with enticing coves and more than 200 lush beaches. But all that natural beauty is just the beginning. Stroll along the tree-shaded Paseo de Born in search of tapas. Shop for a Siurell; a traditional red, green, and white clay whistle dating back to the time of the Moors. Watch the street performers on the piazza around the church, or cross the island to beautiful Sóller. Not to be missed is the cultural landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The old meets the new in this sunny Catalan metropolis, where narrow alleyways contrast with grand boulevards, trendy cuisine meets homemade tapas, and everywhere you’re greeted by the warm, welcoming smiles of the fashionable locals. Don’t miss UNESCO sites like the mind-boggling architecture of Antoni Gaudí or La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, with its eight decorative spires soaring hundreds of feet into the sky.
*Rates shown are per person, based on double occupancy, reflect all discounts and include non-discountable amounts. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional.