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 6:00 PM
Known for its amazing seafood, modern harbor, Renaissance-era architecture and lovely Tuscany countryside, Livorno is the gateway to both Florence and Pisa, not to mention the numerous wineries full of delicious wines to tempt your palate. Stroll the waterside promenade or take a canal ride in the Venezia Nuova quarter.
8:00 AM TO 11:59 PM
day 3 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Glide into port in one of Europe’s most exclusive harbors. Mingle with other privileged yachtsmen or step ashore and start walking. The glittering Grand Casino, legendary for its exotic setting on screen and off, is a must see, as is the royal family’s palace and the tomb of Philadelphia-born Princess Grace in the Cathedral.
With its flower-lined streets, flourishing markets, and interesting museums (the Musée Chagall and Musée Matisse are highlights), Nice is a charming introduction to the spirit of the Riviera. Pull up a chaise bleu on the wide sunny Promenade des Anglais and watch the world sail by. Or stop for bouillabaisse, a specialty of the area, in a local restaurant.
8:30 AM TO 6:30 PM
This port city is a major naval base and well as popular harbor for fishing boats and ferries. Place de La Liberte is Toulon’s main square and the hub of the city. Nearby is the Genie de La Navigation, an imposing marble statue from 1847. Try not to miss the Museum of Natural History for Toulon and Var, with a surprising diversity of 978 birds and 250 mammals found in this area. And take the cable car that shuttles people up and down Mont Faron.
3:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
France’s oldest city was named the 2013 European Capital of Culture by the European Union. Head in to the old heart of the city for a bowl of the city’s signature bouillabaisse, or drive into the Provençal countryside for a look at the timeless landscapes that inspired Cézanne and other greats.
9:00 AM TO 10:00 PM
Palamos is famous for the locally caught prawns found in the beautiful bay it sits beside, also known for the excellent swimming, surfing, snorkeling and windsurfing there. Here is the place to try fresh local Catalan cuisine. Two great highlights near Palamos are the Dali Museum, located in his home town of Figueres, and the UNESCO city of Girona, with its medieval architecture, walled Old Quarter and the Roman remains of Forca Vella Fortress.
8:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
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.
8:00 AM TO 4:00 PM
Palma de Mallorca
day 9 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.
1:00 PM TO 7:00 PM
The walled town of Cartagena is a popular seaport with a large naval shipyard. The seashore offers a wide range of activities from windsurfing to good snorkeling to sailing. From Cartagena you can easily explore the ancient city of Murcia, the coastal resorts of Mazarrón, Cala Cortina, and Cabo de Palos or a little further north, the world famous resort of Mar Menor.
8:00 AM TO 10:00 PM
day 11 Almeria (Granada), Spain
Enjoy a walking tour of this ancient city. If you prefer, opt for a beautiful drive through the Andalusian countryside to Granada and the magnificent UNESCO site, the Alhambra Palace. Built in the 14th century, this breathtaking example of Moorish architecture combines intricate mosaics and stone-cast latticework in a tapestry of grace and sophistication unparalleled in western civilization. Or take an optional excursion into nature at one of three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
9:00 AM TO 11:59 PM
Here, on the shores of Costa del Sol, the Andalusian spirit thrives. Be sure to include an optional visit to see the brilliant and comprehensive collection of Picasso’s work at Museo Picasso Málaga, a tribute to this artistic genius in the city of his birth. Or you may choose to opt for a visit to the beautiful village of Mijas, where picturesque Andalusian country life creates some of the world’s best wines.
9:00 AM TO 6:00 PM
day 13 Gibraltar, British Territory
It’s an odd bit of Britain here at the toe of Spain, with Barbary apes and miles of tunnels as well as traditional red phone boxes. Legend says Gibraltar was one of the two pillars erected by Hercules to mark the edge of the world. Take the cable car to the top to see if you can see it from here. No, that’s not it. That’s just Africa. What a view.
7:00 AM TO 11:59 PM
Cádiz is the most southern province of the Iberian Peninsula. It is extremely rich in natural beauty and some of the most important Natural Parks of Spain and Europe are found here including Sierra de Grazalema and los Alcornocales. Both are rich in flora and fauna, including species under threat of extinction. Many birds find their resting and feeding place here just after or before making the jump from or to Africa.
The rhythm of Lisbon invites you to join its captivating dance. This splendid capital city on the banks of the Rio Teja offers a warm welcome and an unparalleled blend of architectural styles. Elegant outdoor cafés line the cobbled sidewalks. Turn-of-the-century funiculars climb the scenic hills. Find the UNESCO sites of the Tower of Belem and the Monastery of the Hieronymites. And, everywhere, the city engages you with its easy style and remarkable charm.
*Rates shown are per person, based on double occupancy, reflect all discounts and include non-discountable amounts. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional.