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Home Cruises Grand Mediterranean Silver Whisper 2024-04-20

Grand Mediterranean Silver Whisper departing 20 Apr 2024

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Silver Whisper
Ship
Cruise Line
Embark
20 Apr 2024
Duration
57 Nights
From / To
Athens (Piraeus) / Lisbon
Ports of call
Athens (Piraeus) - Syros - Amorgos - Santorini - Crete See full itinerary

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Itinerary

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Date Date
Location Location
 
In In
Out Out
Date 20/04/2024
Location Athens (Piraeus)
In
Out 23:00

A city of legend, civilisation and enduring culture, Athens is a majestic and magical urban sprawl. Extraordinary elegance and grace combine with grit and graft in Greece’s capital, where highways encase ruins from antiquity, and gleaming museums and galleries stand beside concrete sprayed with edgy street art. These contrasts enhance and elevate the wonders of this 2,500-year-old city, however, which can count notable contributions to philosophy, drama and democracy, among its global legacy. Piraeus’ giant port and naval base welcome you to the edge of the Athens’ urban area.

From there it’s a simple jaunt to the centre. The majestic ancient citadel of the Acropolis dominates an elevated platform and is a constant presence as you explore the city. The wonderful remains of the columned temple of the Parthenon – which date back to the 5th century BC – stand here, representing the pinnacle of classical architecture. The nearby Acropolis Museum adds context to your visit and frames the broad views from its giant glass windows. Or rise up Mount Lycabettus, to be rewarded with perhaps Athens’ best panorama of the Acropolis sitting high over the city on its grand stage. See the marble horseshoe of the Old Olympic Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896, for more of the city’s enduring legacy. Elsewhere, golden beaches and temples stretch out along the coastline, should you wish to explore a little further afield. Coffee is an art form to the Greeks, and it’s an unwritten rule that coffee time must never be rushed. So prepare to settle down for a couple of hours and lose yourself in a good chat. Feeling hungry – try traditional souvlaki made with sauces handed from generation to generation.

Date 21/04/2024
Location Syros
In
Out
Date 22/04/2024
Location Amorgos
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Out

If you feel a sense of déjà vu when you arrive in Amorgos, don’t be surprised. The little island in the Cyclades found fame in the late 1980s thanks to Luc Besson’s cult film “The Big Blue”. But movie stars aside (and for anyone who has seen the film, you know we are talking about the dolphins who are the real stars of the show), Amorgos is what everything a Greek island should be.

Think pink bougainvillea climbing up every whitewashed wall and scarlet geraniums spilling out of every blue framed window. Small, friendly cafes line the (labyrinthine, cobbled) streets, beach bars serve tall glasses of ouzo over ice and traditional tavernas serve everything from souvlaki to tzatziki. Amorgos might be most famous however for its lack of mass tourism. You won’t find any wild nightclubs nor luxury boutiques here. Instead you’ll feel the pull of the past with the vestiges of a Minoan city, the beautiful 13-th century Venetian Kastro and its windmills and the 11th century Pangaea Hozoviotissa Monastery. Nature lovers will no doubt be in their element here too: seven main trails connect the villages to each other. Most hikes take around an hour and are considered easy but there are one or two exceptions, so beware! Divers will also be happy; the southern end of the island is home to the famous shipwreck features in The Big Blue. Now rife with algae, it is a prime feeding spot for the local marine life.

Date 23/04/2024
Location Santorini
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Out

Of all the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is often considered the most dramatic. Once an active volcano, in approximately 1620 BC, the volcano erupted with such force that the center of the island literally exploded, leaving a submerged crater. The island’s small villages were preserved in the ashes giving a fascinating view of everyday life from 3,600 years ago.

Santorini’s landscape offsets its simple buildings, which shine in the brilliant sunlight. The rich volcanic soil is ideal for grapes and the local vines produce a crop known for its “special volcanic taste.”

Date 24/04/2024
Location Crete
In
Out

Set on the east of the Greek island Crete, Aghios Nikolaos is a place of legend and luxury. Pastel-coloured houses jostle attractively around the pretty harbour and inky lake, while busy restaurants and cafes spill out onto its lively waterfront. Life here orbits around Lake Voulismeni, and the legendary lake is said to be bottomless, and to have been a bathing spot for Greek goddesses Athena and Artemis.

Enjoy heavenly views of the water through frames of pretty, violet flowers, or climb the stone steps for a sweeping panorama of the town, lake and seas beyond. With abundant waterfront, hours meander past effortlessly in the town’s humming cafes, as characters come and go, and sunlight flicks off the sparkling waves. Aghios Nikolaos is surrounded by wide, scenic beaches, and you can choose between Voulisma – where crystal-clear water lolls against fine sand, or Almyros – where a refreshing ribbon of cooling freshwater snakes out into warm turquoise seawater. Away from the beaches, look for the brightly-frescoed Panagias Keras Church – one of the region’s oldest Byzantine churches – which dates back to the 13th century. Explore local farms to taste fresh oil, crushed from plump olives, ripened by the generous Cretan sun.

Date 25/04/2024
Location Rhodes
In
Out

Located only seven miles from the Turkish coast, Rhodes is one of Greece’s favored vacation centers. In ancient times, the entrance to its harbor featured a celebrated landmark, the Colossus of Rhodes. The 105-foot statue rose from a 35-foot stone base and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Rhodes was an important cultural center with a well-known School of Rhetoric attended by such historical figures as Cicero and Caesar. From a school for sculptors came the famous Laocoon group, which is now in the Vatican Museum. Rhodes’ most famous attractions originated with the Knights of St. John, who occupied parts of the island from 1308 to 1522. As their legacy they left a medieval town, dominated by the Palace of the Grand Masters and the Knights’ Hospital. The Old Town is encircled by one of the best-preserved walls in Europe. In addition to buildings that showcase the legacy of the Knights of St. John, there are plenty of shops and dining opportunities throughout the Old Town.

Date 26/04/2024
Location Antalya
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Out

All of the right elements come together to make this sun-drenched Mediterranean town on the Turkish Riviera a major holiday resort. The beautiful crescent bay, dramatic cliffs and jagged mountains contribute to a stunning backdrop. It is an attractive city with shady palm-lined boulevards and a prize-winning marina. In the picturesque old quarter, narrow streets and old wooden houses huddle against the ancient city walls.

Date 27/04/2024
Location At Sea
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Out
Date 28/04/2024
Location Ashdod (Jerusalem)
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Out

From Ashdod’s port, it’s a just a short ride to Jerusalem’s land of incredible religious significance and cultural wonder. A city like no other, Jerusalem is a melting pot of traditions, and a place of staggering complexity and immeasurably deep, impactful history. It’s almost impossible to fully digest Jerusalem’s importance in the scriptures of the world’s largest religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and this collision of faiths helps to make it one of the world’s most fascinating locations.

The Old City is the focal point for much of the religious reverence, with aged buildings from the world’s major faiths jostling for space, and melodic calls to prayer echoing down tight stone streets. Stroll the walkways to travel between deeply contrasting quarters, where you can sample roughly ripped pita bread, dipped into fresh, flavourful hummus. A place of unbridled passion and importance – but also extraordinary beauty – it’s easy to get swept away in the raw emotion that Jerusalem generates. Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which archaeologists believe stands on the site where Jesus was crucified. Inside, emotional worshipers kneel before the stone where his body was wrapped in cloth in preparation for burial. The Wailing Wall is another place where passions run high, as worshipers place their folded messages into the wall’s cracks. Temple Mount’s golden dome glints in the sun nearby, signifying another point of pilgrimage for Jews – and for Muslims, who believe it is the place where Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Date 29/04/2024
Location Ashdod (Jerusalem)
In
Out

From Ashdod’s port, it’s a just a short ride to Jerusalem’s land of incredible religious significance and cultural wonder. A city like no other, Jerusalem is a melting pot of traditions, and a place of staggering complexity and immeasurably deep, impactful history. It’s almost impossible to fully digest Jerusalem’s importance in the scriptures of the world’s largest religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and this collision of faiths helps to make it one of the world’s most fascinating locations.

The Old City is the focal point for much of the religious reverence, with aged buildings from the world’s major faiths jostling for space, and melodic calls to prayer echoing down tight stone streets. Stroll the walkways to travel between deeply contrasting quarters, where you can sample roughly ripped pita bread, dipped into fresh, flavourful hummus. A place of unbridled passion and importance – but also extraordinary beauty – it’s easy to get swept away in the raw emotion that Jerusalem generates. Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which archaeologists believe stands on the site where Jesus was crucified. Inside, emotional worshipers kneel before the stone where his body was wrapped in cloth in preparation for burial. The Wailing Wall is another place where passions run high, as worshipers place their folded messages into the wall’s cracks. Temple Mount’s golden dome glints in the sun nearby, signifying another point of pilgrimage for Jews – and for Muslims, who believe it is the place where Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Date 30/04/2024
Location Haifa (Jerusalem)
In
Out

At less than 45 kilometres from Nazareth, Haifa is often neglected when it comes to travel experiences. And understandably so, as Nazareth is definitely the superstar of the region. The pilgrimage site is certainly a must for all believers of all denominations, and the chance of seeing where Jesus spent his childhood is too good an opportunity to pass up for some. If, however you go expecting to find a bucolic utopia then think again. View less

Nazareth today is bustling modern hub of a mega metropolis, which has grown up around the crumbling walls of the Old City. Nazareth Old City is stunning, and the historic sites where Jesus is believed to have lived and preached prior to his death are certainly bucket list. These include the Basilica of the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to inform her of her virgin birth, the Church of Joseph, the ancient site of Joseph’s carpentry shop and Cana (located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee), where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. But that is not to say that Haifa itself is not worth a visit. The city – the third largest in Israel after Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – is a mosaic of cultures and faiths, with Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baháʼís all living peacefully side by side. The Baháʼí Gardens, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, are without a doubt the city’s main attraction. Set on the flanks of Mont Carmel and sloping into the Mediterranean Sea, both the gardens and the city offer stunning views.

Date 01/05/2024
Location At Sea
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Date 02/05/2024
Location Crete
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Out

Combining a touch of Venetian beauty with Crete’s rugged landscape and dazzling beaches, Chania is an enchanting welcome to this legendary Greek island. Waterfront restaurants spill out onto the gorgeous 14th-century Venetian harbour, which hums with clinking coffee cups and laidback chatter during sunny afternoons. Later, the sounds of popping corks and rattling cocktail shakers take over, as the harbour’s lights sparkle romantically, and the stars glitter overhead. Chania is Crete’s second largest, and undoubtedly its most beautiful, town.

The showpiece harbour is a cluster of colourful buildings, guiding you amiably towards the scenic old town – a mesmerising interplay of narrow cobbled streets. There’s a Turkish touch to some of the architecture, and the dusty domes of an Ottoman-era, former mosque overlook the undulating waterfront. It now serves as a unique venue for art exhibitions. Wander out across the thin sea walls to the 16th-century lighthouse – a charming hodgepodge of architectural styles, with influences from the major occupations of Crete’s history. Leave the gentle clamour of the old town to unwind on luxurious Agia Marina, a coral-specked stretch of clear turquoise water, lapping gently against a band of soft golden sand. Bali’s beaches are another option, with curves of protected sandy sheltering inside rocky coves. Flip through the pages of a paperback, or enjoy strolls with the lazy loll of the waves washing over your feet. Back in the city, settle in to eat on that evocative waterfront, and rip freshly-baked bread, drizzled with golden olive oil, squeezed from olive groves nearby. Afterwards, enjoy platters of mussels, prawns and grilled sea bream from the Cretan waters. Be sure to try local mizithra – a rich, creamy cheese with echoes of ricotta.

Date 03/05/2024
Location Argostoli
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Out

Loggerhead turtles patrol the clear, calm waters of Cephalonia island, which rises majestically out of the Ionian’s emerald green haze. A place of simple, fundamental pleasures, discover this island where lazy waves lap against long, sweeping expanses of silky sand, and contented laughter echoes above tables groaning with platefuls of fresh seafood and generously splashed wine. It’s not always been this peaceful, however. View less

Having survived German and Italian occupations – and the bloodshed of the Greek Civil war – Cephalonia was finally overcome by a devastating earthquake in 1953, which razed practically every structure during a hellish half-minute of destruction. Nowadays, Cephalonia is a heavenly mirage of idyllic beaches, all overlooked by the huge rise of Mount Aenos – a black-pine coated mountain where wild ponies roam freely. Wander the shorefront of Argostoli – along the bustling harbour – and keep an eye out for fishermen lobbing their rejected haul back into the waves. Chances are this daily ritual will summon the loggerhead turtles who cruise these waters and gather to enjoy the free feast. Tuck into a feast of your own in Argostoli’s central Vallianos Square, where mandolins and guitars interplay, and locals wine and dine in shaded bars. Spectacular – if a little hair-raising – roads lace the island, and you can venture out to Vouti Beach to discover crystal-clear waters shifting in hue through the full ombre of blues. Take a long, undisturbed swim in the warm waters, surrounded by flashing fish life and huge, loosely scattered rocks. A refreshing tossed Greek salad awaits on the shore. Fiskardo, meanwhile, is one of the island’s prettiest harbours, where a hubbub of colourful fishing boats are moored within touching distance of tavernas, serving up deliciously grilled sea bream and anchovies.

Date 04/05/2024
Location Corfu
In
Out

This sickle-shaped island of Mediterranean bliss flaunts its sun-kissed sophistication with effortless grace – having cherry-picked the best influences from Venetian, French and British occupiers. With over 3,000 years of history, The Grand Lady of the Ionian has played a starring role in Greek history and mythology, and legendary tales swirl around you, as you explore sparkling beaches, mountains splashed with wildflowers, and historical, perched fortresses.

The soft hues of Corfu’s UNESCO World Heritage List Old Town brings together Corfu’s mesh of European influences, with its romantic stone floors and vine-clad cafes. Find somewhere to settle in for a morning coffee ritual like a true Corfiat, and sip at the laid-back pace of the locals – allowing the thick bitter concoction to settle before indulging. The oddly out-of-place sound of leather on willow can be heard in Spianada Square – the largest city square in the Balkan region – where a manicured cricket pitch spreads out incongruously below the Mediterranean sun. Take the hike up to the 13th-century Paleokastritsa Monastery, where you’ll be escorted by the resident goats, and have to step over cats contentedly rolling around your feet on arrival. This beautiful, daffodil-yellow building is splashed with a fresco of vivid purple fuchsias, and a crowning triad of bells. Inside, explore gold-framed frescoes, and watch as monks squeeze oil from the monastery’s trees’ bounty. Wander out among the groves to views of Corfu’s never-ending sea reaching out to the horison below you. Corfu’s sweeping sand beaches and hidden coves display the full spectrum of vivid Mediterranean seaside colours – which shift from turquoise greens to cobalt blues. The famous Canal d’Amour is a gorgeous inlet, and island legend says couples who swim together in this narrow channel of water stay together forever. Enjoy an afternoon sit-down and drink of ginger tea, or something a little stronger in the form of Corfu’s famous, radiant orange, kumquat liqueur.

Date 05/05/2024
Location Dubrovnik
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Out

Croatia’s crowning glory rears up vertically from the tranquil waters of the Adriatic, and Dubrovnik’s daunting fortresses town is a truly imposing sight to behold. Encircled by chunky stone walls so thick and dramatic they could have been purpose-built as a film set, this city’s unmatched old town is the setting for countless films and shows – from Star Wars to Robin Hood, Game of Thrones and every production in-between seeking a truly authentic medieval flavour.

This fantasy fortress’s walls – which are no less than 12-metres thick at places – are certainly not just for show, however. They kept Dubrovnik safe when it was a maritime republic and they were besieged as recently as 1991, when Serbian and Montenegrin forces attacked, as Yugoslavia broke apart. Fully restored now, the stone streets of the city take you through a beautiful mosaic of architectural splendour, baroque churches and splashing fountains. Tapering alleys rocket up from the central boulevard of Stradun, offering spectacular views down, but you’ll need to walk the city walls to appreciate the fortress city’s full scale. Banking up sharply to the rear, you can gaze across an ocean of terracotta roofs and church spires, clamouring together before the sparkling Adriatic. Visit the neighbouring fort of Lovrijenac, for another perspective, or swing up to Srd fortress’s glorious panorama on a cable car. Dubrovnik’s streets are crammed with eateries and candlelit tables, where couples splash wine into glasses and enjoy gnocchi mixed with creamy truffle sauces. Nearby beaches like Banje are also close by, and hidden bays reward the intrepid who venture out beyond the old town. Take sunset drinks to sit back and watch as flotillas of sea kayaks roll by, or sail on the pristine waters to explore island gems like Lokrum – where peacocks are the only permanent residents.

Date 06/05/2024
Location Korčula
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Out

Croatia’s fractured Adriatic coast is scattered with hundreds of islands – but few can match the elegant beauty of lovely Korčula. Tucked away behind bustling Hvar, Croatia’s sixth-largest island is a little harder to reach, making for a more peaceful affair. Decorated with beautiful medieval fortifications, time stands still as you stroll narrow paths, cutting between the stone facades of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Hear the stomps of feet and clacks of swords rattling off of the walls, during traditional Moreška performances – an enchanting, authentic sword dance. View less

Revelin Tower looms over the grand entrance to the walled old town – nicknamed Little Dubrovnik – which was built and fortified in 1485 to protect Korčula. The island is also said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, and his former house contains a narrow staircase leading to Marco Polo Tower, which peeks above the tight streets. The majestic Cathedral of St. Mark also rises high, and you’ll spot the gorgeous vaulted bell tower, framed between narrow alleyways. Climb to the top for views of the red roof cluster, and sparkling Adriatic below. A beautiful island to explore, its dark blanket of pine tree forest led to the Greek’s naming the island, Korkyra Melaina – or Black Corfu. Explore the gorgeous ring of coastline, which is lined with pebble beaches, sandy bays and hidden coves. Or, indulge in the island’s tastes – like luxurious olive oils and white wines grown from grapes including posip, and grk – cultivated only on this island.

Date 07/05/2024
Location Sibenik
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Sibenik is a port in south-west Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. Among the city’s notable buildings are a Roman Catholic cathedral (begun early 15th century) and a 12th-century fort. Nearby is the Krka National Park with its cascading waterfalls, green pools and swimming holes.

Date 08/05/2024
Location Koper
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Out

Koper is a port city in Slovenia, on the country’s Adriatic coastline. Its medieval old town centers around Titov Trg, a square with Venetian-influenced landmarks such as the Praetorian Palace and a Gothic-style loggia, while nearby Da Ponte Fountain is a replica of Venice’s famed Rialto Bridge

Date 09/05/2024
Location Venice
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Losing none of its allure over the years, this floating city of canals, bridges and masks is a place of eternal beauty and enduring elegance. The lagoon of more than 100 islands is a heavenly sight, transporting visitors on a journey through time – from its Roman inception, through centuries of trade to the modern face we see today. Navigate Venice’s sparkling waterways by romantic gondola, or on cruises along wide canal boulevards. View less

Span the Grand Canal over its iconic original crossing, the Rialto Bridge, which – with its parade of tiny shops – gives some of the city’s most endearing views. If the crowds unsettle you at any point, take two turns away from the main thoroughfares to find peace alone, amid the city’s labyrinth of tiny streets. Hurry to Piazza San Marco to be immersed in Venice’s elegant glory. Basilica San Marco transports you back to the wealthy days of the Doges, who ruled for over 1,000 years. Initially their private chapel, it’s now decorated with beautiful Byzantine mosaics. Nearby the Campanile di San Marco bell tower offers views over the higgledy-piggledy rooftops of times gone by. Just a hop skip and a jump around the corner is the Doge’s Palace, where the levels of opulence ramp up even further. Justice was meted out in this stunning Palace, with the guilty walking to the cells across the covered Bridge of Sighs. Vaporetto trips to local islands offer even more adventures to float your boat, whether it’s Murano with its world-famous glass, Torcello with its amazing Cathedrals, or Burano with its handmade lace and delightfully colourful painted houses.

Date 10/05/2024
Location Rab
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Known by the Romans for its happy outlook, see the lighter side of life on the beautiful Adriatic island of Rab. Happy to keep its upbeat secrets to itself, the island’s charms were shared with the world when Edward VIII arrived to holiday and skinny-dip here, on an escape with his married lover. A highlight of the Kvarner Gulf, Rab is decorated with a spectacular contrast of cliffs, sandbars, dunes and pine forests, and the island is a protected geopark offering thrilling scenery for every taste. View less

Characterful villages throw lavish fishing festivals and medieval celebrations, illuminating the island with summer feasts and cultural flavour. Dozens of beaches fringe this long thin island, whether you want shallow sand shelves or wild, bouldered coves. Watch beach sports, settle into beach bars or seek out isolated areas where the only soundtrack is the waves. Inland, specialities like grapes and olives grow for wine and oil production, while bakeries produce fragrant batches of the snail shell-shaped Rabska cake. A sweet taste of Rab, it features almonds and rose petal liqueur among the tangy citrus flavours, and you can visit the dedicated museum to learn of its history. The island has a litany of historic churches and Rab Town itself is known for the four bell towers that rise above its sparkling waters. Brave the stairs of the Cathedral of St Mary the Great’s tower for an astounding view over the sea, Rab Town, and the island. Goli Otok and Sv Grgur are a short ride away by boat, and the two islands form a harrowing former prison, known as the Croatian Alcatraz.

Date 11/05/2024
Location Split
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Split is a busy port with numerous ferries operating to and from nearby islands. It is also a popular resort with beaches, pleasant promenades and good hotels. Venetian Gothic and Renaissance houses and several medieval churches add architectural interest. As a major cultural center, Split does not lack in museums and art galleries. However, the city’s principal attraction is Diocletian’s Palace. It occupies an area of 34,680 square yards and was constructed to serve as a residence and a fortified military camp. By the Middle Ages, the palace had been enclosed within a strong wall with square corner towers, enclosing a town with narrow house-lined alleys. As the city grew, people gradually moved outside the walls and the city center shifted westward.

Date 12/05/2024
Location Hvar
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One of the most popular of the island escapes sprinkled across the turquoise Adriatic, Hvar is a glorious idyll of hidden coves, electric blue waters and quietly contented port towns. In recent years, it’s gathered something of a reputation as a party island – mainly earned from Hvar Town’s nocturnal exuberances, and the transient day-tripping yachts that drop by. View less

Soak up the energy, exuberance and fine dining, or sidestep the hedonism to explore a richly refined, rural and historic island – utterly spoiled with sunshine, and hidden beaches, which dazzle with colourful intensity. Bike rides along long sweeping coastal paths, boat journeys from pretty harbours, walks through fields of purple lavender – it’s all waiting for you on heavenly Hvar. Relish the sunshine and explore deserted, idyllic inlets, before sharing strong espressos in quiet harbour towns, surrounded by welcoming, sun-wrinkled locals. There’s also rich Medieval history – the sleepy town of Stari Grad is said to be Croatia’s oldest, dating back to 384 BC. Elsewhere, Jelsa is a postcard perfect place – settle in for a bite to eat, with nothing but the sound of harbour waters lapping and sandpaper scraping boats hulls for company. You can walk to look out over glorious views across to Brac, sometimes watching on as thunderstorms rage and flash, an eternity away over the mainland’s crumpled mountains. You’re also just a short ferry ride from the incredible Golden Horn – an evocative spike of brilliant sand which juts out evocatively into the cobalt-blue sea.

Date 13/05/2024
Location Kotor
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Embedded into the slopes of the steep Lovćen mountain, and overlooking the deep blue Adriatic, the fortified town of Kotor boasts a spectacular, imposing staging that few can match. Squeezing in through the tight Bay of Kotor is a daunting and impressive approach in itself, as you arrive via the waterway of Europe’s most southerly fjord. A pearl of Montenegro and the Adriatic, Kotor’s warren-like streets drip with history and authenticity. View less

Under Venetian influence for four centuries, the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site old town invites you to wander amid atmospheric stone-clad streets, overlooked by a sea of terracotta roofs and the double towers of the cathedral. Protected by thick stone walls – and the mountains behind – Kotor draws comparisons with another fortified Adriatic wonder in Dubrovnik. Many favour Kotor for its compact layout, smaller crowds, and authenticity, however – having been spared from shelling during Yugoslavia’s breakup. The tightknit streets here are patrolled by a slinking population of feline residents, who were adopted as the town’s mascots, after being left behind by transient trader ships. Learn of the city’s extensive heritage on the waves, in the dedicated maritime museum that is contained within Grgurina Palace. Pick your way through tight alleys of workshops and studios, walking below fresh laundry strung from windows, before settling into shiny, paved piazzas for an afternoon coffee or seafood meal. If you’re up for an aerobic challenge, tackle the 1,350 steps up the steep walls to St John’s fortress. The views over the gorgeous bay make the arduous slog worth it, as you rise past the city’s eye-catching 15th-century church bell tower.

Date 14/05/2024
Location Sarande
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Date 15/05/2024
Location Gallipoli
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Kalè polis, meaning beautiful city, is the name ancient Greek mariners bestowed on Gallipoli, with good reason. Situated on a mound, the Old Town with its labyrinth of winding lanes, emerges from the Ionian Sea. It is connected to the mainland and modern Gallipoli via a 17th-century bridge. The area lies on the Salentina Peninsula in the extreme southeast end of Italy, commonly referred to as the heel of the boot. The Salento region was inhabited already in prehistoric times; later centuries were marked by Greek, Norman, Byzantine and Baroque cultures. It is a land of farms, castles, works of art, myths and legends. Many heroic battles were fought; fierce resistance was shown by Gallipoli’s citizens against numerous invaders that included Romans, Vandals, Swabians, Venetians, French and lastly the English in 1809.

Date 16/05/2024
Location Taormina
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Hugging a long, sweeping bay, Giardini Naxos welcomes you ashore to some of Sicily’s most scenic and historic sites. Naxos was the first Greek settlement on Sicily, and it is surrounded by remarkable remains and swirling mythology. With a long arc of sun-soaked golden sand, you can kick back by the waves – and cool off with a dip into the sea’s refreshing embrace. Up above the seaside revelry, the spectacular Taormina hillside town perches – containing rich Roman and Greek history. View less

Visit to encounter one of Sicily’s best views, as you look down over the rejuvenating blue of the sea, and the looming backdrop of Mount Etna rising in the distance. The majestic, honey-coloured Greek theatre is a highlight, standing before the distant loom of the volcano. Head towards the puffs of cloud, and wisps of smoke, that gather around the peak of Sicily’s mighty volcano, which is among the most active in Europe. Arrive through vineyards, thriving in this fertile soil, before taking the 1,737-metre incline to the summit of the legendary mountain of fire, across fields of solidified lava flows. Known to the Greeks as the home of the God of Fire, and the one-eyed Cyclops, the mountain continues to amaze and awe with its restless power. Vineyards carpet the scenery – interrupted by occasional cactai and citrus groves – and produce some of Sicily’s most refined flavors. Enjoy a glass of wine on Giardini Naxos’ seafront, and toast your time on these rich Sicilian shores.

Date 17/05/2024
Location Amalfi
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Date 18/05/2024
Location Rome (Civitavecchia)
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All roads lead to Rome, and with good reason – this city is one of the world’s most thrilling, offering unmatched history along every street. An evocative, inspiring and utterly artistic capital of unrivalled cultural impact, Rome is a city of back-to-back landmarks, which will take you on an exhilarating journey through the ages. This may be one of the world’s oldest cities, but it’s well and truly lived in. The ruins are punctuated with murmuring cafes, and the outdoor seating of restaurants sprawls out across piazzas, enticing you to sample tangles of creamy pasta and crispy pizzas. Rome’s incredible Roman Forum is littered with the ruins of its ancient administrations, which have stood firm for 2,000 years, since the times when the area was the centre of the Western world. Few sites are more simultaneously beautiful and haunting than that of the storied Colosseum, which looms deep into Rome’s rich blue sky. Take a tour to learn details of the grisly goings-on within. The best way to experience Rome is to wander its streets, gelato in hand. There is a lot to see here – whether it’s the domed spectacle of the Pantheon, or the elaborate flowing waters and artistry of the Trevi Fountain. Vatican City is an astonishing, colossal display of Catholic grandeur, while the Spanish Steps – crowned by the Trinità dei Monti church – offer a beautiful spot to gather and soak up the lively atmosphere of this humming city. With so much on the to-do list, you’ll relish the breaks you take, enjoying simple pleasures like a strong espresso, or fresh pasta with tomato sauce and ripped basil.

Date 19/05/2024
Location Porto Santo Steffano
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A summer escape for Rome’s historic elite, the stacked waterfront of Porto Santo Stefano is a secluded taste of idyllic southern Tuscany. Physically closer to Rome than Florence, the city is strung to Italy’s western coast by two sandy harnesses, and sits on the unqiue peninsula of Monte Argentario – which was once an island. Flamboyant pink flamingos and herons stroll through the encased lagoon, while Porto Santo Stefano’s waterfront hums with clinking cafes and strolling visitors. View less

The luxury yachts in the harbour show that Porto Santo Stefano has lost none of its luxury appeals, and with beaches, wild hikes and waterfront beauty, it continues to lure visitors to this secluded escape. Known for its fishing and cuisine – which is based around heavy use of the Tyrrhenian Sea’s juicy bounty. Stroll to Piazza dei Rioni for a dripping lemon gelato, or wander the streets noticing the lingering World War II damage – the city was heavily bombed during the conflict. Fortunately, the historic, star-shaped, Spanish fort was spared, and it still watches out resolutely over the waters. Built during the Napoleonic Wars, it fortified the exposed town against pirate raids, and offers beautiful views over the old town’s terracotta roofs. Rugged coastline falls to secluded beaches, with a wilder, unkempt charm. Sail the coves – seeing cascading olive groves – or island-hop to Giglio and Giannuti, which lie 12 miles from shore, and can be seen from the monastery topped Argentario mountain. On the other side of the promontory, you’ll find Porto Ercole – where the lifeless body of the Old Master, Caravaggio, was discovered.

Date 20/05/2024
Location Portoferraio
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The Island of Elba is probably best known as one of the places where Napoleon spent time in exile. Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan archipelago. Its considerable deposits of high-quality iron ore were already mined by the Etruscans, which enabled them to assert their dominance in Italy. Later, the mines were worked by the Romans. In fact, the name of Elba’s capital means “iron port,” testifying to the island’s important resource.

Date 21/05/2024
Location Alghero
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Encircled by dramatic medieval walls, which rise abruptly from deep-blue waters, Alghero’s defences shelter one of Sardinia’s largest and most spectacular old towns. Uneven cobbled streets, rich history and a fiery Catalan flare provide a real depth of character, and the Coral Riviera’s pristine beaches, which stretch out nearby, help to make Alghero a real highlight of Sardinia. Alghero has changed hands numerous times over its tempestuous history, but it’s the Catalan influence that you’ll feel most acutely, as you explore.

It was the Catalans who upgraded the defensive ramparts of the ‘Sardinian Barcelonetta’ into the spectacular, imposing fortress we see today, enclosing the old town’s evocative knot of narrow streets and rose-gold-coloured masonry. Wander the streets at your leisure, enjoying the cooling shade of the tight, cobblestone streets with lemon-gelato in hand, or enjoying fresh tuna steak at the bustling La Boqueria market. Alghero Cathedral is hidden amid the labyrinth of narrow streets, but it’s the distinctive Baroque-dome of Chiesa di San Michele that you’ll immediately notice peeking ostentatiously over the terracotta roofs of the old town, flaunting its rainbow-coloured patterning. Plush restaurants revel in Alghero’s historical collision of cultures and produce delicious fare like plump clams tangled in tagliatelle, and succulent porcetto pork – slowly roasted to perfection in smoky wood ovens. Wash it down with mirto, a crushed berry liqueur, or sample the fruits of local vineyards, with a platter of Sardinia’s renowned pecorino sheep’s cheese. The city dominates Sardinia’s Coral Riviera – so named because of the red coral found here that’s been used for jewellery since Roman times. Lie back and listen to the waves washing ashore at Spiaggia di Maria Pia beach, breathing in the smell of pine-needles on the breeze.

Date 22/05/2024
Location Ajaccio,Corsica, France
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Ajaccio is Corsica’s largest town. As such, it retains the image of a typical French Mediterranean resort – palm trees, street cafés and a marina full of yachts from around the world. Set in a magnificent bay with a shadowy mountain range as a scenic backdrop, its first image is of yellow-toned buildings and a majestic citadel.
Ajaccio also serves as a popular departure point for trips into Corsica’s rugged interior

Date 23/05/2024
Location Le Lavandou
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Date 24/05/2024
Location Marseille
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Today, Marseille is the country’s most important seaport and the largest one in the Mediterranean. The city is divided into 16 arrondissements fanning out from the Old Port. The large industrial port area virtually rubs shoulders with the intimate, picturesque old harbor, the Vieux Port. Packed with fishing boats and pleasure crafts, this is the heart of Marseille. Two fortresses guard the entrance to the harbor: Fort Saint Nicolas and, across the water, Fort Saint Jean.

Date 25/05/2024
Location Menton
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Surrounded by the Côte d’Azur and the Ligurian Alps, this charming town full of mystery first appeared in the 12th century. At this time Menton belonged to the Vento family of Genoa.

In 1346, Menton was under ownership of Charles Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco. From hence, Menton’s history became intertwined with that of the principality of Monaco. In 1848, Menton broke away from the principality and proclaimed itself a free city under the protection of Sarde. Menton chose to become part of France in 1860 and Charles III of Monaco released all rights of the city to Emperor Napoléon III. Menton became part of the Alps-Maritimes department.

Date 26/05/2024
Location Villefranche (Nice)
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The small village of Villefranche, with its prominent citadel, colorful buildings, fishing boats and old town, has managed to retain much of its original charm. Visitors enjoy strolling along the waterfront and climbing the narrow streets to the upper town.

Located behind the sheltering promontory of Cap Ferrat, the pretty village offers easy access to many sites of the French Riviera.The enclave of Monaco is a short drive to the east, while Nice and Cannes lie to the west. Each can be reached by the Lower Corniche, Middle Corniche or Grand Corniche, the Riviera’s three major scenic roads.

In Monaco, the celebrated Monte Carlo Casino is no longer exclusively patronized by ladies and gentlemen in formal dress; it has adapted to the modern age with a new relaxed atmosphere including a room full of slot machines. The famed Hotel de Paris, however, retains its grand and elegant air. In Nice, department stores and specialty shops offer luxury French merchandise.

Date 27/05/2024
Location Villefranche (Nice)
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Nice, often called the Queen of the Riviera, is a delightful city that is fashionable yet relaxed and fun. Sprawling over an extensive area, Nice comprises a wonderful blend of old and new. The old town is one of the delights of the Riviera. Narrow streets and winding alleys are lined with faded 17th- and 18th-century buildings, where families sell crafts and produce. The Italian façades of modern Nice and the exuberant, early 20th-century residences, which made the city one of Europe’s fashionable winter retreats, remain intact. Although not blessed with the best beaches, its pebbled sands continue to attract scores of visitors every year.
Adding to the city’s attractions are relics of its ancient past. Greek seafarers founded Nice around 350 BC. The Romans took control 196 years later, settling farther uphill in the area that is now Cimiez. By the 10th century, Nice was ruled by the Counts of Provence and in the 14th century fell to the House of Savoy. Although the French occupied Nice for short periods during the 18th and 19th centuries, the city did not become a definitive part of France until 1860 when Napoleon III made a deal with the House of Savoy. Nice grew in popularity during the Victorian period when the English aristocracy favored it as a winter retreat because of the mild climate.
Backed by scenic mountains, the city is generally divided into the Old Town and modern Nice. The look of the old town has changed little since the 1700s. Its colorful flower market should not be missed. The celebrated, palm-lined Promenade des Anglais follows the gently curved beachfront for about three miles and visitors as well as residents enjoy strolling along its path. Everything costs more along this famed strip; expensive shops, restaurants and art galleries blend with more modest establishments. The showpiece of the Promenade des Anglais is the palatial Hotel Negresco.
North of the Old Town, the stately Place Massena is the main hub of Nice. The square is surrounded by neo-classical, arcaded buildings painted in shades of ochre and red. The central part of the city contains fine restaurants and hotels and is particularly known for its pedestrian zone with many boutiques of well-known designers. North of the city center is the posh suburb of Cimiez, where several museums are located.

Date 28/05/2024
Location Porto Venere
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This tiny town on the Italian Riviera was strategically planned at the tip of a rocky peninsula overlooking the Gulf of La Spezia. Its 12th-century tall and narrow houses climb precipitously up the hillside from the sea. Many of them were at one time connected to the walls of an old citadel, which made it easy for the population to seek shelter during times of attack. Portovenere is built on different levels; visitors enjoy strolling through the narrow streets, delighting in the town’s unique ambiance.

Date 29/05/2024
Location Livorno (Florence/Pisa/Tuscany)
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There are few more elegant places to salute the sunset than Terrazza Mascagni, Livorno’s refined chessboard piazza. A historic port, and a beachy gateway to Tuscany, Livorno welcomes you ashore to explore this enchanted Italian region’s sun-soaked beauty, rich flavours and world-renowned fine art. Stay in Livorno to explore ‘Piccolo Venezia’, or ‘Little Venice’ – a quarter of the town that’s laced with canals, little marble bridges and plenty of tempting eateries. View less

With its bustling market, fortresses and iconic waterfront, there’s plenty to keep you busy here, but most will be tempted to venture inland to explore more of Tuscany’s many charms and artistic wonders. Test your nose, as you breathe in the subtleties of Tuscany’s vineyard-draped scenery, and visit wineries showcasing the best of the renowned flavours of the Bolgheri wine-growing area. Or head out to Prato, where you’ll find tightly-woven textile history. Pisa’s showpiece tower is within reach, as is Florence’s city of immense and imaginative renaissance beauty. Admire the delicate carving of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the David statue, and note the provocative stance as he casts a dismissive glance towards Rome. Stand before the city’s majestic black and white cathedral – the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – with its colossal brick dome. The view down over Florence’s river and grand dome from Piazzale Michelangelo, meanwhile, is one of Italy’s finest. However you choose to spend your time in Tuscany, you’ll discover an artistic region, filled with beauty designed to appeal to every sense.

Date 30/05/2024
Location Olbia
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An energetic little town, where authentic Sardinian life plays out, Olbia welcomes you to the island’s heart-meltingly attractive northeastern coastline. Explore a land where glorious turquoise oceans and white sands meet, and cork and olive trees grow wild. Swish golf clubs on courses hugging the electric-blue waters, ride the terrain on mountain bike trails, or recline on powder-soft sands – the choice is yours in Olbia’s exclusive, sun-soaked outdoor playground. View less

Corso Umberto is the paved, flower-decorated spine of Olbia – a buzzing pedestrianised street that runs from the waterfront and hums with restaurants and shops. The town’s atmospheric narrow streets eventually lead to the small squares of Piazza Regina Margherita and Piazza Matteotti – perfect for a shaded drink and a sit down in their clusters of animated cafes. Wander to find Basilica di San Simplicio, a simple granite structure that dates back to the 11th century, and is decorated with glowing 12th-century frescoes. The zigzagging rainbow coloured tiles of the Chiesa di San Paolo’s dome beam in the sunshine, and add a splash of colour to the town’s humble skyline. The coastline around Olbia is some of Sardinia’s finest. Head to the Costa Smeralda, where some of the most beautiful beaches in the world sparkle. An area of immense beauty, white sand crescents like Capriccioli stand protected by junipers, pine trees and olive trees growing wild. Wander the secluded sands where turtles lay their eggs or relax in the opulence of luxury resorts. There are beautiful beaches closer to Olbia too – Porto Istana sandy beach offers crystal clear, shallow water that is ideal for swimming and sun worshipping.

Date 31/05/2024
Location Corsica
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Calvi’s illustrious citadel dominates the city’s harbour, watching over a port bustling with luxury yachts dropping anchor, and well-heeled visitors wandering the Quai Landry’s elegant seafront promenade. Cafes and restaurants clink and clatter, while the interplaying voices of trios of Corsica’s polychronic singers provide a wonderfully evocative soundtrack. Calvi’s grand, moon-shaped bay, completes the postcard-perfect appeal, and you can wander the fringe of soft sandy beach which stretches for five miles.

Or, dip into the tempting turquoise waves that lap softly against the shore, while admiring the crowning glory of Calvi’s majestic citadel. The stacked 13th-century Genoese fortress is Calvi’s heart and has played a central role in fending off invaders from across the waves throughout the city’s history. Positioned high above the port, and overlooking the sea below, there’s a labyrinth of cobbled streets tucked in behind its steep, protective walls. The clanging bells of the domed Cathedral St. Jean Baptiste echo evocatively down its stone-clad streets, and the church has a rustic beauty to its faded, sandpapered façade. Reach the ruins of a humble house – destroyed by Lord Nelson’s besiegement of Calvi – and you may raise an eyebrow at the signs proclaiming your arrival at Christopher Columbus’s birthplace. Raise your suspicions with the locals, however, to be met with pityingly smiles at your naïvety – they firmly believe the common theory that he was born in Genoa was a deliberate piece of misinformation spread by Columbus himself. Twist up through the fragrant pine trees of Chapelle de Notre Dame de la Serra for a spectacular view of Calvi’s majesty unfolding before you. Best appreciated at sunset, you can absorb the view with the last rays of the day bouncing off the tips of the waves below, as you’re embraced by the island’s ragged mountains and Calvi’s timeless beauty.

Date 01/06/2024
Location Toulon
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Built around a sheltered bay, with 1,700-foot Mount Faron as an impressive backdrop, Toulon is an important naval port and a city of industry and manufacturing. Its large harbor serves as the base for the French navy’s Mediterranean fleet and as the home to a sizeable marina, with yachts and pleasure boats adding bright splashes of color.
Toulon was the site where Napoleon Bonaparte first made a name for himself in 1793 during a siege in which the English, who had taken over Toulon, were expelled.
During World War II, the bulk of the French fleet anchored off Toulon was scuttled by French crews to prevent its acquisition by occupying German forces. The city was liberated in 1944 by French troops.
A maze of pedestrian streets constitutes the heart of old Toulon. Shops and colorful stalls make it an attractive area to explore. Avenue de la République runs parallel to the waterfront. At the western edge of the quay is the Naval Museum featuring an excellent collection of old and new ship models, figureheads, paintings and other items related to Toulon’s maritime history.
The town’s attractions can be seen in a fairly short time. Most visitors come here to explore the hinterland and other parts of the Riviera.

Date 02/06/2024
Location At Sea
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Date 03/06/2024
Location Palma
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The Balearics are comprised of 16 islands; the three principal ones are Mallorca, Ibiza and Minorca. Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Arabs have invaded these islands over the centuries. Ruins show evidence of the prehistoric Talayot civilization, a megalithic culture that flourished here between 1500 BC and the Roman conquest. Today the islands are besieged by invaders of a different sort – hordes of tourists.
Lying 60 miles (97 km) off the Spanish mainland, the islands’ lush and rugged landscape combined with an extremely mild, sunny climate proves irresistible, especially to northern Europeans. As a result, the Balearics boast cosmopolitan resorts with lively nightlife and plenty of sports activities.
Mallorca (also spelled Majorca) is the largest of the islands, with an area of more than 1,400 square miles (3626 sq.km). The scenery is magnificent, with cliffs along indented shorelines jutting out of the sea and mountain ranges sheltering the plains from harsh sea breezes. The fertile plain in the centre is covered with almond and fig trees plus olive groves with some trees more than 1,000 years old. Tall pines, junipers and oaks line the mountain slopes.
Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the archipelago. A cosmopolitan city with sophisticated shops and restaurants, it also offers buildings of spectacular Moorish and Gothic architecture.
In the western part of Mallorca, nestled into the mountains, lies the village of Valldemosa. It is known for its Carthusian Monastery where Frédéric Chopin and George Sand spent the winter of 1838-39.

Date 04/06/2024
Location Menorca
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Happy to sit out of the limelight that Ibiza and Majorca bathe in, Menorca lives life at its own pace, offering endless pine-tree fringed beaches and an appealing, mellow approach. The capital of Menorca is a bashful member of Balearic Islands, which wait off of the sunny Spanish coast. With atmospheric old towns, tiny fishing villages, and unspoiled beach coves, this is one of the group’s lesser-known and explored gems – and all the richer for it

Date 05/06/2024
Location Port Vendres
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The south coast of France is nothing if not beautiful. To the east you have the sparkling seas of the Riviera while to the west, the terrain becomes craggier, less built upon but no less lovely. As you travel west ports get smaller and less glossy – but remain undeniably authentic. Such is true of Collioure. This charming seaside resort might not have the mega yachts (or mega bucks) of St. Tropez and Monte-Carlo, but it certainly has a local flavour that is unique to the south-west of France.

So much so that the post-impressionist movement Fauvism was immortalised here. Apparently the movement was created when artists including Matisse, Picasso and Derain arrived in 1905 and realised they could not purchase black pain in the area. They were thus forced to find a creative solution to their problem. The answer was, of course, the dotty pictures that defined 20th century art. So magnetic was the region that others flocked to the area, and even today Collioure’s church is one of the most painted locations in France, with a record 242 reproductions. So perhaps the best guide to Collioure is not the usual guide books, but rather a crash course in modern art. Little seems to have changed since the painters left the seaside village, olive and lemon groves are still abundant, grape vines still line the horizon and stone cottages still stand. Cicadas still sing, fishing boats – bringing home the region’s speciality of anchovies – still float, and life carries on very much as it must have done in 1905.

Date 06/06/2024
Location Barcelona
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The infinite variety of street life, the nooks and crannies of the medieval Barri Gòtic, the ceramic tile and stained glass of Art Nouveau facades, the art and music, the throb of street life, the food (ah, the food!)—one way or another, Barcelona will find a way to get your full attention. The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafés and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches.

A stroll along La Rambla and through waterfront Barceloneta, as well as a tour of Gaudí’s majestic Sagrada Famíliaand his other unique creations, are part of a visit to Spain’s second-largest city. Modern art museums and chic shops call for attention, too. Barcelona’s vibe stays lively well into the night, when you can linger over regional wine and cuisine at buzzing tapas bars.

Date 07/06/2024
Location Tarragona
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Perched high above the Mediterranean just sixty miles southwest of Barcelona, Tarragona is an important cultural center in its own right. Visitors are drawn by its history, architecture and art, as well as opportunities to enjoy the beaches, marinas and golf courses. During its heyday during the Roman Empire, Tarraco was second in importance only to Rome. Many reminders of this era remain, including the old city walls, the amphitheater, the Forum, aqueducts and the Circus, with its underground vaults.

Date 08/06/2024
Location Valencia
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Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and capital of the region. It was originally founded by the Romans on the banks of the river Turia in 138 BC. In 711 AD the Moors arrived and converted the area into a rich agricultural and industrial center, establishing ceramics, paper, silk and leather industries. Muslim rule was briefly interrupted in 1094 by the legendary Castillian knight, El Cid. Valencia boomed in the 15th and 16th centuries, becoming one of the strongest Mediterranean trading centers.
Valencia is a vibrant, friendly and chaotic city that boasts an outstanding fine arts museum and one of the most exciting nightlife scenes in Spain. The city center is about 3 miles inland from the coast. Plaza del Ayuntamiento marks the center of Valencia. Surrounded by flower stalls, it is also home to the town hall and the main post office. The cathedral was begun in the 13th century and finished in 1482. It has many architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque. The octagonal bell-tower, called Miguelete, is one of the city’s landmarks. The small cathedral museum boasts a tabernacle made from 550 pounds of gold, silver, platinum, emeralds and sapphires. It also purports to be the home of the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.
West of the cathedral is the oldest part of the city, known as El Carme. Situated across the river in the Jardines del Real is the Museo de Bellas Artes, the Fine Arts Museum. Works include those by El Greco, Goya and Velázquez.

Date 09/06/2024
Location Alicante
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The bustling resort of Alicante serves not only as the port for Madrid, but is also one of the loveliest vacation spots along Spain’s sunny Costa Blanca. The latter is primarily due to the pleasant climate.

Date 10/06/2024
Location Cartagena (Colombia)
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Get your sunglasses ready, because Cartagena is a riot of colour, charisma and Caribbean charm. The best way of seeing the city is by foot and soaking up the uniquely South American atmosphere. Stroll through the jumble of cobbled streets, step back in time, and enjoy one of the Caribbean’s loveliest destinations. Cartagena was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 as a shining example of an extensive and complete system of military fortifications in South America. The city’s strategic location, on a secluded bay facing the Caribbean Sea, meant that it was an essential stop from Europe to the West Indies during the time of commercial and naval exploration. Vestiges of this time are still to be found on the walls of several of the beautiful buildings lining the streets of the old town. The magnificent city is a walled fortress that stretches for 11 kilometres, dating from 1533 and once played host to Sir Francis Drake, who passed through in 1586 (and set fire to 200 buildings during his visit). Despite its 16th century roots, Cartagena today is a modern and glorious riot of colour. Fuchsia pink bougainvillea tumbles down from turquoise painted balconies, while well-preserved colonial buildings painted in vibrant colours line the streets. Take shelter from the heat and enjoy the sensual atmosphere that is so exclusively Colombian by grabbing a seat in a local bar, ordering a plate of Empanadas and enjoying a Guaro—the colloquial name for aguardiente — the country’s national spirit.

Date 11/06/2024
Location Motril
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Seeing the Alhambra palace sprawling majestically beneath the snow-sprinkled backdrop of the Sierra Nevada’s range’s peaks is one of Spain’s most enchanting vistas. White sandy beaches welcome you ashore at Motril, and it’s a short jaunt to the legendarily beautiful, sun-soaked setting of Granada – where the famous and lush Moorish palace stands. Fountains sprinkle, archways soar, and intricate mosaics sparkle at the Alhambra – a fairy-tale palace, fortress and treasure of Spain’s Moorish architecture. View less

The best view can be found opposite, at the magical Mirador de San Nicolas viewpoint – but you’ll need your wits about you to find it. The square sits perched amid the steep, historic labyrinth of the Moorish Albaicín district – a fiendishly labyrinthine – and gorgeously authentic quarter. You’ll also find Sacromonte mountain rising opposite, punctuated with cave dwellings. It’s here, within these atmospheric caves, where rhythmic claps echo, guitars are stabbed and strummed, and sultry flamenco performances play out by candle-light. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but that’s not entirely the case in Granada – one of the last cities in Spain where you will usually receive a free plate of tapas when ordering. Everything from sandwiches to healthy helpings of carne con salsa – meat in tomato sauce – is dished out accompanying drinks. Enjoy a culinary tour of the city’s many tapas bars before heading back to Motril – no one leaves Granada hungry.

Date 12/06/2024
Location Gibraltar
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Gibraltar is the famous promontory located at the western entrance of the Mediterranean, with Spain to the north and, across the Straits, Morocco to the south. The Straits, a channel 36 miles long that connects the Atlantic with the Mediterranean, are 27 miles wide at the west end, 8 miles at their narrowest and 15 miles between Gibraltar and Almina Point near Ceuta. Africa is clearly visible on a fine day. Gibraltar’s airport is known for its unusual runway that bisects the two-mile-long narrow isthmus linking the colony geographically to mainland Spain.

Date 13/06/2024
Location Seville
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Whether you pronounce it Seville or Sevilla, this gorgeous Spanish town is most certainly the stuff of dreams. Over 2,200 years old, Seville has a mutli-layered personality; home to Flamenco, high temperatures and three UNESCO-World Heritage Sites, there is a noble ancestry to the southern Spanish town. Not forgetting that it is the birthplace of painter Diego Velazquez, the resting place of Christopher Columbus, the inspiration for Bizet’s Carmen and a location for Game of Thrones filming, Seville is truly more than just a sum of its parts. View less

This city is a full on experience, a beguiling labyrinth of centuries old streets, tiny tapas restaurants serving possibly the best dishes you’ll taste south of Madrid and a paradise of Mudejar architecture and tranquil palm trees and fountain-filled gardens.

Date 14/06/2024
Location Seville
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Whether you pronounce it Seville or Sevilla, this gorgeous Spanish town is most certainly the stuff of dreams. Over 2,200 years old, Seville has a mutli-layered personality; home to Flamenco, high temperatures and three UNESCO-World Heritage Sites, there is a noble ancestry to the southern Spanish town. Not forgetting that it is the birthplace of painter Diego Velazquez, the resting place of Christopher Columbus, the inspiration for Bizet’s Carmen and a location for Game of Thrones filming, Seville is truly more than just a sum of its parts. View less

This city is a full on experience, a beguiling labyrinth of centuries old streets, tiny tapas restaurants serving possibly the best dishes you’ll taste south of Madrid and a paradise of Mudejar architecture and tranquil palm trees and fountain-filled gardens.

Date 15/06/2024
Location At Sea
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Date 16/06/2024
Location Lisbon
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Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a city open to the sea and carefully planned with 18th-century elegance. Its founder is said to be the legendary Ulysses, but the theory of an original Phoenician settlement is probably more realistic. Known in Portugal as Lisboa, the city was inhabited by the Romans, Visigoths and, beginning in the 8th century, the Moors. Much of the 16th century was a period of great prosperity and overseas expansion for Portugal. Tragedy struck on All Saints’ Day in 1755 with a devastating earthquake that killed about 40,000 people. The destruction of Lisbon shocked the continent. As a result, the Baixa (lower city) emerged in a single phase of building, carried out in less than a decade by the royal minister, the Marques de Pombal. His carefully planned layout of a perfect neo-classical grid survived to this day and remains the heart of the city. Evidence of pre-quake Lisbon can still be seen in the Belém suburb and the old Moorish section of the Alfama that sprawls below the Castle of St. George.
Lisbon is a compact city on the banks of the Tagus River. Visitors find it easy to get around as many places of interest are in the vicinity of the central downtown area. There is a convenient bus and tram system and taxis are plentiful. Rossio Square, the heart of Lisbon since medieval times, is an ideal place to start exploring. After a fire destroyed parts of the historic neighborhood behind Rossio in 1988, many of the restored buildings emerged with modern interiors behind the original façades.
The city boasts a good many monuments and museums, such as the Jeronimos Monastery, Tower of Belém, the Royal Coach Museum and the Gulbenkian Museum. High above the Baixa is the Bairro Alto (upper city) with its teeming nightlife. The easiest way to connect between the two areas is via the public elevator designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Cruising up the Tagus River to the ship’s berth, you can already spot three of Lisbon’s famous landmarks: the Monument to the Discoveries, the Tower of Belém and the Statue of Christ, which welcomes visitors from its hilltop location high above Europe’s longest suspension bridge.

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