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Athens offers a looking glass back in time into Greece’s powerful ancient civilization. Art lovers, epicureans and history buffs will be delighted by the ancient ruins, museums and tavernas of this picturesque town. Just 10 minutes from the port, you’ll find the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, filled with sculptures from the Bronze Age to the Romans. Walk to the Zea Harbour to discover how the Hellenic Maritime Museum will bring to life the grandeur of ancient Greece’s naval capacities. Jump onboard an Athens cruise and relax at the small harbor of Mikrolimano, enjoying a meal of grilled octopus and chilled white wine at a small restaurant overlooking the sea.
Nestled in the heart of Greece’s Cyclades archipelago, Mykonos pulses with irrepressible energy. With its powder white houses, sparkling blue waters and red-hot nightlife, The Island of the Winds is as colourful as the people who call the island home. You can walk narrow marble pathways laced with purple bougainvillea blooms, or go cycling on two wheels past off-the-beaten-track Ano Mera village. Explore Greece’s maritime history at Armenistis Lighthouse, and check out the Folklore Museum’s Mykonian ship models. Join in the raucous beach party on Super Paradise’s shimmering sands, or watch the sun burn out beyond an Aegean horizon from an open-air seaside taverna.
Santorini is one of the world’s most popular islands, known best for its dramatic scenery, whitewashed villages and fiery volcanic activity. Here adventure bubbles above the Aegean Sea in the most bold and breathtaking ways. A cable car takes you to the capital of Fira, a bustling cliff-top town awash with old cathedrals, enthralling museum collections and cosy tavernas. Venture to the coast for a swim in the deep blue waters that lap red and black pebbled beaches. And peel back layers of lava and history amongst excavated Akrotiri. Whether it’s by bicycle, ATV or on your own two feet, exploring this Cyclades isle never fails to impress.
Extravagant and vibrant, Palermo invites you into an array of flavours, colours and bustling streets. Set in a peaceful bay surrounded by Sicily’s fertile basin Conca d’Oro, named for the golden colour of the orange groves, the city bears traces of historic invasions by the Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Spanish and Normans. Head to La Vucciria market to sample almonds, marzipan, spices, peppercorns and candied fruits. Then, explore the historic centre – visit the Cathedral, which dates back to 600 AD and features Gothic, Moorish and Baroque architectural elements. Then, take the short drive to Mt Pellegrino, where you can trek up the granite cobbled hiking path and take in the refreshing greenery of the natural reserve.
Spain’s third largest city, Valencia offers a little bit of everything, from historic sites and bustling city squares to placid beaches. Soak up the sun at Malvarrosa Beach along the urban seafront, or head to El Saler for a more remote beach experience surrounded by white-sand dunes and pine trees. Cruise to Valencia and get your culture fix at Gothic Valencia Cathedral, and see the 15th-century renaissance paintings housed in its interior. Head to Plaza de la Reina in the city’s old town and do some people-watching over a fresh glass of horchata, a classic Valencia beverage made from almond milk with cinnamon and spices, or take a picnic lunch of fresh pears and local cheese to the quiet Turia Gardens.
It’s easy to see why Barcelona is the most-visited city in Spain. As the capital of the country’s Catalonia region, this cityscape’s cultural mosaic pieces together a 2,000-year-old hodge-podge of sun-drenched beaches, cutting edge architecture and a world-renowned dining and drinking scene. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí left his modernist handprint all over the city, while medieval treasures linger in historic Gothic Quarter squares. Get lost in the whimsical gardens of Park Güell or savour a chef-led Catalan cooking class. Browse art collections dedicated to Picasso and Miro – or ride a cable car to the top of Montjuïc Hill, relishing citywide views along the way.
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