Inside from £1,791pp
Outside from £1,990pp
Balcony from £2,351pp
Suite from £6,028pp
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One of the world’s most beautiful cities also happens to be one of its most unusual. Venice is actually made up of over 120 islands in the Adriatic Sea. Because the city is connected by canals instead of streets, a good way to see Venice is on a romantic gondola ride. The epicenter of the city is St. Mark’s Square, where you’ll find the 900-year-old Basilica of St. Mark
A key commercial center with a Venetian past, Koper is Slovenia’s only deep-water port. Stroll the narrow streets of the “old city” to the Praetorian Palace, which could easily be the setting of a Renaissance drama, sip a coffee in the square, then visit the Cathedral of St. Nazarius, the largest in Slovenia.
Perched on Adriatic Sea in Croatia, Zadar is a truly captivating city, where history-drenched cobblestone streets meet contemporary life, then surrounded by deep blue sea, green olive groves, and white stone. Dubbed an “outdoor museum”, Zadar is rich in monuments and churches from ancient and medieval times—the circular 9th century Church St. Donat, the Church of St. Simeon and the Romanesque Cathedral of St. Anastasia—while nature lovers should explore Krka National Park and its seven waterfalls. Meander through the pedestrian-only Old Town, with its fortified city walls, towers and gates, then visit Zadar’s famous urban installations on the Riva, where art, architecture and science combine. Be sure to check out The Sea Organ, which extends into the sea and “whistles” with the waves and air pressure, and Greeting to the Sun, a circular construction of glass plates that produces an exceptional light show.
To visit Dubrovnik is to step back in time to the Middle Ages. The town is one massive museum, its thick walls constructed from the 13th to the 17th century encircle the entire city, and contain within them a treasure trove of striking architecture – squares, fountains, palaces, churches, and monasteries, all built from the same stone, line streets free of motor vehicles. Once the only city-state on the Adriatic to rival Venice, Dubrovnik has long been a center for Croatian culture, and home to artists and scholars of all disciplines. It is possible to circumnavigate the city atop the medieval walls.
On the northwest side of Crete rests the old Venetian port of Chania, the second largest city on the island. Inhabited since the Neolithic era, Chania is a modern city built over the ruins of the ancient city of Kydonia. Stroll through the old city and see how it has been touched by the intersection of diverse civilizations throughout history, with a mixture of Greek, Venetian and Ottoman influences on every corner: Minoan ruins, Byzantine churches, and impressive frescos. The Archaeological Museum of Chania houses an extensive collection of Minoan and Roman artifacts, and with replicas of ships dating back to the Bronze Age, the Naval Museum is a great way to explore the ages of Chania. Discover the Byzantine collection in the restored Venetian Church of San Salvadore, or venture to the nearby national park and hike the Samaria Gorge. Local handicrafts make for great shopping or relax at a seaside restaurant and café.
Your daydream of a Greek island meets reality in Santorini – its whitewashed villages cling to cliff sides, and bright blue roofs reflect the sea and sky. So beautiful is it, that you can almost believe the myths that claim it as the birthplace of gods. Born itself as a volcanic cone, the island blew its top in 1450 BC, its center sank, and it assumed its current crescent shape, outlined by three main islands. The capital, Fira, a pedestrian haven with narrow, meandering cobblestone lanes, is reachable only by cable car, donkey, or for the fit and fearless, a flight of 600 steps.
Kusadasi is your port of access to an age-old civilization. Ephesus was once the second largest metropolitan area in the Roman Empire, eclipsed only by Rome herself. Explore this city of construction both monumental and mundane. It was famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the wonders of the ancient world; the Library of Celsus, with its thousands of scrolls; and its amphitheater, with a capacity of 24,000 spectators. But you can also imagine yourself in the sandals of a resident as you stroll the streets, past marketplaces, and into bath complexes that offered piped-in hot water, massage, and sauna.
Mykonos is living proof that picture postcard destinations do exist. Its many charms include its iconic windmills, fabulous beaches, and an irresistible traditional town with a maze of twisting streets and alleys originally designed to confuse marauding pirates. Dazzling sunlight reflects off of whitewashed houses and hundreds of small chapels. Other adornments include shaded courtyards and balconies lush with flowers, and a lively nightlife that some claim is the best in Europe. Nearby you can visit the uninhabited island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo, fittingly the god of sunlight, music and beauty.
Athens has quite a reputation to live up to. Named for Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, the city is credited with being the cradle of European civilization and birthplace of democracy. Ruins and relics of its glory days are scattered throughout the modern city, popping up where you least expect them. Its crowning glory is the Acropolis, perched atop a hillside, and covered in carved and columned temples of varying degrees of antiquity. Not quite so old is the Plaka, an appealing neighborhood for a stroll down cobblestone streets, past old mansions and a plethora of outdoor tavernas ideal for watching the world go by, while munching tasty Greek snacks.
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