The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is a city where old meets new and arts and culture shine, making it one of the must-see cities in the world. Fascinating sights abound whether you are exploring the narrow winding streets of the Barri Gothic, strolling on the beautiful boulevard known as La Rambla, admiring the waterfront and beaches, or trying to understand the fanciful modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudi – including his La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – where construction has been ongoing since 1882. A fun pastime in Barcelona is sampling tapas (a variety of small dishes). Dine like a local, accompanying your meal with Spanish cava (champagne). The colorful La Boqueria food market, with its small restaurants, is a foodie must-do stop. In addition to his famous multi-spired cathedral, where Gaudi himself is buried in a crypt, check out Gaudi’s Casa Mila on the Passeig de Gracia – the white stone façade looks to some like a skeleton, and inside not a single wall is straight. Passeig de Gracia is also a prime place to shop for Spanish designer goods.
7:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
day 3 Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
Cagliari is known for Il Castello, a hilltop medieval walled quarter majestically watching over the town. Beautiful Poetto Beach sits on the edge of town with sparkling blue waters and lively activity. Other sites to see include the 13th century Cathedral di Santa Maria, the Torre Dell’Elefante and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Cagliari with its displays of bronze objects, Roman ceramics and artifacts from the Nuragic age to the Byzantine era.
8:00 AM TO 5:00 PM
At once ancient and contemporary, Trapani is a city of contrasts. From the salt marshes that produce much of the Mediterranean’s signature colored salts, to the intricate mosaics of Mozia and the famous wines of Marsala, to the best view in all of Sicily from the medieval hill town of Erice where the colorful gardens are rivaled only by the cannolis for pure sensory delight. The line of 17th century windmills, still hard at work in ancient Phoenician salt marshes beckons you to return to Trapani again and again.
8:00 AM TO 4:00 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.
1:00 PM TO 9:00 PM
day 6 Argostoli, Kephalonia
The active harbor of Argostoli features a long promenade offering excellent opportunities to see the main attraction here – the caretta-caretta turtles who feed at the nearby lagoon or around the fishing boats who toss their unwanted catch to them. There is a variety of restaurants and cafes to try the delicious Kephalonian meat pie.
One of the most beautiful and popular islands, located on the Ionian Sea, Corfu has wonderful beaches and small villages throughout the island. Take in the Venetian influence at the two fortresses located in Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8:00 AM TO 1:00 PM
day 8 Delphi, Itea, Greece
The small Greek resort town of Itea benefits from geography. Its waterfront and beaches are surrounded by mountains green with olive trees and protecting the well-preserved ruins of the ancient town of Delphi and the Temple of Apollo. Located in a breathtaking setting on the rocky slope of Mount Parnassus, Delphi once was a major religious and intellectual center. Ancient Greek leaders came here for guidance from the Pythia, the celebrated oracles said to transmit words from Apollo, one of the most important Greek gods. Even today at the Sanctuary of Apollo, some visitors feel a mysterious aura. The UNESCO World Heritage Site also has one of the best-preserved amphitheaters in Greece, and an archaeological museum housing such treasures as a bronze sculpture of a chariot driver, dating back to the 5th century B.C.
5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM
day 8 Transit Corinth Canal, Greece
On your cruise to Greece and Turkey you will want to be on deck for your yacht’s thrilling passage through the Corinth Canal. Only accessible to small ships, the dramatic and very narrow 4-mile shortcut through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth is cut through sheer limestone. It’s an amazing sight, seeing the walls of rock close on both sides of your small ship. The idea of the canal originated with the ancient Greeks, but the canal was not cut until the 19th century. The canal shaves 185 miles off the route between the Ionian Sea and Aegean Sea. If you are a canal experience collector who already has cruised through the Panama and Suez canals, you now may brag about three.
Canal transit time and duration is subject to change based on traffic and canal authorities.
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.
*Rates shown are per person, based on double occupancy, reflect all discounts and include non-discountable amounts. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional.