Arrive: Fri 10 June 2022 / Depart: Fri 10 June 2022 at 19:00
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.
Arrive: Sat 11 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Sat 11 June 2022 at 19:00
A city happy to keep one foot resolutely in its beautiful, illustrious past, Trieste is a treasure, which sits on a historical frontier of civilisations and cultures. Nestled on the coast by the Slovenian border, the city soaked up many influences before returning to Italy in 1954. Wealth as a trading hub helped to shape Trieste's grand piazzas and soaring artistic architectural achievements. The legendary Bora wind is greeted like an old friend, and it buffs the city in winter. Just like Trieste itself, it will take your breath away. View less Piazza Unità d'Italia is the grand, central square, and it opens up to the lap of blue waves at one end. Settle in for a quick caffeine hit in this coffee capital - a word of warning, however, most Trieste baristas don't serve cappuccinos - so plump for a caffè latte instead. The God of the Sea, Neptune, is honoured in a fountain at Piazza del Borsa nearby. Canale Grande is a centrepiece and was built in the 18th century to allow boats to unload their wares and trade. Lined by grandiose, neoclassical buildings, you can enjoy a picturesque stroll by the water. Three pretty bridges span it, while little boats bob and jostle below. Glorious castles crown the area, towering from esteemed vineyards. Don't miss the fairytale castle of Miramare, which watches over the azure Gulf of Trieste, and looms above glorious gardens. Trieste Cathedral is a constant and reassuring presence for the city, standing on a hilltop overlooking the old town - it features an enchanting chandelier and remarkable painted ceiling.
Arrive: Sun 12 June 2022 at 12:30 / Depart: Sun 12 June 2022 at 20:00
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.
Arrive: Mon 13 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Mon 13 June 2022 at 23:00
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.
Arrive: Tue 14 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Tue 14 June 2022 at 22:00
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.
Arrive: Wed 15 June 2022 at 07:00 / Depart: Wed 15 June 2022 at 19:00
Bari, capital of the province of Apulia, lies on southern Italy's Adriatic coast. Its busy port is a leading commercial and industrial centre as well as a transit point for travellers catching ferries across the Adriatic to Greece. Bari comprises a new and an old town. To the north, on a promontory between the old and new harbours, lies the picturesque old town, or Citta Vecchia, with a maze of narrow, crooked streets. To the south is the spacious and regularly planned new town, which has developed considerably since 1930, when the Levant Fair was first held here. The heart of the modern town is Piazza della Liberta. The busy thoroughfare, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, separates the new town from the old. At the eastern end of the Corso begins the Lungomare Nazario Sauro, a magnificent seafront promenade that runs along the old harbour. Bari and the Apulian region were long recognized for their strategic location, attracting a succession of colonizers such as the Normans, Moors and Spaniards, each leaving their mark. Romanesque churches and powerful castles built by 13th-century Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Swabia are among the most impressive buildings in the region. Bari's Basilica of San Nicola became famous as the final resting place of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus). According to local tradition, sailors from Bari went to Myra in Turkey, stole the saint's remains and brought them back to Bari. St. Nicholas was the popular bishop of Myra, who was revered as the patron of sailors, virgins and children. In addition to unspoiled scenery and historical sites, Apulia is also known for its hearty cuisine that has evolved from more than 2,000 years of foreign influences. While not as famous as other areas in Italy, Bari and its surrounding region hold many surprise attractions that make it well worth exploring this ancient land and its capital at the heel of Italy's boot.
Arrive: Thu 16 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Thu 16 June 2022 at 14:00
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.
Arrive: Fri 17 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Fri 17 June 2022 at 18:00
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.
Arrive: Sat 18 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Sat 18 June 2022 at 19:00
The capital of Sicily is situated on a crescent-shaped bay on the island's north coast. Once the intellectual capital of southern Europe, Palermo has always been at the crossroads of civilization. Due to its favourable location, Sicily's most interesting city has attracted almost every people and culture touching the Mediterranean world. Its most unique characteristic is a harmonious blend of Arab-Norman cultures mixed with Byzantine and Jewish elements, which created some unforgettable and resplendent works of art. Phoenician traders first colonized Palermo in the 6th-century BC, but it was the Carthaginians, who built the important fortress here that caught the covetous eye of the Romans. After the first Punic War, the Romans took control of the city in the 3rd-century BC. Following several invasions by the Vandals, Sicily was settled by Arabs, who made the country an emirate and Palermo a showpiece capital that rivalled in splendour both Cordoba and Cairo. The city became a magical place of palaces and mosques, minarets and palm trees. In the 11th-century Palermo was conquered by the Norman ruler, Roger de Hauteville. During the Normans' hundred-year occupation, the city experienced a remarkable period of enlightenment and a flourishing of the arts. Counting a population of more than 300,000, Palermo became the centre of Norman rule and one of the most important trading centres between East and West. Eventually, Palermo was incorporated into the “Kingdom of the Two Sicilies” under the Swabian ruler Frederick II, known as the Holy Roman Emperor. After the bloody Sicilian Vespers uprising in 1282, the Spanish took control and brought the Inquisition to Palermo. Some historians believe that the nature of the Inquisition helped foster the protective secret societies that eventually evolved into the Mafia. Today, visitors can still experience the legacy of Palermo's rich past. Great Arab-Norman buildings include the Cappella Palatina, La Martorana, San Giovanni degli Eremiti and, a few miles outside the city, the Cathedral of Monreale. Palermo's bustling streets and animated markets give the town an Oriental feel. The Quattro Canti, or Four Corners, is the monumental crossroads laid out in 1608-1620 at the central intersection of the four longest and straightest streets of the city. North of Piazza Castelnuovo lie the avenues of the new city. Most sights are scattered along three major streets: Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Maqueda and Via Roma. A vigorous metropolis with a strong historical profile, Palermo is packed with interesting sights, which make it an enriching and enjoyable place to explore.
Arrive: Sun 19 June 2022 at 08:00 / Depart: Sun 19 June 2022 at 19:00
The region of Campania was home to Greeks settlers some 300 years before Rome was founded. Pompeii, too, was a Greek town before being conquered by the Romans during the 5th century BC. It was under the Romans that Pompeii flourished and grew prosperous. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the population of 20,000 was wiped out, but dozens of buildings were preserved under layers of cinder more than 20 feet deep. The most important finds from Pompeii are displayed in Naples' National Archaeological Museum. A visit here will no doubt enhance a visit to ancient Pompeii.
Arrive: Mon 20 June 2022 at 07:00 / Depart: Mon 20 June 2022
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.
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