12-Day Adriatic Dream
Enjoy the best of the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, including beautiful sights along the way. Before departing, be sure to take time to visit the local areas. Stroll the amazing streets, teeming with centuries-old buildings and enjoy the European architecture, culture and cuisine. Feel the artsy vibe along the way mixed with magnificent historic and biblical architecture.
12-Day Adriatic Dream
Departs : Venice, Italy – Fly in to
Arrives : Rome, Italy – Fly out of
Day 1 – Venice, Italy – embark
“When I went to Venice, my dream became my address,” wrote Lord Byron, just one of many famous figures who found a haven in this fantasy city. Venice is a floating reflection with mirror and glass sights everywhere, from glorious Venetian architecture in the canal waters to the marble palaces that shimmer in the sky.
Will YOU arrive early enough to enjoy a pre-cruise tour or two?
Things to do in Venice:
- Nighttime Gondola Serenade
- Board a panoramic sightseeing cruise to St. George’s Island
- Venice Sights – St Mark’s Square, the Lido of Venice, and St Peter’s of Castello
- Visit two of the Venetian Lagoon’s 40 islands — Murano and Burano.
Day 2 – Split, Croatia – all day
The second-largest city oozes small-town charm, thanks to its quaint, narrow streets and the easygoing lifestyle. With a busy ferry port, Split is the point of access to the many islands up and down the coast. Much of its old town is within the walls of the Palace, a 1,700-year-old UNESCO-listed fortress on the Adriatic seafront. Today, Split is a lively city and home to some 200,000 residents and getting lost in its streets is the best way to explore its historic heart.
Things to do in Split:
- The Old Town of Split – a walking tour of palaces, cathedrals, and the open market.
- A visit to a rural home; tour the estate and be treated to lunch.
- Climb into a riverboat and drift to the old water mill; time to relax or stroll through the forest.
Day 3 – Dubrovnik, Croatia – all day
On the southern end of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik staked its claim to glory during the 450 years it existed as the independent Republic, shoulder to shoulder with mighty forces like Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Once a renowned seafaring, shipbuilding and trading center, today it’s an enchanting tourist destination. The natural backdrop, much of which is protected, consists of pine and cypress forests and the shimmering Adriatic, dotted with uninhabited islands.
Things to do in Dubrovnik:
- A walking tour through the photogenic Old Town of Dubrovnik — a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- A special culinary evening will steer you away from the crowds and into the local hideaways.
- Your kayaking adventure will start in front of Old Town; then you’ll find yourself at Kolorina Bay.
Day 4 – Sarande, Albania – all day
While travelers have been visiting the Albanian Riviera since antiquity, the region is often described as up-and-coming. Long overlooked because of Albania’s political isolation from the rest of Europe, this stretch of the northern Ionian Sea has seaside towns and stunning blue waters that visitors are now rediscovering. The southern anchor of this coast is where ancient inhabitants were said to be the descendants of the ancient Greek hero Achilles. Today, the city has become a proverbial boomtown with the population tripling in summer. Its easy to explain the city’s reputation for serving excellent, fresh seafood.
Things to do in Sarande:
- A walking tour of an Ancient Greco-Roman port city, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Blue Eye National Park is a park with 18 very deep and cold natural freshwater springs or “wells”
- Discover the traditional villages of South Albania, set along a coastline of stunning views.
Day 5 – Olympia, Greece – all day
This port is the gateway to one of Greece’s most intriguing and least well-known areas. Beyond the region’s famous site of ancient Olympia—one of the most treasured remnants of the classical world—the Peloponnese gets little of the glory given the Greek islands and Athens. A distinctly Greek welcome can be experienced here like nowhere else. The region reveals what it means to be Greek: traditions that go back thousands of years, simple, delicious and healthy cuisine, towering mountains, crystal blue seas and, above all, the true hospitality of the people. Take the time to explore and see as much as possible—your efforts will be more than rewarded.
Things to do in Olympia:
- The very first Olympic games were held here, and you can almost hear the roar of the spectators.
- A short drive through picturesque villages and unspoiled scenery brings you to Mercouri Estate.
- The ruins of the temple are still visible today; the Temple of Zeus and the 40-foot statue of the god.
- After your visit to Olympia, sample some traditional delicacies. Greek music and Zorba dancing.
Day 6 – Souda (Chania), Greece – all day
The port of Souda on the Aegean Sea is home to a Greek and NATO naval base and is located three miles from Chania—the second-largest city on Crete, which itself is the largest of the Greek Islands. Once you’re there, head for the historic waterfront with its famous Venetian Harbor dating to the 14th century. Walk along the breakwater to the restored 500-year-old lighthouse for views that are photogenic in late afternoon to sunset. The Old Town is easy to explore on foot; you can stop at an outdoor cafés or enjoy a glass of Cretan red wine.
Things to do in Chania:
- Begin your tour with a drive to the British Commonwealth War Cemetery regarding WWII 1941.
- The largest monastery in Crete; the Monastery of Agia Triada.
- Enjoy a walking tour, some free time to purchase a coffee or to shop for a souvenir.
Day 7 – Mykonos, Greece – all day
One of the most visited of Greece’s Islands, Mykonos is also known by the lyrical name of “the island of winds.” The name comes from its first ruler, Mykons, son of the god Apollo. Today, you’ll see what look like the descendants of the gods lounging on Mykonos’s beaches—the island is known for being a lure for the rich and beautiful and was once a favorite vacation destination of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her entourage. Although a mystique still lingers, there’s lots to see, do, taste and buy in Mykonos that’s accessible to us mere mortals. There’s also the simple beauty of Greek windmills, whitewashed houses clinging to the hills and charming tavernas with terraces open to the sky and the sea air.
Things to do in Mykonos:
- Cross to the ancient site of Delos; the mythical birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis.
- Mykonos is renowned today for its nightlife and beautiful beaches Participate as you can.
- A walking tour through town will showcase the lifestyle and the true history of this unique settlement.
- One of the finest beaches on Mykonos, Elia Beach is quite gorgeous.
Day 8 – AT SEA
Days 9 & 10 – Malta – two full days
The ancient city of Valletta is teeming with historic monuments, churches and gardens. At just one-third of a square mile in area, Europe’s southernmost capital is one of the easiest to explore on foot. It’s somewhat surprising to see Valletta so well preserved. The city dates back to the 16th century and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. Extensive restorations of historic buildings are underway, marking Valletta’s recognition as the European Capital of Culture in 2018. The Maltese do value their own traditions, such as the folk music which features strong yet poetic male vocals over slow guitar music.
The lesser-known sister of Malta in the Maltese islands, Gozo, is an island full of ancient history. Standing atop the island is a medieval citadel, marking the spot where the earliest settlers lived as far back as the Bronze Age. Today, it’s the centerpiece of the island’s biggest settlement, Victoria, which is home to its 6,000 residents.
Things to do in Valletta and Gozo:
- The archaeology of Malta is pre-historic, and dates back 6,000 years, predates the pyramids of Egypt making them among the most ancient sacred sites on Earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Take the scenic route across the island to see a glass-blowing demonstration at Malta’s crafts village.
- Mdina known as the “Silent City” is Malta’s old capital with more than 4000 years of history.
- A visit to Victoria means a visit to the Citadel — a historic fortress dating back to 1500 BC.
- One of the best ways is a walk with your guide among the back streets, leading to St George’s Square. Artisan shops line the route.
- Your escort will guide you toward ‘Red Sands’. The largest sandy beach on Gozo and it is still an unspoiled, historic site. The Knights of St John fortified it, and a statue dedicated to Our Lady of Hope stands in the middle of the beach.
Day 11 – Palermo, Sicily, Italy – all day
Palermo, Sicily’s capital, is a marvelously jumbled, crumbling blend of old and new. Over the centuries, the port of Palermo was controlled by forces from far corners, who oversaw a renaissance during which many of Palermo’s iconic landmarks and modern tourist attractions were built. To see some of the vestiges of ancient empires, take a day trip from Palermo to the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the city itself, explore the attractions in historic neighborhoods such as the Arab district. The Quattro Canti (Four Corners) lies in the heart of the old city, with Piazza Pretoria on the corner, Palermo’s Norman Palace; another UNESCO World Heritage Site, which houses the Palatine Chapel, famous for its intricate mosaics.
Things to do in Palermo:
- Tour the amazing city of Palermo,
- Begin a cooking lesson with the Baroness based on the preparation of some typical Sicilian dishes.
- A panoramic motor coach drive features the best of Palermo’s sights at a relaxed pace.
- Cefalu is best explored on foot, so you’ll go on a guided walking tour through this fine example of a medieval city, with narrow streets and elaborate architecture.
Day 12 – Naples (Pompeii), Italy – all day
Rising behind the wide curve of its bay with brooding Mount Vesuvius and the deep blue sea as a backdrop, Naples, Italy enjoys a magnificent natural setting. It is the third-largest city in Italy, and arguably the most colorful. Splendor and squalor live side by side in 21st-century Naples. Home to world-class museums and attractions, superb restaurants, eclectic shopping, a thriving contemporary art scene and an edgy, vibrant street life, Naples has something for everyone. There are endless opportunities for exploration further afield. The celebrated Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both victims of Vesuvius’ devastating 79 C.E. eruption, lie just south of the city. The delightful town of Sorrento, the magnificent scenery of the Amalfi Coast are within easy reach, and the glamour of Capri—not to mention the healing thermal waters of Ischia—are a short hydrofoil hop from the mainland. The area around Naples offer a perfect mix of culture and natural attractions.
Things to do in Naples and Pompeii:
- Take a panoramic drive through Naples, see the outside of the Royal Palace and the San Carlo Opera House
- Visit a local restaurant to see expert pizza-makers demonstrating how to make a real Neapolitan pizza.
- On a guided walking tour you will learn about the excavation techniques that have uncovered this city; Pompeii, perfectly preserved since the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79.
- A one-hour drive brings you to Sorrento, brimming with character and picturesque streets.
- Begin with a jetfoil ride to the island of Capri, taking in several lovely sights, including Anacapri. A delicious, traditional Italian lunch is served there.
- Travel by coach along the Bay of Naples, stopping en route at a local cameo factory. You’re headed to the foot of awesome Mount Vesuvius — the only volcano on the mainland continent of Europe.
Day 13 – Rome, Italy – disembark
Rome is both a modern bustling city and an ancient open-air museum. You can walk in the footsteps of emperors, have coffee in Renaissance piazzas and see contemporary art all in one afternoon.
Things to do in Rome:
- Travel through the Italian countryside on his classic rail adventure, arriving at St Peter’s Station.
- You’ll be a local as you wander through the city streets, sampling local cuisine and checking out the boutiques.
- Follow Hepburn and Peck in the romantic movie Roman Holiday to the Trevi Fountain, where you can toss in a coin or two.
- Explore the richest storehouse of art in the entire world at the Vatican Museums.
- Tour the Sistine Chapel, perhaps the most famous church in the world.
- Enjoy a deluxe lunch, pass by the Roman Forum, Venice Square, and the Pantheon then call it a day.
Will YOU stay and enjoy this beautiful city for a post-cruise tour or two?