12-Night Rome to Athens 7.24.24
OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
From Portoferraio, the charming, medieval villages of the island of Elba lead the way to La Chiusa, a 17th-century wine estate where rumor has it, Napoleon once stayed during his exile. The enchanting scenes of the UNESCO-listed Cinque Terre beckon from its “sixth town”, Porto Venere. Get up close to the island’s natural beauty on a fishing excursion with a local captain, where you may be invited to a hands-on cooking class with fresh-caught fish, and savor the moment with fellow explorers. The narrow, cobblestone streets of Saint-Paul-De-Vence, a quaint village you can reach from the cosmopolitan Nice, take you on a journey through local artistry and onto a wine tasting of French varietals. Sète’s Thau Lagoon sets the scene of a natural haven rich in oyster and mussel farming you can explore along with newfound friends before endeavoring on a vermouth tasting at the Noilly Prat Cellars.
Jul 24 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy Depart: 9:00PM
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Civitavecchia acts as the main terminal for all cruises heading into Rome or the less-crowded, nearby Tarquinia. From there a shuttle bus takes you to the Service Center of Largo della Pace where you can embark on adventures through the Eternal City. Rome maintains its position in the world as a powerful influence in religion, politics, and art, as it is well known as the site for intellectual and artistic achievements past. From the iconic Roman Coliseum aboveground to the mysterious catacombs of the Capuchin Crypt below ground, the capital of Italy beckons the adventurous to discover its many secrets and stories. The city holds a certain cosmopolitan feel as well with countless rooftop bars that are a prime location for an evening sunset. For explorations further off the beaten path, Tarquinia offers historic treasures such as the Monterozzi Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an authentic, Italian small-town feel.
Jul 25 Portoferraio (Tuscany), Italy Arrive: 7:00AM Depart: 5:00PM
Portoferraio (Tuscany), Italy
The largest city on the Italian island of Elba, Portoferraio stands on the edge of the harbor at the top of a hill. Once home to the infamous Napoleon, you can visit the two villas he dwelled in during his time spent in exile on Elba, San Martino and Villa dei Mulini, the second of which was turned into a national museum. Located along the sea, the city has its share of remarkable beaches, whether you prefer sandy shores or a stony oceanfront. Hike the path to Castello del Volterraio, a charming castle made for explorers looking for more of a challenging adventure.
Jul 26 Porto Venere, (Cinque Terre), Italy Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 7:00PM
Porto Venere, (Cinque Terre), Italy
Referred to as Cinque Terre’s “sixth town,” Portovenere overlooks the Gulf of La Spezia along the Ligurian coast, providing much of what its five counterparts do – seaside scenes, rustic cuisine and stunning coastlines – with a fraction of the crowds. Seek out hidden gems like Byron’s Grotto, a secluded cave named after the literary figure who frequented the area. Nearby lies the famous Cinque Terre, comprised of five small towns, hence its name. The region lies within the bounds of a national park and what’s considered the Italian Riviera, giving it a magical aura.
Jul 27 Nice, France Arrive: 7:00AM Depart: 2:00PM
Nice rises from the pebbled coast to lush hills, yet the heart of the city is located between the old port city and the Aeroport de Côte d’Azur. To take it all in, enjoy a jaunt on the Promenade des Anglais along the Mediterranean Sea. The Old Port, located in Vieux Nice (Old Nice), is a colorful and busy place, with various markets. There discover an ensemble of narrow streets, colorful architecture, and picturesque piazzas. Stretch out on Nice’s recognizable blue lounge chairs on one of its iconic beaches. Some of these private beaches, like the Blue Beach or the Castel Beach, are among the most glamorous beaches on the French Riviera.
Jul 28 Sete (Montpellier), France Arrive: 7:00AM Depart: 5:00PM
Sete (Montpellier), France
Sete lies at the foot of Mount St. Clair between the Gulf of Thau and the Mediterranean Sea. Hike to the summit to explore the Quartier Haute, once inhabited by Italian fishermen and now home mostly to artists who have opened their ateliers. There you can also peruse the Paul Valery Museum, displaying contemporary artists, including Maurice Sarthou, Albert Marquet, and Henry Matisse, as well as the church Notre-Dame-De-La-Salette, built on the site of an ancient fortress built by Louis XIII. A visit to Sete should include a jaunt to the beach-a heavenly strip of sandy coast that stretches for more than seven miles.
Jul 29 Barcelona, Spain Arrive: 8:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
The capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona, lives up to its reputation as a center of grand architecture and inspiring art. Antoni Gaudi’s Park Guell displays architecture as art, making for a whimsical and colorful stroll through Barcelona. Stretching from La Rambla to Via Laietana you will find the Gothic Quarter, the city’s historic center with intricate medieval buildings and streets turned into modern bars, clubs, and restaurants. A short way up La Rambla you’ll come across La Boqueria, one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets, filled with fruits, pastries, and many tasty samples of local fare.
Jul 30 Mahon (Menorca), Spain Arrive: 7:00AM Depart: 2:00PM
Mahon (Menorca), Spain
The capital of the Spanish island of Menorca, Mahón (or Maó), is well-known for its British-style Georgian houses and its sheltered natural harbor. The best way to appreciate the land’s beauty is by navigating it on a small vessel. When visiting Mahón, considered the birthplace of salsa mahonesa (better known as mayonnaise), you must sample the local fare. From fresh seafood to refreshing gin to delectable cheeses, it’s a foodie’s paradise. Support local artisans by shopping for the island’s famous Menorquinas or Avarcas, a specialty shoe once favored among the peasants for keeping their feet cool now turned into a fashion statement.
Jul 31 Porto Cervo (Sardinia), Italy Arrive: 10:00AM Depart: 5:00PM
Porto Cervo (Sardinia), Italy
Experience la dolce vita on the Emerald Coast in Sardinia. Often regarded as the Italian Saint-Tropez, Porto Cervo is known for its luxury boutiques, exquisite restaurants and beautiful marina filled with sleek yachts. Begin your exploration at the Waterfront Costa Smeralda, the glamorous heart of the village, and the Porto Cervo Marina, which hosts some of the most important world regattas. For an unforgettable panorama, take a drive along Cugnana Gulf and the enchanting bay of Cala di Volpe. Take a dip in glorious beaches like Cala Granu or Romazzino, both boasting crystal-clear waters and soft white sand. After a refreshing swim, satiate your appetite with exquisite Sardinian cuisine.
Aug 01 Trapani (Sicily), Italy Arrive: 11:00AM Depart: 7:00PM
Trapani (Sicily), Italy
In a crescent-shaped coastline on the west end of Sicily you will find the Italian city of Trapani. From many of its landmarks and historic sites, you can discover views of the surrounding Aegean Islands and Tyrrhenian Sea. Ligny Tower, located on the west coast overlooking the Sicilian Channel, stands as a proud symbol of the city. When it’s time for a lunch break, stop at a local restaurant and order the red prawns of Mazara del Vallo, known as ammaru russu in Sicilian. Trapani also lies beneath Mount Erice, the gateway to the archaeological site of Selinunte.
Aug 02 Messina (Sicily), Italy Arrive: 10:00AM Depart: 7:00PM
Messina (Sicily), Italy
Sitting along the Straits of Messina just grazing the boot of Italy is Messina, the gateway to Sicily. Its medieval paths lead to historic architecture, such as the 12th-century Catania Church and bell tower with a unique astronomical clock. Gather your fellow history buffs and architectural admirers to pass by the stunning Teatro Vittorio Emanuele. Adventures to the famed Mount Etna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, often begin in Messina. Together with your expedition friends, hike the natural trails of this impressive mountain, leading you to views of lunar landscapes and lava flows that are centuries old. Take a journey to the nearby village of Savoca and immerse yourselves in scenes from the classic film, The Godfather. Shared conversations are even better when paired with true Sicilian flavors, such as vermicelli alla Siciliana, a delicious pasta tossed in a savory sauce made from roasted bell peppers, eggplant, anchovies, tomatoes, olives, capers and basil, all topped off with grated pecorino cheese.
Aug 03 At Sea
Spend the day on the high seas pampering yourself at the spa or enjoying some time on deck. Mingle with your fellow explorers and swap stories of your exploits, making plans for new ones together once you get to shore
Aug 04 Chania/Souda, Crete, Greece Arrive: 9:00AM Depart: 6:00PM
Chania/Souda, Crete, Greece
Chania exudes a rich culture, coming from every corner, crack, and cranny found throughout the city. In the summer, the municipal government hosts a series of music and theater performances. The best spots to catch one of these iconic shows is in Public Garden, the theatre at Eastern Trench, or Park of Peace and Friendship. Not far from Chania lies the small town of Souda, Crete’s second-largest port. On a verdant island nearby you find the Fortress of Souda, one of the strongest castles built in Crete by the Venetians, as well as the archaeological site of ancient Aptera.
Aug 05 Piraeus (Athens), Greece Arrive: 7:00AM
Piraeus (Athens), Greece
Athens is still as iconic as ever. Winding pathways from ancient times transformed into modern-day roads and streets lead you to the monumental gateway of the Acropolis and other archaeological sites. It is a land soaked in history and mythology, but not stuck in the past.
As you wend through back alleys, passing the street art and getting serenaded by street musicians, you are never lost. You are simply taking a journey to an unknown destination. You may find yourself at the likes of the Church of Agioi at the southeast corner of the Holy Apostles Ancient Agora, a less-crowded historical site away from the flocks of tourists.
Try your hand at haggling with local vendors at the Plaka or Monastiraki flea market. There are so many handmade wares and trinkets to peruse and purchase. Keep an eye out for the more risqué souvenirs if you want a good laugh.
Aside from venturing through the cradle of Western Civilization, you can explore the port of Piraeus. It is the biggest port in Greece and one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean. Centuries of history have transformed this seaside town from a wartime fortress to a major shipping and transportation center.
Call your Travel Advisor or one of our adventure specialists at 1-844-44ATLAS (28527) for more information.
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