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Welcome to Palermo! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide features the ornate Piazza Bellini, Capo Market, the baroque Church of Immacolata, and a visit to the magnificent CATHEDRAL. Drive up to Monreale for a panoramic view of the Conca d’Oro and a visit to the 12th-century NORMAN CATHEDRAL, famous for its 50,000 square feet of precious Byzantine mosaics.
Arrive in Agrigento and meet your Local Guide for a spectacular walk through the magnificent VALLEY OF TEMPLES with its gigantic yet graceful Greek structures that miraculously survived 24 centuries of tormented history. Continue to Catania and enjoy an orientation walk in the center. In Piazza del Duomo see the lava stone statue of an elephant, the city’s symbol.
Today’s Distance: 205 mi / 330 km
Head to Syracuse, birthplace of the mathematician Archimedes. Enter the ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE for a guided visit of the 5th-century-BC sparkling-white Greek Theater, the Garden of Paradise, the Ear of Dionysus, the Altar of Hieron II, the Roman Amphitheater, and the Cordmaker’s Cave. Another highlight is LF a visit to the pretty island of Ortigia.
Today’s Distance: 93 mi / 150 km
Stop in the stunning hilltop town of Taormina, time to explore its streets and visit some sites. Cross the Straits of Messina by FERRY to reach mainland Italy for an interesting drive to the city of Cosenza. With your Local Guide discover the OLD TOWN. See the open-air museum and the contrastingly modern bridge by the architect Calatrava.
Today’s Distance: 217 mi / 350 km
Drive to Matera famous for the sassi houses carved out of the rock. A special visit to CASA GROTTA has been arranged during your guided sightseeing. To top off the visit to this incredible town, LF dinner with local specialties has been arranged at a local restaurant
Today’s Distance: 130 mi / 210 km
Today focus on the Itria Valley, one of Italy’s most fertile and beautiful valleys. Start with Alberobello where a Local Guide will take you for a walking tour of the town, and for a visit one of its unique TRULLI—whitewashed, stone, circular houses with pinnacled, conical roofs. Next, stop in the quiet hilltop town of Locorotondo, classified as one of the most beautiful borghi in Italy, then in lively, elegant Martina Franca. Continue to the “heel of Italy” and arrive in Lecce, where you will stay for two nights.
Today’s Distance: 124 mi / 200 km
Admire the baroque buildings and squares during your walking tour with a Local Guide and understand why Lecce has been called the “Florence of the South.” Visit the impressive DUOMO and SANTA CROCE BASILICA. Later, an interesting optional excursion to Otranto is available.
Time to discover more of Lecce this morning before heading to the coastal city of Brindisi, endpoint of the Roman Appian way and the town from where Philleas Fogg left the continent in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. Lunch awaits in a local restaurant followed by a sightseeing tour of Brindisi. Later board your overnight FERRY and cross the Ionian sea to Greece.
Today’s Distance: 37 mi / 60 km (excluding overnight ferry)
Enjoy the scenery as you approach busy Patras where you will disembark early afternoon. Take pictures of the Rion-Antirion Bridge, one of the world’s longest multi-span cable stayed bridges, crossing the Gulf of Corinth. Stop in Nafpaktos, a popular holiday destination and site of the Battle of Lepanto, beautifully located on a bay, before arriving at your hotel in Itea.
Today’s Distance: 73 mi / 118 km
Learn about one of Greece’s most famous products—olive oil. The area around Itea is famous for its Amfissa olive trees which are protected by UNESCO. LF An OLIVE OIL TASTING with local specialties has been arranged for you. Later, stroll around the charming streets of the seaside town of Galaxidi, or sit in a seafront tavern and watch the world go by.
Today’s Distance: 20 mi / 33 km
The morning is devoted to mystic Delphi. Meet your Local Guide and enjoy a fascinating tour of the ancient sanctuary of the god Apollo in its dramatic setting on Mount Parnassus. Hear about the Oracle and visit the EXCAVATIONS. Explore the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM to admire the Charioteer, an extraordinary 5th-century BC bronze statue. Continue to Athens, Greece's proud capital.
Today’s Distance: 125 mi / 200 km
Sightseeing with a Local Guide includes a visit to the world-famous ACROPOLIS, perched high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city. Here see the Parthenon, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Enjoy a panoramic view that includes glimpses of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Theater of Dionysus, and the beautifully preserved Theseum, where Socrates taught. Later, an orientation features the Parliament House and a picture stop at the Panathenaic Stadium. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble, and was host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, celebrate your journey with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Embark in Piraeus, and sail into the deep-blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Later, dock at the mountainous island of Mykonos.
Two ports of call today. First, Kusadasi on the Turkish coast. Visit the fascinating Greek, Roman, and Byzantine excavations of EPHESUS. Next stop at the tiny Greek island of Patmos, where St. John wrote the Revelation, and see the Grotto of the Apocalypse.
All day is dedicated to the island of RHODES. Explore the sights in the historic OLD TOWN with its ramparts and palaces built by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. Next is LINDOS with the fabulous Temple of Athena. Sail from Rhodes in the evening.
First port of call today is Heraklion on Crete. An optional excursion to Knossos, the center of the 3000 BC Minoan civilization, is available. Afternoon call (weather permitting) at Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” The optional shore excursion takes you to the cliff-top village of Oia for one of the world’s most breathtaking panoramas.
After breakfast on board, disembark at Piraeus and return to Athens.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
It may occasionally be necessary to use alternative hotels of a similar standard to those shown.
Located in the the prettiest part of the city between the botanical gardens and the castle overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Palermo, this 237-room modern property offers great facilities including a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and Free Wi-Fi access thoughout. The restaurant serves a variety of Sicilian, Italian and international dishes and the lobby bar serves a comprehensive selection of drinks which can also be enjoyed on the outside terrace during the summer months.
The NH Catania Centro hotel is situated in the heart of Catania. Halfway between the city center and the city's shopping district, it's the perfect base for exploring the city as well as shopping. Attractions such as the Duomo di Sant'Agata, the University, or the Palazzo di Giustizia are just a stroll away, and you're within easy reach of the various bars, restaurants, and cafes in the area. Spread over nine floors, all 129 guestrooms are quiet and comfortable and are decorated in pleasant shades of walnut and green. Rooms on higher floors have panoramic city views, and from the superior rooms you can see Mount Etna. Rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, a minibar, mini desk, iron board, and comfortable beds.
In the heart of Cosenza, a few steps from the MAB and the Bilotti Open Air Museum, the 4-star Royal Hotel is characterized by a classic design and furnishings and offers maximum comfort and quality of services. The hotel features 44 modern guestrooms distributed over 4 floors accessible via elevator. All guestrooms come with private bathroom, hairdryer, TV with SKY HD programming, mini fridge, safe, free Wi-Fi, and courtesy kit. The Hotel also has an in-house restaurant that serves both local and Italian dishes.
Set in a former 18th century aristocratic residence with beautiful ancient gardens, this charming property is located just outside the centre of Matera within easy reach of the Sassi UNESCO site. It offers large rooms, all of which are located in a new wing and feature parquet floors, air conditioning, and Free Wi-Fi. The hotel Restaurant serves delicious local specialities in the historic dining room together with an extensive choice of traditional wines from Basilicata.
Patria Palace Lecce provides first-class luxury and services in the heart of Lecce, next to the Basilica of Santa Croce and a few steps from the Roman amphitheatre. Housed in an aristocratic mansion dating back to the 18th century, Patria Palace displays lots of original features such as frescoes, fountains, and beamed ceilings. Each of the 67 guestroom features modern comforts including Wi-Fi access and a marble bathroom. Some overlook the historic center and others the basilica. The rich breakfast is a sweet and savory buffet including local pastries and cold cuts. Guests can also enjoy a welcome drink or aperitif on the panoramic rooftop terrace and a gourmet meal at the in-house restaurant, featuring local specialties from Puglia.
Nafsika Palace Hotel is a boutique style hotel located in the heart of Itea, a quiet picturesque costal town at the roots of the Delphi Oracle. Its elegantly-decorated rooms are well-furnished with satellite LCD TV and spacious bathrooms. They also feature breathtaking views of the sea. Other amenities include a stylish bar and a lovely terrace. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout.
The Crowne Plaza Athens City Centre is a modern 193 room property, in the heart of Athens' commercial district offering Free Wi-Fi access. The hotel has a choice of dining options including the roof garden restaurant where during summer months, guests can dine under starry skies whilst enjoying a spectacular view of Lycabettus hill. The perfect place to unwind is at the roof-top bar where snacks and drinks can be taken al-fresco in the summer by the refreshing outdoor dipping pool. The lively lobby bar serves drinks and fruity cocktails year round and other leisure facilities include a gym and sauna.
Nine-story Hotel facing a large park; within walking distance of Archaeological Museum.
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