From the ancient temples of Olympia to the medieval walled city of Hvar, immerse yourself in the history and culture of some of Europe's more spectacular places on board the legendary four-masted Sea Cloud. Discover the remarkable sites of Albania, cut off from the modern world for decades, and explore Montenegro, Corfu, and incomparable Dubrovnik.
Depart on an overnight flight to Athens, and check into our day rooms at the Elektra Palace Hotel upon arrival. Explore the city on your own before transferring this afternoon to the port town of Piraeus, where the elegant Sea Cloud awaits. Settle into your cabin and come up on deck to catch the sunset on the Aegean Sea.
Sea Cloud (D)
Today, we’ll round the southern coast of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, enjoying a full day of sailing. Come out on deck to watch the crew hoist the Sea Cloud’s many sails by hand. Relax with a book on deck, photograph our yacht and its exquisite details designed by Marjorie Merriweather Post herself, and hear talks about the region by our expedition team.
Dock in Katákolon and travel overland to the ancient site of Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, which were held here every four years beginning in 776 B.C. for twelve centuries. Wander through the evocative ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage site, including the Temple of Hora and the Temple of Zeus, once home to a colossal statue of Zeus considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. See the Olympic Stadium and pay a visit to the superb Archaeological Museum to see artifacts from the site. Late this afternoon, return to the Sea Cloud and sail north along the coast of Greece.
Discover gem-like Ionian villages nestled along the coast of Itháki today. Drive around the island to view the sites that some claim link the island to Homer's Ithaca, and in the afternoon, cruise into one of the island's stunning bays for a swim.
Cut off from the world for 50 years by its Stalinist dictator, Albania is now feeling its way into the 21st century, and its treasures are still little known. Venture into the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With its Hellenic theater, Byzantine basilica, and Venetian towers, this lovely lakeside city tells the tale of the many civilizations that have passed through it. Return to Sarandë and experience its intriguing blend of religions, cultures, and landscapes and enjoy local refreshments at Lekuris Castle, looking down on the bay of Sarande and Corfu Strait below.
Dock in the port of Durrës, and drive to the old capital of Krujë, set picturesquely on a hilltop against a ridge of rocky mountains. Pay a visit to the Ethnographic Museum, housed in a traditional Ottoman home, and peruse woodcarvings, weavings, silverwork and other craftwork along the market street. Continue to the contemporary capital, Tirana, scattered with the vestiges of one of the longest dictatorships in Eastern Europe. See Skanderbeg Square and the lovely mosque and brightly painted government buildings that grace the city center.
Sail into Montenegro via the magnificent Gulf of Kotor, a narrow waterway backed by soaring mountains. Stop in at the historic town of Perast before taking a local boat to the islet of Gospa od Škrpjela, or Our Lady of the Rocks. Steeped in lore despite its tiny size, the islet was created by fishermen dropping rocks from their rowboats. Meander through medieval Kotor this afternoon, or take a drive up 27 serpentine switchbacks to the top of the fjord for an unrivaled view.
Spend today in the city Lord Byron called the "pearl of the Adriatic." Dubrovnik is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval towns in the world. The entire old city is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Anchor just outside the medieval walls and step into the heart of the old town. Visit the 14th-century Franciscan monastery and the Rector's Palace, walk the ramparts, and stroll through marble-paved squares. This afternoon, enjoy a special treat: a private performance of traditional Croatian klapa music in a monastery courtyard. The Sea Cloud remains anchored tonight, so you may dine on board or stay in town for dinner and an evening stroll.
Dock along the 13th-century walls of the island port of Korčula, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in the Balkans. Visit the town's sites, and see the house believed by some to be Marco Polo's birthplace. Take advantage of free time to wander along Korčula's lovely waterfront before meeting up to attend a private traditional Moreska sword dance. Stop for a drink in a local café this evening and then board our ship.
At the height of Venetian rule, Hvar was the region's most prosperous center. Take a morning walking tour inside the delightful walled city to the 15th-century Franciscan monastery. Visit the arsenal and Croatia's oldest active theater, and if you choose, hike up to the citadel. This afternoon, set out on our final sail.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your return flight.
Travel in the Mediterranean on the Sea Cloud and we will cover your bar tab on board and all tips for the crew.
Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts--from naturalists to regional specialists — who will share their knowledge and insights on the wildlife, landscapes and local culture. The expert featured below will be part of the expedition team on the dates noted.
Historian Grace Fielder is an expert on the history, culture, and languages of the Dalmatian coast. She holds a Ph.D. from UCLA and is a professor of Balkan and south Slavic linguistics at the University of Arizona. Her courses on Balkan history focus on the emergence of distinct national identities following a century of ethnic and political conflict. Grace has studied the local lore, music, and cuisine of this region, and has even moonlighted as a lavender harvester on the island of Hvar.
Grace will join the following departures:
Sep 08 - 19, 2013
Jun 09 - 12, 2014
This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.
REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.
|Category B - Deluxe||$17,290|
|Category A - Deluxe||$18,390|
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin in 2014, add $4,900 to Category 1.
Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Economy airfare from New York to Athens and return from Dubrovnik is $1,200 (subject to change).