8 days with Ponant Rating:
DAY 1 ATHENS / CROSSING THE CORINTH CANAL
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.
The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, turning the Peloponnese into an island as it separates the region from the Greek mainland. Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is a little over six kilometres long and enables merchant vessels and passenger to avoid a long 400-km detour around the peninsula. The two sides of the canal reach a height of approximately fifty metres. From the exterior decks, don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the ship as it navigates along the narrow strip of water encased between tall, ochre cliffs. What an experience!
DAY 2 ITEA
Tucked away in the Gulf of Corinth, this little port is situated in continental Greece, north-west of Athens. Take an easy stroll along the old cobblestone quays, while gazing at the summits encircling the Bay of Itea. We wouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted by a visit to the Delphi Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, just ten kilometres from Itea. A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ancient ruins are surrounded by steep mountains, and their Archaeological Museum is chock-full of cultural delights.
DAY 3 PARGA
An ancient port in the Epirus region, picturesque Parga is located on the western coast of the Greek mainland. Ancient classical ruins and the Venetian citadel bear witness to the town's colourful history and the diverse influences that shaped it. Take the time to discover this ancient fishing village built like an amphitheatre, by strolling along the picturesque maze of pedestrian streets lined with small, typical Greek houses decorated with flowers and many lively taverns.
DAY 4 KOTOR
Situated in one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays, the medieval city of Kotor is a small town full of charm, truly imbued with the traditions and stories of another time. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, this village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has preserved many historical monuments from this epoch. During your stop, be sure to admire the impressive castle that dominates the town, and let yourself fall under the charm of its maze of small streets and intimate squares on which folk festivals featuring magnificent colourful costumes are often organised.
DAYS 4-5 DUBROVNIK
Emblem of the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik is magnificently positioned on a rocky spur. History is sovereign here, in this ancient city, now a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. You will perhaps be surprised by the proportions of La Placa, the central drag through the city. The sheer width of it can be explained by the fact that it straddles a former lagoon. The elegant houses along La Placa are built in the legendary travertine stone. At Pile gate, you will be greeted by the statue of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, and you can admire the coastline as you walk along the ramparts. But what’s inside Fort Saint John, adjoining the outer walls? A maritime museum and an aquarium featuring rare fish from the Adriatic.
DAY 6 MLJET / KORCULA
Discover Mljet Island off the Pelješac peninsula. Known for its national park and its protected forests, this Croatian splendid, pristine island offers many opportunities for walking with bays linked to two salt water lakes. On the largest lake, Veliko Jezero, a small island is home to an old Benedictine monastery.
This harbour town has a very special location, presiding on a spur on the north-eastern coast of the island of Korçula. The ramparts in its medieval district provide perfect vantage points over the Pelješac peninsula. To get there, you can take the monumental staircase in the Revelin Tower. Another way is to climb the steps in the shade of palm trees from the MorskaVrata (Marine portal). As you make your way through the little streets, you’ll see the bell-tower of Saint-Mark’s cathedral rise above you. This landmark will help you locate the house where Marco Polo was born. The island also has some of its own famous wines like the red Plavac and the white Posip.
DAY 7 HVAR
Off the coast of Split, Hvar will surprise you by its traditions that haven’t changed since Antiquity. The country’s oldest town, Stari Grad, is here on this Dalmatian Island. The town nestles by a cove on the north-west coast, surrounded by dry stone wall structures on the Stari Grad plains. These have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because they were built in the time of the Ancient Greeks. From these parcels of land come wines and olive oil manufactured manually. In the upper part of town, it is possible to discover hams and cheeses made by local producers. The picturesque village of Vrisnik is also a good place to try some of local produce.
DAY 8 VENICE
Proud and eternal, Venice has reigned on its lagoon ever since the 6th century. You may think you know this city before even setting foot here. You will inevitably fall in love with the charm of the innumerable treasures of the Serenissima: Saint Mark’s square, the basilica, Doges palace, the Grand Canal and the gondolas. Yet, secret Venice is also waiting for you to explore its little interlacing streets and canals, to ramble through its squares and to push open the doors of its churches. The city’s extraordinary heritage shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a glass of Spritz and a few tramezzini.
All This Included
Set sail to discover the Mediterranean and the Adriatic with PONANT. During this 8-day cruise, Le Lyrial will take you along the Dalmatian shores to the cultural and natural wonders of Croatia and Montenegro.
From Athens, you will follow a memorable crossing of the Corinth Canal and make a first port of call at Itea, not far from the marvellous Delphi archaeological site
You will then reach Montenegro after sailing in the Bay of Kotor, which is strangely reminiscent of Norwegian fjords. The city of Kotor nestles in a bay surrounded by wooded mountains. Its old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its medieval architecture.
You will then sail along the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik. Sitting high on a rocky outcrop, its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, watches the world go by. The city’s monasteries, palaces and fountains from the Renaissance are each more graceful than the next.
Your discovery of Croatia will continue with the island of Hvar, and its traditions dating back to ancient times.
As a grand finale, your voyage will draw to an end in Venice the Serenissima and its lagoon. Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal and the palaces along the canals will be your last stops on an unforgettable cruise.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Lyrial
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.