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Mediterranean & Iberian Stepping Stones with Island Sky

Mediterranean & Iberian Stepping Stones with Island Sky

From GBP £8,295

Description

This early summer voyage will take us on a leisurely journey along the Mediterranean coast, the Iberian Peninsula and to the Isles of Scilly and Guernsey as we journey from Malta to Portsmouth visiting some marvellously historic and scenic places along the way. These are perfect sailing waters and in the main we will avoid the larger ports in the region, preferring instead to call into small cities and towns and out of the way places. Early summer is an ideal time for our voyage as we can expect moderate temperatures with the absence of the high season crowds and our itinerary has been planned to ensure that the balance is just right between exploring ashore, relaxing on board and time at leisure in picturesque ports for individual exploration.

Setting sail from Malta to Sicily, we explore Agrigento and the magnificently sited Doric temples before sailing south to Tunisia for our visit to the great city of Carthage with its Phoenician ruins. Continuing to the Balearic Islands we will visit Menorca and Mallorca where we step back in time and board the vintage train from Palma to Soller which winds through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery. In mainland Spain our explorations will include the naval port of Cartagena with its fine Roman remains, the historic city of Malaga and the wonderful region of Galicia from where we will enjoy a wine tasing and step into the pilgrimage cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Added to this are some Portuguese treasures including the enchanting city of Oporto. Our final days are spent sailing to Portsmouth with calls in the idyllic Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands along the way.

Sailing aboard the all-suite MS Island Sky with just over 100 fellow travellers, we have the added benefit of excellent local guides and our knowledgeable Guest Speaker who will add much to your experience and knowledge of this fascinating region. Few itineraries in Europe can offer such a wide ranging and endlessly fascinating cultural experience and all of this combined with the rich maritime history of the region and the sheer beauty of the coastal landscapes makes for an endlessly fascinating cultural experience.

Trip Name
Mediterranean & Iberian Stepping Stones with Island Sky
Days
17
Overview
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 116  Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017 Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck. Services: World-Class Cuisine Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner Live Entertainment Complimentary Coffee/Tea station Voyage Photographer On-board MD and Facilities Dedicated Passenger Service Manager Pre-voyage hotel night Complimentary Expedition Jacket Facilities: Elevator serving all passenger decks Upgraded WIFI Internet Library with computers Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities DVD Movie Library Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck World-Class Cuisine: Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage. Accommodations: All Suites Feature: Exterior views Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds Sitting area with sofa and side chair Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player Telephone Independent temperature controls Mini-Bar Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries Hair dryer 220 square feet or more Sofa can be converted to bed for third person PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 London Heathrow to Valletta, Malta.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Island Sky and embark. Enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 Agrigento for Valley of the Temples, Sicily.
Although handsome in its own right and awash with Medieval atmosphere, Agrigento is not our main reason for calling at this southern coast port. Close by is the Valle dei Templi, a series of Doric temples and the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains, a grouping unique outside Greece. Surrounded in the greenery of olive and almond trees, admire the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concordia, the Dioscuri Temple, the Temple of Olympic Jove and the Temple of Hercules. This afternoon is free to explore Agrigento and shuttle buses will run from the port to the town, and the excellent archaeological museum which you can explore at leisure.
Day 3 - Day 3 Carthage & Tunis, Tunisia.
From the nearby port of Tunis drive to the site of Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC it became one of the most influential cities in the Mediterranean. This prosperity led to rivalry with Rome and it was during the third Punic war, in 146 BC, that the Roman forces destroyed the city. Due to the strategic location the Romans rebuilt Carthage in the 1st century AD to become one of the most important cities in their Empire. See the Phoenician remains of Tophet, the sanctuary of the gods Tanit and Baal as well as some interesting monuments from the Roman era including the baths and the amphitheatre. Later, explore the Bardo Museum which houses some renowned Roman mosaics from the archaeological sites of El Djem, Sousse and Dougga as well as artefacts and sculptures from Carthage.
Day 4 - Day 4 At Sea.
Spend a leisurely day at sea as we continue our journey across the Mediterranean.
Day 5 - Day 5 Mahon, Menorca.
Over breakfast we arrive in Menorca, the most northerly of the Balearics and the least dedicated to tourism. The island offers pastoral countryside, historic towns and superb beaches. This morning choose to join an island drive including the mysterious rock mounds (talayots) and megalithic stone monuments which were erected some 4,000 years ago before making our way to aristocratic Ciudadella, the architectural showpiece of Menorca. Situated at the head of a long channel from the sea, the city has had its share of disputes over sovereignty, and its character reflects the influence of Moorish, Turkish and Spanish rule. After lunch on board there will be time this afternoon to explore the pretty harbour town of Mahon at your own pace.
Day 6 - Day 6 Palma, Mallorca.
Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, has a rich history dating back to the Phoenicians when it was under control of Carthage, the principal North African city at that time, before flourishing under Roman rule. From our berth in Palma we will take the beautifully maintained vintage train that connects Palma with the pretty town of Soller on the island’s west coast and enjoy splendid mountain views of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the course of just seven kilometres the railway rises 199 metres, runs through 13 tunnels and crosses several bridges. We will enjoy some time to explore Soller before taking a scenic drive to the village of Valldemossa. With a population of around 2000, Valldemossa is a quiet and traditional town with narrow streets and lanes. We will enjoy a walk around the town followed by lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Palma where we will have some time to explore at our own pace.
Day 7 - Day 7 Cartagena, Spain.
After a relaxing morning at sea we arrive in Spain’s main naval port of Cartagena. Enter the deep natural harbour through two fortified rocky headlands for an afternoon of exploration in this historic city that dates back to the Phoenicians. Hannibal used it as his capital city on the Iberian peninsula and named it after Carthage in North Africa whilst the Romans used it as a strategic port and administrative centre. The city walls remained intact until the 20th century, creating a dense historic centre. Take the lift or walk up to Concepcio Castle for amazing views of the city and harbour, view the Roman amphitheatre and the archaeological site of Molinete where work continues to uncover the Roman city. Later enjoy a stroll along the tree-lined harbour promenade as we return to the MS Island Sky.
Day 8 - Day 8 Malaga.
Having spent the morning cruising we will have the afternoon to explore the historic city of Malaga. A tour will take us to the 14th century Castillo de Gibralfaro, built on a hill overlooking the city and once considered the most impregnable fortress in Iberia. Continue to La Merced Square where we see the birthplace of Pablo Picasso before we visit the impressive 16th century cathedral which was built on the remains of a mosque. With its mix of Renaissance and Gothic styles it has been declared a national landmark. Alternatively spend some time exploring at your own pace, you may wish to head to the market, watch the world go by or, for the art lovers, visit the Picasso Museum.
Day 9 - Day 9 At Sea.
Enjoy the day at sea as we cruise around the Iberian Peninsula.
Day 10 - Day 10 Lisbon, Portugal.
Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping areas with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city’s terraced hillsides. During a morning tour we will see the famous landmarks and places of interest such as the Monument to the Discoveries, Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. After lunch on board enjoy an afternoon at leisure in this historic city before we sail tonight.
Day 11 - Day 11 Oporto.
The port of Leixoes is our base for a day of activities around Oporto. We will visit the Quinta de Aveleda, located in the heart of the Vinho Verde Demarcated Region which creates a young fresh wine with a low alcoholic content and a lightly fruity flavour. After exploring the beautiful park and gardens with rare specimens of trees, shrubs and flowers which surround the Manor House, we will learn about the wine which has been produced here since 1947. This afternoon we explore Oporto including the impressive St Francis Church and the Ribeira, a riverside quarter made up of narrow, twisting streets and shadowy arcades. We will end at one of the many port wine cellars where we hear all about the wines and how they are produced.
Day 12 - Day 12 Vilagarcia de Arousa, Spain.
Arriving in Galicia we will discover the 'Rias Baixas’ which translates as low estuaries. Visit the 15th century Pazo de Rubianes where we find one of the three official lordships in Spain and the 11 hectare garden before we continue to a local vineyard and learn about the region’s wine production and techniques and enjoy a tasting. This afternoon we drive to El Grove and board a catamaran for a journey along the estuary towards the bateas, the floating docks used for mussel farming. Learn about the local industry before enjoying some freshly caught mussels on the way back to the vessel.
Day 13 - Day 13 La Coruna.
Today we visit Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia. The city’s cathedral is the destination of the important Medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St James (in Spanish the ‘Camino de Santiago’), which is still walked today. For those keen to walk some of the route there will be the chance to hike a short section towards Santiago. Otherwise transfer directly to the site where we will visit the Conventual de San Francisco, the Faculty of Medicine and the world-famous Plaza del Obradoiro. Inside the cathedral, we will visit the Romanic crypt and see the facade of Platerias; the Quintana Plaza; House of Parra; facade of Azabachería; and the facade of San Martin Pinario. Enjoy lunch at a Parador and some free time before returning to the ship and sailing this evening.
Day 14 - Day 14 At Sea.
Spend the day at sea as we continue our journey north. Our lecture programme will continue in the lounge or alternatively find a spot on deck.
Day 15 - Day 15 Isles of Scilly, England.
From our central anchorage, we will use local tenders to visit a couple of the islands in the group. Spend the morning on traffic-free Tresco, walking its idyllic lanes from the beach to the famous subtropical Abbey Gardens. Defying the Atlantic weather, this miracle of a garden is home to more than 20,000 species of plants from over 80 countries. Enjoy time to wander at your own pace along the paths, maybe visit the Valhalla collection of ship figureheads from ships wrecked on the islands or relax in the café. This afternoon we head to Bryher, the smallest of the inhabited Isles of Scilly. Take the chance to wander along the tracks that cross the island amongst hedgerows and fields bursting with wildflowers. Those feeling active may wish to climb Watch Hill, where in the past islanders would keep watch for ships in distress or alternatively take a stroll to one of the beautiful beaches.
Day 16 - Day 16 Guernsey, Channel Islands.
Arrive this morning on Guernsey, the ‘Island of Flowers’, and take a panoramic drive during which we will see the beautiful coastline and beaches and visit the Little Chapel, built in 1914 as a miniature version of the famous basilica at Lourdes and covered in fragments of shattered china. Return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon is free to explore the pretty town of St Peter Port or maybe join a walk along one of the cliff paths where, if the weather is fine, we should be able to see the nearby Channel Islands and possibly the French coast. Please note that we will be at anchor today and will use the vessel's Zodiacs to transfer ashore.
Day 17 - Day 17 Portsmouth, England.
Disembark this morning. Transfers will be provided to Portsmouth Harbour Railway Station and London Heathrow airport at a fixed time.
Day 18 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £8,295Magellan Deck Standard Suite
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £8,495Columbus Deck Superior Suite
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £8,795Marco Polo Deck Premium Suite
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £8,995Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £9,395Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £9,495Magellan Deck Standard Single
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £9,595Explorer Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £9,995Columbus Deck Superior Single
26-06-202312-07-2023GBP £9,995Explorer Deck Island Suite

Inclusions

    • Valley of the Temples, Sicily
    • Carthage & Tunis, Tunisia
    • Mahon, Menorca
    • Palma, Mallorca
    • Cartagena, Spain
    • Lisbon, Portugal
    • Vilagarcia de Arousa, Spain

Map