Though it has only recently re-emerged as an independent nation, Croatia is by no means a new country. There were settlements along the Dalmatian Coast before recorded time. When Slavic people migrated here in the 6th century, they converted to Catholicism and adopted the local Latin alphabet. The region eventually became part of the powerful Kingdom of Croatia. Medieval Dubrovnik, formerly the Republic of Ragusa, was one of several walled cities established in the 7th century to guard the coastal approaches. Its fortification was completed in the 13th century and has remained relatively unchanged. The city walls are in excellent condition and today prevent invasion by automobiles. Within the walls, the lovely sleek lines of Venetian-style buildings complement a wealth of ancient stone architecture. Nearby islands feature beautiful beaches as well as intriguing ancient ruins.
On the western coast of Montenegro, tucked away from the Adriatic Sea, is the ancient town of Kotor. Beyond its snaking stone walls, this fortified city offers a charming glimpse back in time.
One of the seven Ionian Islands, Lefkada is among the most scenic and pristine islands in Greece, offering picturesque stretches of forest-draped mountains, vast olive groves and magnificent beaches. Surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters, its hilly landscape offers exceptional vantage points for witnessing breathtaking vistas. The island's main town, Nydri, situated at the mouth of a charming inlet, is a haven for yachters seeking to relax and savor Greek delicacies at one of its many tavernas and cafés. The Nydri seafront is named in honor of the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and boasts a bronze statue of him looking out to his island of Skorpios. Further inland are the stunning Nydri Waterfalls.
Rulers of ancient times wanted to construct a canal connecting the Gulf of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf, but lack of engineering expertise and a fear of Poseidon’s wrath kept the project stalled. It wasn’t until 1893 that a deep cut through the narrow isthmus was finally completed. Today, the four-mile-long canal only ignites wonder, with steep rock walls rising 300 feet above sea level at a near-vertical angle, and a width of a mere 70 feet allowing ships of only a limited size to pass through.
If there is a holiday retreat where rustic meets chic, it is Hydra, one of Greece’s Saronic Islands. Put on the map in the 1950s and by artists, celebrities and musicians and a perennial favorite for locals, the island is a place to see and be seen, with the harbor putting on a veritable show of taste and fashion with each catamaran’s arrival from Piraeus. People-watching has become an unofficial pastime, along with sipping cappuccino at the cafes centered on the crescent-shaped port. Energized by your brew and ready to explore, head out by foot and in fact, by foot is the only way to conduct your discovery. Other than a few city-operated vehicles, no cars, scooters or motorcycles are allowed on the island. Walking along the steep, stone streets, some of the best-preserved anywhere, you will surely appreciate a sense of stepping back in time and an intimate look at the 18th- and 19th-century mansions, or archontika. Be sure to yield to the primary mode of transportation, the donkey, and any temptation you may have to wander into a gallery or quiet back lane.
One of the most significant archaeological and mythological sites in all of Greece, Delos earns its UNESCO-celebrated status in spades. It is a tiny island in the heart of the Cyclades Archipelago in the Aegean Sea, is believed by Greek Mythology to have been the birthplace of Apollo, and considered to be the most sacred of all islands in ancient Greek culture. Excavations have unearthed tremendous monuments, sanctuaries and other facets of the Hellenistic history. Due to its remote location and the fact that it was largely uninhabited since the 7th century AD, its well-preserved ruins are fascinating journey through time and culture, situated in the heart of one of the most breathtaking stretches of sea in the world.
Once a glamorous hang-out, embrace the elegant allure of this perfect Greek paradise and revel in its history, culture and scenic wonders
Look down on the deep blue waters of the four-mile-wide lagoon from an amphitheatre of whitewashed dwellings perched atop the caldera’s precipice.
Magnificent Athens combines the fascinations of the ancient world with unique modern architecture.
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King- or queen-size bed, piled high with the finest linens, plush duvets and pillows of choice Personal butler service with gratuities included;unpacking and packing upon request Bedside iPads for entertainment, daily news and shipboard information 42" flat-screen HDTV, on-demand movie selections Concealed mini bar/refrigerator stocked to preferences Unlimited Wi-Fi Italian fashion house ETRO bath and shower amenities, bathrobes, and slippers Spacious closets, integrated cabinetry,and storage accommodating longer stays Architectural and task lighting easily adjustable on preference Custom-designed bathrooms with glass-enclosed rain showers, double-sink marble vanity, hairdryer, and high-end finishes plus modern technologies, including backlit mirrors with integrated TV and sound system Personal safe Twice-daily housekeeping with nightly turndown service 110/220V power sockets and USB Self-service laundry
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Fortnum & Mason Bellini Gift Box is based on one per booking for UK mainland addresses only when booking an Ocean View or above by 8pm 21st June 2021.View cruise line T&C's