Mediterranean Europe

  • 6 Weeks

Beautiful weather and breathtaking scenery are the draws of this comprehensive tour that takes in famous towns and cities from antiquity to the present.

Start in southern Spain in orange-blossom-scented Seville and soak up the architecture, sunshine and party atmosphere. Make your way up the eastern coast past the Moorish town of Málaga and on to Granada and Córdoba. Then it's back to the coast at Valencia, home of Spain's famous rice-dish paella, for a ferry-hop to the parties and beaches of the Balearic Islands.

Back on the mainland, Barcelona brims with the architecture of Gaudí. From here, head into France's fabled Provence region, where in Marseille you can see the fortress that was inspiration for the novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Then leave the sea for Provence's lush hills and lavender-scented towns around the rampart-hooped city of Avignon. On to the French Riviera and its playground for the rich and famous, St-Tropez. The charming seaside city Nice is a perfect jumping-off point for other nearby coastal hot spots such as glamorous Cannes.

Cruise by ferry to Corsica and experience the traditional lifestyle of quiet fishing villages. Hit the bustling old port of Bastia, Napoléon Bonaparte's home town Ajaccio, then the glittering harbour of Bonifacio to hop on a ferry south to Sardinia and on to Sicily to visit its colossal temples and famous volcano, Mt Etna.

Catch a ferry to Naples, on the Italian mainland, and take a trip to Pompeii. Move east to Brindisi for a ferry to Greece that passes rocky coasts seen by mariners for millennia, landing in Patra. Head to Athens to wonder at the Greek capital's ancient treasures before boarding a plane or ferry to magical islands such as Crete and Mykonos. Return to Italy, taking time to wander amid the ruins and piazzas of Rome. Continue north through Tuscany, stopping at Pisa to see its famous 'leaning tower'. Finish up along the Ligurian coast, travelling via the brightly coloured coastal villages making up the Cinque Terre, strung between plunging cliffs and vine-covered hills, to the port city of Genoa.