Found on the southeast edge of Italy, Bari has long been a large and bustling port town which boasts some fascinating history. There are plenty of religious buildings to see which house the relics of various saints – including those of St Nicholas (Santa Claus), and Saint Columba of Ireland. It’s also worth exploring the Old Town and Piazza Mercantile, to get a flavour of traditional Bari life complete with fresh Italian cooking, children playing football, and of course plenty of wine. In the piazza is also the ‘colonna infame’, which dates back to the first century AD. It’s here where criminals were held in years gone by to be ridiculed and punished.
Things to do in Bari:
St. Nichola's Basilica
Dating back to the 12th century, Basilica di San Nicola, was originally built to house the remains and relics of St Nicholas (popularly known as Santa Claus), which were stolen around that time from Myra in Turkey. The arrival of the important relics is re-enacted every year in May, when locals arrive to the port by boat with an icon-style painting of the saint. This basilica is an important pilgrimage among Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
Although less famous, many say that Bari Cathedral is actually a more important building than Basilica di San Nicola in Bari. It was built in the 12th-13th centuries, on the site of another cathedral that was destroyed by King William I of Sicily in the mid-12th century. It is dedicated to San Sabino, whose relics were brought to the area in the 9th century and are now stored in the cathedral. Some relics of Saint Columba of Ireland are also kept here.
It’s believed that the original castle structure was built around 1130-1135, by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, only to be destroyed by William I of Sicily in 1156. Then King Frederick II of Sicily rebuilt it in the 13th century. Today visitors can explore some of the castle, where art exhibitions and events are often held. There is also a permanent collection of plaster cast replicas of 11th to 17th century artefacts.
Bari Old Town
Known locally as Bari Vecchia, the old part of the city is full of quaint streets and charming architecture. It provides the quintessential Italian atmosphere of narrow roads, children playing football, laundry hanging overhead, and the smells of delicious food being prepared. The streets of Old Bari can lead you to or away from the main square (Piazza Mercantile), where attractions such as the Basilica di San Nicola are located.
The main square of the old town, Piazza Mercantile is a vibrant social hub of eateries and bars and has been since medieval times. In around the 14th century traders came here to sell their wares – although today’s marketplace is not located here – and it quickly became the place to eat, drink, and be merry. There is some important architecture surrounding the square too, such as the 13th Colonna Infame, and the 16th century Palazzo del Sedile (old town hall and clock tower).
Column of Justice
Otherwise known as the Colonna Infame – or infamous column – this menacing lion statue and column are situated in one corner of Piazza Mercantile. The lion wears an inscribed collar reading ‘Custos Iusticiae’ – or ‘Keeper of Justice’, and represents law and order, and protection of the city. The lion dates back to around the first century AD, but the column was not installed until the 16th century. It is believed that debtors and other small-time criminals were once tied to the column to be publicly shamed and ridiculed.
DAY 508 Mar 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 2 PM
The sleepy seaside village of Katakolon is perhaps one of the biggest tourist highlights of Greece, thanks to its close proximity to Ancient Olympia. With sparkling turquoise waters, numerous traditional tavernas and the warmth of a friendly, local community, Katakolon is the perfect place to explore on foot in the sunshine, where you’ll find museums, bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as horse-drawn carriage rides and even a Beer Bike!
Things to do in Katakolon:
Home to over 463 ancient works, this museum is rich with fascinating history and culture of Ancient Greece. Featuring exhibits covering the second millennium BC until the 5th century AD, you’ll find pieces that were used throughout the ancient Olympic Games.
Archaeological Site of Olympia
Featuring excavations from the Bronze age to the Byzantine era, this huge site provides an impressive insight into the history of Ancient Greece. You'll find sites such as the Ancient Stadium where the Olympic Games were held, the Temple of Hera, and the Temple of Zeus.
The Temple of Zeus
The beautiful ruins of The Temple of Zeus is a major historical site. Despite it being destroyed it still is a fantastic portal to the past giving you a major insight into the gods of old.
This fantastic free museum is dedicated to the physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer, Archimedes of Syracuse. Home to just some of his inventions and reconstructions, it’s well worth a visit, especially for those curious about his expert creations.
Just a short walk from the archaeological site, the Archaeological Museum hosts artefacts that were discovered in Olympia. With over 3,500 years of history to discover, this small but fascinating museum will take you back in time to Ancient Greece.
DAY 609 Mar 2024
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 5 PM
Just a short distance from Athens, Piraeus is the biggest port in the Mediterranean and sees over 20 million cruisers each year. This port city is a perfect example of life by the sea, boasting an impressive harbour and authentic seafood dining, as well as the rich and fascinating history of ancient Greece. Whether you’re looking to discover archaeological findings or just want to relax in the sun at a friendly café, Piraeus is the place to be.
Things to do in Athens (Piraeus):
Agia Triada Church
Despite being a modern construction, Agia Triada features Byzantine architecture as well as an impressive dome that is visible from every spot within the church. Overlooking the port of Piraeus, Agia Triada is a must visit to discover the history of the town and take in the tranquillity.
This vibrant and colourful district is nestled on top of a hill with views out over the bay. A walk around this neighbourhood will take you to quaint cafes, neoclassical architecture, Prophet Elias church and the Veakeion outdoor theatre.
Covering the Mycenaean period to the Roman era, the Piraeus Archaeological Museum offers artefacts excavated from Piraeus’ landscape, as well as collections donated from other sites. Visitors will discover monuments, statues, artwork and more.
One of only three surviving Liberty ships, the SS Hellas Liberty is a fascinating vessel to explore. This floating maritime museum was presented to the public in 2010 and covers a range of exhibits people of all ages will enjoy.
With stunning views of the Saronic Gulf and the beautiful vessels moored in the harbour, the bay of Zea is the perfect place to go for a walk, enjoy a delicious coffee and take in the sunshine. You’ll find many hidden gems here, including ancient walls.
DAY 710 Mar 2024
Time at Port: from 10 AM to 7 PM
The second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki is a year-round destination with a rich cultural heritage, delicious food and beautiful scenery. For those that want to discover more about this vibrant city, there are ancient archaeological sites, including the White Tower and the Rotunda, alongside quaint independent shops and restaurants that line the streets.
Things to do in Thessaloniki:
Church of Agios Dimitrios
A prominent basilica dating to the 7th century, the Church of Agios Dimitrios celebrates the patron saint of Thessaloniki. Within the church, there are beautiful frescoes that were originally covered over by the Ottomans, alongside five awe-inspiring mosaics from the 8th century.
Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
One of Greece's biggest museums and the focal point of northern Greece is Thessaloniki's Archaeological Museum. Its distinctive collections of antiquated artefacts and its varied cultural events make for a captivating visit when in the city.
The Ladadika District is home to several cafes, bistros and tavernas - which are all situated within old olive oil stores. In the district you'll also find cinema, art and photography museums. Throughout the year, there are several events held in the district, including the annual Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
DAY 811 Mar 2024
Time at Port: from 1 PM to 7 PM
On Turkey's western Aegean coast, the beach resort town of Kuşadasi serves as a launching point for seeing the ancient ruins of neighbouring Ephesus (or Efes) and is a popular cruise ship stop. Hotels and eateries flank the promenade along the water, the marina and the harbour. A fortified Byzantine fortress that originally protected the town is located just offshore on Pigeon Island and is connected to the mainland by a causeway.
Things to do in Kusadasi, Turkey:
Since Kusadasi Castle was built to defend the harbour from sea attacks, it has earned the nickname "Pirate Castle" and is one of Kusadasi's most visited attractions. The castle fascinates visitors who come to see its defensive walls and gardens, learn about its history, and take in its views over Kusadasi harbour. It is also the location of a few marine displays that are well worth an explore.
Beloved by tourists and locals alike, the picturesque Ladies Beach is another top attraction to visit when in Kusadasi. With soft golden sand, palm trees and comfortable loungers, it's a fantastic place to visit whether you're looking to relax or walk along the shoreline.
Büyük Menderes Delta National Park
Just over an hour from Kusadasi lies the scenic Buyuk Menderes National Park. With a total size of 27.598 hectares, it's one of Turkey's most significant natural sights. The Kusadasi-Soke (Kuşadas-Soke) motorway leads to the national park, which is positioned in the centre of the two cities. An outstanding beauty of Mediterranean greenery, turquoise and emerald-coloured beaches can be seen throughout the national park.
DAY 912 Mar 2024
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 7 PM
As Crete’s largest city and popular for its association with many popular Greek myths and characters such as Minos, Daedalus, Ariadne, Theseus and the infamous labyrinth, it’s no wonder Heraklion boasts numerous museums teeming with artefacts found across the island. One of the most notable sites is the Palace of Knossos, Europe’s oldest city and home to grizzly tales of the minotaur, while the modern landscape is thriving with vibrant nightlife, shopping and dining.
Things to do in Heraklion, Crete:
Both a research centre and an aquarium that the whole family will love, Cretaquarium features numerous tanks dedicated to ocean ecosystems around the world, including the deepest depths, the tropics and more. Visitors can take a guided tour or explore at their own leisure.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum
One of the best museums in the world for Minoan art, Heraklion Archaeological Museum covers over 5,500 years of Crete’s history. Featuring intricate artefacts and relics from the Minoan civilization, discover the ancient history of the island at this informative museum.
Historical Museum of Crete
Covering the 4th century AD up to WWII, the Historical Museum of Crete features intricate sculptures, iconic paintings and ancient ceramics, as well as the reconstruction of a Cretan rural home. Visitors will also find a café with indoor and outdoor seating.
Palace of Knossos
Also known as The Labyrinth, Knossos is Crete’s largest Bronze Age archaeological site, and Europe’s oldest city. Take a tour of this fascinating site, said to have once been home to a terrifying Minotaur, as well as the palace of King Minos.
DAY 1013 Mar 2024
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 12 AM
Known for unrivalled views, sparkling blue sea and iconic bleached-white architecture, Santorini is a truly unforgettable destination. A stroll down one of the many cobbled streets and along the volcanic-sand beaches is the perfect way to spend a romantic evening, while kids and families will love taking the plunge from a caldera cruise and exploring the colourful markets. Finally, don’t forget to delve into Santorini’s past at the many museums on offer.
Things to do in Thira, Santorini:
Located in the centre of Fira, the Archaeological Museum of Thera is a must visit for insight into the civilizations that came before present day, featuring artefacts from the Archaic, Roman, Geometric and Hellenistic periods, including Byzantine works of art.
Thira, as the capital of Santorini, is the gem of the area and boasts fantastic nightlife and restaurants with mouthwatering food. Here you can feel and be part of the action as it all takes place.
Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Home to the artefacts found at multiple archaeological sites such as Akrotiri, some of these excavations were discovered as early as 1867. Visitors will find numerous temporary and permanent exhibitions offering insight into the prehistoric age of Thira.
Santorini Cable Car
Before the cable car, tourists to Santorini would have to climb the winding stairs to the capital or ride by mule. Now, this mode of transport offers stunning sights of the land and sea on the way up, as well as access to the volcano.
If you are looking to get a better look at the local geography, Santorini Volcano is a fantastic place to start with regular boat trips to look at the powerful effects that a volcano can have on the local environment.
Hotel stay included
Limassol Hotel Stay - 2 Nights
We don't know the hotel yet but it will be centrally located, a minimum of 4 stars, selected from our list of preferred hotels & based on a 'room only' board basis. Local government city taxes & local resort fees may be payable.
All offers and prices are subject to change and availability at time of enquiry. Prices are based on two passengers sharing unless otherwise stated and are subject to the Tour Operator's terms and conditions. Cabin and Flight supplements may apply. Other supplements may apply in addition to the price shown above. Flight details, timings and routing may be subject to alteration. Other tour operator charges may also apply. Any Onboard Spending money or drinks package value shown will be per cabin, again based on two sharing.
Note: On 13 January 2018, new European legislation is being adopted in the UK which as result will mean that we may change our required method of payment at our discretion, irrespective of how any deposit or prior payment was made.