This vibrant seaside city is home to unforgettable architecture and creative scenes from renowned artists. The buildings you’ll find here are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, such as Park Güell and Casa Batllo, while foodies will be spoilt for choice with 20 different Michelin-star restaurants. At the end of a busy day of shopping, enjoy the energetic nightlife, or relax on the beach with newfound friends. Whatever your interests, Barcelona has the perfect itinerary for you.
Things to do in Barcelona:
Visiting Las Ramblas is an absolute must when in Barcelona. Visitors can experience the weird and the wonderful, from the Museu de l’Erotica to the Miró Mural, in between trying a range of authentic tapas bars and cafes before a much needed siesta.
Although the Sagrada Familia is not technically complete, it’s still an impressive sight to behold. Designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, this spectacular Basilica hosts many masses, events and a place to simply marvel at in wonder.
Barcelona City History Museum
Home of the cultural heritage of Barcelona, the Barcelona City History Museum manages several sites of interest including archaeological sites and historic houses. Visitors will discover the Roman colony, prehistoric Spain, Barcelona’s Jewish community and more.
Comprising of vibrant gardens and beautiful architecture, Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudí and officially opened in 1926. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding showcase of Gaudí’s genius design, Park Güell makes a wonderful place to go for a walk.
Another one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, Casa Batllo is a truly eye-catching building to explore. Visitors are able to explore this fantastic showcase of the designer’s work, and even enjoy live music and other events on the roof terrace.
This modernist building was the last residence to be designed by Antoni Gaudí and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the building with an audio guide, and even enjoy rooftop shows on a romantic evening.
One of Barcelona’s oldest beaches, Sant Sebastià Beach features everything you need for a fantastic day in the sun. With indoor and outdoor pools, changing rooms and amenities for lounging, visitors can go for a dip, enjoy an ice cream and find dinner all in one area.
Camp Nou Stadium
With capacity for over 99,000 people, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Spain and cathedral to the Catalans’ second religion- the beautiful game! Visitors can catch an exciting game of football here or take a guided or un-guided tour of the grounds.
DAY 305 Aug 2024
Nestled between Spain and Morocco, this small piece of Britain offers a warmer climate and Europe’s only wild apes. Visitors of all ages will love watching these primates at play, as well as hiking the trails through the Upper Rock Nature Reserve where you’ll find Saint Michael’s Cave. Finally, don’t forget to leave time to enjoy your favourite British classics at the numerous pubs, or try traditional Spanish tapas.
Things to do in Gibraltar:
One especially for the animal-lovers, a trip to Apes Den is a must to get up close to the only free-roaming primates in Europe. Located at two cable-car stations, these monkeys are inquisitive, playful and curious and will keep you entertained for hours.
Upper Rock Nature Reserve
1,400 feet above the sea, this is one of the best attractions of Gibraltar and a must visit to spot its fascinating wildlife, such as the Barbary Macaques. Take a walk, admire the views and get up close with nature – but keep an eye on your belongings!
Great Siege Tunnels
The Great Siege Tunnels are a must visit for history enthusiasts for their vital role played during the Great Siege on Gibraltar by Spain and France. Taking a tour of these impressive tunnels is a great way to get to know the history of this territory.
For the adventurous and determined, the Mediterranean Steps is a challenging hike that rewards you with stunning views at 421 metres above sea level. Admire the many species of flora and fauna, as well as the wildlife, such as Barbary Macaques and Barbary Partridges.
Saint Michael's Cave
After being linked to numerous myths and legends throughout time, Saint Michael’s Cave is teeming with fascinating history. Found within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, it houses an auditorium for shows, drama, music and spectacular light shows.
DAY 507 Aug 2024
With a history dating back to the 5th century and the accolade of European Capital of Culture 2013, in Marseille you’ll find an old city full of charm to explore and pretty modern districts alike. Tuck into a classic pissaladière at the old port before visiting the famous coves of the Calanques National Park to the south- a stunning sight and only 25 minutes away by car. Before you leave don’t forget to buy a Marseille soap to give your suitcase a delicious holiday scent!
Things to do in Marseille (Provence):
Calanques National Park
Lying just 25 minutes' drive from Marseille, this stunning national park forms a natural harbour on the Mediterranean coastline. Boasting over 8,000 hectares of green landscapes and dramatic coves, don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins from the cliff edge.
History Museum of Marseille
With a history spanning over 2,500 years, Marseille History Museum is the ideal way to walk the paths of Marseille’s engrossing past. Covering everything from the ancient Greek founders and Roman traders, to more recent affairs, the museum is a must for those in love with archaeology and French history.
Le Panier District
This old district of Marseille has witnessed many moments of history, from the turbulence of ancient times to the darkness of WW2. Today you’ll find charming narrow streets to wander, dotted with artisan shops, cafés, bars and bistros.
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde
Affectionately called the “Good Mother”’ by locals, Notre-Dame de la Garde was built in the 12th century on the site of an old fort and has seen countless renovations. Standing proudly 157 metres above the city, this is the place for unrivalled views of the city.
The Port of Marseille is the cradle not only in terms of location but in bringing trade, culture and wealth to Marseilles. Nowadays you’ll find the famous fish market a scenic waterfront ideal for sipping pastis while watching the world go by.
Renamed in honour of US President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in 1963, this pretty boulevard boasts architecture from many different eras, and is the perfect place to go for a stroll and admire the pretty beaches and coastline of Marseille.
DAY 608 Aug 2024
The historic city of Genoa has played a pivotal role in Italy’s past, particularly when it comes to maritime endeavours. One of the world’s biggest shipbuilding yards – Fincantieri – is located here, and Genoa is also hometown to the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus. You can easily imagine the hustling, bustling travellers and traders of years gone by as you wander in the Old Port, and relive history in Piazza de Ferrari, and the mansions of Via Garibaldi. Sip on delicious wine and enjoy the very best seafood dishes in this pretty yet industrial Italian city.
Things to do in Genoa:
Aquarium of Genoa
One for all the family to enjoy, the Aquarium of Genoa is the largest in Italy. It was designed by local architect Renzo Piano, and built in 1992 to mark the 500 year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the New World. Within its more than 70 tanks live around 600 different animal species, and 200 species of plants. You’ll find representations of the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic, and Caribbean Sea at the aquarium.
Originally called the Strada Maggiore, or Strada Nuova, this street was named after famous general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1882. Over the 16th and 17th centuries the wealthy nobility of the area set about restoring and reforming existing dated mansions, which resulted in the creation of more than ten fabulous palazzi (palaces). The street became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006, and today the beautiful buildings act as banks, shops, offices, the Town Hall, and clubs.
Saint Lawrence Cathedral
The Cattedrale di San Lorenzo was first built in the late 11th century. It houses the ashes of St John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint, which are said to have arrived in Genoa at the end of the First Crusade. Over the years the building has suffered destruction and consequent repair works, which has led to the juxtaposition of varying architectural styles. There is evidence of Romanesque, Gothic, Mannerist, and Byzantine style which makes for a beautiful and intriguing image.
Piazza De Ferrari
The city’s main square is named after Raffaele de Ferrari, the Duke of Galliera who donated a large sum of money to modernise Genoa in the mid-19th century. There are both modern and historic buildings surrounding the square, and it also boasts a beautiful fountain in the middle which many people enjoy sitting at with a gelato in hand. Piazza de Ferrari is a popular meeting place among tourists and locals alike, and is also frequently used for events.
It is believed that Genoa’s lighthouse dates back to the 12th century. It has long represented Genoa, proudly displaying the city’s coat of arms since the mid-14th century – a feature that can be seen on many ancient nautical maps. The signalling light was once fuelled by fragrant plants such as juniper, heather, and briar root, until (olive) oil lamps were introduced in around 1345. The lighthouse has seen many keepers over the centuries, one of whom was Antonio Columbus – Christopher Columbus’ uncle.
Royal Palace Museum
Today, the Palazzo Reale is a spectacular national museum displaying a range of 17th, 18th and 19th century furniture, art, and other artefacts. It was constructed for the Balbi family in 1618, sold to the Durazzo family in 1677, and then became the royal House of Savoy’s property in 1823. Since 1919 the palace has belonged to the state, and has welcomed visitors. The Gilded Hall of Mirrors and collection of 17th century art are particularly special.
Strade Nuove and Palazzi dei Rolli
Le Strade Nuove is Italian for ‘the new street’, and in Genoa this collectively refers to the magnificent Via Garibaldi, Via Cairoli, and Via Balbi. This area of the city is home to some exquisite mansions, which in 1576 were registered on the Palazzi dei Rolli – a list of palaces. Being on this list meant that when important visitors came to Genoa, the wealthy families who owned the mansions would take turns in hosting them.
Many say that the activity at the historic port of Genoa is what inspired local boy Christopher Columbus in his childhood to go on to undertake discovery voyages – one of which would lead to European settlement in the Americas. Today, a walk around the bustling port can transport you to years gone by, as you imagine the travellers, trade, and business that went on way back when just as it does now. Gaze at historic buildings and busy streets, many of which were revamped in the 1990s by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
DAY 709 Aug 2024
La Spezia is the second largest municipality in Liguria after Genoa and is located a few tens of kilometres from the border with Tuscany. It overlooks the eponymous gulf, which is also known as the Gulf of Poets. In the city you can visit the Technical Naval Museum, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the Church of Nostra Signora della Neve, and the medieval Castle of San Giorgio. It is also an excellent starting point for discovering the island of Palmaria and the Cinque Terre.
Things to do in La Spezia:
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
Situated in the centre of La Spezia's ancient Old Town and dating to the 14th century, the Church of Santa Maria, La Spezia has a variety of works of art and functioned as a cathedral from 1929 until the current La Spezia cathedral was built in 1975.
Cinque Terre (Five Lands), is a collection of five historic fishing towns situated high on the Italian Riviera in the province of Liguria. Until recently, the towns were only reachable by rail or sea. The largest of the five settlements in Cinque Terre is Monterosso., where you'll find a large, sandy beach, as well as bars and restaurants.
At the westernmost point of the Gulf of La Spezia, nestled next to the Ligurian Sea, is the beautiful Italian island of Palmaria. It is the biggest island in an archipelago of three smaller islands and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
San Giorgio Castle
The 13th-century Castle of San Giorgio in La Spezia offers fantastic views of the city. Additionally, it has an archaeological museum with a sizable collection of Roman artefacts that features La Spezia-related Neolithic artefacts. The earliest fortress on the site, which now stands as the fortress of San Giorgio and overlooks the city of La Spezia, was constructed in 1262.
The Church of our Lady of the Snow
Situated in the centre of the city’s main shopping street, Via Garibaldi, the Church of our Lady of the Snow was designed by architect, Ferrari d’Orsara. The church, which was constructed to hold a remarkable picture of the Madonna, has three aisles that are covered in neo-byzantine murals and feature Verona red marble, which gives the entire setting a lovely sunset-like hue.
The Naval Technical Museum
In the 1860s, the Italian navy constructed a base in La Spezia, which later developed into one of its main dockyards and arsenals. The museum got its start in the 18th century with an exhibition of objects from the Savoy royal family's navy at Villafranca and subsequently in Genoa. In 1870, it was moved to La Spezia. Ship figureheads from the 18th and 19th centuries are among the collection's various models of ships.
DAY 810 Aug 2024
One of the most famous cities in the world, Rome has been an epicentre of politics, art, architecture, and food for thousands of years. It is home to some of the most well-known historic sites such as the Colosseum, the pantheon, and Vatican City. It’s easy to spend a day in a hundred different ways in Rome, whether you’re looking to sip on incredible wine and people-watch, indulge in decadent pasta, pizza, risotto, and gelato, or if you’re eager to wander around the streets soaking in all the history you can. Rome is one capital city which will always leave you wanting more.
Things to do in Rome (Civitavecchia):
Found in the heart of Rome, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in Europe at just 0.44km² with a population of 1,000 people. It acts as headquarters to the Roman Catholic Church and is home to The Apostolic Palace - the Pope’s residence –the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel.
St Peter's Basilica
Within Vatican City is one of the biggest churches in the world; St. Peter’s Basilica. Accommodating up to 20,000 people, this is where the Pope delivers services. Its 136 metre high dome was designed by Michelangelo, and was completed in 1614.
The colosseum was opened in 80 A.D. with 100 days of exciting games. It was mostly used for gladiatorial combat and fights with animals until around the 6th century when it began to fall into disrepair. It was then used to store building materials until the 18th century, when the papacy decided it should be preserved. As it stands now, however, more than two-thirds of the structure has been destroyed.
Known the world-over for its elaborate, 15th century artwork courtesy of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Luca, and Perugino, the Sistine Chapel is where new Popes are elected and ordained. It is located within Vatican City, inside The Apostolic Palace.
This Michelangelo sculpture is located inside St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It depicts the body of Jesus after he has been crucified, being held by the Virgin Mary. The statue was originally commissioned by Jean de Billheres – a French cardinal – as a memorial for his tomb.
This is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome. There are myths surrounding the building of the original Pantheon, but the structure we see today was built in 120 A.D. by Emperor Hadrian. It was created as a Pagan temple to “honour all Gods” – which is the translation of “Pantheon”. In the year 609 it was converted to a Christian church, although it is still widely known as the Pantheon.
This popular public square is located where the (now fallen) Stadium of Domitian once stood, in 86 A.D. Since then it has been developed into a social gathering spot, adorned by three magnificent fountains that were commissioned in the 16 and 17th centuries. These are Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro, and Fontana del Nettuno.
DAY 911 Aug 2024
Naples is one of the most important cities in Italy. Its foundation dates back to the 8th century BC, and it once had an important relationship with Athens, due to its commercial power and position on the sea. The city is rich in history and there are numerous places of interest to visit, in particular the archaeological excavations of the nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Things to do in Naples:
The opening of the historic National Archaeological Museum of Naples took place in 1816. Built by Ferdinando I of Borbone, at the time king of the Two Sicilies, it boasts the richest collection of works and archaeological finds with regard to Roman history.
Museo d'arte contemporanea
The Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as the Madre Museum, is located inside Palazzo Donnaregina, in the center of Naples. It was established in 2005 with the aim of promoting cultural and artistic development in the territory of Campania.
The construction of the Royal Palace began in 1600 and for a long time was the residence of the Spanish viceroys, before passing to the House of Bourbon and finally to the House of Savoy. The architectural style is a mixture of Baroque and Neoclassical. Today, the palace houses a museum and a library.
The history of Pompeii begins in the 9th century BC, when the area was inhabited by the Opici people - an ancient Latin population. Today the town is famous because of the eruption of Vesuvius, which occurred in 79 AD, which led to its total destruction.
The profile of Naples would not be the same without Mount Vesuvius that dominates the city skyline. Versuvius is known for the violent eruption of AD 79, which became famous for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and was witnessed by Pliny the Younger.
The tremendous eruption of Vesuvius, in 79 AD, not only destroyed Pompeii but also the ancient city of Herculaneum. The archaeological excavations of this city can be visited today and, since 1997, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
San Gennaro Catacombs
The Catacombs of San Gennaro are the most important Christian monument in Naples. The remains of San Gennaro, the main patron saint of the city, have been held here since the 5th century. The labyrinth of corridors also house Christian frescos from the 2nd century AD, and mosaics from the 5th century AD.
Castel Nuovo is a medieval and Renaissance-era castle. Most commonly known as Maschio Angioino, its construction began in the 13th century at the behest of Charles I of Anjou, after he moved the Italian capital from Palermo to Naples in around 1268.
Piazza del Plebiscito
The Piazza del Plebiscito is located in the historic center of Naples and was of considerable importance after the construction of the Royal Palace. Today Palazzo Salerno, Palazzo della Prefettura, and the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola are also located here.
DAY 1113 Aug 2024
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.
DAY 1315 Aug 2024
Istanbul’s history dates back thousands of years, making it an incredibly culturally enriching destination to visit. With warm and welcoming locals excited to show you around, you’ll explore breath-taking mosques with vibrant mosaics, find handcrafted souvenirs at lively markets and enjoy aromatic mezes and fresh seafood as well as locally produced wine. There’s a lot to see here, but be sure to simply explore this wonderful city to truly soak up the culture.
Things to do in Istanbul:
One of the city’s most popular attractions, the Basilica Cistern was built in 532 and is the largest surviving cistern in Istanbul. The number of columns and the impeccable symmetry is a staggering sight and a must see, making a great escape on hot summer days.
Built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, the Blue Mosque is named for its hand-painted blue tiles on the interior walls, and the blue lights that illuminate it at night. A walk around this impressive structure is truly awe inspiring- don’t forget to adhere to the dress code though.
This magnificent structure took 13 years to build and was the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Take a tour of the entire palace or different sections and discover the exquisite decoration (particularly the 4.5 tonne chandelier) and the painting museum.
Often considered the eighth wonder of the world, the Hagia Sophia was actually built three times after being destroyed, with the third and final structure being built 532-537 AD. Now, it is a museum filled with Christian and Muslim art, as well as breath-taking architecture.
Selling countless varieties of Turkish delight, Mısır Çarşısı Market (also known as Spice Bazaar) is a fantastic place to find souvenirs, spices, snacks and stories from warm, friendly vendors. Whether you’re looking to buy or not, exploring the market is a great way to be immersed in the culture and atmosphere of Istanbul.
Sultanahmet Square is where you’ll find the tourist hotspots of Istanbul all in one place. Located in one of the most historical parts of the city, you’ll find the largest cistern, two stunning mosques and numerous places to enjoy authentic cuisine.
Topkapi Palace possesses a colourful history with many sultans living there since 1481. A visit here will give visitors insight into the fascinating stories of the Ottoman Empire, through collections of armour, weaponry, pottery, jewellery and more.
Mykonos Town, Mykonos
DAY 1416 Aug 2024
Whether you’re in the mood for stretching out on an idyllic beach, itching to explore the maze of streets in search of seafood, or even looking to dance the night away at a seaside superclub, Mykonos has something for everyone. History buffs will be fascinated by the archaeological site of Delos, while Mykonos Windmills provide the perfect holiday snap. A romantic dinner along Little Venice is a must for couples- especially at sunset.
Things to do in Mykonos Town, Mykonos:
This row of 18th century fishing houses looks out onto the crystal clear sea, providing beautiful views both day and night. Though they aren’t fishing houses anymore, the shops, restaurants and bars that have replaced them still give a very enchanting waterfront experience.
Boasting plenty of sun-kissed beaches, including Fokos and Kapari beaches, there's plenty of space and options for a relaxing day on the sand by the blue sea.
Paraportiani Church is one of the most photographed churches in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The whitewashed structure stands out vibrantly against the ocean backdrop, creating fantastic photo opportunities and a romantic place to take a stroll.
Featured on many postcards you’ll find in Greece, the Mykonos Windmills are an iconic sight of the island. Once vital to the economy, the seven windmills are now a beautiful spot to take photos and explore- particularly at sunset.
Day or night, Matoyianni Street is bustling with shopping, dining and bars. It’s the perfect place to find handmade souvenirs, such as jewellery and even sandals, as well as other designer boutiques. Visitors will also love the live music here!
Delos Archaeological Site
This small island is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Greece, and is simply teeming with mythological and historical insights. Visitors will marvel at the artefacts exhibited here, including sculptures of Apollo and Artemis.
DAY 1517 Aug 2024
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.
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