The Fabled Adriatic

September 1, 2015 - September 14, 2015
May 30, 2016 - June 11, 2016

Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

September 1 Depart USA

Board your independent flight to Croatia. 

September 2 Dubrovnik, Croatia

Arrive in Dubrovnik and transfer to our hotel with the afternoon at leisure. Gather at our hotel this evening for a welcome briefing and dinner.

September 3 Dubrovnik

Spend the day exploring many of Dubrovnik’s highlights including the main square; the 14th-century Dominican Monastery; the Franciscan Monastery and its Romanesque cloister; and the Cathedral, completed in 1713. Or, walk along the city’s southern walls with beautiful views of the fortress and old Dubrovnik’s terracotta rooftops.

After lunch, enjoy free time on your own to get better acquainted with the city’s lovely medieval center.

September 4 Dubrovnik / Cavtat / Embark Variety Voyager

Venture into the surrounding countryside, passing lovely traditional villages and farms en route to the charming town of Cavtat.
Stoll along the harbor, browse the lively market, and enjoy views of photogenic red-roofed houses flanked by shimmering blue waters and green, forested mountains. Return to Dubrovnik to board the Variety Voyager this afternoon and enjoy lovely sunset views of the city as the ship cruises through the stunning harbor.

September 5 Sibenik / Krka National Park

This morning disembark in Sibenik, Croatia’s oldest settled town. Enjoy a delightful nature hike in Krka National Park, following boardwalks amid travertine waterfalls, a water-sculpted gorge, and picturesque stone watermills. Return to Sibenik for a walking tour to visit the town’s crowning glory and World Heritage Site, St. James Cathedral. A 15th-century masterpiece, it is adorned with a remarkable frieze of 71 finely sculpted faces of men, women, and children that highlight the superb blending of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

September 6 Split / Hvar Island

The port of Split was once an important center of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Take a walking tour of the city built by the Emperor Diocletian and one of the Adriatic’s finest monuments from the Roman period—the 4th-century Palace of Diocletian, a World Heritage Site. Tour the palace, its cellars, the cathedral, and sprawling courtyards from which flow the streets and buildings of medieval Split that today remain the soul of its bustling daily life. Or visit ancient Solin, the archaeological site of the ancient Roman settlement of Salona where excavations have revealed temples, an amphitheater, early Christian churches, and Roman baths.

Return to the ship for lunch and cruise through Croatia’s lovely off-shore islands to Hvar. Here you will visit the beautiful town square and the Arsenal, built in 1612. Visit the Benedictine Nuns Museum to learn about lace made from the fibers of the agave plant, a tradition dating back to the Renaissance and unique to this island. Enjoy free time to explore, with the option to dine ashore on your own.

September 7 Kotor, Montenegro

Relax on deck as the magnificent Dalmatian Coast unfolds in scenic splendor. Historically, Dalmatia lay at the crossroads of empires—invaded by waves of conquerors from Illyrians to Austrians. In Kotor, witness the same beautiful scenery that captivated kings for centuries. At this World Heritage Site explore luxurious palaces, towers, and Romanesque and Gothic churches. Enjoy time at leisure before re-boarding the Variety Voyager.

September 8 Durres, Albania / Tirana

Today, begin your fascinating discovery of Albania, a land of splendid terrain and historical monuments. Disembark in the port of Durres and drive inland to Tirana, Albania’s capital city. Visit the museum and the city’s bustling quarters, an intriguing mix of Ottoman buildings, Christian cathedrals, and marketplaces. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Kruja Fortress, a fortified citadel with nine observation towers built during the 5th and 6th centuries. Perched high on a mountain spur, the fortress is famed for the resistance of the Albanians, led by national hero Skanderbeg, against the Ottomans in the mid-15th century. Time permitting, explore Albania’s largest Roman amphitheater near Durres’ seaport.

September 9 Saranda / Butrint

Today visit the World Heritage Site of Butrint—a veritable chronological repository of its various inhabitants: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians. Among its archaeological highlights are the baptistery with its colorful floor mosaics, superb amphitheater, and medieval fortress. From the ruins, take in the splendid views of the surrounding mile-high mountains.

September 10 At Sea

Attend lectures and enjoy the ship’s amenities during a relaxing day at sea.

September 11 Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

Dating from the 5th century B.C., Syracuse was one of the most powerful Greek cities—defending its sovereignty against rivals such as Carthage, the Etruscans, and the Romans, who later overcame the city in 212 B.C., followed by the Arabs. Tour the Saint John Catacombs, with their maze of underground passageways, and the Archaeological Park, a World Heritage Site. Highlights include the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus; the Ear of Dionysius, a grotto with an extraordinary echo; and the massive 15,000-seat Greek Theater. Return to the ship, at port in Ortygia, for lunch, before striking out for a walking tour of the old town. Highlights include the ruins of the 6th-century B.C. Apollo Temple—the oldest in Sicily—and the Piazza Duomo, built around the ancient Temple of Minerva (Athena).

September 12 Licata / Agrigento

This morning, disembark in Licata for a short tour of the town center. A scenic drive through rolling countryside brings you to the Butera Winery and Villa for a lunch of delicious Sicilian fare, accompanied by local wines. Then enjoy a guided tour of Agrigento, a World Heritage Site. The exquisite architecture of the Valley of the Temples dates back to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. and includes the Temple of Zeus—the largest Doric temple from Greek antiquity.

September 13 Valletta, Malta

Spend a full day exploring historic Valletta, a World Heritage Site. The Knights of St. John built Valletta in the 16th century, constructing an impregnable fortress-like town in a strategic harbor-ringed setting. Their auberges—large inns where they lived—remain intact. A city tour highlights the fortress, bastions, ramparts, churches, and the national museum. Continue to the Tarxien Temples, a series of monolithic edifices built between 2400 and 1800 B.C. Return to the ship for dinner, or choose to dine on your own at one of the many charming seaside restaurants.

September 14 Valletta / Disembark / USA

Disembark the Variety Voyager this morning and transfer to the airport for your independent flight, arriving in the USA the same day.