Yassas, and welcome to beautiful Greece! Widely regarded as the cradle of Western civilisation, Athens is a bustling city that brings history to life. A plethora of archaeological sites shape its topography, and museums housing precious ancient artefacts pepper the landscape. Make no mistake, though – Athens is ever-evolving, drawing on arts, culture and cuisine to breathe new life into the ruins.
Your tour begins upon arrival at Athens International Airport (ATH), where you’ll be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is to be spent at your leisure. Choose to climb the sunny trails of Lycabettus Hill for one of the best views over Athens, then reward yourself with mouthwatering moussaka at a local restaurant. Soak up the atmosphere on the cobbled streets of the Plaka – Athens’ welcoming old town – or step inside and browse the myriad of traditional shops.
In the evening, meet with your tour leader for a sumptuous welcome dinner and the chance to get to know your fellow adventurers.
Wake to a filling buffet breakfast at your hotel. Transfer to the port and trade cobblestones for the cruise deck as you embark on a cruise aboard the Celestyal Discovery. Elegant design and comfortable cabins await as you’re welcomed aboard for your unforgettable four-night cruise through the spectacular Greek islands. From rugged cliffs to romantic ruins, your odyssey carries you through crystalline waters in the premium comfort of your exterior cabin. Arrive at vibrant Mykonos in the early evening and watch as the whitewashed houses and alleys light up in the glow of the island’s famous nightlife.
This evening, mark your departure with a welcome dinner of the freshest ingredients, prepared by local chefs.
Wake to the soothing sound of the Aegean Sea lapping at your doorstep and enjoy a hearty buffet breakfast aboard.
Gaze out over Kusadasi, one of Turkiye’s most popular resort towns and a launchpad to the ruins of Ephesus. One of the most important trading centres of classical Greece, Ephesus is a remarkably preserved monument to the region’s extensive history. Among the tumbled blocks and skeletal facades lie the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Continue to Patmos, famed for its biblical connections. Once the refuge of Saint John the Theologian as he wrote the Book of Revelations, this idyllic island has consequently earned the hefty title of ‘Island of the Apocalypse’.
Choose to take excursions ashore or relax in sun-drenched style on the deck – floating on Aegean waters, the ancient world is your oyster.
Tonight, savour the centuries-old flavours of traditional Greek cuisine as you watch the glittering lights along the shore.
- Kusadasi shore excursion (surcharges apply).
- Patmos shore excursion (surcharges apply).
Breathe in the salty air of another day on the Aegean. After breakfast, choose to relax aboard your Celestyal cruise, or opt to go ashore to magnificent Rhodes.
Renowned for its historic winemaking and picturesque medieval Old Town, here once stood the legendary Colossus of Rhodes – a gargantuan statue of the sun god Helios, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, since lost to the passage of time. Opt to step ashore and visit the Doric Temple of Athena in the hilltop Acropolis of Lindos. Wander into the Old Town of Rhodes and pass through the imposing Gate d’Amboise into the Knights’ Quarter, then rest your eyes upon the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes – one of very few examples of Gothic architecture in Greece.
Later, board your vessel once more and relax with another spectacular Greek dinner aboard.
- Rhodes shore excursion (surcharges may apply).
After a restful sleep and an energising breakfast, you’re free to take the day at your leisure, unwinding in serenity or hopping ashore to explore Greece’s largest island, Crete.
Home to one of the earliest known civilisations of the Aegean, Crete’s ancient Minoan towns leave traces of the distant past scattered along its world-famous beaches. At the cusp of the Mediterranean Sea, Crete is also regarded as the birthplace of Mediterranean cuisine, full of fresh and fragrant ingredients to match the bright days and slow pace. Just outside the city of Heraklion is the Palace of Knossos, beneath which it’s believed lies the fabled labyrinth of the Minotaur.
In the afternoon, glide over the sparkling seas to Santorini. The breathtaking beauty of its white-terraced town and blue-domed houses is amplified by the fiery glow of the setting sun against the hillside. Volcanic sand beaches and panoramic views over the cliffs make Santorini a bucket list destination for travellers the world over. Opt to make landfall and wander the bright streets of this fantastical island community, making way for hard-working donkeys and stopping in for a glass of vinsanto – a refreshing local dessert wine.
Back aboard your vessel, tuck into another tantalising traditional dinner.
- Crete shore excursion (surcharges apply).
- Santorini shore excursion (surcharges apply).
Savour one last buffet breakfast aboard as you cruise into Lavrion, the Port of Athens.
Seize the day with a morning tour of Athens, led by your expert local guide. Stop at the Panathenaic Stadium, the birthplace of the modern Olympics in 1896, then gaze up at the surviving columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Visit the Hellenic Parliament and study the astounding artefacts of the Numismatic Museum of Athens – a collection of over half a million coins, medals, gems and stamps dating back more than 3,000 years.
Stand in awe at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, marvel at the neoclassical Academy of Athens and survey the millennia-old structure of Hadrian’s Arch.
Complete your Athens adventure with a trip to the legendary Acropolis. This ancient citadel lords over the city with the weight of history as its foundation. Circle your way up the mountain, stopping to discover numerous cultural sites and hidden remnants on your way to the jaw-dropping Temple of Athena Nike. Instantly recognisable and utterly unparalleled, this ancient temple has stood in dedication of deities Athena and Nike – goddesses of wisdom and victory, respectively – since approximately 420 BCE.
Later this afternoon, check into your hotel and spend the rest of your day freely wandering the streets of this historic metropolis. If you prefer, spend your time relaxing in your hotel with stunning views of the nearby Acropolis.
Today’s itinerary is yours to write. While away the hours at the stunning Acropolis Museum and dig deeper into the countless relics of this historic site. Sit down at a local cafe and sample anise-flavoured ouzo over freshly rolled dolmades.
For the history enthusiasts, opt to join a full-day tour of nearby Delphi, famed for its mythic oracle at the dramatic Temple of Apollo.
- Delphi full-day excursion with lunch (surcharges apply).
Savour a hearty breakfast at your hotel before you transfer to Athens International Airport (ATH) for your onward flight to Madrid in sun-soaked Spain. A truly cosmopolitan city, Madrid is the gateway to Spain’s arts and culture, tantalising cuisine and diverse architecture.
Upon arrival at Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD), take your private transfer to your hotel for check-in, then spend the day at your leisure exploring Spain’s thriving capital. Stroll the elegant boulevards and manicured parks, then live the Spanish life and step into one of the vibrant bars for ‘la hora del vermut’ or Vermouth Hour.
This evening, meet your tour director and fellow travellers at your hotel for a briefing on the further adventure come.
Enjoy a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then set out for a morning tour of this thriving city. From the busy squares of Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Villa to the storied streets of Barrio de Moreria and the Habsburg neighbourhood and the neoclassical Fountain of Neptune, discover the living history of this bustling metropolis with the direction of your expert local guide.
After a morning of cultural immersion, the afternoon is yours to enjoy at your own pace. This evening, come together as a group for a welcome dinner at a local tapas restaurant and sample the fragrant flavours and piquant spices of Spanish cuisine.
- Toledo excursion (additional costs apply).
Bid farewell to magical Madrid as you travel to the university town of Salamanca. Tucked away among rolling hills, this medieval town is home to one of the oldest operating universities in the world.
With free time to explore, you can immerse yourself in its architectural and artistic wealth, from the stained-glass atrium of the Casa Lis art museum to the shell-covered walls of Casa de las Conchas.
Rise, shine and board your private luxury coach as you cross the border to picturesque Portugal. Stop first at serene Pinhao on the banks of the Douro River, where you’ll visit the local vineyards and centenary cellars that have earned Pinhao its place in the wine world. Explore the complex local blends on a special tasting experience and relish a delicious lunch made with local produce.
Continue to Porto, one of Europe’s oldest towns, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Opt to stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed streets, visit the impressive Casa da Música concert hall or sample a hearty francesinha (toasted sandwich) – a Porto specialty.
Wake for a day of discovery and uncover Porto on a guided tour. Admire the fine craftsmanship of Porto Cathedral, the elaborate Stock Exchange Palace and the meticulous interior of Igreja de Santa Clara church.
Later, cruise down the peaceful waters of the Douro River. Watch as the twin cities of Porto and Gaia pass by on opposite banks, and gaze in awe at Porto’s countless stunning bridges.
Back on land, spend your evening freely, exploring the romantic streets and maybe choosing to try a glass of the city’s famous port wine.
- Guimaraes excursion (surcharges apply).
Be sure to fuel up at breakfast before embarking on the day’s adventure. Your first stop is Aveiro, known as the ‘Portuguese Venice’. See just why the city has earned this reputation as you cruise along the beautiful canals aboard a moliceiro boat, named for the algae they once harvested along the Ria de Aveiro.
Spend some time wandering at your leisure, exploring the old Beira Mar neighbourhood and the Mercado do Peixe – Aveiro’s bustling fish market.
Travel onward to Coimbra, the birthplace of fado – a popular style of traditional Portuguese music. With your abundant free time, you may choose to explore the historic streets climbing up from the banks of the Rio Mondego. Another famed university town, Coimbra’s buildings date back to the 12th century, including the Romanesque wonder of Se Velha Cathedral.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then set your sights on the idyllic towns of the Portuguese countryside. Start your day in historic Tomar, former seat of the Order of the Knights Templar, where you can see the Convent of Christ. This Gothic and Manueline masterpiece was once a 12th-century Templar stronghold and took over five centuries to complete.
Continue to the picturesque fishing town of Nazare, famed for its world-class surfing. Spend your free time appreciating the rolling Atlantic at North Beach, where thrill-seekers try their luck among gargantuan waves averaging 15 metres high.
Rounding out the day is peaceful Obidos. Wander freely through this medieval town and marvel at the superbly preserved castle and 16th-century aqueduct.
Later, arrive in the vibrant city of Lisbon, where you can get a taste of its beloved architecture, delicious seafood and thriving nightlife.
After breakfast, it’s time to hit the streets of Lisbon on a morning sightseeing tour. Traverse the main squares and avenues, passing Belem Tower and the serene Jeronimos Monastery, as well as the imposing Padrao dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoverers) on the northern bank of the Tagus River and the grand Marquis of Pombal Square.
The rest of the afternoon will be free to wander through the city streets or perhaps visit the Alfama Quarter, the oldest and most historical part of Portugal's capital.
This evening, enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner and fado performance at one of the oldest venues in the city.
Tuck into breakfast before saying goodbye to Portugal as you travel by private coach across the border to Merida. Capital of the western Spanish region of Extremadura, Merida’s famed Roman ruins date back to the 1st century BCE.
Spend time exploring the historic remains of this ancient colony and stand at the centre of the miraculously preserved Roman Theatre.
Continue onward to Seville – the vibrant Andalusian capital - to enjoy the evening at your leisure. Walk the city’s storied streets and soak up extraordinary architecture and the vibrant Spanish soul.
- Las Setas de Sevilla evening city tour (surcharges apply).
Let your expert guide unlock the wonders of romantic Seville as you navigate the maze of narrow, tree-lined streets and blooming courtyards of Santa Cruz – the city’s picture-perfect Jewish Quarter. Lose yourself in the complex blend of Christian and Moorish architecture, epitomised by the Mudejar style of the grand palace of Real Alcazar.
Spend your afternoon meandering through the bright barrio or opt to join a trip to the southern city of Jerez de la Frontera. Built around an 11th-century Moorish fortress, this sun-kissed spot is known globally as the namesake of sherry wine or ‘jerez’ as well as its centuries-old equestrian tradition (surcharges apply).
- Jerez de la Frontera excursion with sherry tasting (surcharges apply).
Fill up with a buffet breakfast at your hotel, then hit the road on your way to Cordoba. Founded in the 2nd century BCE, this historically Roman city has a fascinating history of diverse influences converging in a cosmopolitan blend of architecture and culture.
Visit the wonderfully unique Mezquita – a captivating mosque-turned-cathedral that stands as testament to the compounding innovations of Islamic and Christian architects dating back to the 8th century. Over the next millennium, the complex would grow and evolve in unexpected ways, tied to the particular cultural exchange of Spain’s southern reaches. The enormous mosque is an intricately constructed masterpiece of striped arches and wide halls, while the 16th-century cathedral at its heart tells the story of a changing Spain.
Depart for a scenic journey through Spanish olive groves, learning how olive oil is produced from the olive tree then check in to your hotel in Granada upon arrival. In the evening, convene with your fellow adventurers for an unforgettable traditional flamenco show over a delicious Spanish dinner.
Prepare for the day with a hearty breakfast, then make your way to the jaw-dropping Alhambra. This expansive hilltop fortress complex remains one of the most renowned examples of Islamic architecture in the world. Listen as your guide highlights the intricately carved Moorish architecture, punctuated by signs of the Spanish Renaissance in its layered distillation of a history shrouded in mystery.
Spend your afternoon at leisure, or choose to join an optional walking tour through the Albaicin district and chart the transition of Moorish design to Christian construction as you marvel at the beautiful mosques, churches and artisan shops and visit a celebrated pastry and teashop (surcharges apply).
- Albaicin neighbourhood walk (surcharges apply).
After breakfast, wave adios to historic Granada and say a hearty ¡Hola! to the dazzling blues of the Mediterranean coast. Passing sun-drenched shores, head into Ubeda, Spain’s olive oil capital – enjoy a walk of the historic city streets and savour a personal tasting and light lunch. Later, arrive amongst the magnificent greenery and Modernisme style of Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city. Check into your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.
After breakfast, embark on a morning tour of Valencia’s best and most-notable spots. Visit the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia’s vast and avant-garde collection of cinemas, museums, public parks and plazas.
Depart in the afternoon for Catalonia’s volcanic peaks, shimmering lakes and sprawling vineyards. Upon arriving in the region's capital, Barcelona, admire the city’s soul-soaring architecture – including many of the notable creations by revered Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi – and a rolling, forest-clad backdrop. Spend just a moment in Barcelona’s extraordinary streets and it becomes easy to see how this was the city that shaped Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Embark on a Barcelona tour and become enchanted by its endless surprises and delights. See the Barcelona Pavilion, a minimalist delight built for the 1929 International Exposition, before visiting the mighty Sagrada Familia basilica, Gaudi's unfinished magnum opus and a shining symbol of Barcelona’s vivid past, present and future.
Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. Feast on jamon, seafood and chocolate, or wander the streets in search of another architectural masterpiece – there’s one around every corner. In the evening, enjoy one final dinner in Spain with your fellow travellers at a local restaurant.
After one last breakfast, it’s time to say ‘adios’ to the Iberian Peninsula as you make your way to Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN), where your journey concludes.