Luxury Small Ship Cruising
Luxury Cruising Overview
Pine-clad Korcula is where Marco Polo is believed to have been born, and in modern times it has become renowned for its prolific olive groves and vineyards.
In the spirit of the great explorer, to this day you can visit the home in which it is thought he was born. Then you weave a path through Korcula’s bewildering medieval labyrinth, past palatial homes and through elegant piazzas. The centrepiece of the Old Town is the 15th-century St Mark’s Cathedral. It is built of glowing local limestone and contains many artistic treasures within, including paintings by the Venetian master Tintoretto.
No setting on the Adriatic Coast is more spectacular than Montenegro’s Kotor, with its walled town hugged by sheer cliffs which create a dramatic bay only small ships can enter.
The energetic can tackle a walk on the medieval fortifications which climb the cliffs high above the town and date from the ninth century – the protective walls cling to the steep terrain for more than four kilometres. Within the town there is a maze of alleys hemmed in by churches, palaces and more-humble dwellings, and the whole is a joy to explore.
Krka National Park
The showpiece of Krka National Park in Croatia is its collection of magnificent waterfalls.
You spend the afternoon strolling along wooden boardwalks and crossing bridges to view the natural spectacle. The most memorable sight is Skradinski buk, which is made up of scores of separate cascades which tumble over rocks and surge between tiny islets. The creator of this majestic sight, the Krka River, flows for more than 70 kilometres from the mountains to the Adriatic Sea near the town of Šibenik. At places, the limestone gorges are as much as 200 metres deep as the river runs towards the ocean.
Tiny Bled island sits like a dream vision on the tranquil turquoise waters of Lake Bled in Slovenia.
You will be rowed to this teardrop-shaped by pletna, a gondola-like craft used for centuries by the local people. There, you climb the 99 steps of the South Staircase to the beautiful Church of the Assumption, whose distinctive pastel-pink spire soars into the heavens with its backdrop of lush, green-clad mountain that are dusted with snow during the colder months. Within the historic church, ring the 16th-century ‘wishing bell’, and perhaps ask for a return visit to this magical place.
Sicily, the big island being ‘booted’ across the Mediterranean at the southern tip of Italy, is dominated by the brooding presence of Mt Etna.
The tallest active volcano in Europe, its looming majesty is impossible to ignore, and hard to resist. But there is so much more to Sicily. There is ancient history in Taormina and Syracuse, as well as medieval mountain villages such as Erice and fascinating active fishing ports such as Marzamemi and Mazara del Vallo. Add salt flats, vineyards, deep valleys and a world-famous pastry shop, and you have a mix that offers a rare combination of remarkable treats.
The Cyclades group is everyone’s idea of the typical Greek islands.
Whitewashed cottages with cobalt blue doors and shutters. Fishing fleets bobbing in harbours lined with restaurants and bars. Octopus drying in the sun like washing on a clothesline. Old men sitting outside kafeneions, nursing coffees and casually flipping worry beads. On volcanic Milos you can visit pebbly beaches and fishing villages. Charming Naxos beckons with its pretty main port and imposing villa houses. From glamorous Mykonos, with its distinctive army of traditional windmills overlooking the harbour, you can explore the World Heritage-listed island of Delos and its archaeological treasures. Your small ship makes discovering the Aegean and beyond a breeze.