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Wander through the preserved structures of Dubrovnik

Cruising the Dalmatian Coast and the Ionian Sea: Venice to Athens with Smithsonian Journeys

Athens-Venice - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard Le Lyrial
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The Dalmatian Coast, on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, is home to some of the most magnificent and welcoming cities and villages in the world. Your experience begins when you depart Athens, pass through the Corinth Canal, and arrive the next day at Itea. Explore as many as six UNESCO World Heritage sites, spanning the millennia from the mythic past of Delphi's Oracle of Apollo to the 20th-century Bosnian city of Mostar. Sample local wines in Albania and Croatia. Experience the nightlife of Ploče and Dubrovnik. Engage with the modern culture of these cities, towns, and villages as you discover their past.
Enjoy a gondola ride through beautiful VeniceCape Drastis at Corfu island in GreeceTurquoise sea of Hvar islandView of Hvar harborLandscape of old Perast, Kotor bayRelax on the beaches of the Greek MediterraneanThe caryatids of the Erechteion temple overlooking AthensWander through the preserved structures of Dubrovnik
Highlights
  • Cruise between the Adriatic, the Ionian, and the Aegean Seas
  • Discover Mediterranean highlights in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece
  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites that preserve ruins of the ancient world
  • Sail through the Panorama of the Croatian islands: Rovinj and Hvar
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Athens | Embark |Crossing the Corinth Canal

The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colorful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological Museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.

The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, turning the Peloponnese into an island as it separates the region from the Greek mainland. Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is a little over six kilometers long and enables merchant vessels and passengers to avoid a long 400-km detour around the peninsula. The two sides of the canal reach a height of approximately fifty meters. From the exterior decks, don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the ship as it navigates along the narrow strip of water encased between tall, ochre cliffs. What an experience!

Day 2: Itea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tucked away in the Gulf of Corinth, this little port is situated in continental Greece, northwest of Athens. Take an easy stroll along the old cobblestone quays, while gazing at the summits encircling the Bay of Itea. We wouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted by a visit to the Delphi Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, just ten kilometers from Itea. A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience whose ancient ruins are surrounded by steep mountains.

Day 3: Saranda

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A historical harbor town on the southwest coast of Albania, Saranda is built on a lush green spur. Its streets lined with palms and maritime pines border the beaches of the Ionian sea at the mouth of Corfu Strait. This very ancient town has archaeological ruins dating from Antiquity, which you can visit as you walk along the waterfront.

Day 4: Kotor, Montenegro

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Situated in one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays, the medieval city of Kotor is a small town full of charm, truly imbued with the traditions and stories of another time. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, this village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has preserved many historical monuments from this epoch. During your stop, be sure to admire the impressive castle that dominates the town, and let yourself fall under the charm of its maze of small streets and intimate squares on which folk festivals featuring magnificent colorful costumes are often organized.

Day 5: Dubrovnik

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Named after the island, Corfu is the most famous city in the Ionian islands. Protected by citadel fortifications, its old city, designated UNESCO World Heritage, displays unusual Greco-Byzantine and Venetian architecture. Above the water stands Saint George’s church, looking uncannily like a classical temple. The picturesque Pontikonisi, a stone’s throw from the southern point of the town, is the legendary island where Odysseus landed.

Day 6: Ploce

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ploče is a port that shares with nearby Makarska a reputation for great beaches, upscale seafront promenades, and a vibrant nightlife. Ploče's Rupe Ethnographic Museum and Markaska's intriguing Shell Museum are both worth a visit. Ploče also serves as a gateway to the Bosnian city of Mostar, which under the Ottoman Turks became a thriving administrative and cultural center. Severely damaged in the military conflict of the 1990s, the town was declared a World Heritage site and now showcases the graceful Stari Most (“Old Bridge”), originally built in 1566, and the early 17th-century Turkish Tabacica Mosque, both carefully restored with help from UNESCO.

Day 7: Hvar

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Off the coast of Split, Hvar will surprise you by its traditions that have not changed since Antiquity. The country’s oldest town, Stari Grad, is here on this Dalmatian Island. The town nestles by a cove on the north-west coast, surrounded by dry stone wall structures on the Stari Grad plains. These have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because they were built in the time of the Ancient Greeks.  From these parcels of land come wines and olive oil manufactured manually. In the upper part of town, it is possible to discover hams and cheeses made by local producers. 

Day 8: Venice | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Proud and eternal, Venice has reigned on its lagoon ever since the 6th century. You may think you know this city before even setting foot here. You will inevitably fall in love with the charm of the innumerable treasures of the Serenissima: Saint Mark’s square, the basilica, Doges palace, the Grand Canal and the gondolas. Yet, secret Venice is also waiting for you to explore its little interlacing streets and canals, to ramble through its squares and to push open the doors of its churches. The city’s extraordinary heritage shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a glass of Spritz and a few tramezzini.

Ship/Hotel

Le Lyrial

Le Lyrial Lobby
Le Lyrial Observatory Lounge
Le Lyrial Restaurant

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$5,050
Cabins on the Le Lyrial
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Superior Stateroom
Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, desk, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
Cabins on the Le Lyrial
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Located on Deck 3. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, desk, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
Le Lyrial Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
35 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
Le Lyrial Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
37 cabins, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
Le Lyrial Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
1 cabin, 200 sq. ft. + 43 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
Cabins on the Le Lyrial
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Deluxe Suite
3 cabins on Deck 6, 290 sq. ft. + 54 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually-controlled A/C, en suite shower, sofa, armchair and pedestal table, Wi-Fi access, TV, and stereo.
Le Lyrial - Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
11 cabins, 398 sq. ft + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with shower, desk, sofa, armchair & table, 2 TVs, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Le Lyrial - Privilege SuiteLe Lyrial - Privilege Suite
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Privilege Suite
8 cabins, 398 sq. ft + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with shower, desk, sofa, armchair & table, 2 TVs, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Le Lyrial - Grand Deluxe SuiteLe Lyrial - Grand Deluxe Suite
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Grand Deluxe Suite
1 cabin, 484 sq. ft. + 96 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi and shower, desk, TV, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Le Lyrial - Grand Privilege SuiteLe Lyrial - Grand Privilege SuiteGrand Privilege Suite on the Le Lyrial
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Grand Privilege Suite
7 cabins, 398 sq. ft. + 86 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with bathtub and shower, desk, minibar, TV, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Le Lyrial - Owner SuiteOwner's Suite on the Le LyrialLe Lyrial - Owner Suite
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Owner Suite
On Deck 6, 592 sq. ft. + 129 sq. ft. private balcony. Individually controlled A/C, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi and shower, desk, sofa, table with 4 chairs, armchair and table, 2 televisions, stereo, Satellite telephone, Wi-Fi access.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Port Fees
  • Unlimited Free Wifi
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • 24h Room Service (special selection)
  • English-Speaking Lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite. 
  • Zodiac excursions led by expert naturalist driver-guides
  • Onboard Entertainment 
  • Captain’s Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Highly experienced and bilingual (French-English) expedition staff
  • Park Entry Fees into Protected Areas
  • Arrival & Departure Transfers
  • Optional spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • A program of onboard enrichment provided by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned in inclusions
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Visa Fees
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry Services, Hair Salon, and à La Carte Spa Treatments
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions 

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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