A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Set sail from Malta to voyage all the way around Sicily, encountering captivating towns from Palermo to Taormina, simmering volcanoes, and important Greco-Roman archaeological sites from Agrigento to Syracuse.

Starting at: $5,860 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Greek temple of Segesta  Valletta harbor, Malta  Harbor scene in Valletta, Malta  Temple of Concord, Agrigento, Sicily  View from Erice  Church in Erice  Church interior, Erice  View of Palermo from the water  Palermo Cathedral  The Palatine Chapel, Palermo  The renowned cathedral at Monreale  Stromboli island  View of the bay and Mt. Etna from Taormina  San Giuseppe church on the square Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina  The Greek theater of Taormina with Mt. Etna in the background  The Old Town of Ortygia in Syracuse  The baroque cathedral of Ortygia, Siracusa  Piazza near cathedral on Ortygia  The Greco-Roman Theater at Syracuse

A Circumnavigation of Sicily

Round-trip from Malta on the 184-guest Le Bougainville

8 days from $5,860

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Set sail from Malta to voyage all the way around Sicily, encountering captivating towns from Palermo to Taormina, simmering volcanoes, and important Greco-Roman archaeological sites from Agrigento to Syracuse.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Step into antiquity as you cruise all the way around Sicily, discovering the extraordinary ruins of cities that flourished in the Greco-Roman era. On a voyage that begins and ends in Malta’s walled capital, explore five World Heritage sites, including the ancient Greek cities of Agrigento and Syracuse. Sample Sicilian wines on the slopes of Mount Etna, and enjoy a range of excursions to choose from along the way.

The Smithsonian Journeys / PONANTExperience: Each cruise will be accompanied by two Smithsonian Journeys Experts. An excursion or activity is included in each port of call. You may have a choice of excursions in many ports, so that you can delve more deeply into subjects that interest you.

Highlights Include

  • Valletta, Malta: Sail out of one of Europe’s most stunning harbors, the fortified city of Valletta. Be on deck to photograph the golden-hued city as you take to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Archaeological Wonders: Explore the classical temples and colonnades of Agrigento, and see the impressive ruins at Segesta and Erice. Visit Ancient Syracuse, where several millennia of history can be traced in the ruins.
  • Palermo: Discover the World Heritage-listed Arab-Norman sites of Palermo. Admire the mosaics in the Norman cathedral, visit the Capella Palatina in the Norman Palace, and travel into the orchard-covered hills to see the spectacular cathedral of Monreale.
  • Taormina: Take a walking tour of charming Taormina, and visit its Greek amphitheater. Or sample local wines on the slopes of Mount Etna, another World Heritage site.
  • Lipari and Stromboli, Italy: Tour the Aeolian Island of Lipari, and visit the Aeolian Archaeological Museum to see an excellent exhibit of ancient artifacts. Cruise by Stromboli in the evening, watching for activity from its active volcano.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Valletta, Malta

Arrive in Valletta, and enjoy a chance to see its baroque architecture on your own before boarding the ship. Settle into your cabin and find a spot on deck to photograph the golden-hued city as Le Bougainville cruises out of one of Europe’s loveliest harbors. (D)

Day 2 — Agrigento, Sicily, Italy

Your first stop in Sicily is Porto Empedocle on the southern coast. From here, travel inland to the World Heritage site of Agrigento, where seven ancient temples line a ridge in the Valley of the Temples. Step back into the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. as you tour the evocative site, which was once one of the most powerful cities in the Mediterranean. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Segesta and Erice

Anchor in Trapani and continue to the ancient city of Segesta to see its magnificent Doric temple, standing alone amid grassy slopes. Then journey into the hills to the beautiful village of Erice. Meander its medieval streets, taking in views that can reach as far as the North African coast on a clear day. As you wander, you will discover San Lorenzo Cathedral, Maria Santissima Annunziata sanctuary, and the fountain of Triton. On the shaded restaurant terraces, enjoy some fresh fish from the morning’s catch. Or else you can opt for a seafood couscous, a culinary legacy from their Arab neighbours. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Palermo

Spend today in Palermo, a city that still bears the vestiges of its many rulers, including the Carthagians, the Romans, the Arabs, and the Normans. Discover its unique Arab-Norman architecture, built at the height of the city’s prosperity in the 12th century and recognized as a World Heritage site. Admire the mosaics in the Norman cathedral, and visit the Capella Palatina in the sumptuous Norman Palace. Travel into the orchard-covered hills to see the spectacular Norman cathedral of Monreale.

Alternately, see the Byzantine mosaics of La Martorana Church, visit one of Palermo’s oldest food markets, tour Palazzo Conte Federico, led by Countess Federico, and enjoy a tasting of typical local street food. Or travel to the medieval port town of Cefalù for a walking tour including its Cathedral, covered in splendid painting and gold mosaics, and the excavations of Osterio Magno, where ancient edifices and ceramics from early Roman times have been discovered.   (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Aeolian Islands

Just north of Sicily lie the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago where evidence of human habitation goes back to the Neolithic era. Go ashore on the main island of Lipari, and visit the Aeolian Archaeological Museum to see artifacts from many centuries found on the archipelago. In the evening, glide by the island of Stromboli where glowing lava can often be seen sliding down the slopes of an active volcano. (B,L,D) 

Day 6 — Taormina, Sicily

Poised on the Ionian Sea against a backdrop of craggy headlands, beautiful Taormina has long drawn writers and philosophers to its piazzas and winding lanes. Discover the town on a guided walking tour and visit the Greek Theater, where live performances still take place today. Or travel to Mount Etna, another World Heritage site, and enjoy a tasting of local wines while enjoying views from its rugged slopes to the coast. (B,L,D) 

Day 7 — Syracuse and Ortigia, Sicily

Your final stop is Syracuse, an ancient city once so powerful it rivaled Athens and Rome. Follow in the steps of Aeschylus and Archimedes as you explore the archaeological park, which includes a Greek theater and one of the world’s largest Roman amphitheaters. See the Ear of Dionysius cave and stroll amid stunning architecture on the island of Ortigia. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Depart from Valletta, Malta

After breakfast, disembark in Valletta and transfer to airport for your onward flight. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)