Sail across the western Mediterranean from Sicily to the Spanish coast, discovering medieval, classical, and prehistoric sites amid the engaging towns and stunning limestone landscapes of Sardinia and the Balearic Islands.

Starting at: $5,340 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Panoramic view of Valletta, Malta
 The Greek temple of Segesta, Sicily
 The archaeological site of Selinunte
 View from Erice
 Church in Erice
 View of Palermo from the water
 The Palatine Chapel, Palermo
 Cathedral in Palermo, Sicily
 Interior of the famed Monreale Cathedral on Sicily
 Mosaic at Monreale Cathedral
 View of Cefalu, Sicily
 Enjoying the wine and food of Italy
 Traditional market in Sicily
 Traditional ceramics in Sicily
 Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
 Colorful piazza in Cagliari, Sardinia
 Archaeological site at Nora, Sardinia
 Port of Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands
 Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca

Cruising the Mediterranean: Sicily, Sardinia, and Mallorca

Aboard the 264-guest L'Austral

8 days from $5,340

Sail across the western Mediterranean from Sicily to the Spanish coast, discovering medieval, classical, and prehistoric sites amid the engaging towns and stunning limestone landscapes of Sardinia and the Balearic Islands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

The western Mediterranean is dotted with islands where important vestiges of history stand amid immense natural beauty. Set sail from the baroque gem of Valletta, Malta on a voyage that will have you exploring Greek and Arab-Norman treasures in western Sicily, the rose-colored capital of Sardinia, Bronze Age sites in Menorca, and medieval monuments of Palma de Mallorca. Along the way, sample local specialties, visit fascinating archaeological sites, and explore gorgeous coasts of limestone cliffs and secluded coves.

Smithsonian Journeys / PONANT Experience: 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.
  • Trapani and Erice: During a day on Sicily’s western coast, meander through the cobbled lanes of hilltop Erice, visit the historic saltworks of Trapani, or tour the ancient Greek sites of Segesta. Then sample wines in Marsala or explore the archaeological part of Selinunte.
  • Palermo: Encounter Palermo’s World Heritage-listed Arab-Norman architecture and travel into orchard-covered hills to see the spectacular cathedral of Monreale. Alternatively, delve into the city’s centuries-old markets and sample local specialties, or travel to the delightful medieval port of Cefalù for a walking tour.
  • Sardinia: Tour the capital city of Cagliari from its baroque palazzi to its hilltop fortress and take in views from Monte Urpino. Then explore the remarkable ruins of ancient Nora, once a thriving port under the Carthaginians and the Romans.
  • Balearic Islands: Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Balearic Islands, home to idyllic coves, soaring limestone cliffs, and a unique blend of Spanish and Catalan culture. Discover the remnants of an intriguing Bronze Age civilization on Menorca, and step into history in Palma de Mallorca, exploring medieval monuments in this cosmopolitan capital of the Balearic Islands.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Valletta, Malta

Arrive in Valletta, a World Heritage site known for its golden-hued baroque architecture. Settle into your cabin and take in the view as the ship cruises out of one of Europe’s loveliest harbors. (D)

Day 2 - Trapani, Sicily

On Sicily’s western coast, dock in Trapani and set out on your choice of three excursions. Journey to the hilltop village of Erice, once a retreat for Trapani’s wealthy families. On a guided walk, admire picturesque homes, castles, and gardens and take in views of the Sicilian coast far below. Alternatively, drive to the ancient city of Segesta to see a hillside Greek theater and a magnificent Doric temple that stands alone amid grassy slopes. Or delve into Trapani’s 2,000-year-old tradition of sea salt production, following the Via del Sale to saltworks, windmills, and wetlands and visiting the Salt Museum. Later, discover the dramatic history of Marsala on a walking tour, and sampling its namesake dessert wine during a tasting at a local winery. Instead, choose to visit Selinunte, a vast archaeological site with an Acropolis that affords incredible views. (B,L,D)

Day 3 - Palermo, Sicily

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. On a panoramic city tour, 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. Then set off on one of three excursions. Follow a guide through the mosaic-clad Capella Palatina, then travel through orchard-covered hills to see the spectacular Norman cathedral of Monreale. Or stroll Piazza Bellini to the Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio Monreale to see its Byzantine mosaics, then delve into Palermo’s celebrated gastronomy at one of the city’s oldest food markets. Tour the Palazzo Conte Federico, where you’re hosted by Countess Federico herself, 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 4 - Cagliari, Sardinia

Sail into the harbor at Cagliari at midday and set out to tour Sardinia’s rose-colored capital city. Stroll through wide piazzas bordered by baroque palazzi and churches, and ascend to the impressive hilltop fortress. Take in views from Monte Urpino, then journey to ancient Nora, once a thriving port under the Carthaginians and the Romans. On a tour of the remarkable ruins here, some of which are now submerged, learn about the innovative waterworks and drainage system designed thousands of years ago. 

Day 5 - At Sea

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea as you make your way across the western Mediterranean, taking advantage of the ship’s superb amenities and joining your Smithsonian Journeys Experts for lectures and informal discussions. Opt for a treatment in the spa or a workout at the fitness center. Meet new friends for coffee or a drink in the lounge, and, if the weather permits, go for a swim in the pool or read a book on the sundeck. (B,L,D) 

Day 6 - Mahon, Menorca, Spain

The easternmost of Spain’s autonomous Balearic Islands, Menorca is edged in beautiful beaches and rocky coves. Less developed than much of the archipelago, Menorca harbors the 4,000-year-old ruins of a Bronze Age Talayotic civilization. Take a walking tour of the lovely capital, Mahón, and learn about the island’s history under many different rulers—from the Moors to the British Empire—at the Menorca Museum.  Then venture to Torralba d’en Salord to explore its megalithic ruins, including unusual stone monuments known as taulas. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca

Your next stop in the Balearics is Mallorca, the largest island, where limestone cliffs plunge into the sea and almond orchards and vineyards blanket the plains. Step into history on a tour of Palma de Mallorca, the cosmopolitan capital of the archipelago. Admire the Catalan Gothic architecture of the magnificent sandstone Palma Cathedral, constructed over 300 years beginning in 1230. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - Tarragona/Barcelona

After breakfast, disembark in Tarragona. Extend your stay to explore the town’s World Heritage-listed Roman sites, or transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

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

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