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Mediterranean Wildflowers Cruise

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Wildflowers and history of the Mediterranean.

Visit ancient ruins while taking in the beautiful colours of spring wildflowers on your Botanica World Discoveries' garden tour of Greece.

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A small ship Mediterranean cruise - less than 100 guests - in early spring; combined with a small group botanical journey between Rome and Bordeaux taking in the stunning scenery of Tuscany, Provence, The Côte d’Azur & South West France. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTMEDIF20
Duration: 20 days
Accommodation: Boutique Small Ships and Comfortable Hotels
Journey: Athens to Bordeaux
Meals included: 46

Itinerary

Day 1. Embark Ship Athens

Embark the small boutique ship, MS Island Sky at 4pm at Piraeus Harbour and sail this evening towards the island of Crete. Enjoy a Welcome Dinner on board.
Stay: Eleven Nights: aboard MS Island Sky
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Heraklion, Crete, Wildflowers

Step ashore this morning on the fascinating island of Crete and journey to Knossos, the ancient capital of the great King Minos. Discover the fantastic ruins of the ancient palace complex and then journey through the charming countryside of Crete and picturesque villages to one of the three great mountain ranges, Mt. Dikti where we hunt for spring flowering plants including wild tulips and anemones.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 3. Rethmynon, Crete, Freedom of Choice

We visit the ancient Fortezza and enjoy a scenic drive to Gaios Kambos which is renowned for endemic Cretan plants and again we seek out the crown anemones, turban buttercups, narcissus tazetta, orchids, irises and bulbocodium species, before a visit to the Monoan Cemetery at Armenoi. After lunch on board, you can enjoy a free afternoon to explore on your own or choose to take a scenic drive to a botanical park with 20 hectares of fruit trees, herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants to explore.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 4. Peloponnese, Greece, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a scenic drive through the beautiful and fertile Peloponnese countryside to Agios Nilona where there is a riot of springtime Euphorbia and wildflowers. At Areopoli, one of the most attractive traditional villages in Greece, we stroll the cobbled lanes that wind through the village. Alternatively, choose to visit the ancient Greek site of Sparta where the warrior society ruled in the Archaic and Classical periods.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 5. Kefalonia

Made famous by the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin this Ionian Island has great charm. See the capital, Argostoli including the famous lighthouse, then drive to the Botanical Gardens. We continue to Mt Ainos National Park renowned for its dense forest of Kefalonian Fir trees and endemic flowers including orchids. This afternoon enjoy a free afternoon in Argostoli, soaking up the atmosphere of this interesting place.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Corfu, Freedom of Choice

A half day visit to the historical village of Gastouri and the Achilleion Palace, the former residence of Empress Elizabeth of Austria and later Kaiser Wilhelm II. Explore the museum filled with royal treasures and enjoy the splendour of the landscaped gardens. Then return to historic Corfu Town which is on the World Heritage List UNESCO for a guided tour and some free time before returning to the ship for lunch. Alternatively, take a full day trip taking in Mon Repos, the birthplace of Prince Philip, enjoy the scenic beauty of Corfu Island including Mouse Island and have an authentic Greek lunch at Agios Yannis and explore the charms of the old town of Corfu.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 7. Lecce, Italy

Often referred to as the ‘Florence of Southern Italy’ Lecce’s Roman heritage is evident in the Amphitheatre built to accommodate 20,000 spectators. Our tour will include the Santa Croce Basilica and the Piazza Duomo. Later, a visit to Palazzo Tamborino-Cezzi, a privately owned 15th century palace has been arranged. This afternoon we cruise to Sicily.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 8. Catania, Sicily, Private Garden

After a relaxing morning at sea, we arrive at Catania in Sicily for an exclusive private garden visit at the invitation of Princess Borghese, who will personally take us around her beautiful garden and extend her welcome hospitality to us.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 9. Syracuse, Sicily, Private Garden

Our tour will begin in the Archaeological Zone and include the well preserved Greek theatre. Paradise Quarry is now a garden and orange grove and is famous for the curious ‘Dionysus Ear’, a vast grotto with an amplifying resonance. After lunch we enjoy a private visit to the gardens of the Marquess of San Giulliano. See the Mediterranean, Arabian and Tropical Gardens which owes much to the head gardener, Rachel Lamb.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 10. Taormina and Stromboli

We visit Taormina, a walled town lying in the shadow of Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest volcano. The town has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century and our guided tour will include walking the characteristic alleys before visiting the 15th century Palazzo Corvaja and the impressive Greek Theatre, from where there are marvellous views over the town and coast. This afternoon we sail towards Stromboli, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, in time to see it lit up in the evening light.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 11. Naples, Ischia and Herculaneum, Freedom of Choice

Arrive this morning in Naples to the sight of the Norman castle that protects the port and the backdrop of Vesuvius in the distance. You may choose to spend the afternoon on the island of Ischia to see La Mortella, a wonderful garden designed by architect Russell Page for Lord and Lady William Walton. Alternatively, enjoy an afternoon visiting the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum or enjoy a free afternoon in Naples.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 12. Naples, Ninfa, Rome

Disembark this morning. A transfer from Naples to Rome is available with a visit to the romantic garden of Ninfa, arriving in Rome by 5.00pm. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Stay: Two Nights: Rome, Hotel Quirinale or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 13. Rome Sights and Villa d’Este

This morning, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Rome, including the Colosseum. Depart this afternoon for Tivoli to visit the exquisite Villa d’Este garden, with its fountains, nymphs and grottoes.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 14. Florence

This morning choose to visit the Vatican Museum, or visit the Vatican Gardens with your Botanical Guide. Travel to the gardens at Villa Lante at Bagnaia, with its cascades to fountains and grottoes, before arriving in Florence.
Stay: Two Nights: Florence, Baglioni Hotel or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 15. Villa Gamberaia, Giardino Torrigiani and Florentine Sights

Visit Villa Gamberaia, constructed in the early 1600s it is famed for its magnificent gardens overlooking the Arno Valley. Afterwards we visit Europe’s largest privately owned green space in an historic area, Giardino Torrigiani. This afternoon explore Florence including the Duomo or spend time at leisure.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 16. La Cinque Terre and Nice

Travel to La Spezia where we board a train to discover the famous fishing villages Vernazza and Monte Rosso of La Cinque Terre. Arrive this evening to Nice.
Stay: Two Nights: Nice, Hotel Beau Rivage or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 17. Nice, Monaco and the Côte d’Azur

This morning travel to Menton and visit the Lawrence Johnson created Serre de la Madone garden. Very different to his creation at Hidcote. Stop off in Monaco to see the Princess Grace Rose Garden, planted with 4,000 roses. Afterwards, visit Villa Ephrussie de Rothschild. Later explore the surrounds of Nice on a sightseeing tour including Renoir’s house and garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 18. Aix-en-Provence and Avignon

Depart Nice this morning and stop off in Aix-en-Provence before visiting La Louve garden that featured on Monty Don’s ‘French Gardens’ series. Afterwards we tour Brantes Castle, with one of the oldest grandiflora magnolias in Europe.
Stay: Avignon, Grand Hotel or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 19. Avignon Sightseeing and Carcassonne

Tour Saint Andre Abbey and gardens. Admire ancient walls, pretty gardens and narrow streets. This afternoon, head west to the fortified medieval city of Carcassonne. Take a tour of the city within a castle. Wander the cobblestone streets, view the many watchtowers and boutique shops and discover the atmosphere that makes this area of France one of the most visited for filmmakers.
Stay: Carcassonne, Hotel De La Cite, or similar
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 20. Toulouse and Bordeaux

Today we visit Toulouse to see one of the city’s impressive art galleries or enjoy time at leisure before finishing our journey in the heart of France’s wine region, Bordeaux. Arrive at Bordeaux airport at approximately 4.15pm and Bordeaux Port/Hotel from 4.45pm onwards.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • Learn about the history of the regions from local guides
  • Enjoy the comfort of small ship cruising only 100 guests - unpack once
  • See historical sights and villages on Crete, Peloponnese and Sicily
  • Visit the Greek Islands of Crete, Kefalonia and Corfu
  • See the Botanical Gardens of Crete
  • Learn about ancient civilizations
  • See the birthplace of Prince Philip
  • Explore Paradise Quarry in Syracuse
  • Private garden visit to Marquess of San Giulliano’s garden
  • Private garden visit to Princess Borghese garden
  • Visit the walled-town of Taormina
  • Explore the Island of Ischia and La Mortella garden
  • Discover the ruins of Herculaneum
  • Have a choice of touring options in selected locations
  • Tour Rome, Villa d’Este and Villa Lante
  • Discover the Tuscan garden at Villa La Gamberaia
  • Explore La Cinque Terre villages
  • Discover the beautiful French Riviera Palazzo, Villa Ephrussie de Rothschild
  • Stay inside the magnificent medieval fortified city of Carcassonne
  • Learn about the plants and gardens from your Botanical Guide, Dr Toby Musgrave

Map

Included Experiences

  • Services of a Cruise Director and Garden Historian, Dr Toby Musgrave
  • All sightseeing and shore excursions as per the itinerary

  • Airport transfers on first and last day, tipping and port taxes
  • 46 Meals - 19 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches and 17 Dinners
  • Wine, beer and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner on board the ship
  • Eleven nights on the boutique small ship, the MS Island Sky, with just 100 guests
  • 8 nights in good quality 4 star hotels that are centrally located
  • Learn about the Mediterranean plants with onboard lectures by the Botanical Guide
  • Freedom of Choice touring on some days at no extra cost

Suite Floor and Ship Plan

MS Island Sky

All 57 suites on board the MS Island Sky feature elegant ensuites with a marble-topped vanity unit and a walk-in shower. A hair dryer, plush bathrobe, slippers, and designer toiletries are also provided for your comfort. A sitting area, flat screen television with in built DVD player, and a telephone feature in your suite, as do a spacious wardrobe, electronic safe, dressing table and large mirror.

Decks: 5 | Suites: 57 | Max. Passengers: 114 | Crew: 75 

See the MS Island Sky Deck & Cabin Plan

Cabin Plans

Enjoy all the comforts of home aboard the MS Island Sky on your small ship adventure with APT.Columbus Deck Superior Suite Cabin Plan (File Size: 51kB)




Unwind in your Erikson Deck Suite aboard the MS Island Sky.Erikson Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite Plan (File Size: 54kB)




Unwind in your Magellan Deck Suite aboard the MS Island Sky.

Magellan Deck Standard Suite Plan (File Size: 55kB)

Magellan Deck Standard Suite Forward Plan (File Size: 66kB)



Unwind in your Marco Polo Deck Suite aboard the MS Island Sky.Marco Polo Deck Corner Suite Plan (File Size: 49kB)




Unwind in your luxurious Suite aboard the MS Island Sky.Explorer Deck Owners Balcony Suite Plan (File Size: 54kB)



Additional Information

Fitness Level

  • Our tours and cruise cater to various fitness levels
  • This tour requires a medium level of fitness – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two-night stays in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries

Combine With:

  • This tour can be combined with:
  • Bordeaux Cruise, Dordogne, Loire Valley and Chelsea Flower Show BTBLC17;
  • Enquire for more details.

Garden Historian

  • Dr Toby Musgrave is a worldwide authority on garden history and design

Watch a presentation on Botanica's Mediterranean Cruise tours here.

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Prices are for land / cruise only. Flights not included

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