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Treasures of the Mediterranean Isles - Northbound 2025

Operator
Tauck
Days
12
From
USD $10,990

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Friday,
May 02, 2025
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Tuesday,
May 13, 2025
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May 16, 2025
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Tuesday,
May 27, 2025
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Thursday,
Sep 04, 2025
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Monday,
Sep 15, 2025
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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Sail the Mediterranean to fabled islands of antiquity and romance... to turquoise seas, archipelagos, and out-of-the-way places where Jason searched for the Golden Fleece and Odysseus pursued Destiny. From the island of Malta to the South of France, enjoy world-renowned wine, local delicacies, and the cultural treasures of historic empires.   Cruise on an elegant small ship to the islands of Corsica, Sicily, Elba, Sardinia, and Malta, on a 12-day odyssey to medieval towns and baroque cities – including Catania, Noto, Valletta, Siracusa, Cagliari, and Taormina – where Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians have all left their mark. Discover ancient ruins and ornate cathedrals, palaces, monasteries, hidden gardens, coastal villages, and outstanding wineries. Admire the view from Napoleon's hillside villa in Portoferraio; immerse in the breathtaking panoramas at the top of Mount Etna; explore Bonifacio, a labyrinthine citadel perched on sea-cliffs above the dramatic Corsican coast; lose yourself in the rich Baroque art of Sicily, the intimate classical charm of Ortigia, and the charming village of Aix-en-Provence. You will also spend four nights on land, in luxury hotels in Marseilles and the island of Malta. Local guides and expert lecturers offer insights along the way, and your ship is designed to access small harbors and remote destinations where large ships can't go

Countries Visited

France , Italy , Malta

  1. Day 1
    Arrive Malta

    Tour begins: 6:00 PM. A transfer is included from Malta's Luqa International Airport to the Marriott Malta Hotel & Spa in St. Julian, or The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta. Join us this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel.


    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Malta

    In 1530 Charles V of Spain leased the island of Malta to the Knights of the Order of St. John. In lieu of rent every year, the knights gave the king a Maltese falcon – not a jewel-encrusted objet d'art like the one Humphrey Bogart was after, but an actual hunting bird that symbolized the knights' role as Christendom's loyal soldiers and birds of prey. The jewel they delivered in time was Malta itself, the prize of the Mediterranean, a treasure island of opulent palaces, monasteries, cathedrals, art, and culture, as well as its own style of Baroque architecture. Valletta, the capital city, is entirely a UNESCO World Heritage site for having one of the highest concentrations of historic areas in the world. Sightseeing in Valletta, the Fortress-City, includes a visit to St. John's Co-Cathedral, a High-Baroque masterpiece saturated with frescoes, gold ornament, and one of the world's most treasured Caravaggio paintings; and Casa Rocca Piccola, the elegant private home of a local noble family (who still reside there), where you'll have the unique opportunity to meet a Knight of Malta. You'll also view a film, "The Malta Experience," that distills 7,000 years of Maltese history and tells how the Knights of St. John ushered in the island's second golden age. Drive to the ancient temple complex of Hagar Qim in Mnajdra, set on a windswept hill overlooking the sea. Tour the sprawling complex of chambers, altars, cisterns, carvings and statuary, and learn the best theories of who made them and why. Like Stonehenge, the temples are "megalithic", made of enormous stone blocks stacked on one another, so high that legends say they were built by giants; and considering when it was built (as early as 3600 BC), the builders had skills beyond their years. Return to Valletta or your hotel for an evening on your own.


    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Mdina

    Travel to the walled town of Mdina, another UNESCO World Heritage site, and a living gallery of meticulously preserved palaces, chapels, monuments, and cathedrals, intimate winding streets and alleys, and panoramic views from its ramparts. Stop at a restaurant in Mosta enjoy a lunch of Maltese cuisine and folkloric entertainment, then return to Valletta and embark your ship. Settle in and dine at leisure this evening as you sail for Siracusa, Sicily.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Siracusa

    Siracusa was once a city-state, and the center of everything in the Ancient World: learning, trade, art, geopolitics, architecture, and culture. At one time or another it was the premier city of Greece, the Moorish capital of Sicily, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and a hub of Christianity and Judaism. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so there is much to see packed into this corner of the island. Visit the Neapolis Archaeological Park with a local guide and peruse the largest Greek amphitheatre ever built, carved into the side of a hill in the 3rd century; proceed to the Latimo del Paradiso (Paradise Quarry) to see the catacombs and the Ear of Dionysius, a cave with an opening shaped like an elfin ear, 70 feet high; because of its amazing acoustics, the grotto may have been a theatre or a prison, depending on whether you believe legend or the rogue artist-rascal, Caravaggio; then take a guided walking tour through Ortygia, a romantic island in the heart of the city dense with palazzi, charming piazzas, ancient temples, Byzantine churches, sidewalk cafes, and seaside promenades, where your stops include the ruined Temple of Apollo, and the Duomo, a Baroque masterpiece built over the Temple of Athena. You'll also drive to the city of Noto, an enclave of antiquity as old as Siracusa; leveled by an earthquake in 1693, the town was entirely rebuilt in the 18th century, and is known today as the Capital of Baroque, a stately showcase of Sicilian Baroque architecture, operatic in its grandeur, adorned with carvings, columns, and statuary, and aglow in warm, honey-hued limestone; a guided walking tour will take you from the public gardens to the main attractions along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, including the Church of St. Dominic, the Church of St. Charles, the Ducezio Palace, and the centerpiece Cathedral of San Nicolo at the top of a grand staircase in the main square. Enjoy free time to explore on your own then return to your ship for lunch, and spend the afternoon at leisure in Ortygia. Tonight, join the Captain's welcome reception and dinner as you sail for Taormina.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Mount Etna & Taormina

    Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, is so huge that it dwarfs every other mountain on Sicily. Locals affectionately call it "Mama Etna", a majestic, living presence in everyday life. Meanwhile, you have a choice of excursions. Take a scenic drive to Taormina, a medieval town beside the Ionian Sea; Goethe praised Taormina for its beauty in his travel book, Italian Journeys, and ever since it has drawn generations of artists, composers, and writers to its romance and ruins. Tour the Palazzao Corvaia, a fortified villa of Moorish, Gothic, and Norman design, and a centerpiece of the Old Town; in the 14th century the great hall was a meeting place for the Sicilian Parliament. Visit the town's most famous landmark, Teatro Antico, a Greco-Roman amphitheatre set on a clifftop with breathtaking views of Mt. Etna and the Bay of Naxos; built in the 3rd century BC, the theatre is still used for concerts and theatre productions. Enjoy free time in town, then head out to a winery found on the slopes of Mount Etna for a tour and tasting, and a family style lunch featuring local cuisine. Alternatively, you can drive through verdant countryside and scenic villages to the Sapienza Refuge, and ride by cable car and all-terrain vehicle up to the crater of the volcano; here, a mile above sea level, you'll find yourself in an incomparable panorama, suspended over the sea, where you can appreciate not just the crater but the historic lava flows that have molded the landscape below; your experienced mountaineer guides will show you the best volcanic attractions inside the visitors' zones.  Or traverse the sapphire, blue waters of the Blue Grotto, a sea cave off Isola Bella, by traditional wooden boat before heading off for a stop to Schiavi Castle, also known as Castello degli Schiavi, famously known as the setting for Michael Corleone's exile to Sicily in the Godfather. Aboard ship this evening, an expert offers insights into earthquakes, eruptions, and the volcanic geology of the Mediterranean isles.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Palermo & Palazzo Museums

    Steeped in Renaissance art and sumptuous Baroque architecture, Palermo is a glorious cultural melting pot with a North African flavor, full of hidden treasures. A walking tour of must-see landmarks takes you through Porta Nuova, a gate of the Old City, and along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele past the Cathedral; linger in the Piazza Pretoria, known as the Square of Shame for its fountain adorned with frolicsome naked figures; experience the eye-opening Santa Caterina Church, dripping with art and ornament, and the jaw-dropping Rococo ballroom of the Palazzo Gangi, made famous in a 1963 Visconti film, The Leopard, starring Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster; enjoy a drink with canapes under the painted ceiling and dazzling chandeliers. Tour Palazzo Mazzarino, a private residence of an aristrocratic family, opened exclusively for Tauck; view its arcaded inner courtyard, frescoed rooms, and hanging gardens, and enjoy a drink on the rooftop terrace. You'll also immerse yourself in the city's Botanical Gardens, built in 1789, with its baroque greenhouse, sculptures, lagoon, and exotic flora, one of the oldest places in Europe for botanical studies; visit the historic private villa designed by Beaumont Gardner, an architect whose prominent family goes way back in the city's history; his grandfather was the American consul in Palermo in 1825. Meet the owners of the villa and enjoy an aperitif in the luscious garden. Return to the ship for lunch and hear an expert lecture on Addiopizzo, an internet movement to end Mafia protection rackets in Sicily. Your next port of call is Cagliari.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Sardinia, from the Bronze Age to the present day

    Arrive in Olbia on Sardinia's Costa Smeralda. Although the island enjoys a certain degree of autonomy from Italy, and its native language and customs are uniquely its own, much of the island is thoroughly Italian in its laidback vibe and urban culture. Sightseeing choices include a locally-guided walking tour of Olbia's historic center where you'll visit  archaeological sites  including the Romanesque Church of San Simplicio. Explore the National Archaeological Museum of Olbia, showcasing artifacts from ancient times, and learn more about the history of the area through the archaeological exhibits. Alternatively, travel outside the city for a visit to a winery that produces award-winning native wines. Or, take a ferry to the nearby La Maddalena Archipelago, home to pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and scenic landscapes; visit to the main town of La Maddalena to explore its charming streets. This afternoon, sail for the island of Corsica.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Corsica & The City of Cliffs

    Corsica is thought to be the mythical island of giants in Homer's Odyssey, where Laestrygonians hurled boulders down at Odysseus and his ship from the towering sea cliffs. The inhabitants today are much friendlier, and the island is strikingly beautiful, with rugged mountains that plunge to the sea, hidden coves, idyllic white beaches, and pastel towns that hug the coastline. Arrive in Bonifacio – a medieval town that seems to perch precariously on a promontory thrust out above crashing surf and soaring white cliffs – where you have a choice of sightseeing excursions. Your first option brings you by mini-train to the Old Town, a warren of winding streets, colorful houses, monasteries, and Roman cisterns, with Eglise St-Marie-Majeure, a Romanesque jewel of a church with a tall belltower in the heart of it all for a guided walking tour. Long before Corsica became French it was Genoese, and the 13th-century fortress here was built to defend the Tuscan coast from Saracens and Barbary pirates; a tour of the citadel's medieval defenses, towers, and cliffside Garden of Ruins is breathtaking. Following your tour, you'll have a bit of free time to explore the town as you wish, before making your way back down (on foot or by mini-train). Alternatively, weather permitting, board a local boat for a cruise past the astonishing limestone cliffs that line the coast and through the sea caves before disembarking for a ride on a mini-train up to the Old Town, ascending on a winding road with stunning views of the harbor, the cliffs, and the massive walls of the Citadel. After a short stroll of the Old Town, enjoy some free time to explore the town as you wish. Following your return to the ship and lunch, attend a performance of polyphonic singers aboard ship. Dine at leisure as you sail for Elba in the Tyrrhenian Sea.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Elba, an Island Paradise

    Legend says that the Tuscan archipelago was formed when the goddess Venus dropped her necklace into the sea, and Elba is the largest of the island jewels, set in turquoise waters, with white beaches, rocky cliffs and coves, green hills, pastel villages and lush vineyards. Elba was known throughout the ancient world for iron ore and excellent wine; Jason stopped here on his quest for the Golden Fleece; but lately it's remembered as the little island paradise where Napoleon was exiled in 1814. A tour of Portoferraio includes the seaside promenade, Villa Mulini, Napoleon's clifftop winter mansion, and a charming theatre built by the emperor as a gift to his sister; in the piazza, enjoy a wine tasting with views of the harbor. Or drive to the resort town of Marciana Marina and travel via "cable basket" to the top of Monte Cappane for the glorious 360-degree views. Or tour Villa San Martino, Napoleon's summer residence, and spend an idyllic afternoon in the dreamy fishing town of Porto Azzurro and visit La Chiusa Winery for a taste of some of the famous local wine. Most people who experience Elba never want to leave, but Napoleon only stayed a few months. He escaped at the first opportunity, returned to Paris, and took back his empire. Tonight you sail instead for Nice.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Nice and Aix En Provence / Disembark

    Disembark in Nice and drive to charming Aix-en-Provence, set against the backdrop of Mount Sainte-Victoire; the mountain was the muse of Paul Cezanne, who painted it many times.  A university town of tree-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafes, baroque mansions, and elegant parks, Aix-en-Provence was once known for its thermal springs and Roman baths, which gave it the nickname City of a Thousand Fountains. A walking tour of landmarks includes the main plaza with its medieval belltower and astronomical clock; the Cathedral of the Holy Savior, a national monument; and the outdoor food market in Place Richelme. Enjoy free time to explore and lunch on your own; this was Cezanne's hometown, and there are numerous landmarks commemorating him; you might follow the golden Cs on the sidewalks and retrace his steps; or stroll the park; or look for a table at the Deux Garcons; or maybe go for a spin on the Paul Cezanne Carousel, in a blur of ponies, swans, and Cezanne landscapes. From here it's a short drive to Marseille, where you'll check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day on your own.


    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Mediterranean Marseille

    Settled by Greeks in 600 BC, Marseille has well over 2,000 years of history as a crossroads of cultural influences from Italy, Spain, Asia-Minor, the Middle East, and North Africa tucked in the colorful tangle of narrow streets and eclectic architecture of its Old Port, which you'll explore today on a walking tour. Yachts and small fishing boats have replaced the big ships but the area retains much of its character as an old commercial port. Discover the heart of old Marseille in the picturesque Panier district, dense with cobbled lanes, immigrant enclaves, cafes, faded baroque palaces, and vest-pocket plazas. Visits include Quai de Port, the wide waterfront promenade; La Vielle Charité, a former almshouse, now a cultural center and museum; the spectacular Cathedral Sainte-Marie-Majeure, with Byzantine domes, belltowers, and arcades; and Fort St Jean, built by Louis XIV, a massive harbor-side fortress with all of its guns trained on the city and its restive populace. At the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, state of the art exhibits explore centuries of cultural exchange among Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean islands through history, art, anthropology, and archaeology.  Spend the rest of the day as you please, then join us this evening at Casa Delauze for a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of your Mediterranean odyssey.


    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  12. Day 12
    Journey Home
    Tour ends: Marseille. Transfers are included from InterContinental Marseille Hotel or Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port Hotel to Marseille International Airport. Transfers are approximately 20 minutes depending on time of day and traffic. Please allow three hours for check-in at the airport. 
    Meals:   Breakfast

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Inclusions

Sail the Mediterranean to fabled islands of antiquity and romance... to turquoise seas, archipelagos, and out-of-the-way places where Jason searched for the Golden Fleece and Odysseus pursued Destiny. From the island of Malta to the South of France, enjoy world-renowned wine, local delicacies, and the cultural treasures of historic empires.
 Cruise on an elegant small ship to the islands of Corsica, Sicily, Elba, Sardinia, and Malta, on a 12-day odyssey to medieval towns and baroque cities – including Catania, Noto, Valletta, Siracusa, Cagliari, and Taormina – where Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians have all left their mark. Discover ancient ruins and ornate cathedrals, palaces, monasteries, hidden gardens, coastal villages, and outstanding wineries. Admire the view from Napoleon's hillside villa in Portoferraio; immerse in the breathtaking panoramas at the top of Mount Etna; explore Bonifacio, a labyrinthine citadel perched on sea-cliffs above the dramatic Corsican coast; lose yourself in the rich Baroque art of Sicily, the intimate classical charm of Ortigia, and the charming village of Aix-en-Provence. You will also spend four nights on land, in luxury hotels in Marseilles and the island of Malta. Local guides and expert lecturers offer insights along the way, and your ship is designed to access small harbors and remote destinations where large ships can't go

  • Explore the Corsican citadel of Bonifacio, perched on soaring sea-cliffs, with its medieval fortress, maze of streets, churches, mausoleums, and unique history
  • Visit the prehistoric temple complex at Hagar Qim on Malta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site older than Stonehenge 
  • Discover Ortigia, a small island-city within the city of Siracusa - a romantic enclave of ancient temples and Baroque architecture
  • Explore the summit of Mount Etna, Europe's largest volcano, with an experienced mountaineer-guide, and savor some of the most dramatic panoramic views of Sicily and the Mediterranean
  • Visit the waterfront Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean in Marseille, chronicling centuries of Mediterranean cultural influences in Europe
  • Private Tauck Shore Excursions - $3,866 value!
  • Enjoy exclusive visits to private villas and art collections in Palermo, drinks and canapes included

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Accommodations


Mariott Malta Hotel & Spa
InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieux
Le Bougainville

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Tauck Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.5
Accommodations
4.4
Itinerary
4.6
Professional Staff
4.7
Repeat with Operator
4.4
Value for Money
4.2

Ratings based off 909 reviews about Tauck Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

Always enjoy traveling with Tauck, this trip was no different. Our tour leasder was one of the best we have encountered. Weather cooperated very well for a perfect trip.

Can't go wrong with Tauck...outstanding!

We were very impressed with Tauck Tours and would book with them through you again!

We spent more money on this Tauck tour than a Luxury Gold trip to Spain and Portugal (top of the line) which required international travel and was for a longer duration. Also, I've said this before about Tauck. Although a good company, there is too much food offered and too much time spent sitting down to a meal when we could be sightseeing.

Our goals were met and exceeded by Affordable Tours.

Wonderful Tauck Tours..we will travel with them again..thank you for the suggestion..

This is our 7th Tauck tour/river cruise and they have never disappointed.

Our trip was amazing and we had to he most amazing guide Leah she went above and beyond

Ms Lawren Farias was our agent. She went out of her way to make sure that everything went smoothly and it did I would defiitely use her again. She was outstanding.

Maya was absolutely wonderful! I only want to book with her for any future travel.

The Tauck tour exceeded our expectations.Our tour director was exceedingly well informed and organized.She was the best.

The tour was one of our best. Tauck's attention to detail and covering nearly 100% of our costs or fees and booking 5* hotels is why we liked the trip.

Fantastic vacation! Exceeded all our expectations! Trip of a Lifetime!!!

Tauck delivered as promised and more. The tour director was very helpful and knowledgeable. We wouldn't hesitate to book with them again.

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