Touch down in Lisbon, your first stop on this 13-night Mediterranean escape. The capital of Portugal is all about Roman and Moorish ruins, white-domed cathedrals, grand plazas lined with sun-kissed cafés and narrow cobblestone lanes. After arrival, an A&K driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Enjoy sweeping views over the ‘The White City’ and the Tagus River from your base in old town – the five-star Four Seasons Lisbon.
Today is your opportunity to discover more of this atmospheric city and its history. During your guided tour, admire the ceremonial and promenade vehicles from the 17th-19th centuries at the National Coach Museum, and admire the Manueline-style architecture at the Jerónimos Monastery. Visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, established as part of an effort to improve life through art. Here you can browse beautiful, intricate creations, both ancient and modern. Tonight, dine as you experience the magic of Portugal’s ancient Fado musical tradition.
Venture just outside Lisbon today to Sintra, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunning 19th-century monuments. Visit the National Palace of Portugal, the best-preserved medieval royal residence in the country, and then proceed to the Pena Palace, decorated with vivid colours and stone carvings that convey an operatic range of emotions. Return to Lisbon for an afternoon and evening at leisure.
Board a short flight across the border to Barcelona, one of Spain’s most culture-rich cities. Its reputation as the avant-garde capital of Spain can be seen in its world-class art museums, eccentric architecture, famous football team, designer restaurants, bars and galleries. Take in the views from the hill of Montjuïc, and then ride the cable car to the port. Afterwards, you may enjoy a short walking tour of winding cobblestone streets in the historic Gothic Quarter. Spend your evening at leisure.
Enjoy the UNESCO-listed masterpieces of Catalonia's most famous architect, Gaudí, with your expert guide. The Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, is one of Barcelona's best-known Art Nouveau buildings and was considered a breakthrough construction. The visually-arresting Sagrada Família Basilica combines Gothic with Art Nouveau in breath-taking fashion. The final stop of your half-day tour is at Parc Guell, a beautiful municipal garden offering a superb panoramic view over the city. Visit the gatehouse where Gaudí lived during his later years. Tonight, enjoy a tapas experience with your guide.
Travel overland to Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí. Tour the Dalí Theatre-Museum, designed by the eccentric artist himself and considered the world’s largest surrealist object. Continue to ancient Girona, a city that boasts Romanesque towers, medieval stone ramparts and a cathedral with the widest Gothic nave in the world. Explore the charming old Jewish Quarter, which dates to the ninth century. Visit the medieval Arab baths before returning to Barcelona. This evening enjoy a gastronomic menu with wine pairing at your hotel’s restaurant.
This morning, a flying visit to Nice gives you the chance to explore St. Paul de Vence, the village perched high above the sea where artist Marc Chagall once lived. Walk its narrow streets, enjoy lunch at leisure and play a friendly game of pétanqu with the locals. Proceed to Monte Carlo in Monaco, arriving at your hotel, the Metropole, located just steps from the marble-and-gold Casino de Monte Carlo; this famous venue is surrounded by other opulent casinos, all strung along boulevards lined with palm trees.
Embark on a scenic drive to the delightful villages of Eze and Beaulieu-sur-Mer. From here, you can explore the marvellous and many gardens of the Rothschild’s Villa Ephrussi – each exemplifying a different theme – such as the French Garden, the Florentine Garden, the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden. Then, privately visit an olive farm for a tasting of the oil pressed there, and meet the owner, a noted author who will tell you all about the area and its charms.
Fly out from Nice for the next leg of your Mediterranean journey, arriving in Naples, Italy. Visit the historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for lunch at leisure. Afterwards, you can tour the National Archaeological Museum to view the treasures excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Later, travel to the picture-postcard town of Sorrento, a coastal idyll that has been celebrated by poets, artists and musicians for centuries. Settle into your hotel, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, which perches on a cliff – in typical Amalfi Coast fashion – above Sorrento’s scenic port.
One of Italy’s greatest exports is its delectable cuisine, and today is your chance to gain expert insight into preparing authentic cucina italiana. Travel to nearby Ravello for a lesson in cooking from a culinary maestro. After you’ve worked up an appetite and learnt a few of chef’s secrets, enjoy lunch in this enchanting, UNESCO-listed town. Your drive back to Sorrento is a chance to admire more of the Amalfi Coast’s vertiginous beauty. This attractive stretch of coastline, which slopes into the Tyrrhenian Sea, is dotted with colourful cliff-side settlements that are a joy to explore.
In the morning, journey to historic Pompeii for a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the daily life of ancient Italy was frozen in time by volcanic ash and debris in 79 AD. Then it’s onward by plane to Dubrovnik, Croatia’s popular seaport city. Ride a cable car to the top of Mount Srd, accompanied by your expert guide, for a scenic sundowner overlooking the sea. Descend to Dubrovnik in time for dinner at your leisure. Tonight, enjoy a comfortable sleep at the luxurious Hotel Excelsior.
The jewel of Southern Dalmatia, UNESCO-listed Dubrovnik is a pretty picture of turquoise Adriatic waters and striking orange rooftops. The city’s charming Old Town is free of cars but packed with aristocratic palazzi and elegant Baroque churches, contained within sturdy medieval fortifications. Explore this ancient, walled city on foot with your local guide to see the Franciscan monastery, Dubrovnik Cathedral and the Rector’s Palace, a masterpiece of secular architecture. Later, watch silk weavers at work in Konavle, before enjoying the rest of your day at leisure.
Dubrovnik’s access to the Adriatic Sea – which leads straight into the Mediterranean – is one of the reasons for its prosperity and long-lasting maritime traditions. Depart from the port aboard a private pleasure craft for a day-long excursion to the Elaphiti Islands. The Elaphites, as they’re also known, is a small archipelago comprising 13 charming islets. Explore their quaint villages and forest-carpeted hills, before returning to the mainland.
As your Mediterranean tour comes to a close, privately transfer to Dubrovnik Airport before flying home.