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Set sail to discover the cultural and artistic jewels of the Ionian, Adriatic and the Aegean Seas with PONANT. During this 8-day cruise, Le Lyrial will take you to Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. Your voyage will begin in Italy with an embarkation in Venice. An opportunity to discover or rediscover the sublime city of the Doges, with its many canals, its vaporetti and its mythical gondolas before heading to Croatia and the city of Rovinj. Following a port of call in the picturesque port of Hvar, you will continue to sail along the Dalmatian coastlines to Dubrovnik. Sitting high on a rocky outcrop, its old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, watches the world go by. Le Lyrial will reach Montenegro after sailing in the Bay of Kotor, which is strangely reminiscent of Norwegian fjords. The city of Kotor nestles in a bay surrounded by wooded mountains. Its old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its medieval architecture. Next Corfu, the most famous Ionian island, will reveal the hidden treasures of its Greco-Byzantine and Venetian architectural heritage. Do not miss the chance to visit the Achilleion, the luxurious neoclassical palace built for the Empress Sissi. You will make a call at Itea, not far from the marvellous Delphi archaeological site, on the slopes of Mount Parnassus before a memorable crossing of the Corinth Canal. Your cruise will end in Athens, the mythical city dominated by the Acropolis and its monuments that form the most extraordinary architectural and artistic collection bequeathed by Ancient Greece to the rest of the world.
Proud and eternal, Venice has reigned on its lagoon ever since the 6th century. You may think you know this city before even setting foot here. You will inevitably fall in love with the charm of the innumerable treasures of the Serenissima: Saint Mark’s square, the basilica, Doges palace, the Grand Canal and the gondolas. Yet, secret Venice is also waiting for you to explore its little interlacing streets and canals, to ramble through its squares and to push open the doors of its churches. The city’s extraordinary heritage shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a glass of Spritz and a few tramezzini.
Rovinj is located in Istria, a region bordering Slovenia. This becomes apparent as you walk through its old cobblestoned town. There are many monuments of Venetian influence here. If you study the Balbi arch, you will see the winged lion, symbol of Venice. The bell-tower erected beside Saint Euphemia Cathedral was designed like the bell of St. Marc in Venice. From the top of the tower, you can scan the entire historical district. To absorb its quaint atmosphere, take a walk in the ochre and sepia-coloured streets leading to bustling squares and terraces shaded by canvas awnings.
Off the coast of Split, Hvar will surprise you by its traditions that haven’t changed since Antiquity. The country’s oldest town, Stari Grad, is here on this Dalmatian Island. The town nestles by a cove on the north-west coast, surrounded by dry stone wall structures on the Stari Grad plains. These have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because they were built in the time of the Ancient Greeks. From these parcels of land come wines and olive oil manufactured manually. In the upper part of town, it is possible to discover hams and cheeses made by local producers.
Emblem of the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik is magnificently positioned on a rocky spur. History is sovereign here, in this ancient city, now a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. You will perhaps be surprised by the proportions of La Placa, the central drag through the city. The sheer width of it can be explained by the fact that it straddles a former lagoon. The elegant houses along La Placa are built in the legendary travertine stone. At Pile gate, you will be greeted by the statue of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, and you can admire the coastline as you walk along the ramparts. But what’s inside Fort Saint John, adjoining the outer walls? A maritime museum and an aquarium featuring rare fish from the Adriatic.
Situated in one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays, the medieval city of Kotor is a small town full of charm, truly imbued with the traditions and stories of another time. Built between the 12th and 14th centuries, this village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has preserved many historical monuments from this epoch. During your stop, be sure to admire the impressive castle that dominates the town, and let yourself fall under the charm of its maze of small streets and intimate squares on which folk festivals featuring magnificent colourful costumes are often organised.
Named after the island, Corfu is the most famous city in the Ionian islands. Protected by citadel fortifications, its old city, designated UNESCO World Heritage, displays unusual Greco-Byzantine and Venetian architecture. Above the water stands Saint George’s church, looking uncannily like a classical temple. The picturesque Pontikonisi, a stone’s throw from the southern point of the town, is the legendary island where Odysseus landed.
Tucked away in the Gulf of Corinth, this little port is situated in continental Greece, north-west of Athens. Take an easy stroll along the old cobblestone quays, while gazing at the summits encircling the Bay of Itea. We wouldn’t be surprised if you are tempted by a visit to the Delphi Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on a plateau on the slope of Mount Parnassus, just ten kilometres from Itea. A listed UNESCO World Heritage site, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience whose ancient ruins are surrounded by steep mountains. The Corinth Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth, turning the Peloponnese into an island as it separates the region from the Greek mainland. Inaugurated in 1893, the canal is a little over six kilometres long and enables merchant vessels and passenger to avoid a long 400-km detour around the peninsula. The two sides of the canal reach a height of approximately fifty metres. From the exterior decks, don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the ship as it navigates along the narrow strip of water encased between tall, ochre cliffs. What an experience!
The Greek capital city is located on the edge of the Saronic gulf, in the east of the country. It bears a plural name in reference to the first villages that surround the Acropolis. You will be enchanted by the rocky plateau presided by its monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In the city below, you can visit some of the liveliest districts in Athens: Plaka, with its maze of colourful streets, and where, in the evenings the drifting aroma of moussaka and garlic prawns will tickle your taste buds. The National Archaeological museum and the Cycladic Art Museum are also some of the city’s key attractions and allow visitors to discover Athens’ cultural past.
Itineraries are subject to change.
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 142 metres Passenger Capacity: 224 Launched: 2015 A sleek silhouette, a welcoming intimate atmosphere, discover aboard this new ship the philosophy that has made our sisterships such a success: the spirit of Yacht Cruises. Sailing under the French flag, this magnificent yacht of only 122 staterooms and Suites, with balconies, will join our fleet in April 2015. You will be enchanted by the contemporary decor inspired by the our destinations and the blue light of the Vega star in the Lyra constellation. The result is a subtle variation around a palette of blues, ranging from the luminous delicate grey-blue of the Polar ice to splashes of the vivid turquoise blue found in Mediterranean coves A refined ambiance is enhanced by the quality of the workmanship and materials: white Corian counters in the lobby contrast with the warmth of leather to recall a boat’s hull, while the central sculpture of enamelled pieces takes its inspiration from the sea. In the loungebar, the carpet picks up a tennis stripe theme symbolising a certain idea of cruising, one synonymous with French elegance and a chic seaside spirit.
• A cruise between the Adriatic, the Ionian and the Aegean Seas, discovering four Mediterranean countries: Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. • Numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Venice and its lagoon (your embarkation port), the plain of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar, the old towns of Dubrovnik, Kotor and Corfu, the sanctuary of Delphi (from Itea), the Acropolis of Athens (your port). • Panorama of the Croatian islands: Rovinj and Hvar. • Sailing in the Bay of Kotor. • Crossing the Corinth Canal.