The Eastern Discovery

Alps, Central & Eastern Europe

Regional Journey

The Eastern Discovery and Cruise Premium (Summer 2019)

Duration: 16 days Visiting: Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey

Prices from US${{lowPrice | number:0}}

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

This multi-layered journey takes you from the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna to the mighty Parthenon in Athens and on to the shimmering Greek isles with a stopover in Corfu. Over 3 days, cruise to hidden coves, sandy beaches and white-washed villages.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Vienna.

    Leave Vienna airport for your hotel with transfers provided at 10:00, 13:00 or 15:00. Vienna is famous for its delicious coffee and pastries so why not stroll to a local cafe after checking in? At 17:30, join your Travel Director and travel companions for a Welcome Dinner served with wine at a local restaurant.

  2. Day 2

    Stately Vienna and the Habsburgs.

    Vienna owes much of its present-day charm to the long reign of the Habsburgs. Join your Local Expert for a private visit of Maria Theresa’s Schönbrunn Palace and its formal gardens. Then, take some great photos on a circuit of the famous Ring Road. This grand boulevard, built along the lines of the old city walls, showcases many of the capital’s architectural masterpieces, including the Opera House, magnificent Hofburg Imperial Residence, Austrian Parliament Building and Karlskirche.

  3. Day 3

    Zagreb’s Twin Towns.

    Head through Styria’s forested mountains, past Graz and over the Slovenian border to reach the 700-year-old university town of Maribor. Follow the Drava River through Croatia before heading for its capital, Zagreb, to explore with your Local Expert. Donji Grad, the Lower Town, is devoted to business, art and spacious parks, where streets are wide and airy and the layout is designed to give a sense of grandeur. See the Mimara Art Museum in Roosevelt Square and continue to Ban Josip Jelačić Square en route to the cathedral. Board the city's funicular to Gornji Grad, the medieval Upper Town. It's a network of little streets, stretching between the Kaptol and Gradec hills. View the former Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St. Mark's Church and the Lotrščak Tower.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    The Crystal blue-green Lakes of Plitvice.

    Take this morning to relax and enjoy your hotel's facilities. In the afternoon depart for your next hotel, located inside the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, this is Croatia’s first and largest national park of Croatia. While the park is predominately forests and grasslands, the true highlight are the interconnected lakes that cascade from one to another.

  5. Day 5

    Plitvice Lakes, Ancient Trogir and Split.

    With a Local Expert, explore the Plitvice Lakes, a scenic wonderland of 16 lakes flanked by thundering waterfalls and primeval forest. Visit Korana Canyon’s 70-metre-high falls and Tomićevo Pogledalo for views over the park. Travel along the coast and visit Trogir, which was founded by the Greeks in 400 B.C. and is renowned for its beautiful cathedral and Renaissance Cipiko Palace. Continue to the historic port of Split.

  6. Day 6

    Diocletian’s Palace and Dine-Around in Dubrovnik.

    Your Local Expert will lead you through the labyrinthine streets and arcaded squares. See St. Duje's, which was originally Diocletian's Mausoleum and the Temple of Jupiter, which today is a baptistery, as well as the Golden Gate. Venture into the basement rooms, thought to have housed the Emperor's slaves. Travel alongside sparkling deep blue seas and the rocky islands of the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik. For dinner, choose from a selection of hand-picked, local restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Dubrovnik, Pearl of the Adriatic.

    The walled town of Dubrovnik, was once described as 'paradise on earth,' according to George Bernard Shaw. Join a walking exploration of the city, guided by a Local Expert. Get a glimpse into local life, as you explore the stone-paved streets inside the 16th century bastions of the Old Town. Walk past Onofrio's Fountain, see the Old Jewish Quarter and the synagogue, and marvel at the grandeur of the cathedral and the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries. The remainder of your stay is yours to explore as you wish. Perhaps soak up the sun by your hotel's pool, relax at a cafe or embark on an optional cruise?

  8. Day 8

    Scenic Drive to Kotor and Tirana.

    Just over the border, visit the old town of Kotor. Admire the bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its still azure waters lapping at the edge of the medieval towns, dotted between the surrounding mountains. Then travel through the spectacular scenery of Montenegro and Albania and continue to the fascinating capital of Tirana. Led by your Local Expert, explore this warmhearted and colourful city, and see the diverse relics that remain from its Ottoman, Italian and communist past.

  9. Day 9

    Across the cobalt-blue waters to Corfu.

    Journey across Albania to Greece where you set sail for the cobalt-blue waters of Corfu. Renowned since Odysseus for its untamed beauty and strategic position in the Mediterranean, Corfu remains an island where it is easy to escape the crowds and relax.

  10. Day 10 - Relaxed Start

    Relax in Corfu.

    Enjoy a full day at leisure to relax and enjoy the beautiful island of Corfu. Perhaps explore the Old Town and admire the interesting mix of architectural styles, from Roman and Venetian to French and British, each resembling an era of the island’s interesting past before it was united with Greece. Alternatively, you may want to lay-back and unwind at one of the incredible beaches nearby, or board a cruise for stunning views around the island?

  11. Day 11

    Delphi, Centre of the Ancient World.

    Set off from your island paradise for Delphi, a spectacular cliff-side amphitheatre and worthy of its status as the centre of the ancient world. History and mythology run deep here, with finds of ritual artefacts that date back to 4,000 B.C and remains of a Mycenaean settlement. It is said that Delphi is the location where two eagles crossed paths, after they were released by Zeus from opposite end of the universe to find ‘the navel of the world.’

  12. Day 12

    Delphi sightseeing and on to Athens.

    Ascend the Sacred Way of Delphi with your Local Expert. Pass the Parian marble Treasury of the Athenians and Polygonal Wall with its interlocking stones still perfectly intact after thousands of years. You'll approach the Temple of Apollo, where for 14 centuries the mysterious Oracle of Delphi breathed her enigmatic ‘words,' rumoured to have successfully predicted events related to the Argonauts expedition and the Trojan War. Your travels then continue to the ancient city of Athens, the modern capital of Greece. In the evening, enjoy a hearty Celebration Dinner at a local restaurant in true Greek style, complete with wine and good cheer.

  13. Day 13

    Cruise to Mykonos.

    Board your cruise ship and set sail for the lovely island of Mykonos with its dazzling sugar cube houses and whitewashed windmills. Tonight, the maze of walkways, welcoming tavernas and nightlife are yours to explore. Late in the evening, your cruise sails across the Aegean to Turkey. While cruising, enjoy an exquisite variety of Mediterranean dishes as well as flavours, aromas and spices from around the world. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served onboard daily. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package, featuring a selection of alcoholic, soft drinks and hot beverages.

  14. Day 14 - Relaxed Start

    Kusadasi to Patmos.

    Today explore the Turkish port of Kusadasi and visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus. With your Local Expert, explore this Greco-Roman treasure, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, sail to the island of Patmos where St. John the Devine was exiled by the Emperor Domitian. Later, your cruise sets sail for the island of Crete.

  15. Day 15 - Relaxed Start

    Crete and Santorini.

    In the morning, you dock at Heraklion in Crete, where you visit the site of the ruins of King Minos' Palace of Knossos with a Local Expert. Later, cruise beneath the sheer cliffs of Santorini. Explore the capital of Thira, with its clifftop restaurants and cafes, breathtaking views and amazing sunsets. In the evening you sail onto Athens.

  16. Day 16

    Depart Athens.

    Your journey comes to an end with a transfer to Athens airport.

Highlights

 

INSIGHT EXPERIENCES

  • Ephesus: With your Local Expert, explore this Greco-Roman treasure, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Heraklion: While in Crete, join in a guided visit of the Palace of King Minos.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vienna: Let the sheer opulence of Schönbrunn Palace indulge your senses! Stand beneath frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers and gilded Rococo frames where Mozart performed as a six-year-old prodigy.
  • Vienna: Tour the Ring Road passing the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Austrian Parliament Building, Opera House and Karlskirche.
  • Maribor: Led by your Travel Director, explore this charming city, the second largest in Slovenia. Take a moment to appreciate the blend of old and new architecture.
  • Zagreb: Your Local Expert guides you this two-tiered capital. Explore Donji Grad, the Lower Town, and see the Mimara Art Museum in Roosevelt Square, Ban Josip Jelacic Square and the cathedral.
  • Zagreb: Ride the funicular to Gornji Grad, the medieval Upper Town, to view the former Presidential Palace, Stone Gate, St. Mark's Church and the Lotrščak Tower.
  • Plitvice Lakes: Visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and marvel at the water wonderland of Plitvice National Park as you walk along stunning cascades, guided by your Local Expert. Visit Korana Canyon to see the falls and Tomicevo Pogledalo for spectacular panoramic views.
  • Trogir: See the cathedral and Renaissance Cipiko Palace during an orientation with your Travel Director.
  • Split: With a local historian, explore above and below ground within the walls of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace - now in the heart of modern-day Split. See Diocletian's Mausoleum, now St. Duje's and the Temple of Jupiter, now a baptistery, as well as the Golden Gate.
  • Split: Sightseeing with your Local Expert continues through the old town. Walk through the Jewish Quarter to reach Narodni Trg, the centre of Old Split. Continue to Trg Braće Radić, translated as the Square of the Radić brothers, but better known to the locals as Voćni Trg, or the Fruit Square.
  • Dubrovnik: Explore the Pearl of the Adriatic with your Local Expert. Walk the stone-paved streets of the old town to see Onofrio's Fountain, Rector's Palace and the medieval city walls. Admire the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries.
  • Kotor: Visit the old town situated on a beautiful bay and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Tirana: Enjoy guided sightseeing with your Local Expert.
  • Corfu: Escape to this idyllic island by cruise, enjoying leisure time on the beach or insightful exploration.
  • Corfu: Return to the mainland by cruise and continue your journey through Greece.
  • Delphi: Ascend the Sacred Way, once lined with offertory temples.
  • Delphi: Guided by your Local Expert pass the superb Polygonal Wall to reach the Temple of Apollo, where people would seek divine wisdom from the mysterious oracle.
  • Athens: Ascend the Acropolis with a Local Expert to admire the Parthenon, built in 5th century B.C. Steps away you'll see the Temple of Athena Nike, also known as the Temple of the Wingless Victory, and the six stone-carved caryatids that make up the Porch of the Maidens on the Erechtheion.
  • Mediterranean Legends Cruising: Visit the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Crete & Santorini. Call in at the Turkish port of Kusadasi.
  • Athens: See the Arch of Hadrian, erected in honour of the Roman Emperor and used as a divider between the ancient city and the new Roman district, along with the remaining columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
  • Scenic Drives: Relax and take in the passing scenery of Styria, Drava River, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Montenegro and Albania.

AUTHENTIC DINING

  • Dubrovnik: Inside the mighty defensive walls of the Old Town, you will be offered a varied selection of charming restaurants for your Dine-Around Evening.
  • Athens: Toast the culmination of your vacation with a lively Celebration Dinner in true Greek style at a local restaurant.
  • Dining Summary: 16 Breakfasts (B), 3 Lunches (L), 3 Dinners (D) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW) all with tea or coffee. Your cruise includes a complimentary drinks package, with a selection of alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and hot beverages.

STAY IN STYLE

  • Vienna: Set in the heart of Vienna and featuring contemporary decor, the award-winning Hilton Vienna hotel is one of Austria's premier hotels.
  • Split: The modern Hotel President Solin is conveniently located just a few minutes from the ancient city of Split and the famous Diocletian’s Palace.

INCLUDED INSIGHT SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Travel Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat coach with double the standard legroom and onboard washroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish, which is a local specialty representing the destination.
  • If your arrival and/or departure flights are as per the itinerary start and end dates, then transfers are available at scheduled times. If your flights are outside these times, or you have booked additional nights accommodation with Insight Vacations, you may purchase transfers or make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Accommodation

 

Hilton Vienna

Vienna (Contemporary) - Austria

Set in the heart of Vienna and featuring contemporary decor, the award-winning Hilton Vienna hotel is one of Austria's premier hotels.

Sheraton Zagreb Hotel

Zagreb (Traditional) - Croatia

Conveniently located in Zagreb's historic Old Town, the Sheraton Zagreb Hotel is perfectly situated for your stay. Spacious rooms are comfortable and traditionally-decorated, while the hotel's Piano Bar offers a trendy atmosphere, where you can enjoy a drink and reflect on your day of sightseeing.

Hotel Lyra, Ličko Petrovo Selo, Plitvice Lakes.

Plitvice (Resort) - Croatia

Hotel President Solin.

Split (Traditional) - Croatia

The modern Hotel President Solin is conveniently located just a few minutes from the ancient city of Split and the famous Diocletian’s Palace.

Hotel Kompas Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik (Contemporary) - Croatia

Overlooking the sea in the beautiful Lapad Bay, the Kompas hotel was fully renovated in 2015 andis only a 2 minute walk to the beach and close to the popular promenade.

The Plaza Tirana

Tirana (Contemporary) - Albania

Just minutes from the city's geographical centre in Skanderbeg Square, The Plaza Tirana is conveniently located in true heart of the city. Trendy, modern interiors enrich a sense of state-of-the-art elegance, while plus, contemporary rooms will make for a comfortable stay.

Cavalieri Hotel/Bella Venezia Boutique Hotel/Divani Corfu, Corfu.

Corfu (Historic/Boutique) - Greece

Originally a 17th century nobleman's mansion, Cavalieri offers a rooftop terrace with uninterrupted views of Corfu Town and the fortress, stretching out to the sea and to the mountains of Albania.
The Bella Venezia Boutique Hotel is ideally located mere moments from Spianada, Corfu Town's central square, yet it's location in a quiet street allows you some peace after a busy day of sightseeing. The hotel exists within a 19th century building, originally constructed as the residence for one of the island's first families, yet has since been renovated to ensure your stay is comfortable with modern conveniences.

Amalia Hotel Delphi/Aegli Arachova.

Delphi (Traditional) - Greece

A hotel perfectly located within walking distance from the famous attractions of Delphi, the Archaeological Museum, the temple of Apollo and the Castalia Fountain.
A luxury hotel with architecture that respects the traditional village of Arachova and the environment. The magnificent view and the great nature make the hotel a destination for all the year.

Divani Caravel Hotel/Crowne Plaza Athens City Center.

Athens (Traditional) - Greece

An elegant hotel fantastic access to the key highlights of Athens. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, offers luxury and style in the heart of the historical city of Athens.
Crowne Plaza Athens City Centre is located in the central Athens suburb of Ilissia, named after the hidden historic river that still flows below the main road. Your traditional, yet comfortable room offers all modern amenities to ensure you stay, whether short or long, is most enjoyable.

M/V Celestyal Olympia (or Similar)

Olympia (Cruise) - Greece

Celestyal Cruise ships operating in the Eastern Mediterranean typically embody local style and are smaller than many ocean-going vessels – which is also reflected in cabin size. However, these ships are well-suited to the Greek islands, allowing easier access to the ports of call. All mid-size cruise ships feature air-conditioned cabins with private facilities, outdoor pool, fitness centre, beauty salon, casino, bars & restaurants.

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