The Eastern Discovery

Alps, Central & Eastern Europe

Regional Journey

The Eastern Discovery and Cruise Standard (Summer 2019)

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

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Menu
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • 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.

    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 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.

Gala Viennese Concert

Enjoy a wonderful concert of Viennese Classical music performed by highly acclaimed soloists and dancers. During this special evening, enjoy a glass of champagne along with some of the most famous works by Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. (On occasion dinner will be included EURO 103)

Adult Price: EUR 58.00

Code: VIE0002

Dinner In A Country Mansion

Cross the Danube, passing the famous Prater Park en route to one of Austria's most famous restaurants. Former patrons include Napoleon, the Emperor Franz Joseph, Liz Taylor and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once through the door of this historic country mansion you're transported to a different world! Old memorabilia, autographed photos and other paraphernalia cover the ceilings, walls and even the rest rooms. Choose from traditional Austrian fare, enjoy unlimited drinks and be serenaded by musicians at your table. A fun-filled experience never to be forgotten!

Adult Price: EUR 62.00

Code: VIE0003

Kumrovec & Lunch/Dinner

Journey through beautiful rolling countryside of the Zagorje region to the charming village of Kumrovec. Visit the simple peasant house of the late Marshal Tito for a local perspective into this region's complicated and bloody history. The surrounding properties have been restored to represent village life of some 100 years ago. Later, enjoy a home-made meal with drinks in a picturesque restaurant much favoured by the locals. Magnificent views of the rolling, vine-clad hills and Veliki Tabor Castle come as a bonus!

Adult Price: EUR 60.00

Code: ZAG0001

Konoba Dinner

For the authentic Dalmatian cuisine experience, dinner in a traditional ‘konoba’ (stone daylight basement), is a must. Friendly staff serve a variety of seafood or meat, accompanied by good local wine and entertaining Dalmatian musicians. A night to make you fall in love with the tastes and flavours of the Adriatic.

Adult Price: EUR 51.00

Code: SPL0001

Cavtat Excursion

The road to Cavtat overlooks the steep coast of the Adriatic sea and presents several opportunities for postcard perfect views. Continue to Cavtat, one of the most enchanting seaside resorts in Croatia - a Mecca for the rich and famous who come every year to moor their yachts at the entrance of Cavtat Bay.

Adult Price: EUR 23.00

Code: DUB0001

Scenic Cruise and Lunch/Dinner

Sit back and enjoy a relaxing cruise around the fabled bay of Dubrovnik. The mighty city walls rise straight from the cliffs that once upon a time were part of yet another island of the Adriatic. Enjoy a typical Dalmatian coast dinner, washed down with local drinks (wine and grappa being the most famous). Then we'll moor for another look at Dubrovnik. (Weather permitting. In some cases the cruise may be operated during the day with lunch).

Adult Price: EUR 57.00

Code: DUB0002

Unique Flavours of Corfu

Visit a scenically located Corfiot Estate, complete with its own vineyard, olive groves and traditional outbuildings. Our host shares the estate's history and introduces us to the their wine and oil production, which has existed for over 400 years. Afterwards, we're invited to savour a Corfiot feast of unique dishes from the island, prepared with ingredients from the estate and other local sources.

Adult Price: EUR 59.00

Code: COR0009

East Coast Caique Sail

All aboard our traditional Greek Corfiot “caique” boat for a relaxing morning sailing on the crystal clear waters of Corfu. We start from the old port of Corfu town and sail north along the stunning east coast towards Barbati beach. Take a plunge and feel invigorated in the beautiful Ionian Sea. Truly relax and just enjoy the natural scenery of Corfu and the coast line of Albania. Keep your eyes open for the local marine life of Dolphins and Monk Seals just in case they pop up to say “Yassou”.

Adult Price: EUR 48.00

Code: COR0011

Flavours of Parnassos Mountain and Wine Tasting

A delightful evening commences as we meet our local wine expert at our welcoming restaurant. Located in the heart of the village of Delphi, it overlooks a sea of olive trees covering the stunning valley below. As we discover the tantalizing local wines and learn about the indigenous grape varieties cultivated locally, we savor a variety of Greek hors d’oeuvres followed by a choice of delicious entrees and sumptuous dessert. A wonderful night to remember! Wine tasting, drinks and dinner included.

Adult Price: EUR 49.00

Code: DEL0001

Mykonian Countryside Tour With Hora & Little Venice

We set off from Mykonos town (Chora) with our local expert and stop at the beach of Ornos, a picturesque fishing harbour and then on to the small beaches of Agia Anna and Kalafatis. Afterwards we'll visit the traditional village of Ano Mera and the monastery of Panagia Tourliani, founded in 1542. The pretty village square is a perfect spot for a short break. Returning to Chora, we'll stop at Paraportiani, a famous whitewashed church complex. A few metres down we'll meet the Mykonos Folklore Museum, which is housed in an old two-storied merchant baron’s house. We continue towards the “Little Venice” of Mykonos, Alefkandra, with its windmills and the almost otherworldly sunsets where our trip culminates.

Adult Price: EUR 67.00

Code: MYK0005

Patmos Countryside Tour With Hora And Grotto Of Apocalypse

We visit Patmos a UNESCO “World Heritage Monument” and enjoy a panoramic guided tour of the island, a magical visit to the Grotto of the Apocalypse, where it is said St John the Apostle wrote the Book of Revelation; marvel at the views of the Monastery of St John the Evangelist, and culminate our tour at Scala the port of Patmos where we enjoy a welcoming coffee, tea or refreshment.

Adult Price: EUR 67.00

Code: PAT0002

Minoan Palace Of Knossos - 1st European Civilization

The ancient city of Knossos the residence of the wise King Minos and the Minotaur, with constant habitation from the Neolithic era until the 5th century A.D., is beyond doubt the land that “gave birth” to the first civilization of Europe, the Minoans. The palace of Knossos spreads around a large Central Court. You will reach the awe inspiring Throne Room, the fresco of the “Prince of the Lilies”, the imposing Grand Staircase, the Queen’s Megaron. Walking through the apartments of the Knossos palace and observing the finds even as passers-by, you will feel part of this cultural heritage.

Adult Price: EUR 74.00

Code: HER0001

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.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.