15 days, Wednesday, May 11 to Wednesday, May 25, 2022
A leisurely exploration of two wonderful Mediterranean islands, one French with a lot of Italian flavour, the other Italian, but with plenty of Spanish influence! Magnificent coastal as well as mountain scenery and fascinating historical sites conjure up the mythical adventures of Ulysses, the amazing Phoenicians and their eager Greek competitors, Romans battling Carthaginians, holy wars between Christians and Saracens, and of course Napoleon, the most famous of all Corsicans. This tour features first-class hotels, excellent food, and talks about history and culture by your escort, Jacques Pauwels, PhD, author of books such as ‘Beneath the Dust of Time: A History of the Names of Peoples and Places,’ London, 2009.
Tour cost, based on “land only” from Pisa Airport on May 12 to Olbia (Sardinia) Airport on May 24: $3,385 - Single room supplement: $875
DUE TO THE CLOSENESS OF THE DEPARTURE DATE, THOSE INTERESTED IN THIS TRIP SHOULD CALL THE PAUWELS OFFICE IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.
After an early breakfast, short transfer to the harbour in time for the 8:30 departure of the ferry bound for Corsica. Crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea, named after the Etruscans, who were called Tyrrhenians by the Grreks, will take approximately four hours. Arrival in Bastia, named after a bastiglia (fortress) founded in the 14th century by the Genoese, who were then the masters of the island, and transfer to the pretty fishing village (and resort) of Macinaggio, located on the peninsula known as Cap Corse, for dinner and overnight in the first-class/4-star Hotel Uricordu.
This morning we tour Cap Corse, which arguably features the most spectacular scenery on the island, with rugged mountains, olive orchards and vineyards, sandy beaches, quaint villages, and a rocky coastline dotted with so-called ‘Genoese’ watchtowers. Also, short visit to a winery, with a tasting of some typical Corsican wines. In the afternoon we visit Bastia, with its citadel, the picturesque old port, historic churches, and vast St. Nicholas Square with the statue of Napoleon Bonaparte. Return to Macinaggio and some free time before dinner again in our hotel’s restaurant.
Morning sightseeing of Ajaccio, including the impressive Napoleon Monument, the Bonaparte family home, the Cathedral, and the Citadel, followed by a sidetrip along the scenic coastal drive to Cape Parata, featuring superb views of the offshore Sanguinaires Islands. Afternoon at leisure in Ajaccio. No group dinner.
Departure from Ajaccio after breakfast. We will enjoy wonderful scenery as we motor, partly along the coast and partly via the interior, to the southern tip of Corsica, to experience one of the most spectacular sights in Europe: the fortified former pirates’ den of Bonifacio, perched precariously on top of a steep cliff, overlooking the blue waters of the Strait of Bonifacio, about 10 km wide, which separates Corsica from Sardinia! After our sightseeing program as well as some free time to explore on your own, a one-hour ferry ride will take us to the little Sardinian town of Santa Teresa de Gallura for dinner and overnight in the 3-star hotel Canne al Vento.
After breakfast, we briefly explore Santa Teresa take another scenic coastal drive to the picturesque seaport of Alghero, situated on Sardinia’s Coral Coast, arriving in late afternoon. For many centuries, Sardinia belonged to the Spanish kingdom of Aragon-Catalonia, which explains why Catalan is still spoken here! Dinner and overnight in the excellent superior 3-star/first-class Hotel Florida, overlooking the beach at a stone’s throw from the entrance to the old town.
A relaxing day in Alghero. In the morning we visit the walled old town, known as Sardinia’s “Little Barcelona” on account of the Catalan influence. Afterwards, free time for shopping, exploring Old Alghero on your own, or relaxing around the pool of the hotel or on the beach. Weather permitting, an optional boat tour may be offered to the famous Grotta di Nettuno, the Sardinian version of Capri’s Blue Grotto. Dinner again in the restaurant of our hotel.
Departure from Alghero after breakfast. We motor inland and bypass Sassari, the island’s biggest city after Sardinia’s capital, Cagliari, to visit Santa Trinita di Saccargia, an impressive solitary 12th-century church in the Pisan Romanesque style. Penetrating the rugged central highlands, a region known as Barbagia, from the Latin for “Land of Barbarians,” we reach Nuoro, situated at the foot of towering Mount Ortobene; once a “nest of bandits and murderers,” the town is now praised as the heart of the island’s cultural life. After lunch, we use a breathtaking serpentine road to descend rapidly from the Sardinian highlands to Su Gologone, an isolated but very picturesque seaside resort. Dinner and overnight in the four-star resort Hotel Parco Blu.
Free time to enjoy a late breakfast or a walk on the beach. Departing in late morning, we visit the small but very interesting archaeological museum in the town of Dorgali. After lunch, we inspect one of Sardinia’s famous “Tombs of the Giants,” funerary megalithic monuments of the enigmatic Nuraghic Civilization that flourished from prehistoric times to the arrival of the Romans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuragic_civilization). Late afternoon arrival at the first-class/four-star resort Hotel Airone on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, overlooking the clear blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Dinner in the hotel.
We tour the beautiful Costa Smeralda, developed in the sixties as a playground for the “rich and famous” by the Agha Khan, and its epicenter, the jet-set yacht harbor of Porto Cervo. On to the quaint town of Olbia, featuring Nuraghic and Roman monuments, Romanesque churches, and excellent gelato! Return to our resort hotel in late afternoon. Dinner again in the hotel.
Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer to Olbia Airport and short flight to Munich. arriving in the early evening. Transfer to an airport hotel for dinner and overnight.
- Accommodation, based on double occupancy, in a combination of first-class/4-star hotels and superior tourist-class/3-star hotels, - the tour’s total single room supplement is $875. - Breakfast daily and a total of no less than ten dinners (or full lunches). - Overland transportation via private coach. - Ferry service from Livorno to Bastia. - All visits and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary, including admission to museums and monuments mentioned. - Hotel taxes and gratuities.
- Flights to Pisa and back from Olbia, with Lufthansa from Toronto as shown above, or from other cities. - Beverages with dinners, and meals other than those outlined above. - All expenses of a personal nature. - A gratuity for the coach driver:30 Euros or equivalent in dollars. - Travel and health (also Covid-related) insurance are available; please call for rates.
January 10 - 28, 2023
$4,578 for inside cabin based on double occupancy
February 06 - 25, 2023
$8,495 based on double occupancy
March 01 - 19, 2023
$11,349 based on double occupancy. Air and taxes included.