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Voyages to Antiquity: The Rise and Fall of Empires in Italy, Spain and Africa

Program Number: 21662RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/14/2015 - 10/31/2015; 10/15/2016 - 11/1/2016;
Duration: 17 nights
Location: Italy/Malta/Spain/Morocco
Price starting at: $6,095.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises
Meals: 42; 16 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 15 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

From the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the Norman kingdom of Sicily and the Moors of Iberia, delve into stories of invasion, imperial rule and Reconquista in Italy, Northern Africa and Spain. Explore the diverse wealth of temples, theaters, cathedrals, palaces, and more.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day and standing for up to four hours per day. Some uneven terrain, hills and steep stairs without railings at historic sites.

Ports of call vary between 2015 and 2016 departure dates.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Rome (Italy), 1 night; aboard Aegean Odyssey, 11 nights; Seville (Spain), 2 nights; Madrid, 2 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-3: Arrival Rome (Italy) / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Experience ancient treasures including the Colosseum and Roman Forum. En route to the ship, enjoy a farmhouse lunch in the countryside. Lodging: Modern, centrally located hotel.

Days 4-5: Palermo:

Sail to Sicily. Discover Palermo’s Norman Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel’s stunning mix of Byzantine and Arab architecture. Journey past orange and olive groves to the town of Monreale with its 12th-century Norman cathedral.

Day 6: Trapani:

Journey to Segesta, where the ruins left behind by the ancient Elymian people include a theater and an unusually well-preserved Doric temple.

Day 7: Valletta (Malta):

In the 16th century, the Holy Roman Emperor gave this island to the Knights of Saint John. Marvel at the cathedral and palace built by the knights.

Days 8-10: At Sea / Cartagena (Spain):

In ancient times, “New Carthage” was the capital of a Roman province. Examine the city’s recently unearthed theater.

Day 11: Málaga:

Journey through Andalusian countryside to the Alhambra, an opulent palace-fortress built by the Moors.

Day 12: Tangier (Morocco):

Discover Tangier, venturing from Cape ape Spartel to the colorful markets of the old town and the kasbah.

Day 13: Jerez (Spain):

Explore the old quarter including the Alcazar, a Moorish fortress that is a public park today. Enjoy a tasting of Sherry, the fortified wine that’s named after the city.

Days 14-15: Seville / disembark:

Sail up the Guadalquivir River to Seville, where an expert-led excursion includes the imposing Gothic Cathedral and the Moorish Alcázar palace. Take a field trip to Córdoba to find the Great Mosque-Cathedral and the old Jewish quarter. Lodging: Stylish, centrally located hotel.

Days 16-18: Train to Madrid / departure:

A high-speed train zips you 300 miles to Spain’s capital in 2.5 hours. Discover the sprawling Plaza Mayor, the bustling Puerta del Sol and more. Savor two staples of Spanish culture: a tapas dinner and a flamenco show. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Days 16-18: Train to Madrid / departure:

Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Eleni Petroutsou

Born in Athens, Eleni Petroutsou has always been intrigued by the wider world — in school, she learned English, Italian, German and some Spanish. After studying archaeology and history at university, she graduated from the State School of Tour Guides. Her 36 years of experience as a group leader have taken her to Asia, the Middle East and beyond. She says leading Road Scholar programs gives her “the opportunity to share my knowledge with well-traveled, educated, polite and interesting people!”
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Genova
  Rome, Italy 1 night
   Aegean Odyssey
  Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 11 nights
   Meliá Sevilla
  Seville, Spain 2 nights
   Meliá Galgos
  Madrid, Spain 2 nights
 Hotel Genova
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Genova is an elegant and modern structure that was completely renovated in 2008. It is centrally located just a short drive from the Colosseum and Roman Forum, and within walking distance from the Termini Railway Station.
  Contact info: Via Cavour 25
Rome,  00187 Italy
phone: +39 06476951
  Room amenities: Each room has a satellite television, safe box, air conditioning, mini bar, telephone, room service, hair dryer, high speed cable Internet connection (for a fee), and a vanity set (shampoo, soap, shower cap, bath foam).
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, lobby, 24-hour reception, breakfast room, meeting rooms, terrace, air conditioning, laundry services, wireless Internet access in the lobby (for a fee), fax machine and pay phones.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge or enjoy an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop. Internet: The ship has an Internet center (open 24 hours) and WiFi is available in the reception area. Fees begin at 10mb for $45. As a rough guide you could send around 200 standard emails with no attachments for $45. However, if you start adding medium size web standard photographs (not hi res), each one would be about 1.5mb. There are no refunds for unused capacity. PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of satellite connectivity on board a ship, the internet connection is slow, erratic and may be unavailable at times.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Meliá Sevilla
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of Seville opposite the Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza España and very close to the University (Old Tobacco Factory), the Alcazar, the Barrio de Santa Cruz district, the Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies, the new Meliá Sevilla is the perfect choice for your business and leisure trips, thanks to its excellent location in the city centre, its fully equipped and comfortable facilities and the quality of its services.
  Contact info: Dr. Pedro de Castro, 1
Seville 41004,   Spain
phone: +34 95 4421511
  Room amenities: Each room has 24 hour room service, individually controlled air conditioning, luxury bedding, satellite television, telephone, free high speed WiFi Internet, mini bar, laundry service, an iron and ironing board (on request), safe box, and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers 24-hour front desk service, two restaurants and a bar, lobby, free high speed WiFi Internet, laundry service, outdoor pool with poolside bar, spa and gym, and a lounge.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Meliá Galgos
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the chic Barrio Salamanca, close to the main Paseo de la Castellana, the Meliá Galgos is a recently renovated 4-star hotel. It is surrounded by a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and shops, and there are two metro stations nearby providing easy access to all areas of the city.
  Contact info: Calle de Claudio Coello, 139
28006 Madrid,   Spain
phone: +34 915 62 66 00
  Room amenities: Each room has a full bathroom with a make-up mirror, toiletries set, and a hairdryer, flat screen television, telephone, pillow menu, safe box, minibar, and complimentary WiFi.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers 24-hour reception, lobby, bar, two restaurants, fitness center with sauna, hot tub and steam room, small roof terrace, meeting rooms and business facilities with printers (for a fee), complimentary WiFi, and air-conditioning.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Rome, Italy. The program will begin at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby. You will be staying at Hotel Genova that night.
  End of Program:
Madrid, Spain. Program ends after breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Meliá Galgos the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Rome
  Transportation to site: From Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome Fiumicino, reach Termini Station via the Leonardo Express train. From Termini Station, the Hotel Genova is just a short walk away, only 300 meters. From the station’s main exit, proceed to the left onto Via Cavour; the hotel is just 150 meters on the right. Alternatively, you can book a shared van transfer on for 16 Euro/person. This service runs from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. If you wish to hire a private car (57 Euro), you may contact Italian Details at or 011-39-06-89087926.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Madrid
  Transportation from site: A taxi from central Madrid to the airport costs 30 Euro per taxi. Alternatively, take a taxi to the Nuevos Ministerios station (approx. 10 Euro) and take the Metro Line 8 to the airport. Tickets can be purchased at the station and cost 5 Euro.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departures
(Wednesday, October 14)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international overnight flight.

Day 2: Welcome
(Thursday, October 15)
 Morning: Arrival in Rome Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Meet group inside the customs area. Transfer to hotel.
 Afternoon: Welcome orientation to the program at 5:00 PM in the hotel lobby.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Hotel Genova
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Rome, Italy / Embark the Aegean Odyssey
(Friday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: During this morning's walking excursion, survey the Colosseum, the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire as well as the Roman Forum, the center of Roman civic life. Explore the Case Romane del Celio, homes dating from the turn of the millennium.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a charming farmhouse about 30 minutes from Civitavecchia. Dine on mouth watering regional cuisine while tasting local wines at a farmhouse in the Italian countryside.
 Afternoon: Embark on the Aegean Odyssey and settle in to your cabin. Late afternoon Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Palermo, Italy
(Saturday, October 17)

Note: .

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Enjoy the ship's wonderful amenities as it sails for Palermo.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: During Roger II’s reign as King of Sicily (1130AD to 1154AD), the island became a great maritime power and also the channel through which Greek and Arabic thought passed into Europe. The embracing spirit of Roger’s reign is gloriously expressed in many of the great buildings of Sicily, but nowhere more perfectly than the Palatine Chapel, built during the 1130s and 1140s. This is the king’s masterpiece – a miraculous fusion of Latin, Byzantine and Arabic architectural design. Creamy marble is inlaid with gold leaf, Byzantine mosaics blanket entire walls and the ceiling of carved wooden coffers speaks of the finest Arabic design. The palace in which the chapel is housed had its start in the 9th century AD, when the Emir of Palermo built on the site of a Punic Roman stronghold. Roger II turned the building into the city’s main fortress and his sumptuous palace, then crowned it with this jewel of a chapel.

Following your visit to the Palatine Chapel, continue on to nearby San Giovanni degli Eremiti, built by Roger II in 1132, a Norman church with Arabic domes. Drive next to Palermo Cathedral, site of the huge porphyry tomb of Roger II, as well as the silver urn that contains the remains of Palermo’s protector, St. Rosalia.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: The ship will overnight in Palermo. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Palermo, Italy
(Sunday, October 18)

Note: Please wear appropriate attire for religious sites -- no shorts or bare shoulders. Monreale Cathedral access is via steep steps; taxis are available for a small fee.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Travel just a short distance out of Palermo to discover Monreale Cathedral, considered by many to be the most beautiful Norman church in Italy. Designed by William the Good in 1174, the church offers visions of beauty, grace and the divine. The exterior’s thick walls and powerful towers have the look of an austere fortress, but just step inside: it is the interior that is this cathedral’s true glory. The large nave with its side aisles and gray granite columns draws the eyes upward to 12th-century gold mosaics that cover over one and a half acres of wall space. Visit the Benedictine cloisters, a magnificent synthesis of Romanesque and Arab architecture. Admire the serenity of the courtyard with its graceful arcade featuring 216 sets of twin columns and pointed Arabic arches.

Following the morning's excursion, enjoy free time in the main square before we return to the ship. Optionally, you can elect to participate in the ship's optional extension to Palazzo Gangi, a private residence (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore Palermo on your own or sit, relax and people watch at the Piazza Verdi or the Piazza Castelnuovo, two of Palermo's main squares.
 Dinner: Dinner on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Evening: Evening departure for Trapani. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Trapani, Italy
(Monday, October 19)

Note: There are uneven surfaces at this site and some steep slopes. There is a long stepped steep slope (about 500 feet) up to the Doric Temple.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: It is about an hour’s drive to Segesta, once an advanced center of the Elymian civilization. The city is thought to have been founded in the 5th to 4th century BC by a combination of exiled Trojans, Phocaeans from Greece and Sicans of Sicily. Segesta was well defended, located on a vast plateau between two peaks and surrounded by walls. Presiding in splendid isolation is a stunning Greek theater and the majestic 36-columned, 5th century BC Doric temple. This archaeological jewel is in an extraordinary state of preservation and makes a superb sight amid its surroundings of rolling hills.

A short, albeit steep, walk from the temple takes you to the Greek (and later Roman) theater, an open amphitheater, where in the summer Greek plays are staged. There is a shuttle bus up the hill, but the views are so stunning that if you can manage it, walk!

As the site of an ancient and important town which was only abandoned in the Middle Ages, Segesta also boasts the archaeological remains of many other times and cultures. There are the ruins of a Norman castle, a small church and a mosque.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon in Trapani. Optionally, you can elect to join the ship's excursion to Erice, a quaint hill-top town (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Early evening departure for Valetta. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Valletta, Malta
(Tuesday, October 20)

Note: This excursion involves significant walking on flat surfaces and may be operated in reverse. As we will be visiting religious sites, please no shorts or sleeveless shirts. If the Palace or Cathedral are closed for an event, we will substitute a visit to the Palace Armory or the Museum of Archaeology.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Join a walk through Malta's capital of Valletta, a city packed with historical interest. This World Heritage Site is dominated by two magnificent buildings: the Baroque St John's Co-Cathedral and the Grand Master's Palace. Valletta was founded in 1566 by Jean Parisot de Vallette, the 48th Grand Master of the Knights of St John, who was captured at the siege of Rhodes in 1522 at the age of 28, became a slave on a Turkish galley, and fought during the 1565 siege of Malta. This last encounter with the Turks revealed the weaknesses in the Knight's original base at Vittoriosa, so they moved across the harbor and established Valletta, an impregnable stronghold that has survived the centuries.

This morning, visit the Grand Master's Palace, designed by Gerolamo Cassar, with its luxuriously furnished State Rooms and portraits of past Grand Masters. Continue by foot to St John's Co-Cathedral. Admire the magnificent Baroque interior and Caravaggio's masterpiece, The Beheading of St John.

Drive next to Mdina, Malta's former capital, where much of the architecture dates from the Middle Ages. Around 60AD, the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked off these coasts and lived in a cave near Mdina. During his stay he converted the Roman governor, Publius, to Christianity. Stroll Mdina's narrow streets to visit St Paul's Cathedral, built, according to tradition, on the site where Publius once lived. Next stop for a panoramic overview from the ramparts and take in the strategic position of this island coveted by both Rome and Carthage before returning to the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture or enjoy the live entertainment in the Charleston Lounge.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: At Sea
(Wednesday, October 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Take advantage of the ship's well stocked library that has a wide selection of volumes covering classical history, literature, art, architecture, and philosophy. The frequently updated collection also includes an extensive reference section as well as modern and classic novels.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Enjoy the ocean views from the Observation Deck.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: At Sea
(Thursday, October 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Treat yourself to one of many spa services offered by the ship. Or, simply relax poolside enjoying the autumn sunshine.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Find your way to one of the ship's lounges for a conversation with fellow travelers.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture or enjoy the ship's live entertainment in the Charleston Lounge.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cartagena, Spain
(Friday, October 23)

Note: This full-day excursion involves significant walking. For those who prefer an easier day, you can elect the half-day 'Scenic Cartagena' excursion (please inform your Group Leader if you elect this alternative).

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Elche is one of the most picturesque cities of the region due to the 300,000 palm trees that surround it. The palm trees are famous throughout Spain as they are used in the Palm Sunday parades. Elche’s palm grove was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2000. The first part of the tour will take you to the old part of Elche, before you continue towards the Municipal Park, that covers an area of 6 hectares, and get to see the palm trees in all their glory.

Next, make your way to the highlight of this excursion: the Huerto Del Cura (Priests Garden), an artistic garden. Not only does it contain rare plants, it also has typical Mediterranean trees such as lemon trees, orange trees, pomegranate trees, carob trees and jujube trees. It has areas of cactus and of course, palm trees, too. The plant that draws visitors to this site year after year is the famous imperial palm, made of 7 palm tree branches, which grow from the same trunk. In total the area has over 700 palm trees and 500 other species of plants. As Muslims occupied this area for centuries, the fountains and main lake, located in the center of the park, are all inspired in Arabic architectural style.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Following lunch, return to Cartagena, a whose history spans almost 3,000 years. Cartagena's heyday was during the Roman Empire, when it was known as Carthago Nova (the New Carthage) and later it was one of the important cities during the Umayyad invasion of Hispania, under its Arabic name of Qartayannat al-Halfa. Due to its strategic position, it has been throughout its history an important military and trade port. Start this afternoon's excursion with the city’s main attraction: the Roman Theatre. It was only discovered in 1988 and since then a huge recuperation project has took place in order to open the site to visitors so you can share in this amazing discovery. The museum explains the evolution of this site and through its displays you will be able to see how the theatre was in Roman times as here are displayed many of the remains discovered through the excavations. Enter the theatre itself to experience the enormity of an arena that had capacity for 6000 people. Continue with a walk through the Calle Mayor in the city centre, famous for its Modernist buildings, reminding the visitors of the avant-garde times of the city. At the end of the excursion, coach back to the ship.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Málaga, Spain
(Saturday, October 24)

Note: If preferred, you can elect to enjoy a panoramic excursion of Málaga and the Picasso Museum instead of visiting the Alhambra (details on board--please inform your Group Leader if you elect this alternative).

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Leave the port of Málaga and drive through the wonderful landscape of Andalusia passing endless fields of olive trees and picturesque villages. Your journey takes you to one of the most magical places in the world and the most outstanding symbol of Moorish heritage in Spain: the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a palace, a fortress and home of the Nasrid Sultans. The Nasrid Dynasty (1238-1492), was the last Islamic sultanate in the Iberian Peninsula and the Nasrid Sultans chose this site for their court as it was the ideal place from which to keep watch over the capital of their kingdom and the surrounding area. From the beginning of the 13th century, the original fortress grew into a huge walled site that was clearly intended to be both a palace and court.

Within this gradual change, different stages of development, grandeur and decadence can clearly be seen through the various works of art and buildings erected over the years. The Alhambra was not a single construction, but rather the result of an evolution of successive reforms and extensions. Your guide will take you inside the “Alqala hamra," meaning "red castle" where you will be able to visit the Nazaries Palaces with intricately carved stucco walls, knotted ceilings, elaborate honeycomb vaulting, and beautiful courtyards; “Serallo," the official residence of the Sultan and the Harem, which surrounds the famous "Patio de los Leones," with its fountains feeding water through the mouths of 12 lions (representing months of the year), and many other wonderful sites within the fortress.

Continuing on, the excursion will visit the “Generalife Palace” which was build as the summer paradise for the Sultans of Granada. Its lovely terraces, grottoes, flowerbeds and fabulous fountains will make you feel the glamor of the Moorish inhabitants.
 Lunch: Enjoy a traditional lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, there’s a panoramic motorcoach excursion around the city of Granada before returning to Málaga.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Midnight departure for Tangier. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Tangier, Morocco
(Sunday, October 25)

Note: Approximately 90 minutes of walking over various terrains; up and down steep hills with many steps.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Situated only a short distance across the Strait of Gibraltar from the shores of Europe, Tangier is a gateway to a vastly different culture. This excursion is perfect if you really want to discover more of Tangier, and explore the bustling Medina, with its tiny streets lined with shops filled with trinkets and treats). This excursion starts with a drive along the city's sandy beach through the main avenue of the new town towards Cape Spartel, the extreme north promontory of the African continent. Then drive back to Tangier for the visit of the Kasbah, its square and museum, and the large open circular space of the Socco. The bustling Kasbah is situated on the highest part of the Medina in an area that has been the preserve of palaces and castles for thousands of years.

Your guide will walk you through the Medina and the Kasbah, allowing you the opportunity to view the fruit and vegetable market and Mendoubia Park where you can explore at leisure, if you wish.
 Lunch: Lunch on board or explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration of Tangier.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Cadiz, Spain
(Monday, October 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Although there seems to be a plethora of places that lay claim to being Europe’s oldest continually inhabited settlement, Cádiz is generally considered to be the true holder of this title. Cádiz has clung to Spain’s Atlantic coast for over 4,000 years and in this time its influence has been felt far and wide. The city has long been considered a bridge between Europe and Africa and was the gateway to the Americas during the age of discovery.

The old city is immensely intriguing – a cluster of narrow streets opening on to charming small squares. The golden cupola of the cathedral looms above low white houses, and the whole place has a slightly dilapidated air. You will appreciate the atmosphere and history of Cádiz during a drive through the city from the delightful ancient seaport, passing the 18th-century baroque cathedral, then around the old part of the city with its splendid views over the bay. You will see the Plaza España and the gardens where the famous monument of Las Cortes (Spanish Parliament) of 1812 is situated. Then you will continue to the Moorish-style Alameda de Apodaca Gardens, a reminder of their occupancy in past centuries. The cathedral with its famous towering golden domes acts as a landmark against the Cádiz skyline, and the famous composer Manuel de Falla is buried here.

After this, you will drive inland to the historic town of Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez is home to dozens of sherry companies, and a visit will be made to the well-known Bodega Gonzalez Byass, which produces some of the most delicious sherry in the world. Here, the age-old process of blending is explained and then you will be invited to sample various types of the fortified wine in the unique atmosphere of the cellars.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Cruise the Guadalquivir River, the second longest river with its entire length in Spain, to arrive in Seville by sunset.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: The ship overnights in Seville. Free evening to prepare belongings for disembarkation.
Accommodations: Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Disembark / Seville, Spain
(Tuesday, October 27)

Note: Approximately 2 miles of walking over cobble stones and some steps without railings in Seville’s old town.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark the ship and enjoy a guided visit of Seville, the capital and largest city of Andalucía. Explore its oldest neighborhood, the Barrio Santa Cruz. Meander its labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys that open onto beautiful plazas. During medieval times, this neighborhood was the Jewish quarter and it is home to many of Seville's oldest churches. Visit its cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral – and the third largest church – in the world. In 1898 it became the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. Next, visit the spectacular moorish Alcázar Royal Palace and gardens -- the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. Originally a fort built by the Almohad Dynasty it is one of the best remaining examples of Mudéjar architecture.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Check-in to hotel and enjoy some time for relaxing before heading out with your Group Leader to explore nearby Maria Luisa Park and the impressive Plaza de España, built for the World Expo in 1929, and a fine example of typical Sevillan architecture and incorporating traditional Andalucían ceramic tile.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Meliá Sevilla
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 15: Seville, Spain / Córdoba
(Wednesday, October 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy the rolling plains of the Andalucían countryside during this morning's transfer to Córdoba. Today's full-day field trip will include the Mezquita, a medieval Islamic mosque that was converted into a Catholic cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite. Next, explore Córdoba's Jewish quarter where this population flourished between from the 10th century until their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Its historic synagogue built in Mudéjar style is a memorial to the nearly 500 years of peaceful coexistence of Christians, Jews and Muslims in this city. There will also be time to visit the Alcázar, formerly a Visigoth fortress, then the Umayyads and much later – after its expansion – it served as one of the primary residences of Isabel I and Ferdinand II.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Visit Viana Palace, formerly housing nobility and now a National Historic Monument. It is oft referred to as the Museum of the Patios, for its twelve separate 'patios' or garden rooms, each with their own unique design. There will be some free time after this visit for independent exploration of Córdoba before meeting the coach for the transfer back to Seville.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Meliá Sevilla
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Train to Madrid, Spain
(Thursday, October 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning we transfer to Seville's Santa Justa station to board a high-speed train to Madrid. The roughly 300 mile journey takes approximately 2 1/2 hours. Store luggage at the hotel and join your Group Leader for a brief orientation walk of the Barrio Salamanca.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Check-in to hotel and enjoy some free time to relax and refresh before dinner.
 Dinner: Enjoy an introduction to Flamenco with a brief lecture and demonstration followed by a tapas dinner and a Flamenco show.
Accommodations: Meliá Galgos
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Madrid, Spain
(Friday, October 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Morning panoramic sightseeing visit of Madrid including Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid's chic modern district, the Paseo del Prado, also known as the Triangle of Art, the Plaza de Cibeles and Town Hall, La Gran Vía, Madrid's theatre district, and Almudena Cathedral.

Next, visit the Prado Museum which holds one of the world's finest collections of European art. The magnificent building, conceived and designed in 1785, first housed the collection of the Spanish crown. It opened to the public as Spain’s national art museum in 1819. With thousands upon thousands of paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings, other works and historic documents, only a small portion of these vast collections are on display at any given time. Highlights include masterpieces of the French, German, and Italian schools, early Flemish works, and the finest collection of works by Spanish grand masters such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and many more. One of the most famous paintings in the museum is “Las Meninas” -- the family of King Felipe IV -- by Velázquez.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Join your Group Leader for an optional walking excursion of majestic 17th century Plaza Major with its three-story residences and statue of Felipe III. Next, on to Puerta del Sol, one of the most well known landmarks in Madrid. Originally named for the gate in the city wall that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century, now the city's busiest plaza and the center of the Spanish road system, from which all distances are measured.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant includes a traditional 3-course meal with wine and coffee or tea.
Accommodations: Meliá Galgos
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 18: Departures
(Saturday, October 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Madrid Buen Retiro Park
Stroll amidst this 350-acre spread of gardens, sculptures, and fountains not far from Madrid's city center. Begun as a monastery in the early 1500s, it came under the domain of the Royal Family when the Spanish court was moved to Madrid in 1561. It became a public park in 1868 and has been a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike ever since.
  Reina Sofia Museum
Affectionately referred to as the 'MoMa of Madrid' and housed in a former hospital, this museum houses a vast collection of contemporary and modern art. Many pieces of its permanent collection were transferred from the Prado, including Picasso's "Guernica," arguably one of the most important paintings of the 20th century. For additional information, visit
  The Prado Museum
The collection of this world-famous museum was assembled by the Habsburg and Bourbon Spanish monarchs from the 16th to early 19th centuries. It has since been enhanced by works received from churches and convents, and by nine new galleries since 1950, including the Casón del Buen Retiro exhibition of 19th century art. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Traveller's History of North Africa

Author: Barnaby Rogerson

Description: Wide-ranging, accessible and effectively condensed, this brief history marches confidently through the centuries, covering key events and personalities in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria to 1999.

Ancient Rome: Art, Architecture, and History

Author: Ada Gabucci (Editor)

Description: This lively, illustrated survey of Ancient Rome's monuments, history and art is a terrific introduction.

Eyewitness Guide Spain

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb, colorful guide covering all of Spain features bright photography, dozens of maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.

Ghosts of Spain

Author: Giles Tremlett

Description: Tremlett captures the Spanish character, history and modern politics in this masterful portrait, interweaving the story of his love for the country (where he has lived for 20 years) with interviews, anecdotes and observation.

Ironfire, A Novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades

Author: David Ball

Description: In this rousing historical novel the fates of a young boy, his sister, one of the Knights of Malta and an inquisitor play out against the backdrop of the 16th-century Ottoman assault on Malta, the formidable citadel of the Knights of St. John.

La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

Author: Beppe Severgnini

Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.

North Africa, A History from Antiquity to the Present

Author: Phillip C. Naylor

Description: A detailed, scholarly history of Northern Africa and its role as a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, from the Paleolithic period and early Egyptian cultures through the rise of Islam and the growth of the Ottoman Empire to modern postcolonial history.

Only in Spain, A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir About Food, Flamenco and Falling in Love

Author: Nellie Bennett

Description: In this exuberant memoir, an enthusiastic young Australian discovers a passion for Spanish culture (especially flamenco) as she explores Seville and Madrid.

Palmento, A Sicilian Wine Odyssey

Author: Robert V. Camuto

Description: An American journalist living in France, Robert Camuto roams the vineyards and visits with vintners from Palermo to Marsala and the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in this year-long celebration of the culture and spirit of Sicily, Italy's largest and oldest wine region.

Rome in Africa

Author: Susan Raven

Description: Long the standard history of Roman influence in Northern Africa, this book is scholarly and comprehensive. It is a wonderfully written, illustrated introduction to the geographic setting, the rise of Carthage, historical personalities, individual trading centers and archaeological sites.

Spain, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Peter R. Bush (Editor)

Description: This collection of 30 stories form a who’s who of contemporary Spanish literature, including writers from Galicia, Leon, the Basque Country, Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain, The Root and the Flower

Author: John A. Crow

Description: Take this book with you to Spain: it's an absorbing, well-written account of Spanish cultural history from prehistory to the Romans, Jews, Moors, Golden Age and on to Franco and his legacy in modern Spain.

The Alhambra

Author: Robert Irwin

Description: Irwin's brief, indispensable guide introduces the stunning Moorish palace and fortress complex, revealing its mysteries, myths and significance with wit and insight.

The Ancient Mediterranean

Author: Michael Grant

Description: Grant, a well-known classical scholar, provides this comprehensive history of the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean, including Egypt, Israel, Crete, Greece, the Roman states and many others. A very well-researched account of Western history's roots.

The Face of Spain

Author: Gerald Brenan

Description: Brenan searches for Lorca's unmarked grave (and knows not if he has found it), travels to the great mosque in Cordoba, the Synagogue of Toledo and other touchstones of Spain's history, in this immensely pleasurable portrait of Spain in 1949, the wounds of the war still fresh.

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