The Fabled Adriatic

From Valletta, Malta, to Venice, Italy, aboard the Island Sky

The Fabled Adriatic route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $11,980  
Length: 13 days
Arrive: Valletta, Malta
Depart: Venice, Italy
Lodging: 1 nights hotels, 10 nights aboard 72-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
Activity: Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level: Cultural explorations and walking tours


  • Discover dramatic scenery and amazing archaeology in the lesser-visited countries of Montenegro and Albania
  • Spend time in photogenic Dubrovnik, a beautifully-preserved medieval masterpiece
  • Tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valletta, Malta’s charming capital
  • Explore the stunning Greek and Roman ruins of Siracusa, including the massive 15,000-seat theater, still in use today
  • Visit Diocletian’s magnificent 4th-century palace in Split

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

This odyssey through the Adriatic and Ionain seas visits historic ports and fabled shores, tracing ancient trade routes and celebrating the legacies of powerful empires. History spans the millennia here—from Paleolithic times to Roman conquest, from Byzantine rule to Venetian dominance. Discover the architectural legacies of these powerful civilizations on this Adriatic tour with visits to superb Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque palaces, monasteries, and churches. A hallmark of Adriatic adventure travel, enjoy time to follow the winding lanes in ancient town centers, pause in fountain-splashed plazas, and savor the local scene in bustling marketplaces. Photographers will appreciate the glow of afternoon sun on red-tiled rooftops, along with sweeping views of quaint harbors and dramatic promontories.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Important note:

Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. In the spirit of expeditionary style of travel, the itinerary may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

Days 1-2, May 30 - 31, 2016
Valletta, Malta

Depart your hometown on your independent flight to Malta, arriving in Malta on May 31. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure, then gather for a welcome dinner and overnight at a hotel.

Day 3, June 1, 2016
Valletta / Embark Island Sky

Spend a full day exploring historic Valletta, a World Heritage Site. The Knights of St. John built Valletta in the 16th century, constructing an impregnable fortress-like town in a strategic harbor-ringed setting. Their auberges—large inns where they lived—remain intact. A city tour highlights the fortress, bastions, ramparts, churches, and the national museum. Continue to the Tarxien Temples, a series of monolithic edifices built between 2400 and 1800 B.C. This evening, board the Island Sky and set sail for Sicily.

Day 4, June 2, 2016
Agrigento, Sicily, Italy / Licata

This morning, enjoy a guided tour of Agrigento, a World Heritage Site. The exquisite architecture of the Valley of the Temples dates back to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. and includes the Temple of Zeus—the largest Doric temple from Greek antiquity. A scenic drive through rolling countryside brings you to the Butera Winery and Villa for a lunch of delicious Sicilian fare, accompanied by local wines. Continue to Licata for a short tour of the town center.

Day 5, June 3, 2016

Dating from the 5th century B.C., Siracusa was one of the most powerful Greek cities—defending its sovereignty against rivals such as Carthage, the Etruscans, and the Romans, who later overcame the city in 212 B.C., followed by the Arabs. Tour the Saint John Catacombs, with their maze of underground passageways, and the Archaeological Park, a World Heritage Site. Highlights include the Roman Amphitheater of Augustus, the Ear of Dionysius, a grotto with an extraordinary echo, and the massive 15,000-seat Greek Theater. Return to the ship, at port in Ortygia, for lunch, before striking out for a walking tour of the old town. Highlights include the ruins of the 6th-century B.C. Apollo Temple—the oldest in Sicily—and the Piazza Duomo, built around the ancient Temple of Minerva.

Day 6, June 4, 2016
Catania / Morgantina

Visit the famous morning fish market in Catania’s town square where a colorful variety of local products are on display. An inland drive takes you through a series of photogenic villages to Piazza Armerina, famous for its superb Roman mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale. Enjoy lunch at a Sicilian restaurant near the Greek site of Morgantina, then tour the ruins and visit the small, but excellent Aidone Museum. Return to Catania with free time before dinner on board, or choose to enjoy the local cuisine on your own, and perhaps sample some of the wines from the many vineyards nourished by the rich volcanic soil of Mt. Etna.

Day 7, June 5, 2016
At Sea

Attend lectures and enjoy the ship’s amenities during a relaxing day at sea.

Day 8, June 6, 2016
Butrint, Albania

Today visit the World Heritage Site of Butrint—a veritable chronological repository of its various inhabitants: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Venetians. Among its archaeological highlights are the baptistery with its colorful floor mosaics, superb amphitheater, and medieval fortress. From the ruins, take in the splendid views of the surrounding mile-high mountains.

Day 9, June 7, 2016
Kotor, Montenegro / Dubrovnik, Croatia

Historically, Dalmatia lay at the crossroads of empires—invaded by waves of conquerors from Illyrians to Austrians. In Kotor, witness the same beautiful scenery that captivated kings for centuries. At this World Heritage Site explore luxurious palaces, towers, and Romanesque and Gothic churches. Return to the ship for lunch and relax on deck as the magnificent Dalmatian Coast unfolds in scenic splendor.  Dubrovnik has been a strategic seaport since the 13th century. Its Old Town—a medieval masterpiece surrounded by fortified walls—is a World Heritage Site. Arriving in the evening you have the chance to see the lights of Old Town reflecting off stones smoothed over by centuries of footsteps. Enjoy independent time for dining, strolling the labyrinthine streets, and participating in the lively evening scene.

Day 10, June 8, 2016
Dubrovnik / Cavtat

This morning, venture into the surrounding countryside, passing lovely traditional villages and farms en route to the charming town of Cavtat. Stroll along the harbor, browse the lively market, and enjoy views of photogenic red-roofed houses flanked by shimmering blue waters and green, forested mountains. Return to Dubrovnik for a city tour including the main square, the 14th-century Dominican Monastery, the Franciscan Monastery and its Romanesque cloister, and the Cathedral, completed in 1713. Or, walk along the city’s southern walls with beautiful views of the fortress and old Dubrovnik’s terracotta rooftops. Enjoy free time this evening to explore, or dine ashore on your own.

Day 11, June 9, 2016
Korçula Island / Split

Korçula, an exquisite Dalmatian island, boasts an intact medieval stone village that will dazzle photographers. On a walking tour, view several monasteries and enjoy a performance from a local a capella group. During lunch on board, cruise through Croatia’s lovely offshore islands to the port of Split, once an important center of the Roman province of Dalmatia. This afternoon, choose from two excursion options. The first is a tour to ancient Solin, the archaeological site of the ancient Roman settlement of Salona whose excavations have revealed temples, an amphitheater, early Christian churches, and Roman baths, illustrating centuries of both war and peace and great prosperity. Or, choose to remain in Split for a walking tour of the city built by the Emperor Diocletian and one of the Adriatic’s finest monuments from the Roman period— the 4th-century Palace of Diocletian, a World Heritage Site. This astounding complex was constructed of locally quarried white limestone, tufa from nearby river beds, and hand-shaped bricks. Marble from Italy and Egyptian granite were imported for columns and sphinxes, flooring, and details. Tour the palace, its cellars, the cathedral, and sprawling courtyards from which flow the streets and buildings of medieval Split that today remain the soul of its bustling daily life.

Day 12, June 10, 2016

This morning disembark in Sibenik, Croatia’s oldest settled town. A walking tour visits the town’s crowning glory and World Heritage Site, St. James Cathedral. A 15th-century masterpiece, it is adorned with a remarkable frieze of 71 finely sculpted faces of men, women, and children that highlight the superb blending of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Or, enjoy a delightful hike in Krka National Park, following boardwalks amid travertine waterfalls, a water-sculpted gorge, and picturesque stone watermills.

Day 13, June 11, 2016
Venice, Italy / Disembark / USA

In the morning we sail into the shimmering lagoon of Venice. After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport for your independent flight, arriving in the USA the same day.

2016 Cruise Collection

We’ve searched the world to find the finest small ships and most active adventures, from Greenland to New Zealand to the great rivers of Europe.

Download our online digital brochure to view on your computer or mobile device, or as a PDF! Or request a printed copy to be sent by mail, or by calling 800-368-2794.

What the Trip is Like

The trip is rated Level 1, Easiest, and is appropriate for anyone in good health who is physically active. Some excursions involve a fair amount of standing and walking—often over rough ground and sometimes uphill. Mobility is essential, as small boats and tenders are occasionally used for disembarkation and re-embarkation.

Explanation of Trip Levels



May 30-Jun 11, 2016   Aboard the Island Sky

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Category 1 $11,980
Category 2 $12,880
Category 3 $13,580
Category 4 $14,280
Category 5 $15,280
Category 6 $17,280
Single Occupancy Category 2 (limited): $16,280
Single Occupancy Category 3 (limited): $16,980

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 25% of trip cost
130 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $750 per person
120-180 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
60-119 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
59 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Deck Plan

Cabin Descriptions

  • All cabins feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be reconfigured into one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American-style outlets (two flat prongs) at 110 volts
  • Magellan Deck cabins are 230 square feet and have two to four portholes
  • Columbus Deck cabins are 240 square feet with large picture windows
  • Marco Polo Deck cabins range between 225 to 240 square feet and feature large picture windows
  • Erikson Deck cabins are 270 square feet including private balconies
  • Explorer Deck cabins are 325 square feet including private balconies

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Accommodations in hotel and on board the Island Sky or Variety Voyager
  • All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
  • Complete program of tours and excursions
  • Services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Complete pre-departure materials
  • $50,000 of medical expenses and $75,000 in emergency evacuation insurance
  • Landing and port fees, entrance fees
  • All gratuities to porters, guides, and ship's crew

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/internet/phone/fax charges.

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please call our office at 1-800-368-2794.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Arrival & Meeting Place
Valletta, Malta
Group Hotel (TBA)
Date: Day 2
Suggested arrival time: anytime

Suggested Arrival Airport
Malta (airport city code MLA)

For this program, Day 1 is a day of travel, assuming you are flying from the United States.  The trip actually begins on Day 2.  If you arrive Malta on Day 2, a transfer from the airport to the hotel is provided.  If you require extra hotel nights in Malta, please let us know and we will request these extra services for you. Embarkation aboard the ship is the late afternoon of Day 3.
Venice, Italy
Date: Day 13
Time: After 11:00 am

Suggested Airport for Departure
Venice (airport city code VCE)

Expedition Details


A valid passport is required for the countries visited on this trip. Be sure to check the expiration date. Your passport must be valid for six months after the conclusion of your trip. It is a good idea to carry photocopies of your passport photo page in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.


Visas are not required for Malta or Italy


We recommend checking the Center for Disease Control at should you have any international health concerns.


No inoculations are currently required for entry into Europe.

Island Sky

The beautiful Island Sky features 53 spacious, outside-facing suites with marble-appointed bathrooms. Each suite includes a flat-screen TV with DVD player, hairdryer, individually controlled air conditioning, and mini-fridge. With an onboard atmosphere closer to a yacht than a cruise ship, she is very comfortable. Having undergone significant refurbishment in 2010, the ship features a large lounge, a library and bar, and an elegant dining room as well as spacious outside decks. The ship’s relatively small size lets her drop anchor in remote areas and in small ports where larger ships can’t go, and the fleet of inflatable Zodiacs offers access to wonderfully remote places. Island Sky has a staff and crew of 75.