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The Mediterranean & her Islands

from £2999

Spring in the Mediterranean is a magical time. The countryside explodes in lushness after the winter rains, presenting a face not seen by summer holiday makers.

Spring in the Mediterranean is a magical time. The countryside explodes in lushness after the winter rains, presenting a face not seen by summer holiday makers. Follow in the wake of Phoenician and Greek traders, Roman galleons and Viking marauders.


 Cádiz - We walk the narrow streets of the old town and visit the central market for a chance to sample some delicious chocolate y churros.

 Mahon - From Minorca’s main town we follow the relatively isolated east coast from Cap de Favaritx lighthouse south along the easy to follow Cami de Cavalls path (which encircles the island) as far as the pretty fishing village of Es Grau. 

 Ajaccio - Corsica’s main city is built around a beautiful bay with mountains rising behind.  We walk along the ‘Sentier des Douanniers' through the Mediterranean maquis of cistus and thyme along the coast to the west of the city to the old Genoese tower of La Parata with views to the Iles Sanguinaires.

 Cagliari - Our local guide will take us through the Marina district up to the medieval quarter of “Castello” to visit the Cathedral, the narrow streets, the Pisan tower and the Bastions.

 Valletta - We explore the Maltese capital with a local guide, then walk along the cliffs to the fishing village of Marsaxlokk.

 Palma - We head north to the town of Sóller and walk along the Cami de Castello, an ancient path through olive and citrus groves. There are excellent views of the Tramuntana mountains before we descend to the sea at Port de Sóller.

 Cartagena - In the Spanish province of Murcia, this is a city where we can peel back the layers of over 2000 years of history.  We explore the city and walk a section of the coastal path.

 Porto - Portugal’s second city is undergoing a chic makeover, but still retains its timeless charm – the narrow streets of the Ribeira district, restaurants serving beans and tripe, façades of glazed ‘azulejo’ tiles and wine lodges where port wine matures in oak barrels.

Holiday Highlights

  • Discover historic Cartagena 
  • Sample some delicious chocolate y churros in Cadiz
  • Walk the  Cami de Cavalls trail along the coastline 
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

    A shore visit programme organised by us and led by your tour leader. Almost all transport costs for our walking and sightseeing programmes from the ports visited. Occasionally there may be an optional museum entrance or cable car fare to pay for locally. Details are in our Holiday Information Sheets.

    Walking tours with local guides around many of the cities we visit.

    Tips to the restaurant staff on the ship – we ask you to tip your cabin staff, however.

    A full on board entertainment programme including stage shows, ship’s band and musicians, comedy and guest speakers. You can enjoy as much or as little as you choose.

Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 3/SS

  1. Day 1

    Today we board Black Watch in Liverpool and set sail for Spain.

    Check in for the cruise begins one hour prior to embarkation.

    Embarkation at the cruise terminal usually begins three hours before departure and closes one hour prior to sailing.

    At Liverpool you will be greeted by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ staff, including porters who will arrange for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin.There will be a letter from your Ramblers Cruise & Walk Holidays leader in your cabin informing you of the place and time for you to meet the rest of the group.

    Sailing time is usually from mid afternoon to early evening and will be confirmed on your travel documents.

    Today we board Black Watch in Liverpool and set sail for Spain.

    Check in for the cruise begins one hour prior to embarkation.

  2. Day 2 to 4

    We have three days at sea during which time we can truly relax and enjoy the ship’s facilities. There is usually a range of activities available on board – you may choose to join a fitness class or visit the on-board gym, attend one of the on-board lectures, treat yourself to a treatment in the spa or just simply relax in one of the lounges with a coffee and a book from the library. Each evening a Daily Times newsletter will be placed in your cabin, detailing events and timings for the following day.

  3. Day 5

    We have the morning in the city of Cádiz. A local guide will walk us through the narrow streets of the old town. We visit the central market for a chance to sample some delicious chocolate y churros. There may also be time to walk along the promenade or explore the old town some more.

  4. Day 6

    Having cruised through the Straits of Hercules between Europe and Africa, past Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean we head north east towards the Balearic Islands and Minorca.

  5. Day 7

    Taking transport north from where we come ashore in Mahon, we travel to the lighthouse at Cap de Favaritx. From here we follow a section of the Cami de Cavalls, the long distance path with encircles Minorca. This is a relatively isolated walk with occasional undulations. Just before we reach our final destination at Es Grau there is a chance to walk along the duckboards through the wetlands of the Albufera nature reserve.

    10 km (6 miles), 300m ascent & descent, 4 hours

    On returning to Mahon there should be time to explore the old city centre.

  6. Day 8

    We start the day with a short journey to the west of Ajaccio. Close to the coast, we start the Sentier des Douaniers, the old path patrolled by the island’s customs officials. The path follows the coast with lovely views across the marquis to headlands, hills and the Iles Sanguinaires just off the coast.

    On completing the walk we return to Ajaccio for free time to explore the Corsican capital.

    7.5km (4.5 miles), 200m ascent & descent, 2 ½ - 3 hours

  7. Day 9

    We spend the afternoon in the capital of Sardinia. A local guide will take us through the Marina District, down by the sea, and also through the Castello District, where we’ll find the Bastion of Santa Croce, the Duomo of Santa Maria and the Royal Palace.

  8. Day 10

    We spend today at sea, but we have some fabulous sights to cruise past. Early this afternoon cruise past the Aeolian Islands, made up of several volcanic islands. The most famous one is Stromboli, but we should also see Vulcano, Lipari and Salina from a distance. On the last of these parts of the Italian movie ‘Il Postino’ was filmed, which some people may remember. We then pass through the Straits of Messina separating the Italian mainland from Sicily.

  9. Day 11

    We spend the morning in Valletta with a local guide. We visit the Baroque gem of St John’s Co-Cathedral lavished over the centuries with gifts from the Grand Masters of the Knights of St John. We enjoy spectacular views from the Saluting Battery, see the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck… and much more. Later we travel the short distance to St Thomas’ Bay for a walk along the cliff tops to the seaside town of Marsaxlokk.

    6km (4 miles), 100m ascent & descent, 2 hours

  10. Day 12

    We have a day at sea to enjoy the comforts of the Black Watch as we cruise west towards the Balearic Islands.

  11. Day 13

    Mallorca remains a favourite walking destination for people who love the Mediterranean’s mix of mountain and sea. From Palma, where we come ashore, we take a coach through to the town of Soller. From here we head north to Puerto de Soller, spending a good part of our time on the long distance GR221, also known as the Cami de Castello. We’ll stop for some fresh orange juice, along the way and have great views into the Tramuntana Mountains.

    11km (7 miles); 400m ascent & descent, 4 hours

  12. Day 14

    We have a morning ashore in the province of Murcia. A short drive to the west of Cartagena brings us to Tentegorra. From here a broad track rises to the Collado del Roldan, a pass from where there are wonderful views up and down the coast. We return from here the same way to Tentegorra.

    5.5km (3.4 miles), 200m ascent & descent, 2 hours

  13. Day 15

    We have a day at sea on to enjoy the facilities on board Black Watch as we sail once more through the Straits of Hercules, past Gibraltar, and then north towards Porto in Portugal.

  14. Day 16

    On leaving the ship around lunchtime we meet our local guide and take the metro into the centre of Porto. We then visit the market, the rail station to see the famous wall tiling, the cathedral and the old town and have coffee in the square. After a walk along the river bank, dependent upon time, we may have the opportunity to visit a port cellar.

  15. Day 17 to 18

    We have two more days to enjoy the comforts aboard Black Watch as we head back towards the UK.

  16. Day 19

    Black Watch arrives in Liverpool at around 07.00 for disembarkation after breakfast.

Travel Details

 UK departure ports vary, please see the individual itineraries for details.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.


Balmoral is named after the Scottish residence of the British Royal Family, and is the largest of Fred. Olsen’s ocean-going cruise ships, yet is still small enough to navigate size-restricted waterways such as the Kiel Canal, providing fantastic scenic cruising opportunities. Balmoral retains the warm, intimate and friendly atmosphere that the Fred. Olsen fleet is renowned for. Featuring 710 well-appointed rooms and suites and a selection of comfortable lounges, bars and inviting public areas, which have been recently extensively refitted and improved, Balmoral provides guests with ample space in which to relax and enjoy the facilities on board.  

View the deck plan for Balmoral

There is always an array of superb entertainment on offer throughout the day, from lectures and hobby classes to enjoy on sea days as well as shows, reviews and evenings of cabaret and comedians, ensuring you can make the most of your time on board. Whether it's watching the evening show at the beautifully refurbished Neptune Lounge; taking in stunning views over a traditional Afternoon Tea at the Observatory Lounge; sampling premium gins at the Lido Bar; or having a refreshing pint at the Morning Light Pub, you'll find there are plenty of places to unwind on board ship. 

On board facilities also include two swimming pools, a fitness centre including a sauna, steam room and beauty salon, two sun decks, Jacuzzis, several lounges and bars, a card room, small casino, library, coffee shop, gelato bar, internet room and restaurants. The ship has a medical centre, a boutique, a shop where you can buy essentials such as sun cream or toiletries, and there is also a self service laundrette and ironing room on board.

All guest cabins are are equipped with climate control, an interactive smart TV, hairdryer, desk, phone, fridge (which can be stocked as a mini-bar) and tea and coffee making facilities as standard.  Allocated cabins will be an inside cabin unless you have paid a supplement to upgrade. 

Your cabin steward will keep your cabin in immaculate condition, replacing any linen or towels as or when required. Separate towels are provided for poolside use. Balmoral operates a satellite telephone system, with telephones in each cabin, and personal mobile phones enabled for international roaming should work on board. The voltage on board the Balmoral is supplied at 220 volts (requiring a continental style 2-pin plug).

Payment on board is in Sterling, and a credit account system is operated on board allowing purchases to be charged to your account which must be settled at the end of your cruise.