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Mediterranean MARVELS

Mediterranean MARVELS With so much to offer in terms of sightseeing and with such a variety of fascinating places to explore, travel writer John Wilmott advises how to get the most out of your journey through the region 40 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

MEDITERRANEAN Covering 2,000 years of history in one vacation is an epic goal, but entirely possible with Viking. Many of the grand cities, ancient monuments and timeless isles around the Mediterranean are encompassed on the company’s great choice of itineraries; but, with so much to see, it can be difficult to know where to start exploring. BARCELONA Make Antoni Gaudí the focus of your visit. The Catalan modernist architect created several of his fantastical buildings in Barcelona including the epic La Sagrada Família, which is due for completion in 2026—a century after Gaudí was buried in its crypt. At Güell Park, you can witness Gaudí’s love of nature in the organic sculptures and vividly tiled structures. Among the visionary’s buildings in the city center, Casa Batlló is perhaps the most exquisitely detailed and found just off Las Ramblas. Ah, yes, Las Ramblas! Make time for a stroll along this vibrant boulevard, where eye-catching human statues compete for attention with artists’ stalls. VENICE Naturally, you will wish to stroll around St. Mark’s Square, browse St. Mark’s Basilica, delve into Doge’s Palace, climb the Campanile, glide on a gondola and sigh at the Bridge of Sighs. To stay one step ahead of the crowds, try to plan ahead and devote part of your visit to the less crowded areas of “La Serenissima.” The walled Arsenale, for example, is the old shipbuilding and naval district that was key to Venetian dominance over the Adriatic. And although it appears in a million photos taken from the Ponte dell’Accademia, not too many people bother to take a close-up look at the baroque Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Doing so is well worth the effort. This page: The Grand Canal and St. Markʹs Basilica in Venice, Italy EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 41