Highlights of Windstar’s Rome and Prix du Monde of Monaco Cruise

For a taste of life on the Mediterranean Sea—and exclusive access to the Monaco Grand Prix—Windstar’s Rome and Prix du Monde of Monaco  cruise is the perfect voyage. The trip kicks off in beautiful Barcelona, Spain, and from medieval castles to kayaking in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, there is plenty to see before and after the Formula 1 race on the Circuit de Monaco. If you’re keen to relax, sit under an umbrella next to the stunning scenery along the Cote d’Azur, and the vineyard tours in Spain and France are not to be missed. This itinerary is the ultimate expression of Windstar’s style, and the cruise is open to a limited number of guests.  

These are the highlights from this seven-day cruise to Spain, France, Monaco and Italy: 

Barcelona, Spain

Before your Windstar yacht departs from Barcelona, take some time to explore the charming capital of Catalonia. Famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s buildings can be spotted all over the city, and seven of them are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, most notably, the La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Cruise along Las Ramblas for shopping and cafes, and be sure to make a stop to sample the local fare at La Boqueria, the oldest street market in the city.

Palamos, Spain

With its beautiful beaches and top-notch seafood, Palamos is a hidden gem along Spain’s Costa Brava, which translates to “wild coast.” Soak up the sun at the Platja Gran beach, and make a trip to the nearby Museu de la Pesca, a museum dedicated to fishing and the maritime heritage of the region. Palamos is famous for its red prawns, or “gamba de Palamós,” and some of the top seafood restaurants include Can Blau, La Selvatana and La Gamba. 

Go wine tasting at the nearby Bell-Lloc Winery, where you’ll enjoy a local Cabernet Sauvignon — and admire the futuristic architecture of the cellar. For a mix of fresh air and scenery, consider an e-bike tour to the charming town of Pals. You’ll cycle past rocky coves, forests, fields and medieval villages, and while the total distance is 12 miles, this bike does most of the work for you. Another popular day trip is visiting the city of Girona, which is about 20 miles inland. Girona is located next to the Onyar River, and it is home to one of the best-preserved Jewish Quarters in Europe. As you walk up the steps to the Girona Cathedral, you might experience déjà vu, as this 11th century church was used as a filming location in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones 

Sanary-Sur-Mer, France

Sanary-sur-Mer has a much more relaxed feel than Cote d’Azur hotspots like Cannes and Nice. The quaint port is home to dozens of traditional fishing boats, and art lovers and history buffs alike will appreciate the incredible frescoes in the Church of Notre Dame de Saint-Nazaire. Sun seekers will fall in love with the Plage de Portissol beach, which is tucked in a cove with glassy blue water, perfect for snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding.  

Drive to Cassis on the coastal road, and marvel at the views of the limestone cliffs by the sea. Continue to Aix en Provence and explore the Cours Mirabeau, a wide avenue built on the site of the city’s medieval ramparts. Check out the old Mazarin District, founded in 1646 by Archbishop Michel Mazarin, famous for its beautiful walled gardens. Le Castellet is an equally enchanting Provençal village with craft shops and a 12th century castle, and this tour also offers guests the chance to sample local wines. 

Cannes, France

Cannes is easily the most glamorous town on the French Riviera. From elegant sidewalk cafes to luxury retailers, La Croisette, the city’s waterfront promenade, is the place to see and be seen. The entire length of La Croisette is next to the white sands of Plage de la Croisette, and the nearby Plage de la Bocca is another popular beach.

Escape the city with a trip to Chateau Sainte Roseline in Les Arcs, which is home to an 11th century chapel, and a number of award-winning wines. This wine-tasting tour also includes a stop at the charming Chateau Saint Martin, which has been owned and run almost exclusively by women since the 18th century. Or visit the nearby town of Antibes, which is one of the oldest cities in France. The historic old town district has narrow cobblestone streets surrounded by flowers and pastel buildings, with 16th-century ramparts overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The Provencal market in the old town is one of the main highlights, with local vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, cheeses and herbs, plus textiles, ceramics and jewelry.  

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo is considered one of Europe’s most exclusive harbors, and you’ll see more super yachts here than anywhere else in the world. Windstar offers guests access to the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, including seating for the time trials on Saturday and the race on Sunday, an organized visit to the pits and a presentation by Formula 1 racing expert. The Prix du Monde of Monaco package also includes a special Prix du Monde themed cocktail reception and dinner on board, plus a themed gift package with a program ticket holder, ear plugs, cap and high-definition binoculars.

Beyond Monte Carlo’s Formula 1 scene and glitzy Grand Casino, you’ll find plenty of surrounding areas to explore. Walk through the narrow streets of Nice’s Old Town, known as the Cours Saleya, which features a local market and colorful buildings. The nearby village of Eze (known as the “Eagle’s Nest”) is another option, with breathtaking views from cliffs high above the sea. From the aqua water below to the restored medieval buildings, this town is like something out of a fairytale.  

Portoferraio, Italy

Located on the northern side of Elba Island, Portoferraio is tucked in a calm bay with spectacular views of the Ligurian Sea and beyond. Portoferraio’s Old Town has a handful of museums and parks, and you’ll want to take some time to visit some of the Medici fortresses, like Forte Falcone and Forte Stella, the latter of which has a stunning lighthouse. Enjoy a tour and wine tasting at Azienda Agricola La Chiusa estate, which overlooks the city, and famously hosted French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte while he was briefly exiled to Elba in 1815. 

If you’re up for an adventure, sign up for the bike and kayak tour, which takes you along the most scenic stretches of coastline and right into the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The biking portion runs from Portoferraio to Enfola, and you’ll launch your kayak in the crystal clear waters next to Enfola. If you’re more interested in relaxing, there are plenty of secluded coves and secret beaches, like Spiaggia della Biodola and Spiaggia di Proccio. 

Rome, Italy

Rome, aka the Eternal City, is the perfect place to end your weeklong voyage with Windstar. Whether it’s world-famous historical sites like the Colosseum or cafes on cobblestone streets, Italy’s capital will engage all of your senses. Tour the Vatican and marvel at Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel, or visit St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the largest church in the world.

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