MEDITERRANEAN cruise ports allow visitors an opportunity to experience an incredible variety of historic treasures, stunning landscapes and exotic locations. Greece, Spain, Turkey, Italy…incredible destinations filled with treasures just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of the most popular of the destinations commonly found on Mediterranean cruise itineraries.
Honoring the past while moving into the future, Athens is a mixture of ancient ruins and modern day sophistication. Home to five million residents, thriving Athens still manages to retain its historic presence. The Acropolis offers an amazing view of the area; from here, visitors can visit the Parthenon and gain a real sense of history as the size and scope of the majestic monuments threatens to overwhelm the senses. Visitors often top off their visit with a stroll through the Plaka shopping district to seek out incredible souvenirs of their visit to this historic area.
This iconic city is recognized as one of the most beautiful ports in the Mediterranean. The allure of the medieval fortifications and ancient streets immediately bring a sense of history to the area. In OldTown, visitors can tour Dubrovnik Cathedral and a 14th century Franciscan monastery. This is one stop where traveling into the countryside nets some amazing opportunities to enjoy the natural surroundings and some traditional foods like roasted lamb, dried figs and brandy.
Rome, Italy (Civitavecchia)
Rome served as the center of commerce, art and politics for centuries. St. Peter’s Square and Basilica offer a glimpse into the past, as crowds gather each week to witness the Pope’s weekly blessing. The Sistine Chapel is here, housing some of the world’s most well beloved pieces of art, including the work of Michelangelo. Take time to visit the Colosseum: this immense construct is where ancient Roman Emperors entertained the public with gladiatorial games. This incredible structure was built in the 1st century AD, and still stands to this day. Beloved Trevi Fountain, seen in numerous movies, is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome. Visitors don’t miss the opportunity to throw a coin into the fountain; it is said to ensure a speedy return to the EternalCity.
Florence/Pisa, Italy (Livorno)
The port of Livorno allows access to Florence, Pisa and the Tuscan region. Florence, the centerpiece of the Renaissance movement, was home to Dante, Da Vinci, Galileo and Michelangelo. At the Accademia, see Michelangelo’s famous David statue in person. In the neighboring city of Pisa, don’t miss the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, built in 1173.
The Tuscany region is home to beautiful rolling hills dotted with vineyards, olive groves, and charming towns. Well known for its cuisine, this is a great area to take the opportunity to feast on some of Tuscany’s amazing breads, cheeses and wine.
Considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice is renowned for its amazing Grand Canal. The best way to appreciate the FloatingCity’s amazing architecture is to take a winding ride through the numerous waterways meandering through the city on a romantic gondola. This gives visitors a good sense of the tenacity of the city’s architects. While in Venice, don’t miss famous St. Mark’s Square & Basilica, with its elaborate decorative mosaics, statues and domes. Another famous landmark in the area is the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs that connects the palace to the prison. Venice, beloved by many, continues to enchant visitors year after year.
Home to the Olympic Games in 1992, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan treasure often featured on Mediterranean cruises. Take a stroll down Las Ramblas, filled with bright flower stalls, charming cafés and sidewalk artists. Visit La Sagrada Familia, architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterful church construct with its amazing stained glass windows and overreaching spires winding towards the sky. Barcelona has much to offer visitors seeking a vibrant stop during their exploration of the Mediterranean.
Exotic Istanbul is an absolute vision, with minarets and domes scattered throughout its amazing skyline. Travel through the bazaars, where the senses will be assailed by incredible spices, brightly-patterned rugs, brilliantly-colored garments and the calls of the vendors. Formerly called Constantinople, this gem is home to the Hagia Sophia, an amazing Byzantine-era structure featuring a huge dome. Originally serving as a church, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque, and currently serves as a museum. Another treasure in Istanbul is TopkapiPalace, the home of the Ottoman sultans for centuries. It is filled with amazing exhibits of Oriental porcelain, stunning gold artifacts and the infamous Topkapi diamond. Istanbul, Turkey’s treasure, is one of the most mysterious and exotic of the ports in the Mediterranean area.
One of the favorite destinations of visitors to the Greek isles, Santorini easily dates back to the Bronze Age. A volcanic eruption in 1600 BC left behind a dramatic caldera, immensely changing the island’s geography. This area is visually stunning, as whitewashed buildings make a dramatic statement as they perch against the plunging cliffs, which plunge towards the brilliant ocean waters below. Santorini is one of the favorites among photographers seeking to bring home amazing views of the Grecian islands.
With such a variety of opportunities at the many historic ports in the Mediterranean, it is no surprise that seasoned cruise ship veterans return to the area time and time again, each time discovering new and unique experiences sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.