Top 5 Mediterranean Cruise Destinations
How about a trip aboard a luxurious ship, cruising from one spectacular Mediterranean destination to the next while being pampered by the friendly, smiling staff, eating one delicious meal after another?
You guessed it – it’s a dream come true, and it’s called a Mediterranean cruise!
It’s a unique blend of a luxurious holiday, fascinating destinations and care-free atmosphere where you travel the Med and enjoy every moment of it.
To make the most out of your Mediterranean cruise here are the top destinations you should visit on your next journey.
1. Rome, Italy
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One of the most grandiose, romantic and enchanting cities in the world, Rome is the highlight of almost every Mediterranean cruise itinerary. The magnificent Eternal City will put its spell on you with its ancient ruins, secret gardens, hip neighbourhoods, world-class museums and delicious cuisine.
Its attractions are world-famous, and it is a true shame to whizz through this city in about eight hours available when arriving from a cruise ship. If your departure port is Rome (Civitavecchia) it would be a great idea to stay a few days after your cruise in this marvellous city and see its wonders at a right pace (the so called cruise-and-stay holiday).
The Colosseum is the world’s largest amphitheatre where the bloody gladiator games were held, and it could house more than 60,000 spectators in its glorious days. Next to it, the huge Forum Romanum, with its ancient remains of colonnades, arches and buildings helps you imagine how the ancient Romans lived here centuries ago.
The awe-inspiring St Peter’s Square with the famous Basilica of the same name are the architectural wonders of the Vatican City, while Fontana di Trevi and Piazza Navona are some of the most beautiful works of art from the Baroque age.
These are just some of the key highlights of the Eternal City, and you can explore many more in this in-depth guide on Rome.
2. Barcelona, Spain
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If you are looking for a spectacular mix of ancient and modern, of tradition and cool, then Barcelona will make your head spin with its diversity of culture, cuisine, architecture and art.
The whole city seems to have been a playground for Antoni Gaudi, the eccentric architect who built many of his masterpieces in this capital of Catalonia. You will surely not miss his Sagrada Familia, the church of the awe-inspiring design, size, façade and interiors. Gaudi’s famous residential buildings – Casa Mila and Casa Batllo – or his Park Guell are the unique masterpieces that give you a memorable insight into the genius of this famous architect.
La Rambla, the long main boulevard is where you’ll find a lively atmosphere, rivers of people, shops and fine restaurants, while a visit to the Montjuic hill is a must to enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the entire city, as well as the Joan Miro Museum.
3. Dubrovnik, Croatia
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In stark contrast to these huge cities this ancient town on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast is an absolute historic gem visited by hundreds of cruise ships every year. During its turbulent past it has seen various rulers, attacks, bombings, but also periods of great prosperity under the Venetian Republic, whose architecture and legacy are very much visible today.
Dubrovnik’s fortified walls enclose a maze of tiny streets filled with stone houses that survived for centuries. Its main promenade, Stradun, is a pure pleasure to stroll along and get lost in alleys that branch out with small shops, restaurants and cafes to escape the hot Adriatic sun.
Take a tour of the fortified walls and enjoy the views over the rooftops and beyond to the deep blue Adriatic Sea. Or take a cable car to the Srdj hill for some breath-taking views of this ancient town, the sea and the islands in the distance.
4. Athens, Greece
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Probably no introduction is needed for the cradle of democracy, philosophy and one of the most famous ancient sites – the Parthenon at the Acropolis. This huge city has been the centre of the ancient empire where art and culture flourished, and whose science and politics influenced this part of the world for centuries.
It has been a centre of learning in the ancient times, with Plato and Aristotle at the forefront of progressive thought of the era. The city is considered the cradle of the Western civilisation and has a special place in history of this region.
The Acropolis is a must-see here, located on the hill in the city centre. It is a complex of a number of ancient temples, most famous of which is the picture-perfect Parthenon. Make sure you visit the huge Herodes Atticus amphitheatre on the side of the hill where performances and concerts are still held today.
Plaka neighbourhood is the oldest one in Athens and a pleasure to navigate with its tiny shops, tavernas and cafes. The National Archaeological Museum is an absolute treat for history buffs which contains a huge collection of ancient artefacts, art works and sculptures from Greece’s glorious past.
5. Ephesus, Turkey
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This archaeological wonder is located in the south-western Turkey, and is accessed via Kusadasi and Izmir cruise ports. It’s close to a number of Greek islands and is a favourite destination in many Mediterranean cruises.
Ephesus is an ancient Greek city built more than 3,000 years ago. Already an important city in the ancient times, it has flourished under the Roman rule from 2nd century BC onwards. It is quite unique in that it has survived through many eras, including the classical Greece, the Roman Empire, the onset of Christianity, and today as part of modern day Turkey it welcomes masses of visitors every year.
Archaeology lovers will marvel at its imposing monuments such as the Library of Celsus, The Temple of Hadrian, the Gate of Augustus and the well-preserved amphitheatre. Ephesus is a true testament to the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and offers a glimpse into their glorious achievements on a grand scale.
Mediterranean cruise is indeed a fantastic way to experience the diverse cultures, art, architecture, landscapes and cuisine of this fascinating region of the world. Just board the ship, unpack only once and wake up in a new, different destination every morning, ready to be dazzled by these wonders of the ancient world. We wish you a great Med cruise!
Anna Kay is the Editor at www.MedCruiseGuide.com.