The temperate climate of the Mediterranean makes it a delightful destination to visit on a luxury cruise. Coupled with explorations of historic cities and archaeological sites and plenty of active day excursions, from swimming and snorkeling in turquoise waters to hiking and biking around the ancient ruins and rolling valleys, you don’t have to travel beyond the ports to find a world of adventure. Each Mediterranean country has its own charms and unique culture, so if you know which countries you’d like to visit, we’ve put together this list of the best cruise ports in each one.
Barcelona: This artistic and modern city is the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. The unfinished masterpiece of the Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudí is a must-see for anyone visiting Barcelona. Art aficionados can also visit the Picasso Museum, spend an afternoon exploring Gaudí's Park Güell, or simply take in the vibrant style that seemingly adorns every corner of this cultural center.
Valencia: Between the UNESCO World Heritage Site silk market, the largest aquarium in Europe, expansive public parks, and the white sand beaches, Valencia makes for the perfect port of departure for many Mediterranean cruises of the Iberian Peninsula.
Cannes: Considered a great getaway for nobles escaping the cold British winters, Cannes maintains its reputation as a fantastic warm-weather vacation spot.
Monaco: Right on the French Riviera, the hip town of Monaco is notable as host of the Grand Prix. Celebrities and royalty have vacationed here for years, and the style reflects this elegance, especially in the magnificent Palais du Prince and the opulent casinos.
Corsica: The island of Corsica sits just between Italy and France in the Mediterranean, making it a melting pot of Italian and French culture. Christopher Columbus was born here in the town of Calvi. It’s also a great destination for the active Mediterranean itineraries, with many opportunities for biking, hiking, and 4x4 exploration.
Rome (Civitavecchia): As the seat of the Catholic church and the capital of Italy, this city is brimming with exciting activities and sites to see. Travelers of all denominations will appreciate the beauty of the Vatican City. For those interested in history, the ruins of the ancient Roman empire await, including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Forum.
Venice: On the eastern coast of Italy, the “city of bridges” is set on the romantic Adriatic Sea. Without the traffic and noise of cars, Venice is a city influenced by Gothic and Renaissance architecture and dominated by canals, perfect for a relaxing gondola ride.
Sicily: While not technically a port city, the island of Sicily is the largest in the Mediterranean and fantastic destination to explore. It hosts ruins like those of Agrigento and Syracuse, the active Mt. Etna Volcano, and a Norman cathedral built in the 12th century.
Athens: For centuries, Athens was the heart of the mighty Greek Empire and is still an important city as the capital of Greece. In addition to being the political center of Greece, it is home to fantastic ruins, like the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and other ancient temples.
Santorini: This island in the Cyclades is home to some of the most iconic pictures of Greece - the white cubiform houses with blue roofs that are built along the cliffs. Travelers can enjoy the peaceful town and turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.
Dubrovnik: Often called the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” this Croatian coastal city is home to a well-preserved old town that has earned itself a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. A towering wall surrounds the Old Town, where travelers can see exemplary Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
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