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You could start a discussion about Venice by praising its restaurants, wine bars, marble churches or blown glass. But you probably won’t. You’ll likely start with the fact that Venice is built on water. It is a place where people either float slowly down palace-lined man-made waterways or stroll down narrow alleyways. There’s no more extraordinary place to find yourself, or lose yourself. Be sure to stay in Venice before your next European cruise.
Along the northeast coast of Italy is where you’ll discover the historic town of Ravenna. Once a thriving seaport in ancient times (it now lies five miles inland), Ravenna was also the westernmost pillar of the Byzantine Empire. Just as everyone who visits, you too will marvel at the exquisite Byzantine mosaics. At first glance the old streets, peaceful squares and fine shops resemble any other Italian city, but the Byzantine domes of its churches still evoke its Eastern heritage. As an added bonus, Ravenna is a great place to taste the famously delicious food of the Emilia-Romagna region.
This Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic has a long and eventful history dating back to the awesome Diocletian’s Palace (circa 295 A.D.) in the centre of the city. Split offers cruise guests a wealth of exciting places to visit, from the majestic cathedral and marble streets in the centre of town to the harbour area with its café-lined promenades and views of coastal mountains.
Despite the magnificent 13th century walls that surround the city, Dubrovnik is one of the most welcoming cruise destinations in all of Europe. Dubbed “the pearl of the Adriatic” by the poet, Lord Byron, this Croatian city exudes romantic charm and beautiful scenery with its shimmering marble streets, centuries-old buildings capped by bright orange roofs, and lovely beaches ensconced between awesome rocky ledges. Explore more of Dubrovnik on a European cruise!
One of the lushest of the Greek Isles, Corfu is rimmed in dramatic blue waters and topped with tranquil hillside villages. A collection of quaint cafes in the town of Corfu feels very continental, but the island’s secluded coves and sandy beaches could only be found in the Greek Isles. Explore more of Corfu on a European cruise!
Whitewashed villages clinging to the sides of the sea cliffs have made the volcanic island of Santorini one of the most widely photographed places in the world. The island’s charm and subtle mystery have even made it a target of speculation as the location of the lost city of Atlantis.
Take a journey into the past in richly historic Ephesus. Once an ancient Greek city, Kusadasi was known for the famed Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built, destroyed, and rebuilt again through several notably historical periods, Ephesus boasts abounding ruins and archaeological excavation sites. View what remains of the Roman Library of Celsus, the Gate of Augustus, the Tomb of John the Apostle, and the Basilica of St. John, among several other ancient remnants.
There’s a new aura of excitement in Istanbul these days, as this centre of the Ottoman empire has become one the world’s focal points for art, fashion, haute cuisine and nightlife. Of course there’s always an abundance of ancient monuments and grand mosques with stunning frescoes to see here, like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Head to any park and you’ll see why tulips have long been the symbol of this city. Explore more of Istanbul on a European cruise!
Mykonos is a classic Greek Island with whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and windmills. Add a reputation for beautiful beaches and you’ll understand why Mykonos is the most popular island in the Cyclades. Explore the island in a 4 x 4 or take a ferry to the tiny island of Delos. Explore more of Mykonos on a European cruise!
This is the cradle of civilization, the oldest city in Europe. Not only is this city home to the Acropolis and some of the most important architectural structures and archaeological finds in the Western world, It is also a very modern city, an urban amalgam of extraordinary art, culture, cuisine and shopping. Explore more of Athens on a European cruise!