From the glamour of the Riviera, to precarious hill top-towns, picture perfect beaches and incredible cuisine, the Mediterranean is bursting at the seams with exciting discoveries at every turn. With history, art, sightseeing opportunities all vying for your attention, it’s no wonder Mediterranean cruise holidays are such a popular choice with cruisers. Whether you decide to fly to join your cruise, or take a cruise from Southampton, sailing through the Mediterranean is one of the best ways to see everything Southern Europe has to offer.
From the southern shores of Portugal to the eye-catching coast of Italy, and all the ports and islands in between, a cruise across the Western Mediterranean offers a incredible array of sights, sounds and holiday experiences for all. Discover the diversity of Spain, and head for the cosmopolitan Catalonian capital of Barcelona, home to some of the world’s most incredible architecture, inspiring museums and alluring food – not to mention the fine weather and the picturesque beaches!
Sail across the inky-blue sea to experience the Balearics, with a visit to its vivacious and vibrant islands such as Ibiza and Majorca, or cruise up along France’s Riviera coast, taking in the glamour of St Tropez, Cannes and Monte Carlo. From the glamour of the Riviera, to precarious hill top-towns, picture perfect beaches and incredible cuisine, the Mediterranean is bursting at the seams with exciting discoveries at every turn.
With history, art, sightseeing opportunities all vying for your attention, it’s no wonder Mediterranean cruise holidays are such a popular choice with cruisers. Whether you decide to fly to join your cruise, or take a cruise from Southampton, sailing through the Mediterranean is one of the best ways to see everything Southern Europe has to offer.
The richness of culture, cuisine and coastal beauty continues as you progress to Corsica and Sardinia, where a laid-back life among idyllic Mediterranean landscapes awaits. And then, of course, there's Italy. This treasure trove of history and heritage also provides unique style and epicurean diversity, from ravioli and risotto to gelatos and tiramisu. Head to Florence for astonishing architecture and Michelangelo's masterpieces, visit Rome to learn about gladiators in the Coliseum and pontiffs in the Vatican, or discover the storied origins of the Pizza Margherita in the sunny southern city of Naples. Last but certainly not least, round off your Italian adventure with a tour of the volcanic island Sicily.
The diversity of Europe becomes even more apparent as you venture further east, with the Eastern Mediterranean displaying influences and traditions from Ancient Greece, the Middle East and Asia. The easterly coast of Italy offers delights such as the northern canal city of Venice, while across the water, the isles dotting the Croatian coast showcase several of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful beaches. Greece's Ionian Islands offer pristine sands, as well as pretty port towns and villages. Cruising further east of the Mediterranean past Cyprus, passengers can take in the diversity of Turkey's rich and ancient landscape. Unforgettable cruises along the Bosphorus Strait pass through Istanbul and lead to the Black Sea – a spectacular route that traverses a great continental crossroad, from Europe into Asia.
Still further south, Mediterranean cruisers can also discover the northern coast of Africa, with stops such as Tunisia and Egypt – a unique mix of traditional Med culture with Middle Eastern influences.
With so many fabulous destinations to explore in the Mediterranean, with so much to see and so much more to do why wait? Choose from a Mediterranean fly-cruise or cruise from the UK – whatever you decide to choose we have there is a deal for you. Plus, you can stay up-to-date with the best a Mediterranean cruise has to offer with our blogs and guides.
Full of class, seduction and a lovely sweeping bay Ajaccio is a beautiful Mediterranean port of call. It is the capital of Corsica and the largest city on the island. Upon arrival into Corsica you’ll immediately be taken in by its striking beauty and spectacular landscapes. Ajaccio also happens to be the birth place of Napoleon, where his presence is found everywhere and where you will see the layers of Napoleon’s history emerge, but not in a dominating sense.
The streets are remarkably narrow here yet not in an overwhelming manner, they are all part of Ajaccio’s unique charm and as you wander the many walkways you will discover a fabulous array of varied architecture. One of the most popular sightseeing experiences here is the fabled Cathedral and the opportunity for you to drive along the magnificent Cours Napoleon towards the ever impressive Casone Gardens. Upon arrival you will see the towering statue of Napoleon which was replicated to match the stature that had been erected at his tomb at the Invalides in Paris. The bronze statue welcomes you to Casone Gardens and as you stroll the sights you will be led up the steps for the chance of photographing the famous structure. On your way up you will notice the engravings of Napoleons achievements throughout his lifetime, in particular his famous victories.
Of course Ajaccio is not just about Napoleons history. This charismatic city boasts a glorious harbour scene where you will find many beautiful yachts moored. This harbour scape provides an ambience reminiscent of a Côte d'Azur feel and provides an ideal location to relax and watch the world go by.
Shopping lovers will be in their element in Ajaccio and will find the main shopping area at the street of Cours Napoleon. Shopping is also available from the moment you step foot ashore as the main marketplace is situated right next to the port. The marketplace offers the chance to explore a wide variety of local crafts as well as the inevitable many Napoleon souvenirs. This fascinating area is a wonderfully vibrant area with many parklands and squares spanning off in different directions. From this location you can take in the excellent local stores for the chance to purchase a unique souvenir before heading up towards the Old Town and its impressive citadel on the cliff.
The island is often known as the ‘Scented Isle’ which you will understand when you take in the splendid aromas produced from the mountainsides vegetation. The natural attractions of Corsica are truly beautiful and you will simply love the incredible landscapes that combine with spectacular mountainous scenery. Forests nestled in the backdrop creating the most enchanting photographical opportunity, with the scented maquis simply adding to the wondrous atmosphere of this charming island. Corsica is well-known for its maquis, which covers nearly three quarters of the island, and is made up of a collection of sweet smelling vegetation including mint, heater and lavender to name but a few.
One of the most picturesque locations here has to be the Prunelli river gorge. Head along a narrow road and through the impressive Prunelli Gorges, enjoying the stunning landscape that surrounds the mountains, and where you will see the incredible plunge of the river from the red granite cliffs as it crashes into the river below. Such a sight is outstanding and from the peaks of the mountain range you will see for miles across the city scape.
Before you leave, be sure to sample the local cuisine at one of the many bars, restaurants and cafes that are dotted around. The choices here are exquisite and there’s nothing like a Corsican view as you sip a refreshing drink.
As the capital and one of the largest cities in Greece, Athens is a stunningly captivating city that presents a fantastic sight as soon as you arrive at the port of Piraeus. Did you know that Athens is also one of the oldest cities in the world with a history spanning over approximately 3400 years? With a wealth of cultural heritage and history, it’s not hard to see why so many travellers come back to Athens time and time again.
Over recent years, Athens has seen a major revamp of its famous characteristics to form a combination of elegant style whilst maintaining the artistic cultural heritage for which it is known and loved. Classical Athens revolved around the arts and philosophy whilst today the city portrays a modern cosmopolitan metropolis paramount to the economic and political future of Greece. The most important civilization of the ancient world thrived in Athens and relives through some of the world's most formidable edifices.
The beauty of this eccentric port of call is the sheer amount of exploration opportunities. There really is something for everyone with full day trips to take in all Athens has to offer right down to a short stroll around the scenic landscapes of Piraeus. A sporting heritage is prominent throughout Athens wherever you go for those looking for an adventure through the years.
Once considered the “cradle of civilisation” the city of Athens and the wondrous port of Piraeus offer a diversely wonderful selection of historical venues to visit. The Acropolis “High-City” has and always will be the main attraction for visiting guests to the great city of Athens. A symbol of calm, tranquillity and exuberant heritage, this outstanding magnetism appears on many excursion opportunities so as not to miss out on the utter beauty; it is of great architectural genius and historic splendour. The Parthenon is quite literally breath-taking currently standing at over 2500 years old. The temple to Poseidon and Athena, Odeon of Herodus Atticus and Theatre of Dionysus ooze magnificence and are sights not to be missed in one of the finest cities the world has to offer.
Welcome to Barcelona, one of the Mediterranean’s most glamorous and exciting cities. The port of Barcelona invites passengers to its shores for a unique and enchanting experience. This city is truly stunning and from the moment you arrive you will understand just why Barcelona has earned a place in the hearts of all who have sailed here.
A hugely popular feature of this port of call is that you are so close to the city centre upon arrival. The majority of cruise lines here provide a complimentary shuttle bus into the city centre, taking just five minutes. The usual drop off point is at the entrance to the World Trade Centre and from here you have the entire city at your fingertips. You’ll find yourselves just a stone’s throw from the beginning of the Ramblas; one of the most enjoyable and immersive Barcelona experiences. This marvellous walkway is the beating heart of the city and its vibrant flair never ceases to amaze. Street entertainers here are utterly astonishing and the many bars and stalls could keep you entertained for hours alone. As you make your way along be sure not to miss out on a visit to La Boqueria food market to sample the amazing range of fish, meat, fruit and vegetables. It is a well-known fact that some of the greatest cuisine in Spain can be found here so sit back and enjoy with Paella being a particular speciality.
The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona provides a wonderful mixture of the ancient and contemporary but the architecture that dominates the headlines here has and will always be the Art Nouveau architecture of Antonio Gaudi. The mesmerising Sagrada Familia in particular is on the sightseeing list of the majority of cruise passengers visiting here and with its incredible stature it is not hard to see why. The Sagrada Familia remains Europe’s most mind blowing cathedral, even though it is still yet to be finished.
It was the Olympic Games of 1992 that gave the city a dramatic boost as the port area was renovated from a once sombre location to a thriving atmosphere of bustling shops, café’s, bars and restaurants. This iconic venue is now one of the most popular within the entire city and offers an immersive Catalonian experience right from setting foot from your cruise ship. Not only is this city spectacular for its thorough beauty but there is so much to see and do here it is incredible. The captivation of Barcelona is unlike any other city in the world and the Catalonian allure continues throughout around each and every corner you see. One of the most common services cruise passengers take advantage of here is the “hop on, hop off” bus service. This option is available from the drop off point at the World Trade Centre and gives guests the chance to make their way around the city at a very reasonable price. The chance to witness both the Gothic Quarter, the port area and the Olympic Village of 1992 in one day is a must if you have the chance.
One of the most loved opportunities here is to visit the Camp Nou Stadium and take in the magnificent splendour of Barcelona Football Club. Considered by many to be the current best team in the world, if not ever, this awe inspiring stadium invites you to take a stroll down memory lane and learn more about the club that has set football alight for decades. The museum itself is excellent but the chance to step out at pitch level and bask in the presence of greatness is truly inspiring. Families will love this excursion as there are many interactive fun things to do as you make your away around. The stadium tour is outstanding and a must see for any lovers of sport arriving here.
Away from the city centre there is also the fascinating scenery of Montserrat that has been one of the country’s most important pilgrimage sites that has stood for hundreds of years. The jagged mountains and landscape views are breath taking, but the beautiful Benedictine monastery is the main attraction here. If you’re looking for a spectacular photograph then this is the place to come. This area is easily accessible via train and can be done through your cruise operator or individually.
Many consider a visit to Barcelona to be criminal without taking in the stellar wine tasting experiences available here. Set in the quaint yet prominent town of Sant Sadurní d'Anoia you will find the majestic Freixenet Cellars along with the modern open winery of the Torres Wine Cellars. These are two of the most famous wine and Cava producers in Spain and are sure to give the palette an unforgettable treat. The choice is endless here and however you wish to spend your time you are certainly in for a truly pleasurable experience. The charm, grace and allure of Barcelona never fails to impress so relax and prepare for a wonderful Spanish delight under the glistening Mediterranean sunshine.
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