10 Fabulous Mediterranean Cruise Destinations: Start Planning Your European Vacation


The leading Mediterranean cruise destinations offer a combination of rich culture, awesome scenery, fine weather and loads of activities, both for fun and learning. Some of the destinations you have to sample while you cruise the Mediterranean region include:

1. Istanbul, Turkey

The picturesque Istanbul

The Bosphorus and the Galata Bridge In Istanbul

Europe sure meets Asia at some point and this confluence is Istanbul. It has a deep cultural and historical background based on the past rule of emperors. It is a combination of history as well as modern day commercialism. While here, there is a lot to do, from visiting the resplendent mosques and opulent palaces to testing your bargaining savvy at the Grand Bazaar in the company of seasoned merchants. The awe-inspiring Church of Holy Wisdom is also within the city’s precincts, as is the Topkapi Palace. The latter gives you a chance to gain insight into the Ottoman Empire and Islam.

2. Venice, Italy

Venetian gondolas on the blue water of the Grand Canal

Grand Canal and the indispensable gondolas in Venice

This best Mediterranean cruise destination came to being some 1,000 years ago, combining all of the 117 islands in the Venetian Lagoon, complete with its series of canals. Even today, the monstrous weight that is Italian culture is carried almost entirely by Venice. There is a lot to catch your fancy when visiting. The tasteful and fascinating rooms of the Doge’s Palace, for instance, are a treat, and so is St. Mark’s Basilica and Square. Getting around is obviously through the legendary gondolas.

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3. Lisbon, Portugal

Monument to the Discoveries with the 25 de Abril Bridge in the distance

Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon

Three things that make Lisbon stand out include the constant sunshine, the River Tagus and the city’s rich history. It is the second oldest European city and one of the top Mediterranean cruise destinations. The river’s effect on the city transforms it into a mirror that emits countless colors. In the process, the reflection magnifies the city’s rich, unique and beautiful architectural heritage. There is a lot in store for visitors in Lisbon, including the various monuments, as well as spending time on the riverfront of Tagus. While this takes care of the day, the nightlife here continues pretty much until dawn.

4. Athens, Greece

Acropolis, the highest point of Athens

Aerial view of the Acropolis in Athens

Starting from the main port of Piraeus and stretching all the way to Kastella and Acropolis, Athens probably has more history than the entire history of Europe summed up. History aside, the majestic view of the Saronic Gulf from the hilltops of Kastella is truly breathtaking. A visit here, however, is never complete without a visit to the acropolis. Here you get to delve into the many awe-inspiring sights that include the Parthenon. The narrow alleys and streets of Plaka are fun to visit as well. There are a lot of tourists’ shops with lovely provisions and souvenirs, but experiencing the traditional architecture of neoclassical villas, taverns and singe-story houses is fun as well.

5. Barcelona, Spain

Mediterranean cruise destinations: Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia

Cityscape of Barcelona

As one of the top Mediterranean cruise destinations, Barcelona exudes individuality, physical beauty and immense cultural interest. This city, which is some 90 miles away from Spain’s border with France, has in the past been likened to Paris. It is a major cultural melting pot with a lot of fascinating history. Its architecture is diverse, plus there is an enriching culinary tradition that presents you with only the finest dining options. If you are looking to be enlightened or inspired, then you are spot on. There are a lot of libraries, historical places and museums to check out.

6. Valletta, Malta

Mediterranean destinations: stunning view of the historic harbor in Valletta

Valletta Harbor, Malta

Valletta is a city that is fun to explore. It has a very rich and magnificent historical heritage that has endured since the days of the founding fathers, the Knights of the St. John Order. One of its known nicknames actually is the Baroque masterpiece. Among the features that standout and that have earned the city this name includes some 16th century fortifications and limestone buildings, which you should experience when visiting. Another highlight is the National Museum of Archeology that houses priceless artifacts of pottery, sculpture and statuettes recovered from prehistoric sites and megalithic temples.

7. Alexandria, Egypt

Cruise the Mediterranean: Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria, Egypt

It sure deserves its title of the “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” partly because of its immortal nature due to Cleopatra’s influence, but also because of its rich historical and cultural endowments. The magnificent white sand beaches also work in the city’s favor. These have intrinsically been mixed with a good doze of modernism to create a curious conglomeration well worth digging into. It is Egypt’s second largest city and one of the top Mediterranean cruise destinations, but most importantly, it is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Its weather is fantastic and that includes its very temperate winters.

8. Messina, Sicily, Italy

Best Mediterranean cruise to Messina: Golden statue of Madonna

Statue of the Madonna della Lettera in Messina

The trademark-curved harbor in Sicily’s northernmost tip proudly identifies Messina, a bustling port city that is relatively young, yet with a very complex history. It was developed on the ideologies of Greek mythology, but it was unfortunately burned around a decade ago, hence the young image. A walk down Piazza del Duomo should be fun, with interesting points here including the main cathedral and the world’s largest astronomical clock. You can also visit the Fontana di Orione or visit the Museo Regionale to have a look at the pieces of art that survived the 1908 inferno.

9. Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Mediterranean destinations: Palma de Mallorca, the most popular spot of the Balearic Islands

Aerial view of the City of Palma de Mallorca

The best Mediterranean cruise will at some point have to take you through Mallorca, Spain’s charming, large Balearic Island located in the Mediterranean. Palma, the capital of the islands, shares the island’s wealth of beautiful beaches and some enchanting caves. The city is stylish, intimate, sophisticated, and yet still able to exude a side very full of life. It overlooks the Mediterranean, creating some stunning scenery that is hard to match. Three things that you have to try while visiting are the diverse culinary options, great shopping places the nightlife, which is as entertaining as it is engrossing.

10. Monte Carlo, Monaco

Mediterranean destinations: Monte Carlo, a popular gambling spot and one of the best venues of Formula1

Monte Carlo, the Principality of Monaco

When you set foot in Monte Carlo, expect to experience beauty, culture and rich history, for those are the things this city in the French Riviera is known for. What started as a sleepy fishing town is now famous for the royalty that call it home, as well as the glamorous film festivals it hosts each year. Aside from these, the city has a magnificent casino, several luxury hotels and a Formula One Grand Prix racetrack. Make sure that you take a walk by the beaches to experience the palm trees that dot the coastline, as well the flowering gardens nearby.

Cruises Around the Mediterranean

And here is a fun way to cruise the Mediterranean and visit all these amazing destinations – just book a proper Mediterranean cruise with any of the top cruise lines providing itineraries to these destinations.

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