Best Cruise Ports of the Mediterranean

The Best Mediterranean Cruise Ports All you want to know about the Med

Are you planning to visit the Mediterranean and wonder what the best cruise ports are?  Look no further.

Best Time Of The Year to Visit Cruise Ports In The Mediterranean

Mediterranean cruises usually run from late spring to late fall, with a peak season in July and August. Some European cruise lines (Costa or MSC) run Mediterranean itineraries year-round. Summer months are ideal for the weather and the temperature, but they are also the busiest. Sometimes there are up to 5 cruise ships in port, and all the attractions are full of tourists. In some smaller destinations such as Santorini or Kotor, it might be almost impossible to walk.

Off-Season Mediterranean Port Visits

If you decide to go off-season, the weather might be cold, and suntanning might not be an option, but ports are usually pretty quiet, and exploring some of the most popular destinations would be much more pleasant.

Another advantage of visiting the Med offseason is the fact that it is way cheaper. Indeed, you can find cruises that are 60% cheaper than the summer.

The Mediterranean is one of the most popular cruise destinations. Here you can find some tips on the best ports, itinerary and time of the year to sail.

The Best Western Mediterranean Cruise Ports

Western Mediterranean cruises usually start in Civitavecchia or Barcelona, and they sail around the Tirreanean Sea and the Western Mediterranean. Typical ports are:

Ports in the Western Med

Barcelona

Barcelona is easily one of the most important cruise ports in the Med. Admittedly, Barcelona is probably the busiest embarkation and disembarkation port in the Mediterranean. In this vibrant city, there is a lot to do and see. Indeed, there is so much that it deserves its very own article.

Gaudi The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona - one of the Best Mediterranean Cruise Ports
Gaudi The Sagrada Familia

Valencia

Swim at Valencia Beaches

The most popular beach in Valencia is La Malvarossa. Indeed, it’s the beach that attracts the most visitors. It is a mixture of urban and beaches, that’s what makes this City interesting! There is a promenade lined with palm trees and plenty of restaurants and bars, serving excellent local dishes like Paella or Fideuà.

La Malvarrosa beach is split-up into three core areas. These are Las Arenas, the Malvarrosa, and Patacona beaches. Indeed, all of these beaches are clean, family-friendly, and a great place to spend a low-cost, relaxing time on holiday. And you can also choose from one of the many beaches along the city’s coastline. It is perfect for relaxing and sight viewing! Malvarrosa is where Valencians go to sunbathe, and what I love about it is can enjoy the sun, sea, and excellent view for FREE!

 Visit the Central Market in Valencia

The Mercado Central (Central Market) is the primary market in Valencia’s city center. This 1920s market, situated in Ciutat Vella or the old city, is one of the oldest running food markets in Europe. It is the best place to stop for breakfast or a quick lunch. I Admire the glass domes and mosaics and the bustling crowds where I can have a taste of the local produce such as Jamón, artisanal cheeses. Since the weather in the markets is usually scorching hot, it is the perfect place to grab a Central Market Organics pulp-free Valencian orange juice for $3.98 (US$4.50). It’s undoubtedly among the most beautiful places in Valencia!

Explore the Valencia Cathedral

Founded in the 13th century on the site of a mosque, the unusual Valencia Cathedral incorporates several architectural styles, artistic treasures, including the authentic cup used by Jesus in the Last Supper, the famous Holy Grail!

What I love about this is its exterior, it has a Gothic look! Inside, you can admire the 15th-century paintings from the renaissance by famous Valencian artists like Jacomart. Try and experience of climbing up to the 207 steps of the Cathedral tower and enjoying the beautiful view of the entire city of Valencia is also a MUST! Entrance Fee is €2 (US$2.50).

Source: Christian from BCN Travel

Ibiza

Discover Ibiza Cathedral

Dedicated to Santa María la Mayor, Ibiza Cathedral is located right at the top of the old city. I always enjoy having a scenic view of the whole city from the top, and I’m happy I experienced its spectacular outlook over the water.

The cathedral keeps many works of art, among which are several notable pieces. For example, there are two Gothic panels of Saint Tecla and Saint Anthony, painted by Francesc Cornes in the 14th century. Additionally, there’s another two from the 15th century by the master Valentí Montoliu that represent Saint James and Saint Matthew. Best of all, admission is free.

Ibiza Cathedral in the Small Mediterranean Cruise Port

Catch Sunrise at Aigües Blanques, Ibiza

Aguas Blancas Island has a beautifully soft and fine golden sand and textured with high cliffs. It has flawless surroundings with a dramatic effect! To be sure, it’s an official nudist beach but still very mixed; some go naked, while others don’t.

I find this beach best in the mornings and midday, as the high cliffs cast shade in the late afternoon, and it’s best for watching the sunrise. A perfect way to start your day!

Watch A magnificent sunset at Cala Comte, Ibiza

Cala Comte is a beach in the southwest of the Spanish island of Ibiza.

I felt relaxed and free while watching the magnificent sunset at this sandy and crystal clear beach. The beach has shallow crystal clear blue and turquoise waters. Also, the constant flow of sea currents in the area ensures it stays that way. Entry to the beach is free.

Source: Christian from BCN Travel

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a tiny piece of England in the Mediterranean. Everything here is British or British Influenced. The most famous attraction of Gibraltar is the renowned Rock with the big Monkey colony. You can either take the gondola to the top. Alternatively, you may choose one of many taxies that wait at the base of the mountain. You can read more about our adventure on top of the Rock here.

View of Gibraltar - A beautiful view of the Mediterranean on our Cruise Adventure!
Aerial View

Cagliari

Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia, is one of the lesser-known cruise ports of the Mediterranean, yet a place worth visiting. The city, perched on the hills and overlooking the sea, has a lot to offer to visitors. For example, even those that only spend a day there will have lots to see and do.

Among the most famous attractions in Cagliari, there is the beautifully kept Roman amphitheater. The Roman Amphitheater is only one of the many archeological sites that testify that the city was once under Roman rule.
A walk around Castello, one of Cagliari’s oldest neighborhoods, is a pleasant way to discover the gorgeous Cathedral, a 13th-century Baroque church. To the side of the main entrance, a flight of stairs leads to the newly renovated tower from where it is possible to enjoy stunning views of the city.
The highest panoramic point in town, however, remains San Pancrazio Tower – a bit further up Castello, on the way to the Archeology Museum.
Where To Find The Best Sunset
For the best sunset views, make sure to head to the terrace of Via Santa Croce, which overlooks Stampace, another of the oldest neighborhood in Cagliari.
Bird watchers will be pleased to know Molentargius Lagoon and Natural Park in Cagliari is a nesting place for pink flamingoes. Tourists may access the park from several entrances in town. Also, the park can be visited on foot or by bike.
Finally, those fancying a day at the beach can head to Poetto, the beautifully kept urban beach of Cagliari, or walk up Sella del Diavolo following an easy trail. In essence, the views of the coast and the lagoon are breathtaking.

 

Source: Claudia from My Adventures Across the World 

Catania

One cruise port that may not be on the radar as much as Venice or Barcelona is Catania in eastern Sicily. Like anywhere else in Sicily, definitely try the food there as it’s quite different from that in the north. Things to do and see there include:

visiting Mount Etna, which is an imposing figure over the city – the most active volcano in Europe. I’ve been there when it has erupted, which isn’t that much fun!

Visit Taormina, a town perched in the side of the cliff where you can see the high rollers living la dolce vita

visit Siracusa, where there are plenty of Greek ruins to keep history buffs occupied.

Source: Anthony from The Travel Art

Naples

Naples is one of the most fun and alive city in Italy. It is much more than a gateway for Pompeii or Capri. It is such a great city that we think it deserves its very own article that you can read here.

Naples Italy
Naples Italy

Genova

In Genova, we opted for the Hop On Hop Off bus again.  Indeed, this allowed us to visit the most famous monument in the city and decide what we wanted to see or skip.  First, we got off near Columbus house wand we started our walk in the narrow streets of the old town.  The city is quite impressive, clean, and very alive.

Next, we ended up at the San Lorenzo Cathedral. This church is quite magnificent, but the best part was paying €5.00 and walking up the bell tower.  The view of the city from there is remarkable (Photo below).  We were able to see our cruise ship in the distance. A must-do while visiting the city.

The Aquarium
The Aquarium
Foccacia Genovese

After that, lunchtime was approaching, and we wanted to try the typical Genovese Focaccia.  We found a gem of a restaurant, right by Porta Soprana, Restaurant Locanda Tortuga. Wow, I was ever happy we stopped. Admittedly, the focaccia was incredible, nothing like I’ve had before. It is made of two extra-thin layers of dough with some delicious creamy soft cheese in the middle. If you read this article and you stop in Genova, please promise me you will go and try it.

After lunch, we walked back toward the cruise ship by the area of the aquarium. Indeed, this was the area of the old docks that have been restored and repurposed as an attraction area. It makes for an excellent place for a stroll.

Livorno

Livorno is the port in the Mediterranean where cruise ship passengers could visit Florence and Pisa. The town itself is impressive with the Old Fortress and the canal around it but, unless you have been to Florence and Pisa before, not worth spending your time. Livorno

Marseille, France

From Our Cruise Ship to City Center

Our cruise ship offered us a roundtrip shuttle pass from the port to the city center for $20 per person. Most cruises will likely provide a similar deal because the port is far from the city center. The shuttle dropped us off at the Marseille Cathedral, and it was the ideal landmark to find our way back to the shuttle after exploring the city.

Woman standing in front of Marseille Cathedral

Marseille Cathedral – Free Activity

Admission to the Cathedral is free and is worth seeing. It is beautiful on both the inside and out. Also, the Cathedral has been around since the 1800s.

Exploring Marseille

Several restaurants are offering a variety of food choices along the water, just a short walk from the Marseille Cathedral. If you’re hungry, I recommend eating before moving on to the rest of the city as there aren’t many other food options at Notre Dame de la Garde. If you decided to fill up on the cruise before heading out to the port, you could start heading towards the highest point of the city to see the famous Notre Dame de la Garde.

There are plenty of bus stops along the marina that will take you throughout the city.

Notre Dame de la Garde

Fare for the city bus cost about 3€ per person and take you directly to the Notre Dame de la Garde. As you head towards the top of the hill, there are several stops along the way with French restaurants, peaceful parks, and even more historic architecture. The bus is an excellent little tour of the city!

Once you arrive, start hiking up the stairs to the tallest point of Notre Dame de la Garde to see spectacular views of the city. You can begin at the top and slowly make your way down. Also, many tour groups start from the bottom and end at the top, so you’ll beat the crowds if you go in the opposite direction.

Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde Marseille cruise stop

Just like the cathedral in the city, Notre Dame de la Garde is free to enter. Its beauty and detail are indeed something you should take the time to explore. There are multiple levels to the cathedral – make sure to check out each one!

The top-level offers the best panoramic views of Marseille.

After exploring, you can stay on the bus until the final stop of the route, which is right by the Marseille Cathedral. Whether it’s the first or last stop of your cruise Marseille is a beautiful cruise port to explore on your own.

Source: Taylor Palmer from Rich Living, Less Spending LLC 

Cannes

Cannes is both a picturesque and exciting Mediterranean cruise port.
There are things to do and see within walking distance, as well as tours to nearby cities and towns, including St. Paul de Vence, Nice, and Monaco.
For those visiting Cannes for the first time, this is easily walkable on your own.
Start your day by visiting the old quarter, Le Suquet. The homes, buildings, and restaurants are charming, with photo opportunities at every bend.

Follow the cobblestone street until reaching the Le Suquet Church and Clock Tower, and experience views for miles of the Bay of Cannes and the city itself.

Image by golanalbo from Pixabay
Other Must-See and Do’s
Other must-sees and do’s include the traditional Marche Forville, where locals shop for fruits and other seasonal items, followed by stopping in at a Boulangerie (bakery) for the most mouth-watering croissants and pastries. There are several along Marche Forville with lovely terraces to sit and take in the atmosphere.
It’s worth the opportunity to see the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, the venue for the Cannes Film Festival. The hotels and upscale shops along Boulevard la Croisette, which curves along the coast, is a perfect spot to stroll back to the cruise ship.
Off the Beaten Path
A cruise ship excursion to consider is visiting the Medieval town of St. Paul de Vence. For example, this ancient walled town features an exquisite landscape and has many art shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Marc Chagall’s gravesite is here, and many visitors choose to place a small rock upon his grave. There’s a little more to this story and the connection that artists have with this village. For those who want a little more to see in their port day in Cannes, this is a ship excursion to plan.
Source: Ilana Schattauer, Life Well Cruised

Mahon, Menorca

One of my most favorite ports in the Mediterranean is Mahon, Menorca in the Balearic Islands.  Also, the most famous of the markets is in a restored, old convent and, they perform fantastic music events there.
They are known for making shoes such as Avarcas. To be sure, Avarcas are excellent sandals that are so amazingly comfortable. Indeed, many vendors in the market stalls sell them.
The produce and cheeses within the local markets are so delicious.

If you love seafood, a must-have is the lobster stew. We ate at J’agaro, which is a family run business and gives you that fantastic local flavor.

Teatro Principal de Mahon
A must-see is the Teatro principal de Mahon. It is one of the oldest opera houses in Spain. The decor within the opera house is breathtakingly beautiful, and visitors can tour it in the mornings.
The small narrow walkways through the town lend to its old-world coastal charm. Mahon sits upon a hill that overlooks the port. I also highly recommend taking a water taxi while in port to see the stunning beauty of the coastline. The Fortaleza De Isabel is also a great visit. An ancient fort with great architecture. A lot of fun to explore.
Another must-do is kayaking and snorkeling and seeing some of the greatest wonders below. I love how it is not as touristy as other spots, and this is why it is one of my favorites.

Source: Debbie Brisky, Beach Monkey Travel

Malaga

Malaga might not have the fame of Barcelona or other Mediterranean cruise ports, but that’s why I think it’s so attractive. The city is always abuzz but never overcrowded. The historic old town is one of Spain’s prettiest. Malaga is a labyrinth of pedestrian-only streets, paved with marble that sparkles in the sunshine. In recent years, the old town has got a renovation, almost entirely. Indeed, Malaga has received a facelift to its collection of impressive 19th-century architecture.

Besides strolling through the historic center, you should peek into the Atarazanas Market. Here you can admire the incredible variety of fish and seafood that the Mediterranean provides. Some stands sell a plethora of different kinds of local olives, almonds, jamón, and much more.
Malaga Ruins
Next to the old town is a collection of ruins from Malaga’s long past. The Alcazaba and Gibralfaro are two fortresses that straddle the hillside overlooking the city and the port. Both got built while the Muslim Moors occupied most of Spain during the middle ages. At the base of the Alcazaba is yet another ruin – a Roman amphitheater from the 1st century. During the Moorish times, it was slowly buried underground and only re-discovered in 1951.
Malaga is also one of the best places to see works from Spain’s most famous artist, Pablo Picasso. He was born in the old town, and his childhood home is now a museum (Picasso’s Birthplace Museum). Additionally, there is also the separate Picasso Museum, which features 12 halls of permanent exhibitions located within the magnificent Buenavista Palace.
Explore the Historic Malaga Cathedral

Built between 1528 and 1782. Nicknamed La Manquita, which means “one-armed lady.” The name comes from the fact that to this day, it is still unfinished but yet it’s still incredible and a must-see in Malaga. Explore a little bit of the Cathedral, and you’ll notice something a bit different from others: it only has one bell tower! What I love about it is like in Valencia Cathedral, it has a ROOFTOP, and you can learn more about the history of the building and catch some impressive views out over the city! Admission Fee is just €10.00.

Malaga’s Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden makes up a big part of Malaga’s history. Indeed, a prominent family moved to Malaga and built it back in 1855 when they decided to bring plants from all over the world to decorate around this massive property. Imagine it has a historic garden, the Around the World in 80 trees section, the forest pathway. You’ll love it for sure, like me! It’s like the western section with the mirador, viewpoint! Believe me! The Botanical Gardens are indeed a pleasant visit, and if you go on Sunday, you get free entry.

Relax at Malagueta Beach, Malaga

If you’re looking to get away from the noise of the City without venturing far, try visiting Malagueta Beach. To be sure, it’s the nearest beach to the downtown area! Bring a towel and lay in the sun or under the many palm trees decorating the loving golden shore. Oh, I love this beach! Also, don’t forget to take a photo with the famous Malagueta sign before leaving!

Source: Patricia from Eusko Guide and Christian Petzold, BCN Travel

Palma de Mallorca

One of the best ports to visit on your Mediterranean cruise is Palma de Mallorca. The Spanish city on the Balearic Islands prides itself on a long history and stunning nature.

The iconic Santa Maria of Palma, also known as La Seu, is the biggest attraction in the city.

The Gothic cathedral was built between 1229 and 1601 and is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in Europe. It is at the top of a Roman citadel in the Old Town of Palma. The impressive temple is visible from the sea promenade and is the last sight you’ll see when leaving the harbor.

The Cathedral

After visiting La Seu, wander the streets of Palma’s Old Town. Stop at the ancient Arab baths, explore the Museum of Mallorca, and admire the architecture and everyday life at Plaza Mayor. The square frequently hosts an outdoor crafts market and welcomes tourists in its shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Fans of historical rides shouldn’t miss the narrow-gauge wooden train to Sóller. The scenic journey on the 1912 tracks takes about an hour and is worth the trip.

Tour the Catedral de Mallorca

The Catedral de Mallorca is an architecturally stunning building that’s undoubtedly worth a visit. Antoni Gaudí and renowned contemporary artist Miquel Barceló designed the interior. I’m fascinated with the beautiful stained glass windows and the impressive interior of the Cathedral! The Entrance fee is $7.00 (US$8)

Stained window
Witness the stunning scenery at Cova de Portals Vells, Mallorca

Portals Vells beach is peaceful and calm, popular with locals as there are generally lesser crowds here due to its small size. Even if it is a small beach, I find it stunning! It offers lots of sandy inlets to explore. Then, after you get your fill of swimming and sand, you can hike down and see both the stunning scenery and crystal clear water.

Explore the paradise of Cala del Moro, Mallorca

La Cala del Moro is a cove of sand and rocks, located on the southeast of the island. Europe has many beaches to explore, but I think Caló del Moro is one of the best you’ve ever seen in your life. To be sure, the walk to the beach is more like a strenuous 30-40 minute hike, but I can say that it is well worth it to witness its most epic scenery! It has plenty of rocks on which I can sit and relax while enjoying the idyllic views.

Source:  Christian Petzold, BCN Travel and Naddya from NTripping

Civitavecchia (Rome)

Civitavecchia is the port of Rome. It is about one hour away from downtown Rome, and you can get there quickly by train, bus or taxi. In Civitavecchia itself, there is not much to see or do. It is just a hub for the Eternal City.

Teatro Marcello
Teatro Marcello

Valletta, Malta

Valletta is a small, port capital city located on the main island of Malta in the Mediterranian Sea. Valetta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its rich historical past, naming it the European Capital of Culture in 2018. It includes a significant collection of sites to explore with unique historic buildings seemingly on every corner. Valletta has a history with the military and charitable Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Valetta got built by hand starting in 1565. Named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, this fortified city has hundreds of monuments, all within a relatively small space. Indeed, this makes it one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.

Churches and Palaces

Valletta is the home of some of Europe’s most exquisite artworks, churches, and palaces. Narrow streets are full of tiny quaint shops and cafés, while Valletta’s main streets have larger famous brand boutiques for fashion, music, jewelry, and more. Valletta is bustling by day, yet retains a timeless atmosphere by night, that gives the feeling that you are walking back in time.

St. Johns Co-Cathedral
St. Johns Co-Cathedral
Best Things To See & Do In The Mediterranean Cruise Port of Valletta

Source: www.visitmalta.com

Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Ports

Eastern Med Ports

These cruises focus mostly on the Adriatic sea and the Greek Islands. They usually start either in Venice or Athens. Typical ports are:

Piraeus (Athens)

Piraeus is the port of Athens. It is r about 20 minutes away from downtown and the Parthenon. The best way to reach downtown Athens from Piraeus, in our opinion, is by Hop On Hop Off bus. At the cruise port, you can catch the bus that takes you right by the Acropolis.

Porch of the Caryatids
Porch of the Caryatids

In Athens, the most important thing to do is to visit the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Be aware, it can be hectic, and lines can be extremely long. It is better to buy the tickets in advance to avoid more waiting at the ticket office.

Venice

Venice is likely one of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world. Indeed, it is one of the very best cruise ports in the Mediterranean. For example, it’s both a famous and unusual city with canals instead of streets. Every corner of Venice offers a different photo opportunity and a new postcard. You can read more about Venice here.

Some cruise lines make round trips from one port others use one port for boarding and another for debark.

Santa Maria Della Salute

Split, Croatia

Split is a History-rich stop on a Mediterranean cruise, where you can find a real jewel dating back from the Roman Empire: Diocletian’s Palace. As its name suggests, it got built for Emperor Diocletian.

Split is also a beautiful place to go for a stroll, and beyond the obvious Riva (the waterfront promenade), I strongly recommend having a walk in the Marjan Forest Park. This hillside park is a real delight with its fabulous lookout points to the sea and Split’s historical center.

Source: Julien from Exploration Junkie

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The Old Town of Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, with a variety of local stores and restaurants to explore. It is also known as one of the central locations for the filming Game of Thrones. Stradun, the old promenade, divides the town into two parts – northern and southern. It is a favorite place for tourists since all of the craft shops, local restaurants, and galleries are all there. Croatia’s coast is also known for its tiny stone beaches and crystal clear sea.

Source: Jovan from KommandoTech

Mljet, Croatia

You can step off the boat to discover the stunning Mljet National Park.  Interestingly, the park borders two saltwater lakes, and has a small island – St. Mary Isle – at its heart, which is home to a 12th-century Benedictine monastery that you can visit via small boats.

Source: Darin from Andante Travels

Biševo Island, Croatia

The island offers a natural luminescent phenomenon known as the Blue Cave. From here, stop at the port in Hvar, the sunniest of the Dalmatian Islands. Hvar Town, another walled gem of Gothic buildings and marble streets, is a particular highlight – visit the oldest public theatre in Europe and the Renaissance cathedral there.
Source: Darin from Andante Travels

Kusadasi, Turkey

Many people have never heard of Kusadasi, Turkey.  Still, it is one of my favorite ports on Mediterranean-Aegean cruises because it is the gateway to the ancient ruins at Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rivaling the archeological site at Pompei, the former port city of Ephesus boasts layers of history from ancient Greece to the times of the Roman Empire and the advent of Christianity.

Impressively, you can see the ruins of Hadrian’s Temple, the Great Theater, the Celsus Library, and the fabled House of the Virgin Mary, along with mosaics and wall paintings.  Also incredibly, you can even see Roman baths and latrines to get a glimpse into daily life during ancient Roman times. To me, the columned ruins of Ephesus are a transformative experience you cannot miss.

Source: Christina from Blue Tail Travel 

Kotor, Montenegro

If you are willing to consider the Balkan region in your Mediterranean piece, then I would suggest the inclusion of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site ancient walled city on the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. It is an accessible cruise port, but more laid back than the (even more famous) Dubrovnik seaport a few hours north of it in Croatia.

The domes in Kotor
The domes

Top things to do in Kotor

  • Hike up the Old City walls to Kotor Fortress for unbeatable views of the Bay of Kotor
  • Explore the stunning Bay of Kotor by hop-on-hop-off bus, motorboat, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or a semi-submarine (for visitors with kids)
  • Get lost in the labyrinth of streets of the compact walled Stari Grad (Old Town), with its high concentration of medieval stone churches
St Elijah Kotor
St Elijah
  • Feast on super-fresh seafood and impressive local wines in one of the many local eateries set up in the Old Town’s squares.
  • Shop for local cheeses and wine at the Kotor Farmer’s Market

Source: Nick from Spiritual Travels

Corfu

The Old Town in Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It still has a lot of Venetian Influenced architecture.  One of the most famous monuments is the Old Fortress, built on a peninsula connected to the town by a narrow bridge.

The Venetian fortress of Corfù
The Venetian Fortress

A visit to Corfu must include a stop at the Achillion Palace, built in the 19th century by the Empress Sissi of Austria.

Kefalonia

Kefalonia is an excellent starting point for a 7-night cruise of the Ionian Islands as it’s location is in the sea between Italy and Greece, and with a very different culture, climate and landscape than the dryer and more popular Cyclades islands of the Aegean Sea.

Heavily wooded and influenced by the powerful Venetian city-state back in the day, Italian influence can be seen everywhere, from architecture to menus in local restaurants – a visit to the village of Fiscado is a must, with excellent local restaurants and tavernas.

Kefalonia is famous as the venue for the filming of “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” starring Penelope Cruz, Nicolas Cage, and Christian Bale.  Also, easy access is via the airport at Argostoli, offering commercial flights as well as general aviation.

Source: Ann from N&J Senior Charter Broker

Crete

Crete is a large island of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is world-famous for the beautiful beaches with crystal clear turquoise water.

While visiting the island, the town of Chania is worth a visit. Chania is quite lovely, and it has a charming little marina with lots of cute restaurants and tavernas.  Also, we particularly enjoyed the market where it is possible to buy classic souvenirs and natural sponges.

You can get to the center of Chania is very well connected with the port by a shuttle bus that runs every 10 minutes, and it costs €1.70 per person.

The old port of Chania - A Charming Mediterranean port - Arrived On the Emerald Princess cruise ship
The old port

Santorini

Santorini is a magical isle – it is in the air, the fresh breezes from the expansive seas surrounding this volcanic island.  Interestingly, the volcano actually “blew its top,” creating the bay on the north side of the island where your yacht will anchor.

Also, Santorini offers the famous red, black, and grey volcanic stone beaches (no sand beaches), an archeological dig, top-class resorts/spas, and a genuine volcanic caldera.

Famous Oia Town

Top of the list is the amazing sunset view to be enjoyed from the one-of-a-kind village of Oia, with brilliant white stone houses and resorts climbing up the hillside from sea to the mountain top.  Also, arriving yacht passengers enjoy a fantastic view of Oia when approaching the anchorage. Santorini offers an atmosphere and an ambiance unmatched elsewhere – but don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Source: Ann from N&J Senior Charter Broker

Santorini Caldera - Emerald Princess Cruise ship in the Mediterranean
Santorini Caldera

Mykonos, Greece

The Island of Mykonos is known worldwide as the party Isle and will not disappoint, but there is so much more to warrant a two-night stop.  There, Mykonos offers a plethora of beautiful, sandy beaches – some with beach clubs, restaurants, and bars, some quiet and restful, and a windsurfer’s paradise at the northside (reliably windy) Ftelia Beach.

Source: Ann from N&J Senior Charter Broker

Epidaurus, Greece

At the port of Epidaurus, Greece, hop ashore to discover the ancient site of Epidaurus, renowned as a healing sanctuary. Its 4th century BCE theatre is breathtaking and acoustically so perfect that even today, 13,000 spectators can view performances without any amplification.

Source: Darin from Andante Travels

Israel

Although Israel might not be the first destination that pops into your mind for your next cruise adventure, it’s a beautiful country with warm weather year-round.  Indeed, it makes Isreal a great cruise destination.

Not only does the Mediterranean country boast sunny blue skies and clear, calm waters, but there is much to do during port excursion days.  For example, how many times have you not wanted to get off the ship because port excursions aren’t exciting enough?  To be sure, your port days in Israel will be anything but boring.

Admittedly, since Israel is such a small country, you can cover a lot of ground from the moment your ship docks for the day.  Also, if you just want a relaxing beach day, Ashdod and Haifa boast beautiful shores to relax on. Or, if sightseeing is more your thing, from your port stop at Haifa or Ashdod, you can find yourself walking the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and standing in front of the historic Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem.

Religious Areas

You can visit the biblical birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem or float in the salty Dead Sea waters. If you’re more of the cosmopolitan city type, head to Tel Aviv and discover what this city that never sleeps is all about. Explore the prominent white architecture and eat your way through hummus and shawarma in the Carmel Market. Gone are the days of boring excursion trips. From the cruise ports in Israel, you can discover a lot of history, beauty, and vibrant cities, all within a few hour’s drives.

To be sure, the easiest way to ensure you get to all the sites you want to see and still make it back to your ship in time is to take a cruise excursion tour that provides pick-ups and drop-offs at the port get set with your ship’s arrival time and departure times.

Source: Shira from Tourist Isreal

Have I forgotten a port in the Mediterranean?  If so, please comment below, and I’ll get it included!

Rick

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