Cruises to the Mediterranean remain an irresistible draw for so many of you; is it the variety of fantastic cities, the ancient history, the fantastic food or the ease with which you can travel around the region? Whatever the secret recipe that makes the Mediterranean such a great holiday destination, a cruise is a great way to see plenty of sights in one trip. Most cruises to the Mediterranean take in several ports across a range of countries, but there are specific cruises that just sail around Italy or Greece, for example. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday in the sun or an in-depth discovery of a particular region, we’ll have the ideal cruise for you.
Cruises to Italy can take in the romantic cities of Venice, Rome, Florence and Pisa. Sail to Venice and explore the dreamy canals and arching bridges of the lagoon city, or sail into Civitavecchia, the port for Rome and discover the Eternal City. Though the Tuscan cities of Florence and Pisa are inland, they are easily accessed by the port of Livorno. Sample delicious, rustic Italian food and full-bodied wine as you tour cities that are living museums of history: in Pisa you can create the iconic traveller photo with the Leaning Tower, or in Florence stare into the eyes of Michelangelo’s David or traverse the Ponte Vecchio.
On one of our cruises to Greece you’ll find yourself immersed in thousands of years of history, rambling along streets that have ruins on every corner. In Athens, the starting point for many Mediterranean cruises, you can climb to the top of the Acropolis and gaze down on the ancient Greek history below. Embarking on your cruise you may visit Ancient Olympia at Katakolon, where you can run on the former Olympic track, dock at the rocky Ionian island of Kefalonia, sail to Santorini and enjoy the spectacular Aegean sunsets or look out of Mykonos’ sugar-cube houses and clutch of windmills.
The highlight of most cruises to Spain is the city of Barcelona. The perfect combination of city break and beach holiday, the city is fun to explore thanks to its quirky, colourful architecture. The vibrant swirls and motifs of Gaudi’s impressive buildings can be seen inside and out at the soaring Sagrada Familia, gaudy Parc Guell and spooky Casa Batllo. Once you’ve finished pounding the pavements (the shopping is fantastic!) you’ll find plenty of tapas bars and Spanish restaurants to try, plus a gorgeous beach to relax on. The city of Palma on the island of Mallorca is another joy, with lovely beaches and glitzy harbours to discover.
The beautiful country of Croatia sits opposite Italy and has its own distinct culture, cuisine and landscape. You’ll sail through emerald green waters and enjoy the spectacularly clear sea, meaning great snorkelling. Cruises to Croatia usually call at two ports: Split and Dubrovnik. Both are uniquely interesting; Split has an enormous palace dominating its Old Town, while Dubrovnik is characterised by red-roofed buildings and city walls; it’s unsurprising that it’s a filming location for Game of Thrones!
Glamorous France is full of contrasts, from the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps to the glitzy resorts along the French Riviera. Most cruises to France call at Marseille, the country’s ‘second city’ after Paris, which has an interesting Old Port area lined with boats and fishermen selling their catch.
Best time to travel
You can cruise the Mediterranean almost all year round, as it stays mild and warm even into the winter months, when you’ll find excellent value.
Summer months from June to September are hot and sunny with a slight chance of rain, which helps to take the edge off the heat. Spring and autumn months are also pleasant and not as hot.
Mediterranean cuisine is fresh and flavoursome with lots of local produce from the land and sea, like seafood, olives, tomatoes, herbs and cheese.
Olive oil is also plentiful and you’ll find it drizzled on everything from salads to chocolate ice cream! In Italy, pizza and pasta are clear favourites while in Greece you’ll find lots of grilled meat dishes. Spain is famous for its tapas and France and Croatia are favoured for their fresh, delicate cuisine.
The Suez Canal was opened in 1869 to allow trade passage from the Mediterranean through Egypt and to the Middle East. It is 193 kilometres long.
Greece is the world leader in the production of black olives and produces the most varieties of olives than any other country. Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil on the planet, followed by Italy (442,000 tonnes) and Spain (1,110,000 tonnes).
Things to do
- Stroll around Parc Guell for fantastically colourful views over Barcelona
- Spot dolphins off the coast of Corfu on a motor boat trip around the secret coves
- Dine on super-fresh seafood in a beachside restaurant on the Cote d’Azur
- Take a leisurely sailboat cruise around the coast of Croatia
- Snorkel through the crystal-clear waters of Corsica and enjoy the views of Bonifacio
- Soar to the top of Barcelona’s unfinished Sagrada Familia
- Learn about the conservation of the loggerhead turtle in the Ionian Islands
- Board a traditional gondola for a romantic trip around Venice’s canals
- Relax on the beaches of Barceloneta with a delicious jug of sangria
- Tour the spectacular countryside in Puglia from the port of Bari
- Take a walking tour of Rome’s ancient sights, like the Roman Forum
- Tour the enormous cathedral in the capital of Palma de Mallorca
- Saddle up in Mallorca and horseback ride through the mountains of the Sierra Tramuntana
- Board a glass-bottom boat and explore the calm and clear waters around Chania harbour
- Explore the picturesque villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre by train