When people say ‘Mediterranean’, you probably think of the really popular tourist cities like Athens and Rome. But alongside the tried and tested destinations, the Mediterranean has a number of hidden gems that deserve a second look, and definitely a visit or two!
With travel companies offering some fantastic Mediterranean cruise deals for the coming holiday season, there’s no better time to explore the oceans and visit new places you’ve never seen, along with some old favorites.
1) Barcelona, Spain
For some it’s a surprise to learn that Spain’s largest city is based around a port, with beaches and shopping just a short walk from the city center. Barcelona is a bustling cultural hub of museums, history, shopping, art and sights. Don’t miss a stroll down Las Ramblas – the bustling tourist street which stretches through the heart of the city, there’s plenty to do!
2) Venice, Italy
Step out of the train station or port, and instead of busy paved streets you’ll see a web of canals replacing roads. The first time you see it, it’ll take your breath away! It’s a crumbling gem floating on the sea, and there’s nowhere else in the world quite like it.
3) Dubrovnik, Croatia
This ancient city has a rich history: it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the medieval ruins found around the city are just fascinating. There’s also some amazing countryside nearby, so when you visit make sure you get out and really explore Croatia.
4) Rome, Italy
Once the capital of the ‘civilised world’, Rome has thousands of years of history embedded beneath (and alongside) its modern streets. The Coliseum stands among traffic in the city centre, and the Roman Forum is a quiet oasis of calm, away from the bustling traffic just metres away. It’s difficult to understand the stark juxtaposition of ancient history with modern life, situated side by side. You have to see it to believe it.
5) Mallorca, Spain
This is the capital of Spain, and a wonderful cosmopolitan destination full of amazing architecture, chic shops and bars, and some great outdoor activities along the coast. There’s bags of history on offer here, as the city dates back to Roman times, offering a wonderful European flavour to your visit with many art galleries, ruins, cathedrals and cafes to visit.
6) Istanbul, Turkey
Formerly known as Constantinople, Istanbul has long been known as one of the biggest shipping ports in the world, along with being a key link between the east and the west. There’s an amazing feeling to this city, with a unique blend of cultures and history making Istanbul a truly magical place to visit.
7) Athens, Greece
If you’re arriving by sea you’ll dock in Piraeus, from where you can travel the short distance of seven miles to nearby Athens. Piraeus itself, however, is an ancient port with a history in itself. Athens is over 3000 years old and has long been the heart of culture in Greece, with Roman and Byzantine influences throughout its history.
The Mediterranean with its rich history, influences of east and west, ancient Rome, and ancient Greece offers a plethora of experiences, tastes and sights for visitors. No one destination is the same, with each location offering a unique piece of history!