In Crystal Cruises®, Featured Posts, Gallivanting the Globe

DESTINATION INSIDER: THE MEDITERRANEAN LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT

Portofino, Italy

There’s Always a New View in the Mediterranean

Our destination experts are back at it, cultivating daydream-worthy European escapes filled with masterpieces and treasures that top most travelers’ bucket lists. Iconic sites like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Parthenon, Acropolis and Pompeii – some of the most famous marvels in the world that are all recognizable at a glance, even if one has only ever seen photos of them. If this is your story, be assured that no still image can replace the awe of encountering these places in person. However, if you’ve explored the Mediterranean and all of its marquis highlights extensively and think you’ve been there, done that, be equally assured that many more treasures await.

There are always new perspectives to be found on this indescribably fascinating region, with virtually every inch of seaside terrain and inland havens steeped in world-changing history. Each visit brings unique viewpoints, as well as more than a few spectacular views. Here, our team shares some of the very best of Crystal Mediterranean cruises for 2019 and beyond…

  • Port Venere, Italy
    The harbor of Port Venere, Italy (Photo courtesy of Claudius Docekal)

“Piazzas filled with coffee shops and people, monumentally important architecture and art, never-ending beach views, plenty of adventures off of nature’s beaten path – the Mediterranean is all of this and more. The only challenge is choosing which cobbled walkway to follow.” – Claudius Docekal, vice president, deployment.

1) Giardini Naxos, Sicily. This lovely little commune in southern Italy is a charmer unto itself, a beach resort town at the base of Mount Etna. It’s also your gateway to Taormina. Take the trip to the top, where shops, cafes and restaurant line the avenues and the ancient Greek Amphitheatre is a must-see. The lovely Grand Hotel Timeo is the perfect spot to soak in the sprawling views over espresso.

2) Porto Venere, Italy. Considered the “sixth” village of the famed Italian Cinque Terre, this tiny village is plucked straight from a postcard. It’s another gateway, this one to the other five of the colorful villages perched along the cliffs, and our experts recommend taking the famous “Way of Love” connecting Riomaggiore and Manarola and overlooking the sea.

3) Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. Portofino comes to mind when thinking of visiting this town, though Santa Margherita Ligure is not to be overlooked. Meander the gardens and galleries of the Villa Durazzo, or the beachside harbor and tony cafes before venturing to Portofino for lunch at Hotel Splendido and other coastal discoveries. Those looking for an active adventure can hike the hills to Portofino in about two and a half hours.

4) Koper, Slovenia. The exploration begins just a short walk from the pier, where the Old Town is fascinating and lovely. Beyond this, though, our team says trips to nearby Ljubljana and magnificent Lake Bled are a must. In the area surround Koper, you’ll find UNESCO-listed treasures, markets and the famed white horses in Lipica. Portoroz offers world-class shopping and dining and a taste of the strong Italian influence of the area.

5) Corfu, Greece. First-time visitors shouldn’t miss the Old Town, strewn with tiny merchant shops and gelaterias, and the Achilleion Palace, while returning travelers may prefer to skip the main sites and take a scenic drive to the beaches and small harbor at Palaiokastritsa. The Tavern Tripa serves a wonderful classic Greek lunch, and the views on the “quiet” side of the island are simply breathtaking.

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity sail Mediterranean cruises to the most beloved destinations in the region, as well as lesser-known spots you’ll quickly fall in love with. Book your voyage today.

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