A cruise through the Mediterranean is a great opportunity to explore some of the most culture-rich places in Europe. France and Italy are arguably two of the most popular cruise destinations, but there is so much more to the majesty of Italy's coast and sophistication of the South of France just a short trip day-trip away from port. Here are our top five recommended day-trips to explore during your next Mediterranean cruise.
Cruise into the Cote d'Azur and board a quick 15-20 minute ferry ride off the shore of Cannes, France to find this Mediterranean marvel. Steal away from the famed glitz and glamour of Cannes, Nice and Monaco to this serene island. Here, you will find Fort Royal, a 17th century military fort and prison that held famous captives, including the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask made famous by Alexandre Dumas's novel of the same name. Walk through the fort's Roman cistern room, and admire artifacts recovered from ancient shipwrecks. The island also boasts beautiful beaches and unparalleled views of the French Riviera.
This neighboring island of Île Sainte-Marguerite offers rich history and amazing photo opportunities. The island is home to an ancient, fortified monastery, as well as the monastery of the Lérins Abbey, which is still active and populated by more than 30 monks today. Take a break from the excitement of your cruise ship and attend a church service or listen to the monks sing and pray for a truly otherworldly experience. Afterwards, stroll through the surrounding grape vines and sample local wine made by the monks residing on the island.
While docked in Venice, take a waterbus to Murano: this island is home to world-renowned Venetian glass. Here you can visit one of the many historic glass factories and watch the glass-blowing masters at work. Make sure to stop in a glass store, the stunning glass artwork can be taken home as a souvenier of your cruise vacation.
A short boat ride from Murano is the beautiful and colorful island of Burano, known for its hand-made Italian lace. The bright colors of the buildings and the incredible craftsmanship of the lace have made the island popular amongst artists, tourists, and jet-setters alike. Walking through this small island, you will find delicious food and one-of-a-kind gifts.
Off the coast of Naples, lies the small island of Capri. This is an absolute must. Capri is nown as the “Island of Love” and hailed as one of the most beautiful places to see during a Mediterranean cruise. The small island has been a popular destination for the rich and famous for centuries. Make sure to check out the Blue Grotto, a picturesque cave with an opening to the sea that can only be reached in a small rowboat. The turquoise reflection of the sun onto the water will truly take your breath away.