A cruise through the Mediterranean is a great opportunity to explore some of the most culture-rich places in Europe. Discover the majesty of Italy’s coast and the sophistication of the South of France on short day trips to islands near the ports. 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 that imprisoned the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask, made famous by Alexandre Dumas’s novel. Walk through the fort's Roman cistern room, and admire artifacts recovered from 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 unique 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 water bus 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 souvenir 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 on your Italian cruise. Capri is known as the “Island of Love” and is considered 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.