Five top Mediterranean ports

Headshot of Stephen Scourfield
Stephen ScourfieldThe West Australian
The port of Barcelona and Norwegian Epic.
Camera IconThe port of Barcelona and Norwegian Epic. Credit: Steve McKenna/Steve McKenna

The Mediterranean in summer is hard to beat. Except, perhaps, in the spring and autumn “shoulder seasons”, when it’s cooler and there are fewer visitors.

The team at Allianz Travel Insurance has been crunching the numbers and come up with a top five Mediterranean cruise ports . . .

Norwegian Epic at the port of Barcelona.
Camera IconNorwegian Epic at the port of Barcelona. Credit: Steve McKenna

Barcelona

This bustling Catalan city bursts with energy. It’s ideal for ship excursions, but spontaneous sightseeing is easy too . . . think architecture, tapas bars and cafes. A spokesperson for the Allianz Travel Insurance says: “From the port, take the shuttle bus into the heart of town, where you can walk to most of the sights. Highlights include the Picasso Museum, Santa Maria del Mar church, La Sagrada Familia cathedral and La Rambla. The shopping here is also a pleasant pursuit, offering everything from Spanish olives to designer clothing.”

Find Catalan cuisine in Barre Gotic, the Gothic quarter — salted cod salad and tomato bread are two of the local specialties.

The ancient Colosseum in Rome at sunset
Camera IconThe ancient Colosseum in Rome at sunset Credit: LRTimelapse 5.1.1 - UNLICENSED,/kbarzycki - stock.adobe.com

Rome

It can be challenging to explore in a short port visit, so prioritise your wish list and hit the high spots. Our Allianz Travel Insurance spokesperson says: “The port is a short walk to the train station, where you can take a 45 to 80-minute ride on the Civitavecchia Rome train. A few highlights include the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Cathedral in Vatican, but try to also escape the crowds and wonder through the intimate piazzas.”

Make time for genuine espressos and cappuccinos, authentic pizzas and gelato.

Koningsdam Aerial Venice
Camera IconKoningsdam Aerial Venice Credit: Michel Verdure/©2016 Michel Verdure - www.verd

Venice

There’s a real fairytale quality to Venice, this ancient city of cupolas, canals and bridges. The spokesperson points out: “From your ship, you can take a five-minute monorail ride to the Grand Canal or take a 30-minute express boat ride to St Mark’s Square. Highlights include St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and museums that house many masterpieces.”

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA - OCTOBER 21: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced.) The roofs and temples of the old town are seen from the city wall on October 21, 2018 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik is one of the oldest towns at the Adriatic Sea, and it is a popular destination of tourists and cruisers. (Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)
Camera IconDUBROVNIK, CROATIA - OCTOBER 21: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced.) The roofs and temples of the old town are seen from the city wall on October 21, 2018 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik is one of the oldest towns at the Adriatic Sea, and it is a popular destination of tourists and cruisers. (Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images) Credit: Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Dubrovnik

Playwright George Bernard Shaw said: “If you want to see heaven on Earth, come to Dubrovnik, because the beauty there will leave anyone breathless.” High praise indeed. Think cobblestone streets, monumental walls and fountains.

The main attractions are in Old Town and cruise ships will either take guests there directly or dock at the industrial port, which is a 15-minute taxi or bus ride away.

The Allianz spokesperson says: “Highlights of the city include Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque churches, as well as a menagerie of art galleries, jewellery shops and cafes. After seeing the attractions on the main street, Stradun, explore down the side streets.”

Santorini, Greece
Camera IconSantorini, Greece Credit: Thierry Dehove

Santorini

“The Greek island of Santorini will enchant you with its views of whitewashed houses sitting on clifftops, surrounded by the cobalt blue of the Aegean Sea.” Indeed it will. Pulling in on a cruise ship at Santorini and looking up has been a highlight of my moments in the Med. There are blue-domed churches, wandering donkeys and plenty of places to eat outdoors.

allianztravelinsurance.com

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails