History. It's everywhere you turn. Down narrow, cobble-stoned streets, atop rugged mountain cliffs just off the decks of your cruise ship. Escape all the pressures of civilization without missing out on any of its pleasures.
Your days ashore are invitations to adventure, education and the pure pleasure of seeing things you've only read about before. Visit castles, museums and galleries. Explore ancient cities through winding canals. From glorious gardens and gilded theaters to famous boulevards and fabled landmarks, you're in for a picture-perfect experience.
Though once ruled by Venetian doges, Turkish sultans and French invaders, today's Corfiot citizen is as Greek as they come. Marvel at the 17th-century icons in St. George's Church, the medieval Palace of Phrourio or the 19th-century Achilleion Palace. The greenest of the Greek Isles, Corfu also boasts thriving vineyards and olive orchards among its rugged mountains.
This typical Mediterranean town is located at the end of Kotor Bay, which sits on the Montenegrin coast in the southern Adriatic. Due to the history of Kotor, it is the oldest town in Montenegro and is now a historical monument protected by the state. This town of Kotor has belong to many countries, around 3 B.C. the town was colonized by the Greeks, and later was an affiliate of Roman and Byzantine empires. In 1797, this town became a vital naval base under Austria's possession. In 1918, after World War II, this town became the property of Yugoslavia and is now included in the constituent republic of Montenegro. Kotor has been a 16th century cathedral, town walls, and a medieval fort.
Marseille is France's second largest city, but it often goes unnoticed and unvisited by travelers... They are missing out on one of France's most diverse cities, both in terms of people and activities... Today, Marseille faces the same problems as any growing city. Crime is an issue, as is racial tension between the native French population and the arriving North African immigrants. Twenty-five percent of the population in Marseille is of North African descent, and that number is growing. But the city has come to embrace its newfound diversity, and is eager to put its best foot forward to attract a piece of the ever-growing tourism industry.
The narrow passageways of Mykonos are a twisted maze of whitewashed houses, miniature churches, lazy windmills, and tiny cafes serving up Greek specialties. Sample the freshest squid or lobster just snatched from the blue Aegean Sea, or shop for typical flokati rugs.
One of the most spectacular bays in the world lies in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. Visit the San Carlo Opera House and the cathedral of San Janarious, or tour the ancient ruins in the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
With its steep volcanic flanks looming straight up from the sea, and the tiny white village of Thira clinging high atop the cliffs, Santorini is perhaps the most breathtaking and legendary of all the Greek Isles. To the south is Akrotiri, where recent Minoan excavations support the theories that Santorini might be the fabled lost continent of Atlantis.
From Livorno (Leghorn), your path leads through the rolling green hills of Tuscany to Florence, the flower of the Renaissance. The creative explosion happened right here, with masterworks by Michelangelo, Brunelleschi and Botticelli now landmarks of daily life. Ufizzi, Academmia, il Duomo: the art treasures of a golden age are commonplace to blessed Florentines.
Once called Constantinople, the former capital of the Byzantine Empire is the only city in the world to straddle two continents: Europe and Asia. This is the Golden Horn, the door between East and West, and your first vision of its domes and minarets is unforgetable. Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Sultan treasures in Topkapi Palace await - as does the Grand Bazaar, laden with carpets, beaten brass and spices from afar.
One of Europe's leading cities, Amsterdam's rings of canals and traditional Dutch architecture are unmistakable. Rich in art, history and culture, Amsterdam is home to the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank's house, and the Rijksmuseum, which houses many works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Piraeus is the seaport for Athens, the capital of western civilization, which boasts a fantastic mix of classical ruins and vivacious modern life. In a single day, you can climb the hill of the Acropolis to wonder at the Parthenon, join the lively Athenians in Constitution Square, and then find a welcoming taverna for some spirited bizouki music, plenty of ouzo to drink, and with luck, energetic Greek dancing.
Barcelona is the cultural heartland of Spain, yet its first language is Catalan, the native tongue of the proudly independent Catalonia region. Stroll down the shady, tree-lined Ramblas between street musicians and elegant bistros. Then perhaps visit the venerable Gothic cathedral, Picasso Museum or enjoy the architectural genius of Antonio Gaudi's Church of the Holy Family.
Despite the primeval desert that surrounds it, spirited Dubai has spent its oil income on modern architecture based on soaring Islamic spires. Explore the souk bazaars for gold and silks, Persian and Afghani rugs and more. And be sure to visit the Juneira Mosque.
Jewel of the Dalmatian coast, girded in ninth-century walls that rise sheerly from the water's edge, Dubrovnik is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Within the ancient fortifications is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and a striking Renaissance boulevard called the "Stradun."
The Plaza de Merced, cathedrals, and museums of Malaga make it a remarkable site for studying the history and culture of Spain.The coastline that borders the city is magnificent, and it creates a wonderful backdrop to the ancient land.
The birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, is nearby on this island - the third largest in Europe. Explore what is now called the Medieval Museum, a restored castle where Richard the Lionheart married in 1191. Visit a mosque, browse the local artisan shops and take in the natural and architectural delights of Cyprus.
Lisbon is many cities, from the cobbled alleys of the Alfama district to the broad Parisian style avenues at its heart. View it all from the heights of St. George's Castle. Belem's Monument to the Discoveries recalls the seafaring past, while nearby Sintra's storybook palaces, and the seaside resort of Caiscais, have different tales to tell.
The white cliffs of Dover are famous in song and story. From Dover you can visit nearby Canterbury or take a full-day excursion to see the sights of London, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and more.
Known as the "Queen of the Riviera" this cosmopolitan resort city is abundant in boutiques, nightclubs and museums, including the fascinating Chagal Museum. Browse along the elegant beachside Promenade des Anglais. Or, venture further along the Cote d'Azur to witness the galleries of Vence, Monte Carlo's glamorous casino, or Monaco's royal allure.
Legend has it that Apollo blessed this isle with sunshine and beauty. True to the myths, the "Island of Roses" is rich in magnificent scenery and umbrella-lined beaches. Take an excursion to Lindos, where high on a hill rises an ancient acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena. You will also want to see the medieval Old Town, once home to the Crusading Knights of St. John, and tour the Grand Master's Palace, an Italian restoration famed for its superb mosaic floors.
The port of Civitavecchia is the gateway to The Eternal City, where all roads lead. Mad traffic careens past monuments of the great civilizations of the past. You will want to see it all: the soaring inspiration of St. Peter's, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel; the flow of life along the Spanish Steps, the Coliseum, the Via Veneto and Trevi Fountain. Be sure to leave time for la dolce vita in one of the piazzas.
The Knights of St. John made this their base in the Mediterranean Sea. The castles, cathedrals and fortresses they built still are their remaining legacy. But Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians and Arabs preceded them and left their marks as well. Take a drive to M'dina, the former capital, and wonder at Europe's third-largest dome in Mostra.
Venice enchants you from your first glimpse as your ship glides through the Grand Canal. A world power in the middle ages, its affluence lives on in its beautiful old buildings like those surrounding Piazza San Marco. Be sure not to leave without a romantic ride along the canals in a gondola.