When you’re looking to get away somewhere exotic on a last minute cruise deal, you’ll likely find yourself drawn to the Mediterranean. This beautiful collection of countries is sure to give you the sun, sea and adventure you’re looking for on your getaway. From wholesome Mediterranean dishes to grand sun-soaked architecture, wherever you venture in the Mediterranean, you are sure to be inspired by the region’s cultural jewels of tradition, history and soul.
From the cobbled streets and gondolas of Venice to the picturesque limestone mountains of Palma, read on to find out our top 5 Mediterranean destinations to visit in 2019.
Venice is the perfect city for exploring at your own pace while taking in some of the glorious architecture around you. Let yourself get lost down some unassuming side streets, discovering quiet bridges with gondolas sailing beneath you, fountains in the heart of neighbourhood squares and quiet cafes beckoning you inside with quaint shop fronts and al fresco dining.
Travel blogger Megan from Blogger At Large told us why Venice offers the perfect Mediterranean escape.
“Venice is utterly mesmerising. Stand on any bridge across a canal and you’ll need to force yourself to stop taking photos and just watch life puddling along as locals and visitors get around on the water-filled streets. Sometimes a gondolier is singing, sometimes locals are just getting on in a hurry to get to the next dry lane.
“After that, you’ll want to head towards St Mark’s Square and listen to live music as you gaze at the historic San Marco Basilica. An amazing experience was sitting in front of one of the live stages drinking a lavish glass of wine as the musicians played Nessum Dorma. Sublime!
“One thing I totally loved in Venice was our day trip spent visiting the nearby islands of Murano and Burano where we bought Murano glass and had lunch on Burano in such a gorgeous picturesque setting that it became my screen saver for the next few weeks!”
Located on the Adriatic coast, Kotor is a coastal town of charming architecture and orange-bricked roofs surrounded by dramatic mountain landscape and turquoise waters. Quaint doesn’t even begin to describe this humble town, with cafés on every corner, Venetian palaces to marvel at and historic churches to explore.
Jessica, travel blogger from Journeys With Jessica, told us why Kotor should be on your travel bucket list this year.
“Kotor is packed full of historic charm and is fast becoming one of Montenegro's most popular destinations. Its tiny square is the focal point of the entire city, and the compact size of Kotor makes it easy to walk around on foot to cover all of the important landmarks during your short time ashore.
“I'd highly recommend taking a few hours to walk the city walls and hike up to the top; 1350 steps and a height of 260m above sea level will give you stunning views over Kotor below, but if you're visiting during summer, make sure you go as early in the day as possible as it'll get super hot (and much more crowded) if you leave it until later on.
“Surrounded by dramatic mountains and boasting ocean views as far as the eye can see, the sail into Kotor is utterly gorgeous, making it one of the most picturesque cruise ports in the Mediterranean.
“For a unique experience, don't forget to watch out for the feral cats that can be found all over the city - they're famous in Kotor and you'll get great selfies!”
With flashes of colour around every corner, Amalfi is a bright and vibrant town with soul. Explore the Amalfi coast on a breath-taking hike with stirring views of the valley stretching into the distance, or go on an Amalfi walking tour and discover the town’s assortment of boutiques, eateries and pastel-coloured villas.
Travel blogger Helene from Helene in Between recommends visiting Amalfi if you’re looking to do a little bit of everything and get a true sense of Italy while relaxing, exploring and discovering.
“Not only is Amalfi a beautiful landscape, rich with Mediterranean coastline and stunning mountain cliffs, it's also the perfect example of an Italian city. Amalfi is the quintessential place for a true vacation: lounge lazily by the sea and admire the stone villages perched on the mountain. Sip on limoncello as you take a sunset cruise around the coast. The best part about the Amalfi Coast: you can't go wrong.”
Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca
Often known as just Palma, Palma de Mallorca is the culturally-rich capital of Mallorca that’s sure to surprise and inspire you. Although Mallorca has been famous for being a party island, the city of Palma is the exception. Discover Palma’s dynamic foodie scene, marvel at world-class artworks and explore the blend of cultures evident in the warm-toned buildings that line the city’s streets.
Travel blogger Janice from Sand in My Suitcase told us what cultural gems you can discover when visiting this dynamic and vivid city.
“A famous Gothic cathedral? A royal palace you can visit? A labyrinth of cobblestone streets with cafes and alfresco restaurants galore? Welcome to Palma de Mallorca, the sophisticated capital of Mallorca!
“There's so much you can see and do in Palma's old historic district. If you're feeling active, you can rent a bicycle and pedal along the seaside Paseo Maritimo, which runs around the Bay of Palma. Oh, and let's not forget the fabulous shoe shopping. With so many great shoe stores (and reasonable prices), the city is catnip for shoeaholics - you'll definitely want to pop into those shoe stores.”
Giardini Naxos (Sicily), Italy
If you’re looking for something a little different, a visit to Giardini Naxos in Sicily is sure to deliver. Nestled between Cape Taormina and Cape Schisò, Giardini Naxos is a seaside commune that thrives on tourism. This vibrant town is popular for its 4km long beach, which is renowned for being one of the best on the island. Giardini Naxos is also known for its nightlife, with a wealth of bars and restaurants to discover. The town also has an archaeological park, perfect for those with a keen interest in history.
Travel blogger Chris from AGreekAdventure told us what makes Giardini Naxos so unique compared to the rest of Sicily.
“The whole area is a completely different lifestyle by itself. It contrasts nicely with the old traditional style of Taormina, and we loved this contradictory combination.”
The city of Taormina is just a stone’s throw away from the resort, and Chris highly recommends visiting.
“Taormina is a fascinating leisure city. It is close to Mount Etna, has fantastic beaches and a fantastic Greek theatre; a really picturesque city. We loved the views from the top and the fact you can use the cable car to get from the city to the beach in no time at all. All the city’s little fountains and the Duomo were also a pleasure to the eyes. Totally loved the gelato too!”
Travel Blogger Jules from Part-Time Passport also recommends visiting Taormina when visiting Giardini Naxos.
“Taormina is the sort of place that stays with you long after you’ve left. Quaint, cobblestone streets dotted with traditional trattorias, rugged coastal scenery, and ancient ruins overlooking the crystal-clear sea - this is the Sicily you’ve dreamed about... and it’s every bit as beautiful as it looks.
“You could easily spend your time just pottering around the maze of pretty alleyways, soaking up the atmosphere and stopping for a gelato (or two!) as you go, but there’s also plenty in Taormina to keep you entertained. The ancient Greek amphitheatre is an absolute must-see, as is Isola Bella – an idyllic little island and natural heritage site, located just off the coast. Or to escape the crowds, head up to Castelmola – a sleepy, hill-top village famous for its almond wine and unbeatable views.
“However you spend your time in Taormina, this is one unforgettable destination that you’ll want to return to again and again!”
Could a getaway to the Mediterranean be just what the doctor ordered? Check out our fantastic 2019 cruise deals and explore the Mediterranean like you’ve never seen it before.
Looking for further inspiration? Take a look at these three wonderful gems of the Mediterranean - perfect destinations for your next cruise holiday: