Destination Immersion

Seven Ports We Can't Wait to Visit in 2021

Thursday, November 19, 2020
By Azamara

2021 is going to be a fantastic year. We’ll be cruising the seas once again — exploring the world and the cultures that make it so special with you. 2020 was a year that many of us stayed home, and wanderlust has undoubtedly set in. In 2021, the time will once again be right to unleash our inner explorers! We’ll be visiting plenty of ports for the first time and returning to some old favorites. Today, we want to share a few of the ports we can’t wait to visit with you in 2021. 

Milos, Greece

A colorful traditional fishermen's village on the island of Milos, Cyclades, Greece

One of our 2021 Maiden Ports, Milos is a true work of art — and we’re not just saying that because the iconic Venus de Milo was discovered here in 1820. Striking and picturesque, Milos is known for the often surreal, always colorful rock formations that paint its coastline. It’s also home to more beaches than any other Cycladic island — making it perfect for sun chasers who’d want nothing more than to spend the day with their toes in the warm sand. But the sand isn’t just for relaxing. In fact, at Paliochori beach, it’s also for cooking, literally! The Sirocco Restaurant, located near the beach, serves up incredible traditional food and fresh seafood. But that’s not all, they also offer “Volcanic Meals” — lamb and fish dishes cooked in an oven under the sands! These dishes are cooked for hours at a temperature of 102°, making for a meal that’s as memorable as it is delicious. Best of all, you can have your meal delivered directly to the beach.  

But there’s more to Milos than the beaches. There’s also plenty of the Greece you love — from the sun-kissed architecture to the cobblestone streets, unforgettable cuisine, and breathtakingly blue water — all with the added benefit of fewer people. History buffs will enjoy the Archaeological Museum of Melos, as well as the Ancient Theatre and Catacombs, which transport you back to the 1st century. 

Intimate and off the beaten path, Milos brings the best of Greece to life. 

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to Milos.

Odessa, Ukraine 

Panoramic view of Opera and Ballet Theater in Odessa, Ukraine.

Considered by many to be the pearl of the Black Sea, Odessa is vibrant and striking. It’s a city that embraces decadence. Strolls along Prymorsky Boulevard (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and other tree-lined streets are rewarded with picture-perfect panoramas, world-class culinary stops, and impressive architecture. Want to mix impressive sights with retail therapy? Stop by the Passazh Shopping Arcade — an incredibly preserved example of the Neo-Renaissance architecture popular here in the 19th-century. 

And while Odessa is awash in classic beauty, it also doesn’t take itself too seriously. After all, this is the city that turned a statue  of Vladimir Lenin into a monument of everybody’s favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader! 

Foodies may not think of Odessa when considering dining destinations, but a stop at the City Food Market will change that in a hurry. This two-story building is dedicated to all things delicious. You’ll find something for every appetite here; pho soup from Vietnam, gyros from Greece, seafood, ribs, even gourmet hot dogs! And yes, vegetarians are well represented here as well (check out Vegano Hooligano). 

Art lovers will adore the Museum of Odesa Modern Art, where years of political strife gave way to the masterpieces on display here. There’s also the Odesa Opera & Ballet Theatre (where you can come for the architecture, but stay for an unforgettable performance).

Potemkin Steps in Odesa, Ukraine

And, of course, no trip to Odessa is complete without paying a visit to the famous Potemkin Steps for sweeping harbor views, followed by a quick stop in Istanbul Park to relax. 

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to Odessa

Batumi, Georgia 

A city square illuminated at night in Batumi. Georgia

If you want to add a little color to your Black Sea adventure, a stop in Batumi is essential. And we’re not just talking about charm and effortless charisma — we’re talking about a literal rainbow of colors! When the sun goes down over Batumi, the city is illuminated in a sea of red, yellow, green, and blue lights. We recommend making your way to Miracle Park for a ride on the Ferris wheel for the best view of this visual feast. Here, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Alphabet Tower, the Chacha Tower, and the Statue of Love — a 7-meter tall sculpture inspired by the whirlwind romance story of Ali and Nino. 

And while this paints a picture of a modern, perhaps even futuristic, metropolis, Batumi is also a city with a fascinating history that reveals itself the more time you spend here. Pay a visit to the Gonio, a fortress built by the Romans during the Hellenistic period. An impressive example of Roman-Byzantine military architecture, this fortress was a strategic stronghold for the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans throughout the centuries. It’s also believed to be the final resting place of the Apostle Matthew. You can learn all about this 47,000 sq meter fortress when you join us on shore excursion for an in-depth tour with local experts. 

Green trees at the Batumi Botanical Garden in Batumi, Georgia

You can also join us on a journey through the beautiful Batumi Botanical Garden (among the most extensive botanical gardens on Earth), followed by a visit to the Nobel Brothers Batumi Technological Museum. Or, simply spend your time walking through the palm trees that line Batumi Boulevard, taking time to stop in the local cafes and bars for a glimpse at what daily life is like for the Georgians that call Batumi home. 

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to Batumi

Antalya, Turkey

Panoramic view of Antalya seacoast and beach with a paraglider in the background.

When a port has a nickname like “Paradise on Earth”, it’s hard not to include it on a list of highlights for 2021. And Antalya has certainly earned this distinction. The gateway to the Turkish Riviera, Antalya seamlessly blends modern sophistication with timeless beauty — all while mixing in beautiful beaches, rich culinary experiences, and sweeping views. 

Hadrian’s Gate in the old city of Antalya, Turkey​h

Start with a stroll through the old city of Kaleiçi, where winding lanes are lined with Ottoman houses restored and converted to boutiques and cafes. You’ll find here, constructed in 130 AD to commemorate a visit from the Roman Emperor. If you’re approaching Kaleiçi from the east, you won’t miss this gate. After all, it forms the main entrance to the old city. 

To the southwest, you’ll find Karaalioğlu, a park that blooms with a vast array of flowers and makes a perfect spot for photos. This is also where you’ll spot the historic Hıdırlık Kalesi, a 14-meter tall tower built in the 1st century.

If you’re a museum lover, you must spend some time in the Antalya Museum, which covers everything from the Stone and Bronze ages right through to Byzantium. Of particular note are the excavated sculptures, including the iconic Three Graces and Dancing Woman, both of which were discovered in the ancient Greek city of Perga.

No visit to Antalya is complete without a Turkish kebap, and there’s no better place to satisfy your hunger than Dönerciler Çarşısı. Nearly this entire street is lined with kebap shops offering up all sorts of flavors and styles of kebap, as well as seafood, regional pizzas, lamb, stew, and more. 

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to Antalya

St. Petersburg, Russia 

The Cathedral of Our Savior on Spilled Blood with reflection

We’ve missed the breeze of the world’s great cities this year, which is why we’re thrilled to be returning to St. Petersburg in 2021. The Venice of the North, the City of the Tsars — you can sense the revolutionary and artistic spirit that’s alive and well in St. Petersburg the minute you arrive here. 

In many ways, St. Petersburg feels like a city frozen in time. The majestic architecture of its baroque palaces and cathedrals, the sprawling plazas, and charming canals evoke a well-earned feeling of romance. It’s easy to lose yourself in St. Petersburg’s historic heart (A UNESCO World Heritage site), and even easier to find your passions.

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia

Art aficionados will find an endless sea of culture at the Hermitage. This immaculate museum is home to over three million items, a collection which began with Catherine the Great. Making your way through the Hermitage is like uncovering the most comprehensive look at the art of Western Europe on Earth; everything from the mummies of Egypt to the masterworks of Picasso is on display here. But while the Hermitage may be the most prominent museum in St. Petersburg, it’s far from the only one. The Russian Museum focuses exclusively on Russian art from throughout history, the Street Art Museum collects a wide assortment of murals and mixed-media installations, and the Anna Akhmatova Museum celebrates the life and times of St Petersburg’s most famous 20th-century poet. 

For an excellent overview of the city, we recommend joining us on the Panoramic St. Petersburg shore excursion. This excursion highlights the history, landmarks, and architecture that make St. Petersburg so distinct. You’ll visit the Winter Palace, cross the Neva River, and drive Nevsky Prospect, Russia’s most famous — and beautiful — street. 

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to St. Petersburg

Tallinn, Estonia

Alexander Nevsky cathedral and St Mary's Cathedral at sunset in Tallinn, Estonia

There’s an interesting history in Tallinn. Over the years, the city has been under Swedish, Danish, German, Polish, and Russian influence. And the result has been an assortment of styles and culture now that it stands on its own as Estonia’s proud capital city. Nestled on the Baltic shores, Tallinn is a beautiful mix of medieval streets and modern cultures. There’s a fantastic gastronomy scene here, and a stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of Vanalinn (Old Town) is like a walk through a fairy tale.   

Narrow street in the old town of Tallinn, Estonia

If you’re looking for a bite to eat where local foodies flock, make your way to the Rotermann Quarter. Generally considered to be Tallinn’s premier shopping and dining district, Rotermann is home to incredible restaurants. It also has its fair share of shops full of baked goods and cheeses to enjoy later on. For something a little different, head to Telliskivi Creative City. A wonderfully revitalized neighborhood, this is now — as the name implies — a creative hub full of exciting restaurants, fashion-forward outfitters, and funky concept stores. Stop in at Lendav Taldrik for an assortment of Asian fusion dishes, or Fotografiska for a meal that emphasizes fresh local produce and a “From leaf to root, from nose to tail” philosophy. 

If your heart is set on finding a good cafe, join us on the Cafe Culture of Old Tallinn shore excursion. Or sample local brews — while also learning the vital role beer plays in Estonian culture — on the Beer Tasting in Tallinn shore excursion.  

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to Tallinn

Sinop, Turkey

Lighthouse at Inceburun, Sinop. Turkey

Another 2021 Maiden Port, Sinop is a Turkish town with an unmistakable cosmopolitan air. This is the kind of port you’ll want to explore on foot, and, in fact, you can when you join us on the Highlights of Sinop shore excursion. This trek through Turkey’s northernmost city will take you to the Sinop Archeological Museum — home to an impressive collection of unearthed treasures. Then, it’s off to the Ethnography Museum in the Ottoman Arslan Torun mansion before visiting Alaaddin Camii, a historic mosque constructed in 1267. This shore exclusion then concludes with a walk along Sinop’s Ancient City Walls, constructed in 2000 BC.

Waterfall in Sinop, Turkey

A little beyond the city, you can explore Erfelek Tatlica Selaleleri Tabiat Parki. This park is perfect for hiking, and your walk will be rewarded with a chance to view the Turkish wilderness in all its glory — including 28 waterfalls. Be sure to pack your camera, you’ll want photos for your scrapbook! 

Perched above the Black Sea, it should come as little surprise that Sinop’s seafood is both abundant and delicious. To experience a Turkish meal like a local, pay a visit to a balik evi. In these fish houses, you can sample fresh-from-the-sea delicacies, including the beloved anchovy — which you’ll find everywhere, from soups to sweets. Still hungry? Try an order of manti (stuffed Turkish ravioli, often served with a heaping helping of yogurt).    

Learn more about our upcoming voyages to Sinop

Hindsight is 2020, but the Future is 2021! 

Is travel in your plans for 2021? Start planning your adventures today by checking out our 2021 sailings

What ports are you looking forward to visiting with us in 2021? Let us know on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And to stay up to date on all things Azamara, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter

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