There is no other place on earth quite like the Mediterranean, especially during the summer months. With high temperatures and a mix of historical sites, beaches, fresh food and, of course, a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere, it always has been and always will be my favorite place to cruise to in the summer.
I love the feeling I get in places like Italy. Picture the scene: It’s a hot, sunny day. You are enjoying a chilled drink while taking in the beauty of a destination like Pisa. There are wonderful little restaurants and cafés lining the street, and two local gentleman are playing music for adoring tourists.
Sounds wonderful, right? Maybe I am a little biased because Italy is one of my favorite countries, but I do get the same feeling in other destinations like Spain, Croatia and France.
If there was one particular destination that really did stand out in my mind, it would be Villefranche on the French Riviera. I cruised here back in the summer of 2009, and what a beautiful place it is. Very small, but very picturesque.
There are some wonderful Villefranche shore excursions you can enjoy while you’re there. There was a small local market and a wonderful marina front with several bars and cafés. And for those who want to enjoy the day while doing very little yet want to take in some wonderful scenery, then this is the port for you.
It is ideally located for tours to Monte Carlo, Eze, Cannes and Nice, so if you did want something more exciting, then you have numerous options.
Also in the Mediterranean, Croatia is a place I admired during Summer 2012. The temperature was nothing below scorching, but a stop here and there for chilled refreshments got us through the blistering heat. Our call was to Dubrovnik, and it turned out to be another place I would fall for.
Taking a walking tour of Old Town really was like going back in time. The old and grand buildings were incredibly impressive, and the whole place was very clean! The pavement was clearly cleaned regularly; it was like a town within a town, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. You must take a walk through the city walls if you visit. Sadly, I didn’t have quite enough time to do this but have been told the views are quite incredible. It’s a whole other way to experience the Old Town.
I visited Venice on the same cruise, and it, too, was another scorching day in port. I’m not sure I could describe just how wonderful Venice is and do it justice. You really have to visit for yourself to appreciate how beautiful this place is!
It was very busy during our visit, but we managed a Venice Gondola ride with minimal fuss and minimal waiting time. My friend and I also enjoyed a delicious pizza on the waterfront, but it was quite pricey — what more could we expect, though? We were in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, after all!
One thing I would recommend here is some sort of organized Venice tour because the lines for the water taxis can get excessively long. Most tours allow you free time, so you get the best of both worlds — along with the added bonus of not having to wait in line for a taxi!
I have only mentioned three ports, but I hope you get the idea of why I love the Mediterranean so much. It is alive with intrigued visitors. The food is fresh and traditional, and I love the smells. Small touches like seeing older Italian gentlemen playing board games in the street tops off the experience. It’s all the little personal things you enjoy, combined with wonderful sites and experiences, that make Mediterranean excursions just perfect.