Updated April 2018

 

With a cruise rapidly becoming the most desired holiday option for British holiday makers, cruise lines are expanding their horizons and sending their ships to new destinations.

Europe continues to be an extremely popular cruise choice, showcasing history-enriched cultures, breath-taking landscapes, and exciting culinary experiences. The European seas are lined with fascinating cities, and some of the most alluring coastlines in the world.

With more ships than ever based in Europe, there has never been a better time to delve into this captivating part of the world. There are so many cities to explore that it is hard to choose a favourite, here's our top 9:

Barcelona

It is hard to fault the Spanish way of life - sipping sangrias on sun-drenched beaches, and eating fresh tapas on the terrace of an architectural marvel.

Set on the east coast, Barcelona dominates this intriguing country. A city bursting with unusual buildings, exotic restaurants, and an energetic nightlife, combined with a cosmopolitan lifestyle and quintessentially Spanish flare.

 

 

A visit here on a cruise allows you to explore all of what this enticing city has to offer. Delve into the mysterious history behind the Sagrada Familia, spend an afternoon in awe of the iconic Montserrat, catch some rays on the beautiful beaches, or spend the day simply exploring this city by foot.

Described in one word: Cosmopolitan

Top thing to do: Try and catch a football game at the iconic Barcelona Football Stadium

Favourite food to try: Tapas

See our Barcelona cruises.

Florence

Small enough to explore on foot, Florence is an intriguing city that is sure to captivate every visitor. Its history-enriched architecture combined with modern art galleries and state-of-the-art restaurants harmonises old with new.

 

 

Known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Florence is a true representative of Italian culture. With art and architecture in abundance, you are never short of breath-taking views. The centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lined with famous cathedrals and some of the world’s most famous churches.

A visit here gives you the chance to experience Italy at its finest - gorge on renaissance art work, listen to a traditional opera performance, or indulge on some fresh pizza and locally produced wine.

Described in one word: Intriguing

Top thing to do: Visit the Palazzo Vecchio

Favourite food to try: Fresh bread with olive oil

See our Florence cruises.

 

Rome

Oh Rome, glorious Rome - a city like nowhere else in the world, it certainly leaves a memorable impact.

One of the most photographed cities in the world, there is no shortage of commanding sights and landmarks. Like one big open-air museum, Rome will seduce you with its architectural masterpieces, famous artwork, and extensive shopping.

 

 

As well as bursting with history, Rome also boasts modern piazzas bursting with attractive restaurants, ice-cream parlours, and quaint cafes. The perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon to marvel at everything around you.

Visit the awe-inspiring Colosseum, see Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel, or toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain.

Described in one word: Historic

Top thing to do: Catch a glimpse of Napoleon

Favourite food to try: Gelatae

See our Rome cruises.

St Petersburg

The dazzling city of St Petersburg holds more history than you can imagine, and this is apparent at every turn. With its winding canals, breath-taking cathedrals, and ancient bridges, it is known as the Venice of the North for good reason.

 

 

As you walk around you are struck by magnificent buildings and cathedrals that belong in fairy tales, all separated by romantic canals. There are so many sights to take in, you'll never want to put your camera down.

Be taken back in history on a visit to The Winter Palace in the Hermitage Museum, climb the 300 steps up St Isaac’s Cathedral to take in a panoramic view of the city, or dance under The Peterhof Fountains.

Described in one word: Inspirational

Top thing to do: Visit The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Favourite food to try: Stolle Pie

See our St Petersburg cruises.

Dubrovnik

Looming out of the clear Mediterranean waters, the enchanting city of Dubrovnik holds history as intriguing as its sights. Known as 'The Pearl of Adriatic', there are few places that are as enthralling as this city.

 

 

Named a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old Town comprises tranquil harbours lined with ancient buildings and stony roads. Every walkway leads to another incredible view, and you are sure to be charmed by everything your eyes cross.

Don your walking shoes and stroll around the ancient quarter to learn all about the city, take a ride on the Dubrovnik Cable Car, or visit the magnificent Sponza Palace. After taking in all these sights, tucked in the narrow streets find quaint cafes and restaurants for you to sit and reflect on this magical part of the world.

Described in one word: Stunning

Top thing to do: Visit the Church of St Blaise

Favourite food to try: Oysters

See our Dubrovnik cruises.

Venice

Even the word Venice creates a near-instant sense of serenity. A city where roads are canals, cafes outnumber shops, and taking a gondola ride is classed as taking a taxi.

 

 

Home to over 500 historic bridges and a maze of cobbled streets set between pleasant canals, Venice is a city of intense uniqueness. Whether you are on the water or walking the streets there is no shortage of unimaginable views.

St Mark's Square will delight with its ancient buildings, al-fresco restaurants, and edges lined with boutique shops and cafes. From here you can branch off to the small walkways that are home to museums, galleries, and market stalls.

Described in one word: Alluring

Top thing to do: Take a gondola ride

Favourite food to try: Pasta

See our Venice cruises.

Rhodes

A trip to Rhodes will take you back in time to a land of ancient wonders. The oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, it is home to history-enriched architecture and aged ruins.

 

 

This picturesque island takes you on a journey of discovery as you stroll around the cobbled streets and marvel at everything it has to offer. The major sights dominate the land, including the pink-domed 16th century Mosque of Suleyman, and the Byzantime Museum.

Whether you want to explore the sights, search the local markets, or indulge in some local cuisine, Rhodes is a destination of great exploration.

Described in one word: Mysterious

Top thing to do: Soak up some sun in St Pauls Bay

Favourite food to try: Greek salad

See our Rhodes cruises.

Monte Carlo

A place exuding wealth and luxury, Monte Carlo is a haven of lavish yacht harbours, upscale restaurants, and enticing beaches.

 

 

One of the most glamorous addresses in the world, this pristine land allows dreams to come true when you experience the extravagant lifestyle that is common here. After a day spent soaking up the sun on one of the lavish beaches, or spending your pennies in the chic shopping malls, you can experience the incredible nightlife on offer. This includes exciting casinos and sleek water-side bars.

If you want to delve further than the glitzy town of Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes are a taxi or train ride away, allowing you to see even more of this impressive part of the world: The French Riviera.

Described in one word: Luxurious

Top thing to do: Tour the Grand Prix track

Favourite food to try: Macaroons 

See our Monte Carlo cruises.

Amsterdam

A city that brings pictures to life, Amsterdam is vibrant from morning to night. With streets lined with quaint cafes, shops, and bars combined with the charming canals overshadowed by grand bridges, Amsterdam is the hidden gem of Europe.

 

 

Although not a huge city, there is a lot to see and do. From museums, galleries, and biking tours, you will be able to experience all the fantastic things to do that Amsterdam has to offer. A truly special option is a visit to the floating market, where you can haggle for fresh flowers, local food, and unique artwork.

Even with the extensive range of things to do, Amsterdam is a relaxing city that has a serene atmosphere and boasts a truly relaxed way of life.

Described in one word: Cultural

Top thing to do: Visit the House of Anne Frank

Favourite food to try: Cheese

See our Amsterdam cruises.


By Sally Grimes