Cruising the high seas
Must-see destinations to visit on your next European getaway.
Europe contains the highest concentration of historical and cultural sites in the cruising world. Its huge size and diversity make it ideal for a cruise holiday. You can indulge in a smorgasbord of options on the high seas, including:
Mediterranean & Greek Isles
A cruise around the Mediterranean is an education in the greatest masterpieces in art and architecture – the statue of David in Florence, the Sagrada Família in Barcelona and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice are all here.
It isn’t any less grand in the Greek Islands. These ancient islands were featured in Greek mythological tales long before hitting the glossy pages of travel magazines and cruise itineraries.
Cruising is an ideal way to explore the idyllic beaches and white-washed villages, tossed together like jumbles of sugar cubes against the sparkling blue of the Aegean.
Russia & Iceland
St Petersburg is a colourful port city on the Baltic Sea is the cultural heart and soul of Russia – an unapologetic patron of the arts – and is in many ways more European than Russian: its canals and waterways are very Venice-like.
It’s a little different up in Iceland. A cruise here is an education in geology.
This dramatic landscape of volcanoes, geysers and lava fields was carved by glaciers and moulded by its explosive magma; there’s no other place in the world quite like it.
Yet still, its vibrant capital Reykjavik is home to an eclectic local art and music scene, as well as excellent museums, galleries and restaurants.
British Isles & Rivers of Europe
The British Isles compact size means it’s possible to visit famous landmarks further inland – such as Stonehenge in England and the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland – on a cruise, whilst still having time to explore the vibrant capitals of London, Dublin and Edinburgh.
Over on the continent, the rivers of Europe flaunt equally as much interest and beauty. These traditional waterways have been the primary means of transportation and communication for centuries, and picturesque towns and villages have sprouted on their banks as well as vibrant metropolises.
The Danube, for example, passes through beautiful Budapest, whilst the Seine snakes its way through elegant Paris. Meanwhile, the Rhine flows through six countries (including Switzerland, France and Germany) before joining the North Sea near Amsterdam.
Scandinavia & Norwegian Fjords
At the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, it’s possible to see an almost fully intact 17th century Swedish warship salvaged from the sea before strolling the city’s medieval Old Town and visiting the historic castles in neighbouring Denmark.
Yet, although the Vikings ruled these lands for centuries, it was Mother Nature who shaped the region’s glorious landscape that’s so perfectly suited to cruising.
In the Norwegian Fjords, narrow inlets of placid water trace their way through a topography of sheer cliffs that wear their vegetation like scraggly beards. Cruising the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, for example, is particularly spectacular with its rolling canvas of majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls.
Story & Images Shaun Busuttil