Eastern European cruises are popular with vacationers who enjoy beautiful scenery; beaches and water sports; and learning about history, culture and antiquities. Eastern Europe has become a year-round cruise destination, too. Summer is the peak season, but winter cruises offer a respite from the summer crowds, with generally sunny skies and comfortable temperatures ranging from the 50s to the 70s.
The major cruise ships ports in the region include Athens, Greece, accessed by the port of Piraeus; Istanbul, Turkey; Venice, Italy; and Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Athens, one of the world’s oldest cities, is a cultural treasure. It’s home to the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and the National Archaeological Museum. While enjoying the sights, be sure to sample some local specialties – perhaps some crispy fried calamari or a tzatziki appetizer.
Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world that sits on two continents, creating a unique "east meets west” atmosphere. The city’s long history has created a wonderful mix of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. It’s also fun to visit the Grand Bazaar, which includes about 4,000 shops full of carpets, jewels, antiques and other browse-worthy items.
Venice is the incredibly romantic city of islands, canals and bridges. Spend some time in the Piazza San Marco, gazing at the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica while sipping a fragrant coffee from one of the cafes. Ride a gondola or water taxi along the canals or stroll through some of the numerous art galleries.
Dubrovnik’s walled Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has some beautiful Renaissance buildings that survived a catastrophic earthquake in 1667. For sun lovers, several beaches are nearby.
If your itinerary includes the Greek Isles, you may stop at Santorini, Corfu, Mykonos or Rhodes: each has unique treasures and all have beautiful scenery. Some cruise itineraries also include ports that are off the beaten path, such as Bari, Italy; Split, Croatia; and Kotor, Montenegro.
Whether you’re planning in advance or looking for a spring getaway, talk with Cruise Holidays about visiting the Eastern European ports along the Mediterranean Sea.