A Mediterranean escape brings to mind glittering blue seas, white-washed villages clinging to rocky escarpments and multi-course alfresco dining. It’s also of course, a destination of ancient cities responsible for many culinary, artistic and cultural traditions we associate with Europe today. You may choose a Mediterranean cruise for the summer sun, but it’s these port stops that will surely leave a lasting impression.
The world’s ancient capital, Athens is a heady mix of history and quirky culture. Home to the mighty Acropolis, the most important ancient site in the world, Athens’ recorded history spans more than 3,400 years, and today its skyline is still dominated by 5th century BC landmarks. Known as the birthplace of democracy and the modern-day Olympic Games, despite recent economic struggles, the city still has an air of ambition. Decidedly different to its European neighbours, Greece is a country of unique style and flavours, which lend themselves to an edgy energy evident in Athens’ art galleries, fashion and nightlife.
A city of globally influential art, architecture and culture for some 3,000 years, a walk through Rome is a stroll through history. Ancient ruins like the Roman Forum and Colosseum provide a window into the powerful Roman Empire, while Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica are just two examples of the city’s numerous masterpieces you should see. Aside from the museums, galleries and landmarks, Rome is a city oozing beauty and style. Romantic cobbled streets are lined with delightful buildings, there are famous statues in almost every city square and of course the cuisine is an art form in itself.
It may be the youngest of these Mediterranean cities with a history spanning some 2,000 years, but ancient temple columns and city walls are reminders of Barcelona’s Roman-era beginnings. A wander through the city’s imposing Gothic Quarter takes you to the 14th century, while the strange, modernist creations of Gaudi transport you to another time altogether. A visit to Barcelona is like a lesson in artistic inspiration, having been a haunt for many artists, including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro.
Built on over a thousand islands at the edge of the Adriatic Sea, Venice is dreamily romantic, artistic and beautiful. Considered to be the world’s first real financial centre during the Middle Ages, Venice is also renowned for its importance in Renaissance art and operatic music. The city’s museums and galleries may be filled with important pieces, however a short stroll through the narrow streets or cruise along the canals will unveil the incredible beauty of this delicate city of bridges.
Princess cruise to the Mediterranean's ancient cities. For information on the latest deals and to book, visit your local Escape Travel store or call 1300 273 482.