A luxury cruise is a gateway to an unusual, unforgettable vacation. Cruising to European destinations is a journey to lands of a rich blend of nature, history, and cultures. Whether heading northern or southern European spots, you will indeed have a unique experience. It was not easy to pick up some destinations from a pool of attractive, stunning choices. However, here they are finally; ten of the best Europe cruise destinations.
Latvia, and its capital Riga, is a perfect destination to consider. The city is known for its impressive combination of Gothic architecture in the old town and art nouveau buildings distributed throughout the city. The narrow, cobblestone streets complement the scene. Among the best places to visit is the House of the Blackheads. The original medieval building dates back to the 14th century; it was built for a guiled of unmarried merchants and shipowners called the Brotherhood of Blackheads. During World War II, the building was bombed then reconstructed between 1996 and 1999. Latvia is also known for its beautiful wide beaches and dense forests.
2 Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. It is another ideal spot to head if you are looking for a cruise to Northern Europe. The city is quite charming with its castles and cobbled streets. A renowned landmark of it is the Old Town and its medieval Raekoja Plats, which means the hall square. There is also the historical St. Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. Estonia has more than 1500 islands. With its Baltic coastline, rocky beaches, lakes, and old forests, you are going to spend an unforgettable vacation.
Spain is among the gems that you should indeed consider if you are taking a cruise to the Mediterranean. Barcelona, one of the biggest and most-visited cities in Spain, is known for its sunny beaches and modern Catalan architecture. Besides, Barcelona comprises historic landmarks, including the medieval Gothic Quarter which is the center of the old city; within it are remains of the city’s Roman wall and other historical sites, some of which goes back to the medieval ages. The city also has beautiful gardens such as Park Güell. The capital, Madrid, has impressive sites too such as Prado Museum and the Royal Palace. Among the best beaches in Spain are Sitges near Barcelona, La Concha Beach in San Sebastian, Playa de Las Catedrales in Galicia, La Barrosa, Tarifa in Andalusia, and Gandia in Valencia.
The southern European country, with its extended Mediterranean coastline, is one more excellent destination for a cruise to the Adriatic. Rome, the capital, comprises ancient landmarks and the Vatican with its treasures of architecture and art. There is also Florence where you can enjoy the Renaissance heritage and masterpieces of Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, etc. Venice and its canals, and Milan, the fashion capital of Italy await you. Plus, the beaches in Italy are quite beautiful, including Cala Goloritzé, Tropea Beach, Scalo Maestro, Spiaggia di Tuerredda, Capreria Beach, Isola Bella, and Gavitella Beach.
The beautiful Scandinavian state lies between Finland and Norway. Cruising to Sweden, you can enjoy its long Baltic coastline. Plus, the largest three cities of it, Stockholm, the capital, Gothenburg, and Malmö are coastal. The capital is a peninsula that comprises 14 islands; you are going to spend unforgettable moments exploring the unique beauty of each one. Among the significant landmarks to visit there, are the Vasa warship in the Royal National City Park, and Skansen open-air market. Building the warship took three years, then it sank during its maiden voyage in 1628. The ship with most of its hull was salvaged in 1961.
6 St Petersburg, Russia
One more exquisite cruise destination is the legendary, historic city of St Petersburg. The city includes rich cultural landmarks and architecture such as the historic city center, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and Hermitage Museum, the second-largest art museum worldwide. It also has beautiful beaches, including the one beside the Petro-Pavloskaya fortress, and relatively small beaches across the city parks such as Central Culture, and Krestovsky Ostrov. To enjoy the colors of St Petersburg, its stunning lakes and bridges, you better visit it in Summer.
7 Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is another northern European state to cruise to if you seek to enjoy history and nature. It is the land of volcanos, geysers, lava fields, ice-cold rivers, and Viking ruins. Reykjavik, the capital, lies to the southwest of the country and comprises most of the population and houses historic sites and national museums. The city was found in 1785, and according to the Medieval Icelandic book Landnámabók, Reykjavik housed the initial permanent settlement in Iceland. Today, it is an international trade center of a modern society that combines between Nordic traditions and sophisticated technology successfully.
8 Honfleur, France
Honfleur is a beautiful, quiet city in the Normandy region, northern France. It overlooks the estuary of the Seine river where it meets the English Channel. The old harbor of the city, called Vieux-Bassin, is known for its historic 16th- to 18th-century townhouses lined on its sides. Among the city’s significant landmarks, are the Sainte-Catherine church which is the largest wooden church in France, Église Saint-Étienne, an old, Gothic-style parish church, and Église Saint-Léonard which has a Gothic facade.
9 Bergen, Norway
Another Scandinavian country that has a lot to offer its visitors is Norway. Its cities such as Oslo, the capital, and Bergen encompass a blend of natural and historical sites. It is a state of unique character. Bergen is an old city founded in 1070 A.D. and witnessed the Vikings sailing across the water, exploring, trading, and waring. The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo has Viking ships dating back to the 9th-century. Bergen is a charming city with colorful wooden houses, and from it, cruises continue to the beautiful Sognefjord in Western Norway.
Moving to southeastern Europe, Greece is one of the spots that combines the charm of nature and history side by side on its lands. The translucent water surrounds it, and ruins of the ancient past are almost on every Greek island. At the top comes Athene’s legendary Acropolis citadel which includes the ruins of the Parthenon temple. On Aegina, there is the Temple of Aphaia, and on Delos is the Terrace of the Lions. There is also the Acropolis and Akrotiri on Rhodes and Santorini respectively. To enjoy the irresistible beauty of nature in Greece, do not miss watching the sunrise and sunset across the water. Greece beaches are an endless source of charm; Santorini, for instance, with its black-sand beaches was voted in Travel + Leisure magazine as The World’s Best Island in 2011. Mykonos was rated the fifth.