Boats float down a Venetian canal.

The Best Shore Excursions on a Mediterranean Cruise

A Mediterranean cruise is a wonderful way to explore several European cities in a short period of time, and the best part is that you don’t have deal with airports or train stations! Here are some of the most popular ports of call on Mediterranean cruises, and a few of the most exciting shore excursions to help you make the most of your adventure!

1. Athens, Greece

History buffs will fall in love with Athens, and even though it’s nearly impossible to see all there is to see within your eight-hour window, you can sure try! Walking tours of the Acropolis, the old Olympic stadium, and the temple of Poseidon are immensely popular with cruise guests. You can also embark on a smaller boat to explore the Corinth Canal if you want to see the natural side of this ancient city.

2. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is one of the most intriguing cultural hubs in all of Europe, so no matter what you’re into, you’ll be able to find a shore excursion that excites you. The Spanish are known for their delicious, colorful food. Go behind the scenes of some of the most popular restaurants in the city by participating in a culinary tour. If you prefer, you can take things into your own hands and attend a cooking class! Other options include visiting the Picasso museum, attending a Flamenco show, or taking a tour of the city’s most beautiful cathedrals.

3. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is one of Europe’s best kept secrets, and once you visit this stunningly beautiful place, you’ll never want to leave. Here, you can step back into time by walking the ancient walls that once surrounded the city, or you can take a cable car ride to get a jaw-dropping bird’s eye view. If you aren't sick of water, get up close and personal with the Adriatic sea by going kayaking for a couple of hours.

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is somewhat of an unknown gem in Europe that has a lot to offer when it comes to fun shore excursions. You can take a jeep tour and explore the natural beauty that surrounds the city, visit the famed Belem Tower, or take a walking tour of Cascais, which is a gorgeous coastal town right outside of the city. Soccer (football) fans can also take a tour of the Benfica stadium, home of the famous Portuguese football club.

5. Valletta, Malta

Malta is a historical melting pot where you can visit Roman, French, and British fortresses and ruins galore. In addition to all of the incredible historical sights, you can also take advantage of the many sea-related adventures that this island has to offer. Take a swim with dolphins, a boat trip to the legendary Blue Grotto, or stand on the amazing Dingli cliffs and enjoy an unparalleled view of the sea.

6. Venice, Italy

Everyone needs to visit Venice at least once in their lifetime. When you get to this incredible city, the first thing you need to do is take a gondola tour of the Grand Canal. It’s pricey, but it’s well worth it. Additionally, you can go to Burano Island to watch glass blowers create their masterpieces, enjoy an authentic Italian dinner right along the canal, and do some shopping in St. Mark’s Square.

Last Updated: May 18, 2016