Top Cultural Spots to Visit While Cruising the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is one of the most fascinating regions on the planet. It is a melting pot of European, African and Middle Eastern influences, combined with centuries worth of history that has left a tantalising natural and cultural landscape to be explored. 

The best way to do it? There’s nothing better than a Mediterranean cruise to indulge in all the region has to offer.

From the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast to the ancient ruins in Athens, here are some unmissable cultural spots to visit while cruising the Med.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Cruise liners stopping at points from Naples to Salerno provide easy access to one of the country’s most iconic landscapes, the Amalfi Coast.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts dramatic cliffs dotted with pastel-coloured towns that appear to defy gravity by clinging to the rugged terrain. 

Wander through the winding streets of Positano and Ravello, two towns brimming with beauty and Italian flair.

Ravello’s Villa Rufolo provides enchanting views of the Mediterranean and along the coast, while Positano’s narrow lanes are filled with boutique shops and cafes serving local delicacies like limoncello. 

Santorini, Greece

No Mediterranean cruise is completed without a stop at the mesmerising island of Santorini.

Best known for its whitewashed houses and stunning sunsets, it was born out of volcanic activity and is layered with rich history and tremendous beauty. 

The archaeological site of Akrotiri, often called the “Pompeii of the Aegean,” is a window into the ancient civilisation that lived here before a catastrophic eruption over 3,000 years ago.

Strolling through the charming streets of Oia allows you to gaze upon the iconic blue and white houses. Wait until the evening to take in one of the island’s famous sunsets.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The allure of Barcelona is best captured by the architectural marvel of the Sagrada Familia.

This basilica towers over the city and is, amazingly, still under construction as it has been since 1882. 

Despite being incomplete, the building is truly astounding with its towering facades, intricate sculptures and an interior bathed in light filtered through stained-glass windows.

Guided tours offer insight into the creator’s vision and the symbolism behind his designs.

It’s just one highlight of this mesmerising Catalonian city. With sun, sea, sand and a great atmosphere, it’s got everything needed for an unforgettable excursion ashore.

The Acropolis, Athens

Athens is best seen from the city’s jewel, the Acropolis. Perched high above the city, this ancient citadel houses some of Greece’s most important monuments, such as the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion. 

The Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, stands as a symbol of the Golden Age of Athens and ancient Greece.

The Acropolis Museum elegantly displays artefacts and sculptures discovered at the site to add further depth to your cultural experience. It’s best to take your time exploring the ruins while soaking up the sweeping views of modern Athens below.

Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia

Dubrovnik is one of the pearls of the Mediterranean. Its Old Town, encircled by medieval walls, is a perfectly preserved glimpse into Croatia’s historical and cultural past.

Strolling along the city walls gives you panoramic views of the terracotta rooftops, azure waters and bustling plazas below.

Game of Thrones fans will surely recognise the all-too-familiar filming locations used for the series.

The Stradun is the main street in Dubrovnik’s Old Town and is lined with historic buildings, quaint shops and delightful eateries. At night it comes alive with bars and restaurants. 

Must-see landmarks include Rector’s Palace, Sponza Palace and the Church of St. Blaise, each giving you a chance to fully immerse yourself in the city’s architectural wonder.