We are going on an adventure! Cruises in Europe are some of the most beautiful and historical in the world, allowing you to see hundreds of years of history, architecture, and innovation in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, with so much to see, choosing a single cruise adventure can be challenging. To help you narrow down your options, we are sharing our top favorite cruise destinations in Europe that you can’t miss!
5 Cruise Destinations You Can’t Miss
1. Athens, Greece
With many Mediterranean cruises hitting the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini, Athens is a popular stop along the journey. As one of the most historic capitals in the world, there are an endless array of sites to see, so you will have to choose your top picks carefully since there won’t be enough time to see everything. The most popular sites will include the Acropolis, the Temple of Hephaestus, and Meteora’s UNESCO World Heritage site. Other fun activities include enjoying a picnic at Lycabettus Hill, taking a boat ride to the Temple of Poseidon, and getting your hands on all the delicious local food.
2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik, Croatia, is one of the top spots you must add to your bucket list in Europe. With the Old Town listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and being used as one of the Game of Thrones tv show’s primary filming locations, there is a reason why this city is worth a visit. We recommend walking atop the Walls of Dubrovnik, riding the cable car up to Mount Srd, and seeing the treasures of the Dubrovnik Cathedral.
3. Valletta, Malta
This tiny Mediterranean island nation often goes forgotten in the travel world for reasons unknown since it is an absolute wonder to visit! With striking views of the sea, thousands of years of epic history, and a rich culture of food, shopping, and nightlife, this little island is making big waves. If you have the chance to stop in Malta, we recommend visiting St. Johns Co-Cathedral, the Grand Master’s Palace, and touring the Underground Valletta.
4. Nice, France
Located on the southern coast of France, Nice offers travellers sweeping views of the Mediterranean, delightful cuisine at the local restaurants, and a beautiful city filled with fascinating sites. We recommend stopping here to walk the flower market in Old Town, climbing the ancient stairs of the castle, and, if you have time, hiking the Friedrich Nietzsche Trail up to the mountaintop village of Eze.
5. Southampton, England
While the weather isn’t quite as sunny year-round as other destinations on this list, Southampton, England, is an extraordinary stop for any cruise. You will find sprawling streets where pubs are open for scrumptious food and delightful drinks. While here, the must-see sights include tours to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and the Salisbury Cathedral.
How to Prepare for Your European Cruise
1. Book Flights Early
If you are heading off to Europe as a non-European, we recommend booking your flights well in advance, especially if you are travelling during peak times such as summer, spring break, or any major holiday. We suggest giving yourself at least 36 hours of ‘wiggle room’ just in case something goes wrong or gets delayed. You certainly don’t want to miss your ship.
2. Stay the Night at a Hotel
We highly recommend staying at least one night at a hotel near your cruise port before departure. This will give you adequate time to rest after a long flight before the actual vacation begins. Plus, it will allow you to explore the local culture and give you extra time just in case something did go wrong!
3. Schedule a Cruise Transfer
Getting to any cruise port is no easy fix, especially if you have a large group of people with heavy luggage. Rather than rolling the dice on getting a taxi or rideshare on time and hoping everyone fits comfortably, you can simply hire a cruise transfer service. They will ensure you arrive on time according to your schedule with plenty of seats and space to spare. To make your itinerary as stable as possible, we recommend booking five private transfers: from home to the airport, airport to the hotel, hotel to the cruise, cruise back to the airport, and airport to finally back home!
4. Pack Appropriately
Many cruisegoers have the tendency to overpack, even for a weeklong cruise. While it can be tempting to pack three outfit changes for every day, the chances of going back to your room that often are slim. Instead, pack multi-functional outfits that can be easily mixed and matched along with your cruise essentials.
Your cruise will be an adventure of a lifetime, so we recommend starting your research well in advance. With so many options to choose from, you may be better off making Top 10 lists with your family or travel party and figuring out which places are the most desired among the group to help narrow down even further. Ultimately, there is always another chance to go on another cruise!