From the peaceful coves of Turkey to the sun-drenched beaches of Spain, the Mediterranean Sea acts as an aqueous highway that connects some of the most vibrant parts of the Western world. From shore to shore lie ruins of once-mighty empires, cuisines that have survived the ages, and cities that serve as beacons for our modern world — all of which can be experienced on a Mediterranean cruise and with Discovery at Sea™ there are more opportunities to explore both on board and off.
Istanbul, once known as Constantinople, is a city built on duality. The Turkish capital is located on a land bridge between Eastern Europe and the Middle East, is home to two major religions, was a major hub of two fallen empires, and now serves as a window into worlds both old and new. Numerous sites around the city including Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, and the Hippodrome are stunning reminders of all the cultures that have thrived in Istanbul. Exploring this scenic city will provide you the opportunity to experience the European shores of the Bosphorus.
Nothing epitomizes the beauty of the Greek Islands better than the myriad shades of blue that engulf Mykonos. From the contrasting blue-and-white homes that fill the island, to the endless expanses of crystalline water and cloudless sky that surround it, Mykonos is home to countless vistas that will produce a lifetime's worth of memories. This stop on a Mediterranean cruise is best spent renewing the mind, body, and spirit by soaking up the sun on any of the island's picturesque beaches. You can also enjoy fresh seafood and traditional Greek cuisine on some of the Greek Isles' most romantic spots during an excursion.
Time has left its mark on Messina, Italy. After it began as a Greek colony around the eighth century BCE, the Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans all claimed ownership of the Sicilian city before Italy became united in 1861. Fortunately, many of Messina's most precious sites remain intact even after changing hands on so many occasions. Proudly situated in the center of town is a statuesque twelfth-century duomo. This grand church was erected under Norman occupation and underwent reconstruction not long after an earthquake devastated the island in 1908. In the town of Taormina — just a short distance from Messina — you can visit the ancient Greek Theater that dates back to the Hellenistic era and now serves as a venue for concerts and classical productions.
Barcelona has been cultivating a strong personality all its own since it was founded as a settlement in the Roman Empire. What has blossomed is an urban oasis with 23 Michelin-starred restaurants, grand tree-lined avenues, and charming outdoor spaces that all pay homage to a city that is always uniquely inspiring. Catalan cuisine has frequently been hailed as the best in Spain where savory and sweet pair with old and new. Some recipes in use today date back to the Middle Ages and can be found on the menus of top restaurants including Café de l'Acadèmia and La Dama.
Barcelona is best seen on foot. A stroll down La Rambla shows Barcelona at its most vivid, and Park Güell is a masterfully curated public park combing splendid architectural and gardening elements into one picturesque locale.
Ready to see what the Mediterranean coast has to offer? Plan your Mediterranean cruise now!