There are many beautiful places in this world and we can safely assume that no one has seen every place there is to see. We are limited by our lifespan, so we have to carefully pick our travel opportunities such that we get the best out of every experience.
An excellent way of getting a flavour of many different places in a relatively short space of time is to take a cruise – plain and simple. It’s significantly cheaper than flying in many cases and port towns are always full of excellent things to see and do. Below is a list of some of our favourite places to make port and what you can do when you get there.
1. Oranjestad, Aruba
Just to look at the island of Aruba is to realise, immediately, that its roots are of Dutch origin. In colonial times Dutch architects and builders flocked here to change the face of the island and the results can still be seen today; brightly coloured, gable-topped houses and clock towers dominate the streets.
Not only is the island beautiful, but it also has many different things to see and do. If you’re a fan of the briny deep then you should absolutely go snorkelling around De Palm Island (set slightly off the Aruban coast).
2. Nice, France
Millionaires – Nice is full of them. Multi-million dollar yachts, fast cars and designer boutiques aplenty, this Côte d’Azur city’s trendy bars are really quite something come the evening.
Fear not – you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy Nice; there are plenty of things to do on a budget. One suggestion is to take a tour of Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo along the coast. On this tour you can take a sneak peak at Monaco’s Grand Prix track and then stop for a cheeky coffee at the highly regarded Cafe De Paris.
3. Trapani, Sicily
Seafood and excellent wine is what you’ll find if you make port in Trapani, Sicily, which you should. This harbour was fought over quite seriously by many historic peoples like the Normans, the Romans and the Greeks and it’s easy to see why.
Our personal favourite thing to do is to head up to the great heights of Erice and look out over the salt pans of Trapani. You’ll also be able to feast your eyes upon the Castle of Venus that is said to have been built here by the son of Athena to honour his mother. I should note at this point that these locations are serviced by many of Thomson’s cruises and you can check out their itineraries on the site.
4. Larnaca, Cyprus
Larnaca on the island of Cyprus is the stuff of legend. Depending on which story you choose to believe, the city has been lived in for over 6000 years and dates back to even the earliest stories in the bible. It’s said that it was Noah’s grandson that founded the original town.
If you head to Famagusta’s old town you’ll get an insight into what happened when the Turks invaded the area in the 70’s – the town hasn’t changed a bit since they left. Pay a trip to the lace-making village of Lefkara and find some gifts to bring home to family and friends.
5. Helsinki, Finland
Last, but by no means least, we’ve chosen Helsinki, Finland as our last port of call. The city has a deep and rich cultural history that spans back across centuries – this is expressed in its elaborate architectural style.
Shops, bars and restaurants are abundant in Helsinki allowing you to shop till you drop and then sample some of Finland’s finest cuisine. Our recommendation is to see the city by tram – not just any tram, but a fully-restored 1930’s tram that is worth travelling on in its own right.
If you’ve been to any of these amazing places and eve if you haven’t, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know your favourite cruise destinations in the comments below.
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Top photo by ksawyer on Flickr.