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Iconic ports of the Mediterranean - part two

Going from west to east of the Mediterranean region, this blog will highlight some of the iconic ports of Italy, Croatia and Greece. Find out where our beautiful sister ships Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery could take you next year.


Traditional gondolas ply the Venetian canals

Cruising in Italy? Venice is renowned for its beautiful landmarks, architecture and art. Thanks to an overnight stay in this astonishing city, you will be able to experience more of this historic hub.

You’ll be able to take advantage of some of our exclusive ashore programmes and immerse yourself in Italian culture as you take a private water taxi to see a unique classical concert played by musicians in beautiful traditional baroque-style clothes. An unforgettable experience that you will remember forever.

For the signature Venice experience, explore the Venetian canals by gondola. Ensure not to leave this beautiful city before you see it from the canal system whilst enjoying some traditional Italian music in a traditional gondola.


Colourful Portofino

The Italian fishing village and holiday resort, Portofino, is famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors. However, there are many more reasons to visit this colourful village. Its boutiques, art galleries, cafes, restaurants that line the tiny streets are all worth a visit. Or go to the beach, for a hike or even see some historic sites like the Church of St. Martin and the Castello Brown hilltop fortress.

When visiting Portofino, make sure you take the flight of stairs signposted 'Salita San Giorgio' that leads from the harbour and past the Chiesa di San Giorgio to Portofino's unusual castle, Castello Brown. The Genoese-built bulwark saw action against the Venetians, Savoyards, Sardinians and Austrians, and later fell to Napoleon. In 1867 it was transformed by the British diplomat Montague Yeats Brown into a private mansion. The fabulous tiled staircase is one of the showpieces of the neo-Gothic interior, while there are fantastic views from the garden. For a better outlook, continue for another 400 metres or so along the same track to the lighthouse (Faro di Portofino).


Split's lively waterfront at dusk

Split is the second largest city of Croatia and one of the Adriatic's most vibrant port cities, stunningly located between mountains and sea. The history of Split revolves around a Greek settlement founded in the area between the 3rd and 4th centuries. Its most famous significant development, however, came in 295AD when Roman emperor Diocletian ordered a residence to be built there for his retirement. Although, historic sites are not the only attraction Split has to offer. Tourists from all around the world visit Split to also enjoy world-class restaurants, day trips to national parks and the hustle and bustle of this beautiful city.

Step inside Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments. Taking up a prime harbourside position, this extraordinary complex is one of the most imposing ancient Roman structures in existence today, and it's where you’ll spend most of your time while in Split. Don’t expect a palace, though, nor a museum – this is the city's living heart, its labyrinthine streets packed with people, bars, shops and restaurants. Built as a military fortress, imperial residence and fortified town, the palace measures 215 metres from north to south and 180 metres east to west.

You can also choose to leave Split, for a journey through the karst hinterland to the famous 'Krka' river waterfalls. Located within the lovely Krka National Park, the falls cascade over 17 natural barriers. Krka is one of the seven National Parks in Croatia and it covers an area of 14,222 Ha. Visit the most attractive part of the Park - the Skradinski Buk waterfall. The highest fall is 46 metres, which makes it the highest gypsum barrier in Europe. Above the falls there is a large plateau that offers spectacular views. During your exploration, a visit is made to a small ethnological exhibition and the old mill, which is still in function demonstrating how it was used for grinding. Around the falls there is a gravel trail for those who wish to explore the surroundings further.


Windmills in Mykonos

Mykonos is the most famous cosmopolitan island of Greece, a whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Cyclades. According to mythology, Mykonos was formed from the petrified bodies of giants killed by Hercules. Mykonos has a lot to offer to its visitors from ancient ruins, to historic windmills, sandy beaches and quirky cobbled streets full of boutiques and exquisite restaurants.

There is so much to see and can be explored by foot in Mykonos. However, make sure to visit one of the most important Greek archaeological sites, Delos, known as the birthplace of Apollo, the God of Light.

See all Mediterranean ocean cruises.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.