Hidden highlights to explore on a Mediterranean Cruise

April 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Europe, Guest post, Lisbon, Misc, Portugal, Spain

Join us on a Mediterranean cruise taking in seven wonderful destinations – Barcelona, Genoa, Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon, Gibraltar and Alicante. Each city has much to offer, but if you’d like to explore some lesser known corners, as well as some well known highlights, here are some ideas for the places you might visit.

Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and the capital of the Catalonia region. One of its most famous landmarks is Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished church of the Sagrada Familia, which has been under construction since 1882, with a planned completion date of 2026.

To get  away from the tourist-orientated areas of the city, explore the district of Raval, whose maze of streets offer fashionable and unique shops.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Maradentro_

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Genoa

Genoa is an historical Italian city and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the explorer who discovered the Americas. The home where he was allegedly born is in an area known as the Piazza De Ferrari, where the Teatro Carlo Felice Opera and Palace of the Doges is also located.

To search out a tasty treat, explore Recco to the east of Genoa, the birthplace of cheese focaccia, where cheap and delicious focaccia bread is served on the seafront.

 

Alcazaba in Malaga

Malaga

Malaga is in the Spanish region of Andalusia and enjoys a subtropical climate. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is surrounded by mountains to the north, the harbour to the south and two rivers, the Guadalmedina and the Gualdhorce.

For a view over the city try the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress that enjoys wonderful views of the Plaza de Toros and the port. Perfect for lazy afternoons when other attractions may be closed.

Cadiz

Cadiz is a seaport to the south of Spain and has been the main homeport of the Spanish navy since the 18th century. Commonly known as Casco Antiguo (Old City), it is many narrow streets, which connect a number of stunning plazas.

For a break from city sightseeing seek out the Donana National Park to the north of the province, the largest Natural Park in Spain and home to a range of wildlife.

Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and the most populated city in the country. The most popular area for shopping, entertainment and nightlife is Bairro Alto, where Portugal’s national song Fado, can still be enjoyed. The monument Cristo Rei overlooks the whole city and resembles the Corcovado monument in Rio de Janeiro.

Off the beaten track , you’ll find Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, home to an esteemed art collection and surrounded by serene and beautiful gardens.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon

Gibraltar

Gibraltar lies at the entrance to the Mediterranean and is an overseas British controlled territory at the end of the Iberian peninsular. Its famous landmark is the Rock of Gibraltar with its upper area covered by a nature reserve, which is home to over 200 Barbary Macaques, the only wild monkeys found in Europe.

For a different perspective, the World War II Seige and St Michaels Cave’s are popular with tourists, but enquire at the Rock Hotel about ways to see more of the tunnels.

St Michael's Cave, Gibraltar

St Michael’s Cave, Gibraltar

Alicante

Alicante is an historic Mediterranean port that is overlooked by the Castle of Santa Barbara, which sits on Mount Benacantil. The Explanada de Esparia is a tree-lined promenade where concerts often take place and the El Palmeral Park is a great place to relax by the lakes, enjoy a picnic or take a stroll.

To escape the bustle, the Old City has some stunning architecture, ‘Spanish colonial’ style buildings and streets that are generally quiet.

My thanks for this article to www.Travel247.ie, an Irish owned tour operator that specialises in Mediterranean Cruises and package holidays globally.

Photo Credits: Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Maradentro, Alcazaba in Malaga by Manuelfloresv, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian by Sheilaellen, St Michael’s cave, Gibraltar by Mouseshadows

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