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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Explore 3000 Years of Mediterranean History

Viking vessels in Dubrovnik (Source: Adriatic DMC)

Sail the historic trade routes in the wake of ancient civilisations aboard an adventurous and enriching luxury cruise.

A Mediterranean cruise can be so much more than visits to the iconic beaches and resort cities that dot the vast coastline from Spain to Turkey. If you seek enrichment and edification and choose the right cruise line, you can immerse yourself in fascinating lesser-known ports that were once the hubs of ancient maritime civilisations.

Of course, you will be delighted with the wonders of significant ports such as Venice, Barcelona and Monte Carlo, but inquisitive travellers can also look forward to winkling out such secretive enclaves as Šibenik in Croatia with its UNESCO-listed Cathedral of St James. Or historic Corfu in Greece, site of the recently restored Palace of Sts. Michael and George and beautifully preserved Ephesus in Turkey, among many others.

HBO’s smash hit series ‘Game of Thrones’ has put Croatia front and centre on the Mediterranean travel map, making cities like Dubrovnik with its iconic walls and Split, presided over by Emperor Diocletian's Palace, must-visit ports. Yet lesser-known gems can also be discovered. Zadar, once the capital of independent Dalmatia, is a city with all the charm of Croatia’s blockbuster ports, but fewer crowds.

Everyone knows the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos, but if you explore further you’ll discover Heraklion, the capital city and main port of Crete. The city’s remarkably preserved walls and Old Venetian Harbour are presided over by the imposing fortress of Koules, built by the Republic of Venice in the early 16th century. It’s mixed with a cosmopolitan blend of Byzantine churches adjacent Venetian mansions and Turkish fountains and well worth your time.

For those seeking to explore these historical wonders in depth, we recommend Viking cruises, which offer cruise itineraries tailored to those with curious minds and explorer spirits. Viking will always include not only the Mediterranean’s expected icons but also the chance to explore and experience the unseen side of these locations with Viking’s exclusive Local Life, Working World and optional Privileged Access® experiences, which afford guests an entre to places otherwise difficult to access.

Nor is their enrichment restricted to shore-side excursions. Aboard, destinations are examined in more detail by resident historians and guest lecturers who enhance guests’ understanding of these special, culturally significant places, many of them recognised by UNESCO as sites of World Heritage.

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