One of the most exciting parts of a cruise is sightseeing in all of the varied and fascinating ports. However, with only a day to explore each destination, it can be hard to choose which iconic landmark to spend your time visiting. To help you make the decision, we’ve compiled a handy list of the must-see landmarks in some of the most popular European cruise ports.  

Athens: The Acropolis 

Wandering this spectacular relic of the ancient world is a truly breath-taking experience. This UNESCO world heritage site dates back to the 5th century BC and was the site of religious worship, philosophy and theatre. Pass through the magnificent Proplaea gateway to see incredible monuments including the remnants of temples like the Parntheon, the Erechthion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.  

Copenhagen: The Little Mermaid Statue 

A landmark that is, quite literally, right out of a fairy-tale. Inspired by the beloved Hans Christian Anderson story, this statue depicts the lovestruck heroine perched on a rock at Langelinie pier, gazing toward the shore. The sculpture is crafted from bronze and granite and was unveiled in 1913. Perfect for fans of the classic fable, or for those who are more familiar with the character through Disney.  

Oslo: The Nobel Peace Centre 

This inspiring museum is centred around Alfred Nobel and the world-renowned peace prize he created.  An annual peace prize exhibition tells the incredible story of the most recent Laureate. If you’re lucky enough to visit this landmark on a Friday afternoon, you will have the pleasure of seeing a Peace Dove released from the window.  

Venice: The Doge’s Palace 

Home to 120 of Venice’s rulers since it was first built between the tenth and eleventh centuries, this exquisite palace is steeped in history. When exploring the marvellous building you’ll see sights such as the 15th century Staircase of the Giants where the Doge was crowned. Cross the famed Bridge of Sighs to explore the connected prison, where the legendary Casanova was supposedly once jailed.  

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia 

A perfect example of Antoni Gaudi’s architectural brilliance, this church is one of Barcelona’s most remarkable attractions. With facades representing each stage of Jesus’ life in Gaudi’s iconic nature-inspired style, you could spend hours exploring the intricate details of the building. And to top it all off, Gaudi himself is buried in the crypt.  

Amsterdam: Anne Frank’s House 

Visit the very house in which one of history’s most tragic yet inspiring figures hid from the terror of Nazi Germany. Tour the very rooms in which Anne Frank wrote the pages of her world-famous diary. Whilst the house is heart-breaking, it is also moving, with a beautiful message of perseverance and hope.  

Rome: The Colosseum 

The site of epic gladiatorial battles for over 500 years, no visit to Rome is complete without paying a call to this marvellous piece of ancient history. Dating back to the year 80, the enormous Amphitheatre was opened with 100 days of games and sat 50,000 spectators. Today it stands as a symbol of the once great Roman Empire and strolling around it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Dubrovnik: The Rectors Palace 

This stunning 15th century palace stands in the main square of Dubrovnik’s enchanting old town. The building is a patchwork of different architectural styles including Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Here you can explore the private chambers of Dubrovnik’s ruling Rectors, the Public Halls in which Dubrovnik’s citizens met, and of course the spooky dungeons which tend to be a big hit with children.  

Reykjavik: The Perlan 

This landmark is much more modern than others on our list, but it is no less impressive. Named “The Pearl” for its glistening glass dome which slowly rotates on top of six huge water tanks, it’s certainly a unique sight. And The Perlan only becomes more wonderful inside, as you explore the man-made ice tunnel and ice cave or stargaze in the interactive planetarium.  

Bordeaux: Place De La Bourse 

This neoclassical royal square is a place of sensational beauty. Taking inspiration from ancient mythology, you’ll see Roman gods carved into the walls and a fountain based on the Three Graces of Greek myth. However, the most magical aspect of the Place de la Bourse is Le Mirior d’Eau or Water Mirror, the world’s largest reflecting pool which creates a perfect mirror image of the Place de la Bourse.  

Stockholm:  Drottningham Palace 

Home to Sweden’s royal family, this UNESCO world heritage site was built in the 1600s and boasts some fabulous features. To name a few, the spectacular Chinese Pavilion and Palace Theatre. Tour its stunning rooms and glorious gardens, and perhaps you’ll even catch a glimpse of the King and Queen themselves.  

Naples: The Ruins of Pompeii 

Whilst not strictly in Naples, many cruisers to this port head to the neighbouring landmark of the Pompeiian ruins- and for good reason. Frozen in time by the monstrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii Herculaneum is a UNESCO world heritage site and a place of tragic, eerie beauty.  

Gibraltar: The Great Siege Tunnels 

Carved into the Rock of Gibraltar during the Great Siege of the 1700s, these twisting tunnels were key to Gibraltar’s victory. The tunnels were then expanded through the centuries and were used as recently as Second World War. Today, the maze of tunnels make for an amazing day of exploring in Gibraltar. Kids especially will love the tunnels’ echoes and gloominess. 

Which landmark has intrigued you the most? Whether you’d like to swan around the Doge’s Palace in Venice or wander through the ice tunnel of Reykjavik’s Perlan, you’ll find a cruise to take you there among Cruise 118’s European sailings.

Charlotte Richards

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