Although often attracted to a cruise itinerary by larger and more popular ports such as the ‘big players’ of Barcelona, Rome and Naples, many of the smaller and less well known ports have their own unique charms. Here are 5 of our favourite smaller cruise ports:
Gateway to the cities of Nice and Monte Carlo, both can be reached from Villefranche by train. Staying put is also an excellent option. Cruise ships moor in the bay, leaving you with fabulous views of the coast should you wish to stay on board.
A short tender ride takes you to the town which has shady shopping streets and a small beach. The Villa Ephrussi with its dancing fountains can be reached by bus or taxi.
Katakolon is the main port for excursions to Olympia, which can be booked with your cruise line or planned independently. It is also a really nice little place to stroll around with a shopping street full of gift shops and a harbourside full of bars and restaurants with fabulous sea views.
You may need to tender ashore, but most ships dock at the port which is just a short walk from the centre. A half day in Olympia and an hour or more in Katakolon would be our ideal day sorted.
Korcula is a tender port, but really worth the trip. It is a fascinating place to stroll about the cobbled streets and explore. The walls of the medieval town provide wonderful ocean views and there are plenty of lively but shady bars and restaurants next to the sea for a special lunch.
Ferries come and go constantly, making for interesting leisurely entertainment.
The sail in and out of Kotor make it an extra special place to visit. Set your alarm so as not to miss the spectacular early morning scenery of Europe’s most southerly fjord.
Climb the ancient city walls if you are up to it or book an excursion to nearby Budva.
We love Ajaccio. Cruise ships dock centrally so no need for tenders, you can walk off the ship and easily reach the main sights. There is both a tourist bus and a little train which leave from the port near the ship and will take you on a tour for a small price. You can visit Napoleon’s birthplace and the Musee Fesch, which is not only full of interesting things to look at but is fabulously air conditioned too!
A short walk away from the ship will bring you to a great beach, one of the nicest and easily accessible beaches on cruise ship Mediterranean itineraries. A great place to end your day.