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Holiday inspiration for the perfect summer

20/06/2016

With the whole world as your oyster, it can be difficult choosing where to go first. Whether city, beach or a bit of both, get inspired by our top three summer cruise destinations

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s many stunning architectural features

Meander the streets of Rome with a gelato in hand and soak up the history and romance of the Italian capital on a city escape. Or, for the perfect beach break, head to the Greek island of Mykonos. The Aegean gem offers visitors the classic white-washed beauty of the Greek islands with a wealth of spectacular beaches. If you want a bit of both, the Spanish city of Alicante is a perfect destination for an urban beach retreat. Take your pick…

 

The city to visit this summer

Famous for its ancient sites, powerful history, delicious food and world-class art, the vibrant city of Rome has inspired visitors for thousands of years. With major religious events and the completion of huge restoration projects, there’s never been a better time to visit the Eternal City.

 

After nearly three years under wraps while a team of technicians carefully and painstakingly scoured away 2,000 years of dirt and grime, the newly-cleaned Colosseum is being revealed to the public this year. The biggest Roman amphitheatre in the world, the Colosseum was built as an arena for gladiator fights, public executions and animal hunts, and attracts nearly five million visitors a year. This summer, visitors will be able to see the Colosseum in all its true colours and glory.

 

The iconic Trevi fountain has also undergone major restoration work and was unveiled at the end of last year. After over a year of large-scale renovation, visitors can once again toss a coin over their shoulder into the fountain to ensure their return to the city.

 

Adding to the sense of occasion surrounding the city this year, in March last year Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy running from 8 December 2015 until 20 November 2016. The initial rite of the Jubilee is the opening of the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City – one of the largest and most iconic churches in the world with its ceiling designed by Michelangelo – followed by the opening of the Holy Doors of the other major basilicas in the city. Many pilgrims are expected to journey to Rome to participate in the Jubilee year events and make a pilgrimage to the city’s Holy Doors. A pedestrian walkway has been set up from Castel Sant’Angelo to the Holy Door in St Peter’s Basilica to allow for a true pilgrimage.

 

Find and book a cruise to Rome this summer.

View of Mount Benacantil and Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante

The Castle of Santa Barbara in Alicante is one of Spain’s largest medieval fortresses

Best for beaches

If summer holidays mean winding down to beautiful sunsets over crystal-clear seas, then a cruise to the Greek island gem of Mykonos is just for you.

 

The island’s capital, Mykonos town, is made up of narrow marble streets, hidden churches and white-washed classic Greek houses with colourful doors, all overlooked by the island’s iconic windmills. Discover the glamorous side of the town with the designer boutiques and jewellers in the pedestrianised shopping area, or sample an afternoon apéritif in one of the cute restaurants and vibrant bars found along the waterfront, perfect for soaking up the last few rays of the day as the sun sets. The colourful balconies that hang from the two-storey buildings on the edge of the sea make up the quaint and picturesque area of the 18th-century neighbourhood of Little Venice, another must-see when in Mykonos.

 

Unwind and work on your holiday tan on one of the island’s famous sun-kissed beaches. Mykonos is well-known for its golden sands and crystal-clear waters, and whether you want to relax and read a book, find the perfect family-friendly beach, prefer an action-packed afternoon of watersports or while away the afternoon, cocktail in hand, on one of the more cosmopolitan beaches, there is something for everyone.

 

Find and book a cruise to Mykonos.

 

For a bit of both

Known for its Mediterranean climate and sun-drenched beaches, Alicante has long been a popular summer holiday destination for those seeking a combination of beach and urban buzz. With its long waterfront, lively dining scene, historic old quarter and dominating castle, it’s not hard to understand why.

 

Alicante sits on Spain’s Costa Blanca, and to find one of the city’s famous beaches you don’t have to go far. The long, sandy Playa del Postiguet beach is located in the heart of the city, but many of the city’s other beautiful beaches on offer are only a short walk or bus ride away. In addition, many hold the Blue Flag award, a marker of their high environmental and quality standards. It’s clear why this city makes for the perfect urban summer retreat.

 

For the best view across the city and bay, head up to the Castle of Santa Barbara. Sitting atop Mount Benacantil at the edge of the city, the castle is one of Spain’s largest medieval fortresses and is testament to the county’s Moorish history. The historic quarter, at the foot of the fortress, is made up of narrow alleyways, balconies awash with colourful flowers and secret squares, but el barrio is also a lively spot for an afternoon drink or plate of tapas. End your day in the city with a stroll along the Explanada de España: the famous palm-lined promenade runs parallel to the port and is made up of over six million coloured marble tiles that create a wave mosaic effect and is the ideal area to take up the traditional Spanish custom of el paseo, a leisurely stroll.

 

Find and book your cruise to Alicante.

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