Magic of a Mediterranean cruise holiday

From history and architecture to high culture and stunning vistas, the Mediterranean offer an abundance of attractions

Monte Carlo

Thanks to its reputation for gambling and wealth, Monte Carlo has become a byword for extravagance. But it’s more than just a playground for the rich and famous. Visit the Jardin Exotique or the Clifftop Gardens, with its epic harbour views. Or give your credit card a workout at the boutiques of the Golden Circle shopping district. There’s also the lavish Prince’s Palace, the official private residence of the Prince of Monaco, which is open to the public for part of the year.

Rome

This impressive and glorious hub of the ancient empire is the world’s biggest open-air museum. Explore the Pantheon, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Then, while foodies indulge in delicious pizza bianca, art-lovers can marvel at masterpieces by Tintoretto, Caravaggio and Bernini at the Capitoline Museums.

Kotor

Encircled by ancient walls that stretch three miles above the city, this medieval town in Montenegro boasts beautiful red-tiled Venetian architecture. Ascend the fortifications to St John castle for breathtaking views or take a tour around the ancient Cathedral of Saint Tryphon. If you have time, take a boat trip to one of the islands in the glittering bay, and then fill your boots with local specialities such as thick fish soup made with trout and rice.

Genoa

In 2004, this important medieval town got a makeover for its City of Culture status, so check out the port for bars, restaurants and gelaterias. Stroll through the Caruggi, the medieval alleyways that lead from the port to the city’s main square, and then linger a while in the art galleries at Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco. Also don’t miss the stunning Palazzi dei Rolli, Baroque and Renaissance palaces on the Strade Nuove.

Messina

Due to multiple earthquakes, Messina is largely a modern Italian town. As you enter the port, you can’t miss the gold statue, La Madonna della Lettera (The Madonna of the Letter), while the cathedral’s bell tower houses one of the world’s largest astronomical clocks, which strikes every day at midday and sets in motion a procession of bronze figurines. Messina is also a fantastic base from which to investigate Mount Etna, just an hour-and-a-half’s drive away.

Seville

The capital of Andalusia, Seville’s old town boasts the breathtaking Alcázar Palace, Europe’s oldest royal palace that’s still in use, and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral and home to the tomb of Christopher Colombus. Meanwhile, the Giralda offers an epic 360° view over the city.

Athens

With a history stretching back 7,000 years, Greece’s capital is one of the world’s oldest cities. Walk along the Grand Promenade – a pedestrianised walkway that links all the major archaeological sites and skirts the foot of the Acropolis, home to the remarkably preserved Parthenon. Then, when you’ve sated your appetite for history and culture, visit Kolonaki Square and its surrounding streets for boutiques, cafés, bars, restaurants and art galleries.