As frequent cruisers will know, many ports are built for functionality rather than aesthetics – practically designed to ensure that thousands of excited cruise guests can pass on and off ships in a stress-free and organised manner. However, there are a number of ports dotted throughout the continent which manage to marry this functionality with beauty – creating stunning locations which might make you think twice about venturing into the city, and choose to stay in the wonderful port instead.
So, here we present the most beautiful ports of Europe.
It’s almost impossible not to be charmed by the beautiful Santorini, with its idyllic whitewashed homes perched atop one another bathing under the ever-reliable Greek sunshine. This charm is only redoubled by the old fashioned and slow pace of life on the island. After approaching the beautiful sugar cube dotted hills of Santorini, you’ll be faced with a choice of how to venture to the capital, Fira – cable car or mule ride?
Despite being a smaller port, Santorini is still visited by the likes of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth – providing guests with the levels of beauty they’ve come to expect cruising aboard the famous vessel.
An unsurprising entry on this list – no city in the world is so synonymous with beautiful living on the waters as Venice. The only way to approach the City of Water is via the seas, with the whole of Venice majestically opening up in front of your eyes.
If you are lucky you’ll arrive in Venice at dusk when the sun is starting to set but the lights of the myriad of buildings perched on the water’s edge will share their twinkling reflections with all who approach.
Any cruise around the Norwegian Fjords is hardly going to struggle for great views and backdrops with the crystal clear Scandinavian waters flanked by huge, impressive hill ranges. Picture-perfect towns pop up time and again on the water’s edge – whether you get a fleeting glimpse or the chance to fully explore.
However, Hjørundfjord might just be the most beautiful port in this part of the world – located bang next to the beautifully quaint town and under the protection of rolling hills.
Stockholm is rightly regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful and welcoming capital cities, and the portside view ain’t too shabby either. With the city spread across 14 different islands, you can get a pretty comprehensive tour of Stockholm when cruising into the port, navigating the different breaks of land.
The port itself is characteristic of Scandinavia – knowingly minimalistic and stylish, without ever compromising functionality or efficacy.
There is only one thing you’ll be looking at when approaching Naples from the sea – Mount Vesuvius. The Stratovolcano dominates the skyline as it watches over Naples, flanking the port and seaward entrance into the city. A popular little game for those approaching Naples is to look out for Mount Vesuvius as it makes itself known above the horizon.
And Naples excursions are dominated by the big volcano, with visits to the site of Pompeii, the settlement completely destroyed by Vesuvius’ eruption in the year 79.
Rapidly growing in popularity thanks to the Game of Thrones series for which it served as a setting, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik owes a lot of its draw thanks to the stunning massive stone walls which protect it from the sea. Approach Dubrovnik from the sea and you’ll feel like an invading army.
The cruise terminal is at the very heart of the city set close to the protective walls, perfect for first time visitors looking to immediately immerse themselves in the culture of Dubrovnik.