Island Hopping in the Mediterranean
During the summer, Mediterranean cruise ships head off the coast out into the warm waters so their passengers enjoy the legendary sun-drenched islands that are steeped in history and culture. Fascinating day trips on these islands give visitors a chance to explore ancient castles, ride vintage railroads or simply relax along the beach or in a friendly local tavern. Find cruise bargains on the high street or online and discover a new destination today.
Palma’s major city, Majorca, attracts everyone from jet setters who love the swanky malls to laid-back backpackers just want to chill out in the picturesque beauty of this historic island. The most obvious landmark is the 400 year old La Seu cathedral constructed with fabulous flying buttresses that are visible from all over town.
Bicycle tours are a favourite activity and begin at the local yacht-filled marina, continue down the Paseo Maritimo promenade flanked by stately palm trees and pauses for a tour of the cathedral. Then the guide leads visitors down narrow side streets and out into the countryside where the sleepy villages of El Molinar, Can Pastilla and Portixol offer interesting opportunities for refreshments and shopping. The turnaround point is the Platja de Palma Beach where cruise passengers can enjoy a dip and purchase ice cream from the local vendors before heading back to the port.
Another way to spend a day on Palma is taking a ride on the Sóller railway, a relaxing way to get up close and personal with the island. In operation since the early 1900s, this charming little railroad takes visitors on a short journey from Palma to view the beautiful scenery in the countryside before turning around in the charming city of Soller. Along the way, passengers can see the circular Bellver Castle, built in the 14th-century, that served as both palace and fortress for Spanish royalty and is now a museum and gathering place for religious festivals.
Cruise ships entering the port of Calvi on Corsica are greeted by the Genoese Tower built in the 15th-century to keep watch on the town and the harbour. Once ashore, passengers can check out the trendy shops and restaurants along the shoreline or strike into the city to explore the local markets where exotic wares and spicy foods are sold at bargain prices.
Those wanting to stretch their legs can hike to the hilltop cathedral of Notre Dame la Serra, while taxis make regular excursions for the less athletic passengers who want to sit in the beautiful shrine in listen to live orchestrated music while enjoying the view. Another favourite stop is the ruins of the house that was once home of this island’s most of famous resident, Christopher Columbus, where statues commemorate the life of this famous Spanish explorer.