There are many reasons to choose an Adriatic cruise, from historic sites, to delicious cuisine and breathtaking scenery. Ideal for family holidays, most itineraries focus on popular coastal cities in Italy and Croatia, as well as smaller ports in Greece, Montenegro and Slovenia. If you’re planning to explore the Adriatic coastline by ship, here are some top tips on where to go and what to see.
Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia
With its World Heritage old town and picture-perfect scenery, Dubrovnik is fully deserving of its nickname, the Pearl of the Adriatic. Most cruise passengers make a beeline for the historic centre, where you can walk the well-preserved city walls, explore the cobbled streets lined with quaint cafés and baroque buildings, and visit the 17th-century cathedral and Rector’s Palace.
Another popular cruise port in Croatia is Split, which offers a unique blend of new and old. Like Dubrovnik, Split has an atmospheric old town, home to the impressive 4th-century Diocletian’s Palace and an abundance of lively bars and restaurants.
The canal-laced city of Venice has one of the busiest ports in Europe. Built on more than 100 islands in the Adriatic Sea, it’s known as one of the most romantic destinations in the world thanks to its scenic gondola rides and elegant Renaissance architecture. After exploring the labyrinth of winding alleys, head to St Mark’s Square to see the famous basilica and bell tower and relax in the sun-kissed piazza. Other must-see sights include the photograph-worthy Grand Canal and Doge’s Palace.
As one of Greece’s most beautiful islands with a rich cultural heritage, it’s easy to understand why Corfu is a highlight for many Adriatic cruises. Ships dock in Kerkira, just a short walk to the charming Corfu Town. Here, you’ll find Venetian fortresses, medieval alleyways, the French-style Liston arcade, and the Palace of St Michael and St George, all of which contribute to its UNESCO World Heritagestatus. If you’ve got the time, explore the nearby beaches and colourful coastal villages before returning to the old town to enjoy the bustling nightlife.
Although less visited than other destinations on the Adriatic coast, there’s plenty of reasons why Montenegro should feature on your cruise bucket list. As you sail into the fjord-like Bay of Kotor, you’ll be amazed by the delightful seaside scenery of rolling mountains, medieval walled towns and quaint churches dotted along the shoreline.
Just a few steps from the cruise terminal, the historic centre of Kotor has UNESCO World Heritage status and is made up of winding stone streets, quaint piazzas and Romanesque churches. If you’re feeling energetic, the city walls ascend into the mountains behind the town, with a historic fortress perched high in the hills with stunning views.
Koper port serves as a gateway to Slovenia’s glamorous seaside resorts, but it’s also home to a medieval old town which is well worth a visit. Before making tracks for the coast, take the time to explore Titov trg square, home to historic sites such as the Praetorian Palace and the Venetian-gothic Loggia.
Venetian influences can also been seen with the Da Ponte Fountain, modelled on the iconic Rialto Bridge in Venice. Popular day trips from Koper include the Postojna Caves, the picturesque town of Piran and the beach at Portoroz.