Experience Cruising to Colorful Europe Cities—Our Visual Guide
By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, European Destination & River Cruise Expert
While a lot of folks who travel think about important landmark sites to visit in the various ports, many do not realize that a world of colorful cities are easily accessible by cruise ships and even riverships.
So, I thought I might let you see some of the wonderful, colorful places we have been able to visit by either a cruise ship or rivership.
Ready?—let’s explore together!
We got to visit this great little town while on a SilverSea luxury cruise in the Western Mediterranean cruise in 2015. I can’t tell how much we enjoyed this quaint little city. After a short tender ride (a small boat to get from our larger ship to the port), we got to this interesting town.
First we went on a special wine tasting, held at a cliff top castle.
Later, we wandered the town and ended our visit eating some awesome prawns. We still rave about this visit and will return. Here are a few photos of this adventure:
Old Town Stockholm
This is a gem of a place that we got to visit on our Princess Royal Princess cruise in the Baltic in 2014. The Gamla Stan, the historic old town, is full of color, has great little shops and the royal palace and parliament buildings all concentrated in an easily walkable area.
To get there, we had to take a ship tour, as the port is too far from the docking area, but as we often do, we broke off from the tour and wandered on our own. Here are some of our photos of this charming place:
On our Celebrity Equinox cruise in 2013, we took a shore excursion along the Amalfi coast to Positano and Pompeii. The single lane road down the Amalfi coast on our small tour bus was dramatic and a little nerve racking but well worth the ride.
Positano, on a sharp cliff inlet, is a wonderful place to visit. It is a pedestrian only and there are only two real activities here—shopping and visiting the beach but it would be hard to find a more charming place to spend a couple of days. This is a place to slow down and enjoy the best things in life. Here are 3 pictures for you to see why we want to go back and stay instead of visit for a few hours.
Two Greek Isles—Santorini and Mykonos
There is something about color that pops out on these two islands—the contrast of the white buildings, (often with blue domes), with colorful pastel buildings randomly popping up or stark white building suddenly adored with colorful plants is unique in our experiences.
Santorini with its 1000 foot cliff and the town of Fira clinging to the steep walls, seems to make the color even seem more magical. We have been to Santorini 2 times and are ready to go back—it’s that good! If the color of the town isn’t good enough, adding a sunset with your favorite beverage, makes it even better—it is hard for me to think of a place with a more dramatic sunset in the world. Please see if these pictures make you agree:
Mykonos is completely different—mostly white buildings, set in a maze like series of streets that were built to confuse pirates, is a delight to wander. It is the stairways, doors and plants that make it so colorful. Check out these photos:
Lisbon, and Pena Palace, Portugal
On our voyages of the wine traders cruise on the Azamara Quest in 2013, we got to visit the Alfama district of Lisbon and Pena Palace. The Alfama is the old sailors’ quarter of Lisbon and its tangled streets have many colorful buildings and exquisite blue tile work displays on some buildings. Here are some photos:
We also took a short trip to Sintra by taxi—it is some of the best money we have ever spent. By using the taxi instead of the train as was our original plan, we got to see the town, the Royal National Palace and Pena Palace. Our driver was fabulous—we basically rented him for most of the day.
The fantasy Pena Palace is the most unique palace we have ever visited—colorful, full of towers, domes, with almost a Disney like creation feel and the rooms look like someone still lives there. See if these pictures make you agree with my description of the Palace:
We visited Invergordon on an Azamara Journey cruise in 2017. One port was the small village of Invergordon. With a population of around 4,000 would not make anyone’s list of colorful towns for its buildings alone. However, this big cruise liner port and Highlands village splash with color due to its famous mural trail of 11 large wall paintings depicting past and present life in the Highlands. Take a look at some here (we have 9 of the 11 murals):
River cruising can provide some unique opportunities to visit some really colorful places. On our AmaWaterways Enchanting Rhine Christmas Market cruise in December 2016, we got a chance to visit this capital city of Alsace for the third time. This place is so good we stopped here for a day pre cruise and it is just amazing!
Our first visit was during Bastille Day (July 14th) many years ago—the French Independence Day. The combination of half-timber buildings among its many canals in the La Petite France area is both colorful and dramatic. See if you agree:
Another Alsatian town that splashes color is Riquewihr. Located on the Alsace wine road route, some have called this the most beautiful town in France. With a backdrop of the nearby Vosages Mountains and surrounded by vineyards, this old walled city looks like it is still in the 1500’s, with its cobbled streets and colorful half- timbered buildings.
A small population of about 1200 folks, great wines (especially Rieslings), excellent food and a tower and defensive walls—someone was thinking about a lot of things Hank really likes about visiting Europe! Check these pictures out to see if you agree with me:
My Final Thoughts
In short, colorful places await you in Europe—please visit one of these great towns or villages!
We hope these words inspire you to become one of our clients or continue our travel relationship with us and learn to appreciate our world more. Cruising by ocean ship or on a river cruise is a great way to see great colorful sites.
When you are spending your hard earned money for a vacation, you want an advisor who can match you with the right trip. You want someone who will understand your expectations and fuel your anticipation (or excitement) to get you the best possible trip experience.
We want to help you achieve your travel dreams—remember if you want to Visit Dream Destinations—please contact Hank (713-397-0188) or email him at email@example.com to get started or just tell us about your travel dreams. We are here to help you: Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations! Your journey begins here!
HANK is a certified Western European Destination Specialist (DS) who has been traveling to Europe for 45 years. He is also an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC), conferred by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). This recognized expert in cruise and leisure travel is a retired Army Officer, and taught World Geography for 8 years. He is a `71 graduate of West Point and has earned 2 master’s degrees. His other Certifications:
AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist
Viking River Cruise Specialist
Scenic River Cruise Specialist
Emerald Waterways Specialist
Avalon Waterways Specialist