The ports-of-call in the Mediterranean are perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway just about any time of year. Whether it’s dimly lit restaurants and scenic rides or dramatic coastlines and stunning architecture, the cities dotted along the Mediterranean Sea simmer with world-class romance. Whether you’re honeymooning, celebrating an anniversary, or simply just celebrating another day/year/month together, the Mediterranean is filled with romance–without having to perch on the bow of the ship with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Ports in the Mediterranean are known for being a great start/finish to any cruise, so whether you choose a bigger city or small town, now’s a great time to consider planning that romantic sojourn. Is there anything better than sipping Pinot Grigio on a cafe terrace that overlooks the azure waters of the Mediterranean? Here are some departure city ideas to get you started.
Chocolate in Barcelona
Barcelona might be known for tapas, art and Gaudi architecture, but it is also one of the best chocolate cities in the world. Barcelona boasts a stellar chocolate museum; you’ll not only have the opportunity to see how cacao beans were first introduced to Spain from the New World in the 1400s, but also feast your eyes on an exquisite chocolate model of Barcelona. Fargas, a confection specialist, has been making chocolate since the 1800s. At Xocoa, you can treat yourself to a chocolate beer. Lined with restaurants, bars and shops, Las Ramblas is Barcelona’s most famous avenue. A romantic, evening stroll by the “Magic Fountain” is the perfect way to end the day.
Perfume in the French Riviera
The stunning seaside cliffs and turquoise waters of the Cote d’Azure have always been a magnet for couples. The cinematic glamour and Matisse-like colour of the region is breath-taking. Most cruises dock at Nice’s Port Nice Quai. Nice is known for its elegant Promenade des Anglais; this seaside promenade is the ideal place to people watch, or sit back and observe the boats bobbing in the Mediterranean, while sipping on a regional wine.
Nice has a long history with perfume. There are fragrance shops all over town. A trip to the Cours Saleya Flower Market will tickle your nose with delightful fragrances and open your eyes to the importance of perfume to the region. Moilnard, one of Nice’s premier perfumeries, has been operating since 1849. The store sells fragrances from Grasse, a nearby town that is said to be the birthplace of perfume.
Beaches in Corfu
Just a short boat ride away from Venice and a departure point for wonderful cruises of the Greek Islands and historic ports further east (like Turkey or even Egypt), Corfu is a great little spot to just relax and disconnect. Head for the west side of the island to get the best sand and choose from various spots - Chalikounas Beach is a favorite of friends who frequent the island.
Despite being a remote paradise, you’ll find lots of chip shops and other tack souvenir stalls like elsewhere in Europe, so bring some comfy shoes and take advantage of the many fantastic walks. Mount Pantokrator is the highest point on the island and a very achievable point, but there are paths just as nice that don’t get you quite so high.
Romance in Rome
Is there any city more romantic than Rome (when you’re not stuck in line for the Sistine Chapel)? While Venice might rival the Eternal City for the title of most romantic city, eating, drinking and shopping in Rome is less of a tourist experience than in Venice.
Civitavecchia is the closet cruise port to Rome. After spending a day at the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Colosseum, cosy up with that special someone over a leisurely meal of artichokes simmered in garlic and mint, carbonara and a nice bottle of Chianti (a previous favorite meal of mine, actually).