Cruising to Colorful European Cities

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.  So, I thought I might let you see some of the wonderful, colorful places we have been able to visit on our cruises.

Portofino, Italy

We got to visit this great little town while on a SiverSeas 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, then 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:





Our Wine Tasting at Castillo Brown

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 are 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:




Positano, Italy

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 two 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.  On Santorini, the contrast of the white buildings, (often with blue domes), with colorful pastel buildings randomly popping up, is eye catching.  On Mykonos, the stark white buildings suddenly adored with colorful plants and blue accents, makes this place unique. 

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 this picture makes you agree:


Mykonos is completely different.  The town consists mostly white buildings, set in a maze like series of streets that were built to confuse pirates.  It is a delight to wander.  It is the accents and plants that make it so colorful.  Check out this photo:


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. It is also famous for exquisite blue tile work displays on some of the 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 unusual 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.




Strasbourg, France

River cruising can provide some unique opportunities to visit some really colorful places.  On our recent AmaWaterways Enchanting Rhine Christmas Market cruise in December 2016, we got a chance to visit this city for the third time.  This place is so good, we stopped here for a day pre cruise and it is still 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.  Our photos:Strasbourg photos:



In short, there is a lot to see and colorful places await you in Europe!

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 good way to see great colorful sites.  We want to help you achieve your travel dreams—remember if you want to Visit Dream Destinationsplease contact Hank (713-397-0188) or email him at 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!


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