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The Mediterranean is dotted with legendary ports and cinema style luxury, and this fusion of natural beauty and Old World glamour is why it is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. A cruise through the western Mediterranean will take you to places like Venice, Rome, Nice and Barcelona. Cruise ships have been visiting these cities and port towns forever, disgorging passengers for day excursions to see everything from Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Trevi Fountain to the Henri Matisse coloured casinos in the French Riviera. Take one look at Nice and you can’t help but think of Bridgett Bardot cruising the hilltop streets in a convertible. Click here to see what Virgin Holidays Cruises has to offer.

backpacking in Dubrovnik Croatia
The Road Less Travelled

However, if you are looking for a quieter Mediterranean, one that still has scenic ports and world-class beaches but does not have the jet-setter attitude, then you should consider Dubrovnik, Croatia. Croatia is located in the eastern Mediterranean. In the early 1990s, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, and since that time the country has slowly become the hidden jewel of the eastern Mediterranean. The problem, however, is that hidden jewels do not stay hidden for long. Word travels fast, and the next thing you know an unspoiled destination is on the fast track to becoming the latest hotspot. Croatia, it seems, is on the cusp; tourism has experienced a boom, but it is still nothing in comparison to what you will find in the western Mediterranean. In other words, now is the time to visit.

The Croatian Riviera

Before you cruise the eastern Mediterranean, be sure to find a ship that is going to dock in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik is a walled, medieval town. In some respects, it looks a lot like Prague. The main thoroughfare in the Old Town is called the Strandum, and it is filled with cathedrals, Baroque architecture and quaint, outdoor cafes. The seafood in Croatia is legendary, and the wine is fast becoming some of the best in Europe, so be sure to grab an outdoor table and have lunch.

The Croatian Riviera has a different atmosphere than the Amalfi Coast and the Cote d’Azur. In some respects, it is like the land that time forgot. St. Jakob’s Beach is a popular swimming and sunbathing destination. Quiet and secluded, it is a far cry from the overcrowded beaches in Nice. From Dubrovnik, you can take a 15-minute boat ride to Lokum, a beautiful island known for its forests, wildlife and hiking paths.

When it comes to travelling, it is difficult to know if a destination is still up and coming or if it has peaked. However, you should cruise your way to Croatia and find out.



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