With its cultural wealth and historic sites, not to say incredibly varied landscapes and coasts, Europe makes for a great place to go for a cruise. From the freezing waters of the Arctic to the delightful Mediterranean weather, it’s Europe’s diversity—especially for such a small continent—that sets it apart. If you’re thinking about exploring Europe on a cruise, check out these top 5 cruise destinations in Europe.
5 Best Cruise Destinations in Europe
In this overview, we’ve chosen to focus on regions rather than individual cities. Of course, we could zoom in on some fantastic cruise destinations in Europe like Barcelona, Santorini or Venice, too. However, it’s the overall journey that makes a great cruise, traveling from one epic place to the next, combining different experiences. With that in mind, these are without question the best cruise destinations in Europe.
5. United Kingdom
Perhaps not the most obvious of cruise destinations in Europe, but the U.K. is a phenomenal place to explore on a ship. It’s a collection of islands, after all! Most cruises depart from Southampton, taking in several iconic places along the British coast. This may include Edinburg and Dublin, but also excursions to Loch Ness, the Giant’s Causeway or the Urquhart Castle ruins.
4. Baltic Sea
Arguably Europe’s most underrated corner, the Baltic Sea lies in the north(east) of the continent, its shores encompassing no fewer than eight countries. The coast is dotted with iconic historic cities, truly some of the most spectacular in all of Europe. On a Baltic Sea cruise, you’ll visit Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga and St. Petersburg. Some cruises also take in gorgeous cities like Gdansk and/or Copenhagen. It’s the perfect way to explore eastern Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.
For epic, unforgettable coastlines, there’s no place better than Norway. With its vast number of fjords, inlets, peninsulas and bays, it has one of the world’s longest coasts. It is made for exploration on a (cruise) ship. You can sail along the Norwegian coast all year long. Summer has glorious weather and long days, while winter is superb for watching the Northern Lights and the Milky Way. Highlights along the way include Bergen, the Geirangerfjord, the Lofoten Islands and the North Cape.
2. Western Mediterranean
Granted, the Mediterranean is a whole is one huge, awesome cruise destination. But just because it’s such a large region, it can be split up a sub-regions. The Western Mediterranean, for instance, is one of them, home to amazing cities such as Barcelona, Monaco, Rome and Naples. When cruising the western Mediterranean, you can also visit places like Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast, Sicily and the Balearic Islands.
1. Adriatic Sea
Our number one European cruise destination is the Adriatic Sea, a arm of the Mediterranean Sea. This is the long and narrow sea squeezed between Italy’s east coast and the western Balkans. Sailing around this gorgeous body of crystal-clear water, you’ll skim the coasts of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania. Major highlights are Bari and Venice, Piran, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, and the Bay of Kotor. If you love UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you probably won’t find better cruise destinations in Europe than the Adriatic.