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The best cruise ports for history lovers

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Does travelling tickle your fancy? Do you love all things history? Well, then, this is the article for you. Cruise ports often go hand in hand with history, and a floating holiday is a wonderful way to see a plethora of ancient ports all in one trip. In this article, we take a look at some of the very best ports that are the perfect place to delve into modern and ancient history that is still visible to this day. Keep reading to find out more about these tantalising locations.

The best cruise ports for history lovers:

  • Naples, Italy

  • Istanbul, Turkey

  • Québec City, Canada

  • Alexandria, Egypt

  • Cadiz, Spain

Naples, Italy

The third largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan, Naples is often considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the country, known for being the birthplace of the Margherita pizza and the location of some magnificent historic architecture. If you’re looking to walk ancient streets, marvel at perfectly preserved historic buildings and delve into times of the past, then Naples will be a stand-out port on any Mediterranean cruise.

Dating back 4,000 years, Naples is a metropolis of historical importance. Traced back to the first Greek settlements in 2,000 BC, people have wandered the streets and lived on the land for thousands of years. Traditional ways of life are still practised today; just a meander around the streets will immerse you in its unique and impressive culture. Naples Old Town is the largest in Europe and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1955. This mighty mecca is crammed with imposing palaces, narrow and quaint streets, unique churches and townhouses of days gone by.

If you’re looking to explore some historic locations or attractions in the city, then make sure you visit some of the following:

  • Ovo Castle

  • Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

  • Naples National Archaeological Museum

  • Castel Nuovo

  • Piazza del Plebiscito

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, previously known as Constantinople, is one of the only cities that covers two continents, Asia and Europe. Also popularly known for being the largest city in Turkey, it is a fascinating location for history lovers.

Thought to have been inhabited from 3,000 BC, it wasn’t named a city until the Greeks arrived around seven-century BC. The walled old town is a hub of ancient history and one that shouldn’t be overlooked, covering 9 square miles. Istanbul has come under siege on more than one occasion, being besieged by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries, by the Barbarians in the 9th and 10th and more recently, being occupied by allied troops amid the First World War.

There is so much to explore within the city that you’ll never want to leave. Find some of the best historic attractions below:

  • Hagia Sophia

  • Galata Tower

  • Basilica Cistern

  • Rumeli Fortress

  • Beylerbeyi Palace

Québec City, Canada

The capital city of Québec, Québec City is a highlight of any cruise to Canada from the UK. Known for having over 400 years of enticing history to uncover, the city is brimming with modern history and is the birthplace of French North America.

Québec Old City is known for being the most intact fortified town north of Mexico and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Its colonial architecture is often a huge draw for tourists who want to explore the location’s history. Founded in 1608 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, there are a plethora of unique locations to explore, including Petit-Champlain, one of the oldest shopping streets in North America and the old port, which is a picturesque location to stop for a bite to eat.

If you want to know what other historic locations to explore in Québec City, then make sure you visit some of these:

  • Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

  • Parliament Building

  • Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral

  • La Citadelle de Québec

READ MORE: Things to do in Québec City, Canada

Alexandria, Egypt

The Mediterranean port city situated in Egypt, Alexandria dates back to 331 BC when it was established by Alexander The Great. It was the site of the Pharos, known for hosting one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and for being one of the vital cultural centres of the period.

Alexandria is home to a plethora of historic structures, monumental buildings and ornate bridges, which make it iconic in the Egyptian landscape. Stroll around ancient Egyptian architecture, splendour at the sun on your face as you immerse yourself in a culture of days gone by.

Looking for some historical attractions in the city? Find a few of our top recommendations below:

  • Citadel of Qaitbay

  • Montaza Palace

  • Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

  • Sidi Morsi Abu al-Abbas Mosque

Cádiz, Spain

A city and a port in southern Spain, Cádiz is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Western Europe, with buildings and remains dating back to the 12th century when it was founded by the Phoenicians. A port and a temple were some of the first buildings to be built in the now vast city, which can still be seen when wandering the streets today. The best way to see the city is by taking a day to explore the narrow and quaint streets, learning about the ancient temples and marvelling at the beauty of the Cathedral architecture.

Cádiz has some of the best historical attractions in the world, so if you’re visiting the city, then make sure to see the following attractions:

  • Catedral de Cádiz

  • Castillo de Santa Catalina

  • Parque Genovés

  • Torre Tavira

  • Gran Teatro Falla

READ MORE: Ancient wonders you can see on a cruise holiday

If you’re looking at 2024 cruises and love all things history, why not consider a cruise that visits some of these amazing destinations? If you are looking for more destination advice or want tips for your next cruise, visit our blog.

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