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Top 5 Hidden Gems You Must Visit on a Mediterranean Cruise

When Eurodam sets sail in the Mediterranean this summer, the ship will visit an impressive collection of ports throughout the region. From weeklong explorations to more in-depth 12-day voyages, the ship will explore several countries and the ports that showcase the culture and customs of each locale. While guests are eager to visit well-known destinations like Athens, Venice, Mykonos and Dubrovnik, the ship will lesser visited ports like Rijeka and Zadar, Croatia; Koper, Slovenia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Cephalonia, Greece. Come along and see what makes these ports so special before embarking on a long-awaited Mediterranean holiday.

RIJEKA, CROATIA

View from Trsat Castle in Rijeka - Croatia

Follow the tourist path and encounter many of the city’s most important cultural and historical monuments. Its many old streets and avenues, lined with 18th-century homes and buildings, include several beautiful churches. Stroll the Korso — Rijeka‘s main pedestrian street — lined with period buildings and sparkling fountains. Its highlights include the Baroque Rijeka Cathedral, constructed on a round floor plan, and the neo-Gothic Capuchin Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, once noted for its ornate façade. See the 538-step stone stairway, a pilgrimage path that leads to the Church of Our Lady of Trsat, containing a painted icon of Mary. A short bus ride away, tour Trsat Castle, one of the oldest forts on the Adriatic coast. Built by the Frankopan dukes of Krk and originally used as a watchtower, it was renovated in 1824 by an Irish count in a neo-Classical, Biedermeier design. Discover this magnificent landmark’s historic remains as well as its modern art gallery and permanent museum exhibition.

ZADAR, CROATIA

Zadar

Zadar was a crossroads in the ancient world and a cornerstone of the Venetian Empire. As in many Croatian towns, layers of history and art are everywhere (keep your eyes open for the ubiquitous signature Venetian lions). In recent years, Croatia has found some new fame as the backdrop for “Game of Thrones,” but Zadar’s story of survival rivals anything that Hollywood could imagine. Caught on the front lines between the Allies and Mussolini’s troops, some 60 percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed in World War II. Today, however, the city that was once described as “the Dresden of the Adriatic” has been meticulously restored. From the new tourist port, Gaženica, to the Victorian-era Riva seafront walkway and the cobblestoned streets of the old town, Zadar dazzles visitors once again, just as it has for centuries.

KOPER, SLOVENIA

Koper

The Republic of Venice ruled the city for more than five centuries, from 1279 to 1797. La Serenissima’s influence is reflected in Koper’s architecture, in buildings like the 15th-century Venetian-Gothic Praetorian Palace and other works like the 17th-century Da Ponte Fountain, which recalls the bridges spanning Venice’s canals. Wandering the narrow cobbled streets and squares of the Old Town — where you’ll hear residents speak both Italian and Slovene — you’ll pass a number of even earlier, medieval sites, including the 12th-century Carmine Rotunda and the Cathedral of the Assumption, with a tower that houses one of the oldest bells in Slovenia. Also worth stops are the Venetian-Gothic Almerigogna Palace, painted with floral motifs, and Taverna, a bar and event space located in a historic former salt warehouse.

KOTOR, MONTENEGRO

Our Lady of the Rocks Church on the Island near Perast in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro

Cruising into the Bay of Kotor, you’ll be wowed by the dramatic beauty of this coastal Montenegrin town. Dreamy seafront villages are set to a backdrop of mountains plummeting into the Adriatic Sea, while the stone labyrinth of the Old Town is filled with medieval architecture and historic monuments—as well as the narrowest street in the world. Kotor escaped Ottoman rule and developed as an important Venetian trading post, before being conquered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, France and Russia. The city pays tribute to this dynamic history with Venetian gates, Napoleon’s theater and Austrian prisons all waiting to be discovered. There’s a reason it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

CEPHALONIA, GREECE

CEPHALONIA

Cephalonia is the largest island in the Ionian Sea, famous for its gorgeous beaches, crumbling castles, secluded monasteries and warm Greek hospitality. Throughout the course of history, Cephalonia has exchanged hands many times — from the Normans to the Venetians to the Ottoman Turks. These influences from other European countries have shaped the island’s culture, and are especially evident in the spelling variations of place names. Argostóli is Cephalonia’s port town. The architecture, although new, remains traditionally Greek. Lithostroto is the main drag — a pedestrian-only street lined with specialty shops and tourist kiosks offering souvenirs and the island’s famous cheese pastries. During the warm months, musicians come to play traditional music by guitar and mandolin in Vallianos Square (Plateia Valianou) while down beside the waterfront promenade, local fishermen haul in their daily catch.

Which of these hidden gems would you like to visit on a cruise?

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