Romance By Justin Gibson

Mediterranean Shores Perfect for Enchantment

Swirling hues of deep blue, the Mediterranean Sea has been a source of enchantment since times before ancient antiquity—the civilizations that have flourished on its shores have followed suit in full force. While the nuances of language, cuisine and culture may vary, every seaside town found along the Mediterranean is quick to cement itself as the most magical place you’ve ever been—posing the incredibly fun “what if?” to visiting as many as you can in one trip. The answer: a whirlwind of charm, a medley of allure and mystique lifted straight from the pages of your favorite romance novel, from start to finish of your getaway.

Below you will find a selection of our favorite romantic ports and quaint towns strung along the shores of the Mediterranean. As picturesque as every moment may be, the best part is crystal-clear—these exclusive shore events are complimentary when booked through the SELECT Distinctive Voyages program. They also include a dedicated onboard concierge host and a private welcome-aboard cocktail reception—all at no additional cost. View all voyages to the Mediterranean here.

Ephesus, Turkey

Kusadasi, Turkey

Spanning an outstanding sliver of the Aegean Coast, Kusadasi strikes the perfect balance between historical significance and timeless charm. Begin your shore excursion with a coastal drive to the fabled ruins of Ephesus. Start your walk back in time at the divine House of the Virgin Mary, before descending downhill to the rest of the ancient ruins. On marble streets lined with ancient architecture, the air hangs heavy with significance. The still-ornate Hadrian Temple, the restored façade of the Celsus Library and the 25,000-seat amphitheater all showcase the weathering of time, and all help impart a greater appreciation for the now. Of course, the delectable lunch at the olive farm does that splendidly as well.


Palamós, Spain

Palamós projects a certain air of tranquility, an aura of unconcern for the happenings of the rest of the world. This extends past the city limits and into neighboring towns—a scenic drive to Girona proves that. Known as the Immortal City, gazing up at the Catalonian Romanesque Monastery is but one monument to admire in Girona’s rich historic treasures. After savoring some time here, your shore excursion will head to Pubol for the chance to stroll through the heart of Salvador Dalí. Purchased as a gift to his wife Gala, Dalí’s Castle as it’s come to be known serves as a museum of sorts for their final days. Much of their furniture, ornaments and artwork are still present, but the essence of their romance is the castle itself: the restoration holds Dalí’s flair, as structural imperfections became enticing open spaces. Between this and the gardens, a stroll hand-in-hand here proves for the perfect afternoon with a loved one.

Sorrento, Italy

When it comes to enchanting romantic ports, Naples needs no introduction. But what of Sorrento? Sitting across the bay from Naples, Sorrento proves to be the town well worth your fascination. Sweeping views are possible with the help of the pastel-colored buildings atop the cliffside, with a proper fishing-town marina below. Of course, the stunningly quaint cityscape is only the appetizer of your shore excursion: after strolling the streets and shops of Sorrento, you’ll head to a family-owned farm for a thorough demonstration on how to make world-famous mozzarella cheese. With your appetite being undoubtedly piqued, savor a light lunch showcasing the bounty of the land: pasta bathed in fresh tomato sauce and ricotta cheese, accompanied by the other specialties of the farmhouse. Pair it with a local wine or Limoncello to toast to a day you won’t want to end.

Sorrento, Italy

Porto Venere, Italy

Near the top of Italy’s boot is a peninsula overlooking the Gulf of La Spezia, and on the tip of that peninsula is Porto Venere—it’s no exaggeration to say you feel like you’re on the edge of the world with your shore excursion here. But first, your shore excursion will stop at the quaint village of Lerici—a bayside town dating back to 1100s. After some time spent exploring the village at your leisure, hop aboard a motorboat for a ride across the bay to Porto Venere. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the port captivates all who lay eyes on it. The entire cityscape is painted hues of orange, pink and yellow as if attempting to return the favor to the stunning sunrises and sunsets. Nestled amongst those bright buildings and narrow medieval streets is the storied Church of St. Peter, a highlight of both the coastline and your shore excursion. After admiring this ancient temple and grotto, enjoy refreshments at a local café. From there, exploring the rest of the town’s atmosphere and ambiance is on your own—the perfect opportunity to get swept away in whimsy, lost in the allure of the Mediterranean life.

Porto Venere, Italy

Where to Stay

With all of the industry-leading names in cruising setting sail within the Mediterranean Sea, there’s no shortage of options for who to trust with a magical getaway. But, the crème-de-la-crème for Mediterranean vacations all entail pairing your cruise with overnights in town. The options are as vast as the ocean itself: every city provides both an air of heavy enchantment and abodes-away-from-home befit for a fairytale.

The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento sports arguably the best cliffside views of the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius in tandem with plush elegance. Hotel Camiral at PGA Catalunya Resort sits just outside the town of Palamós, providing a golfer’s heaven to accompany the already established seaside Eden. The Grand Hotel Portovenere is snuggled between the famous Cinque Terre and the Gulf of Poets, making it the gateway for both when you’re not lounging idyllic in a room overlooking the swirling Mediterranean Sea. Any and all are the perfect accompaniment to a Mediterranean cruise, especially when your travel advisor can secure you SELECT bonus amenities for your stay.