Get Inspired / Europe / Scandinavia / Russia / Italy / Greece / France Inspire Magazine - Sail into the Sunset Share on email Print this article Share on Facebook Get Inspired / Europe / Scandinavia / Russia / Italy / Greece / France Inspire Magazine - Sail into the Sunset story by: Mike Williams There’s no destination quite as sumptuous and sensational as Europe, host to a number of countries perfect for your next getaway. Trying to see them all, or as many as you can, during your trip? Trade in all the fuss of trains and planes for something more luxurious – like a cruise. A cruise offers you the ultimate hassle-free holiday and is the perfect way to get around Europe. Everything is organised for you and most costs are included in the fare, so all you need to do is sit back, relax and take in that sparkling Mediterranean Sea and dream of the excitement that awaits you at the next port. Cruises offer a fantastic selection of dining, entertainment and activities, so while you’re sailing between the jewels in Europe’s crown, you’ll never be short of things to do – that is, if you decide you need a break from lounging poolside! THE MAGIC OF THE MEDITERRANEAN Have you ever dreamed of slowly savouring some paella as you look out at the glistening azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea? Your dream can become a reality with the many options for cruises in this part of Europe. Take a fascinating glimpse into the history of this region through art, food and culture – and surrender yourself completely to the Mediterranean way of life. Some of the most idyllic destinations across the Med will be your ports of call. Do you yearn for a lover’s tryst in France, perhaps on the shores of Saint Tropez or through the never-ending lavender fields of Provence? Wake up with Italy right outside your window, starting with the port of Livorno, the gateway to Florence, Pisa and Tuscany, one region to delight the senses. Creamy, delectable dishes of pasta and full-bodied wines await you beyond every rolling hill. There is no sight quite like Portofino on the Amalfi Coast, a magical hillside village dotted with vibrant coloured buildings. Take a romantic ride on a gondola through the canals of incomparable Venice, where you can delightfully discover quaint cobbled laneways and visit the awe-inspiring St Mark’s Basilica with its glittering golden mosaics and vast array of frescoes. Cruises in Europe can also take you through the magical white-washed Greek Islands where you will marvel at the ancient allure and picturesque bays of Lesbos, Ephesus, Santorini and Argostoli. In the evenings, there’s nothing like watching a bewitching island sunset sink down the horizon. All this and more awaits you in the mesmerizing Mediterranean aboard your impressive cruise liner from sun-up to sun-down. SCANDINAVIA’S BEST KEPT SECRETS Scandinavia exudes style and sophistication. Boasting exceptional natural beauty paired with progressive culture and fascinating history, each stop along the Baltic offers an unforgettable experience. Copenhagen’s bright colours, canals and buoyant spirit make it a must-see on your Scandinavian itinerary. Immortalise your experience with a photo by the famous Little Mermaid statue, a celebration of Dane Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale. In Norway, Oslo brings together the past and the future seamlessly, with medieval buildings and ultra-modern architecture side by side. This city is known for its quality of life, innovation and history, and is exceptionally visitor-friendly. Sweden oozes refinement and an air of luxury, and Stockholm and Gothenburg are two of its most magnificent cities. In Stockholm, gorgeous pastel coloured buildings complement the smorgasbord of emerald-green parks and small islands peppered through its tranquil waterways. In summer, you’ll find each little shore dotted with sunbathers and the water filled with smiling pleasure boaters. Gothenburg is similar to Stockholm, but with more of a rustic lure. No Scandinavian journey is complete without a trip to Berlin from the Warnemunde port. This high-energy city needs no introduction with its abundance of history and attractions. Tallinn may be a lesser-known destination, but to the surprise of many, the Estonian city is a total gem. Head to the ‘Old Town’ and enjoy the medieval charm of piazzas and churches, as well as bustling markets, bright, bold colours and friendly locals. Stroll through its intimate lanes and you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy tale. Where does one start with St Petersburg? This Russian city has so many spectacular features. Dazzling palaces and their expansive, opulent gardens stand in contrast to the remnants of a Soviet past. The Winter Palace must be seen for its eerie history as the scene of the 1095 Bloody Sunday massacre and now an impressive Hermitage art gallery. Catherine’s Palace, just a short way out of the city, is absolutely awe-inspiring, as is Peterhof’s Palace with its impressive gardens, fountains and golden statues. Helsinki, Finland, is another destination that strikes the perfect balance of old and new. While there is plenty to entertain the senses in the sleek, refined city, you might like to head to some of the small islands nearby. One, Seurasaari, is an open air museum showcasing Finnish country life dating back to the 18th century. Of course, this is just a taste of some of the destinations you can visit on a European cruise. Get inspired and prepare to sail off blissfully into the sunset. To find out more call 0800 180 117, visit houseoftravel.co.nz or come instore! 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