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Our Ultimate Guide to Sightseeing on a Cruise

Our Ultimate Guide to Sightseeing on a Cruise

It’s the International Day for Monuments and Sites! 

And what better way to celebrate some of the world’s most amazing places than by rounding up our top five destinations to sightsee while on a cruise?

Read on to discover where you can find the best monuments, natural wonders and iconic sites across the globe…

Mediterranean

Barcelona

A cosmopolitan metropolis, Barcelona is bustling with arts and culture dotted throughout the entirety of the city. Dominated by the stunning works of acclaimed architect and artist, Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona radiates beauty with every step.

To appreciate the world-famous works of Gaudi, take a trip to Parc Guell- a UNESCO world heritage site, designed by the artist himself. Witness quirky buildings, prominent sculptures and a distinctive rainbow of mosaics. 

Or, for something different and unique, head to the beach, where you’ll find Frank Gehry’s golden fish sculpture towering above the harbour. This 52-metre-long sculpture was built for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and remains a prominent feature of the city, linking the casino, restaurants and luxurious Hotel Arts to the seafront.  

France 

Eiffel tower in Paris

Say Bonjour to one of the best Mediterranean destinations to sightsee!

Of course, the capital offers visitors a plethora of impressive monuments and museums: from the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to Paris’ second hottest selfie spot, the Arc de Triomphe. However, venture out of the busy streets of Paris, and you will also be pleasantly surprised by France’s alternative tourist offerings.

In Bordeaux, visit the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheatre, Palais Gallien, featuring several arches and remnants that remain intact to this day. Alternatively, take a trip to charming Marseille and marvel at its outstanding cathedral; one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks holding strong historical and religious significance. 

Greece

Aside from delicious food and strong liquors, Greece is an excellent destination for exploring unique characteristics and sites. 

On the popular islands of Santorini and Mykonos, admire the characteristic beauty of whitewashed buildings dotted across hillsides. Just a five-minute walk from the latter’s centre, discover the windmills of Mykonos- an island trademark with their distinctive silhouettes.

However, perhaps the most popular with sightseeing tourists is Greece’s capital, Athens. Considered the symbol of the city and Greece itself, visitors can explore the Acropolis and its temples, which contain the remains of several ancient buildings; the most famous of which is the Parthenon.  

Asia

Japan

In high-tech Tokyo, find yourself surrounded by the capital’s glitzy shopping districts, neon lights and towering cityscapes. Not to mention renowned monuments and features including Tokyo Tower, the Olympic Stadium and Tokyo Skytree (the world’s tallest tower), not for the faint-hearted! 

Away from the bright lights of the capital, Mount Fuji has to be one of Japan’s main attractions. As an active volcano and the country’s tallest peak, it is a must-see wonder- whether you’re admiring the view from below, or hiking to the summit for an adrenaline kick. 

Bali 

Bali

Surrounded by luscious beaches and stunning natural scenery, Bali is a firm favourite destination for Asia cruises. Known for its forested landscapes, iconic rice paddles and coral reefs, the island is certainly not lacking things to see and do while visiting. 

Experience Bali’s religious heritage with a trip to Uluwatu Temple, located on the Southern tip of Bali and perched proudly on top of a steep cliff, approximately 70 metres above the sea below. 

Or, if you’re an animal lover searching for the perfect photo opportunity, the Ubud Monkey forest will have you brimming with excitement as you snap a shot with these sacred creatures, roaming free among the thick forests and paved pathways. 

India 

Taj mahal in india

A vibrant country of contrasts, and the world’s seventh-largest nation by area, India boasts a rich heritage and contains iconic monuments and sites to match.

One of the new seven world wonders, and arguably India’s most recognisable building, the Taj Mahal is a breathtaking site that can’t be missed on a cruise to India. Attracting millions of visitors to its grounds each year, this immense structure is a gem of Muslim art; best visited at dawn or dusk for a truly magical atmosphere.

Elsewhere, the Gateway of India in Mumbai stands proud and tall on the waterfront of Mumbai Harbour. Another significant monument, the bold yellow arch is symbolic of colonial triumph and is the first structure that welcomes visitors who enter the city from the sea. 

USA

New York

In America’s ‘Big Apple’, experience a city like no other in the world. Walking around New York City, expect to see world-famous sights around every corner!

From the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza and Central Park, to the iconic Times Square and, of course, the Statue of Liberty; New York truly is a haven for sightseeing. 

With so much to see in this epic city, you may well want to stay for an extended period of time as part of your USA cruise! 

San Francisco

Perfect for couples, families and singles alike, San Francisco is a picturesque West Coast City, offering many famous sites among charming streets and astonishing views.

Witness the symbol of the city, and walk across the glistening Golden Gate Bridge for an authentic San Francisco experience- which, depending on the season, pedestrians can access from 5 am to 9 pm.

Or venture to one of San Francisco’s top tourist attractions, and one of the most famous prisons in the world, Alcatraz. After jumping on a quick ferry ride to the island, learn about the historic site by taking a self-guided or professionally operated tour of the eerie buildings. But, it is worth planning ahead, as tickets often sell out weeks in advance for this iconic experience!

Grand Canyon

Grand canyon in arizona

Having attracted worldwide visitors for generations, the Grand Canyon is a universal bucket-list destination! As one of the highlights of any trip to the United States, this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

With millions of years of geological history contained in its layered bands of red rock, visitors to the national park can admire the immense natural beauty of the landscape from various viewpoints: including Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and Lipan Point. 

Easily accomplished on a day trip from nearby Las Vegas or Phoenix, choosing to visit in spring or autumn will give the best experience of the site- with good weather and smaller crowds. 

British Isles

Liverpool

The eccentric city of Liverpool, while renowned for its musical ties, is known for far more than only The Beatles! This bustling city is a cultural hub of music, art and history combined. 

With a prominent maritime heritage, one of Liverpool’s greatest sites is its iconic waterfront and docks. Here, at Liverpool’s Pier Head, behold the buildings that make up the Three Graces, creating a beautiful skyline of the city: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building.  

Across the city, a modern marvel stands high above the rest in the form of Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. With its unique architecture and welcoming atmosphere, it is definitely worth visiting for a moment of calming reflection and awe.

Dublin

Across the waters in the Republic of Ireland, Dublin hosts a realm of sightseeing hotspots. 

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Dublin Castle, a centuries-old symbol of power and prestige in the heart of Dublin. Explore opulent State Apartments, serene gardens, and fascinating exhibits; this is a must-see for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. 

In Dublin’s lively Temple Bar district, see the iconic Temple Bar itself and grab a pint at the charming spot. And, while frequenting this sector of the city, walk five minutes further afield, and you will find the spectacular grounds of Trinity College. This prestigious university has been featured in countless films and series, and makes for a very scenic stroll! 

Edinburgh 

Discover true Scottish heritage in its capital city, Edinburgh.

A trip to this charismatic city is incomplete without paying a visit to the one and only Edinburgh Castle. Dominating the skyline, its outline can be seen from across the city, positioned on top of an extinct volcano, Castle Rock. Take in panoramic views of the city below, and discover the castle’s many secrets and stories within its ancient walls. 

Additionally, in the heart of the Old Town, explore Edinburgh’s most famous street; The Royal Mile. Home to many famous sites, walk from top to bottom, as you discover museums, cathedrals, and culminate your travels at Holyrood Palace- the Royal’s official Scottish residences. 

Australia

Sydney

viking

Home to the infamous Sydney Opera House, this majestic city captivates visitors with its abundance of breathtaking sights. 

Spanning across the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge is a marvel of engineering and a world-renowned tourist attraction. Choose a leisurely stroll or, for the thrill-seekers, embark on a BridgeClimb adventure to scale the summit of the bridge and soak in the awe-inspiring vistas from the top.

To soak up the authentic Aussie lifestyle, head to Bondi Beach, where sun, sand, and surf converge to create an idyllic paradise by the sea. Located just a short distance from the city centre, catch some waves, soak up the sun, or simply take a leisurely stroll along the iconic Bondi to Bronte coastal walk. 

Uluru 

Also known as Ayer’s Rock, Uluru is a timeless and sacred natural wonder that holds deep cultural significance for the local Indigenous Anangu people. This astounding site comprises a massive sandstone monolith that captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring size, stunning colours, and spiritual presence.

Visitors to the site can explore the surrounding area and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Anangu people through guided tours, Indigenous storytelling, and cultural experiences. 

With its striking beauty, cultural significance, and spiritual aura, Uluru certainly leaves a lasting impression on those who are fortunate enough to witness its timeless elegance. 

Whitsunday Islands

For an idyllic tropical island paradise combined with the excitement of stunning natural landscapes to explore, the Whitsunday Islands is the perfect destination. Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, this collection of pristine islands is a sightseeing dream. 

A picture-perfect destination, sail across the azure waters on a cruise and discover secluded coves, hidden beaches, and secret bays. Along with the Great Barrier Reef, Heart Reef is one of the most iconic landmarks of the Whitsundays. However, this heart-shaped coral formation can only be seen in its full glory from above, so try taking a scenic flight or helicopter tour to witness this natural wonder and capture stunning aerial views.

Alternatively, venture on a scenic hike to Hill Inlet for panoramic vistas of the iconic swirling sands of Whitehaven Beach, or perhaps even snorkel among vibrant coral reefs to encounter a kaleidoscope of marine life! 

With so many magnificent destinations to visit across the globe on a cruise, we hope this guide has helped you to narrow down your choices when deciding which monuments and sites to visit on your travels.

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