2Pre­vi­ously

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WISHLIST CRUISING -

over­shad­owed by neigh­bour­ing hol­i­day heavy­weights, like Spain and Italy, un­til a few years ago Por­tu­gal was largely off the in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers’ radar, how­ever these days the coun­try (namely its hilly cap­i­tal, Lis­bon) is well and truly buzzing.

Fresh from host­ing the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test in May, the coastal city has hy­per­bole in spades. Travel + Leisure named it “des­ti­na­tion of the year” and Ex­pe­dia re­ported de­mand for the city was up by 40 per cent yearon-year. It’s also cheaper when com­pared with sim­i­lar Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions and is a great jumpin­goff point for day trips to Por­tu­gal’s other towns.

And as a re­sponse to the in­ter­est from the cruise in­dus­try, Lis­bon of­fi­cially opened its new cruise ter­mi­nal in Novem­ber, which means that the num­ber of voy­ages to its shores are set to rise rapidly.

HVAR, CROA­TIA

tens of thou­sands of other tourists will likely mar the ex­pe­ri­ence.

In­stead, by­pass the crowds and live out your Venice fan­tasies at nearby Chioggia, aka “mini-Venice”. Nes­tled at the south­ern end of the Vene­tian La­goon and oc­cu­py­ing sev­eral is­lands and joined by a bridge to the main­land, the sea­side town boasts the pic­turesque canals, bridges and fine ar­chi­tec­ture that you’ll see in its big­ger and more fa­mous coun­ter­part but on a much smaller scale.

HAAR­LEM, NETHER­LANDS

for shop­ping. Voted the best shop­ping city in Hol­land three times, it of­fers re­tail fiends plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to splash some cash within its pho­to­genic bou­tiques.

DURNSTEIN, AUS­TRIA

UN­ESCO World Her­itage walk goes across the Pyre­nees and into northern Spain, end­ing at the old Cathe­dral of San­ti­ago de Com­postela in the north­west where the re­mains of Saint James are be­lieved to be en­tombed.

For trav­ellers who don’t have the stamina, or the in­cli­na­tion, to make the trek to the famed re­li­gious site on foot, savvy cruise lin­ers are begin­ning to of­fer itin­er­ar­ies that in­clude a stop at its clos­est port, Vilagarcia (also called Vilagarcia de Arousa).

Pre­vi­ously, pas­sen­gers want­ing to visit the site had to travel by coach from neigh­bour­ing La Coruna or Vigo, but sev­eral lin­ers, in­clud­ing Ocea­nia Cruises, are now of­fer­ing itin­er­ar­ies call­ing here and the lo­cal govern­ment au­thor­i­ties are in the plan­ning stages for a new pro­posed cruise route to the es­tu­ary town.

VOLOS, GREEK IS­LANDS,

keen on break­ing new ground, the city of Volos is the place to go.

Sit­u­ated be­tween fre­netic Athens and Thes­sa­loniki, the city has been de­cid­edly off the radar, de­spite be­ing the third largest port in the coun­try. Un­til now that is.

Steadily pop­ping up more reg­u­larly on itin­er­ar­ies with the likes of Princess Cruises, Crys­tal Cruises, Se­abourn and In­trepid, the an­cient port and myth­i­cal home of Ja­son and the Arg­onauts has some­thing for ev­ery­one. Head down­town for mu­se­ums, churches, bou­tiques and al fresco restaurants serv­ing tra­di­tional Greek fare; or use it as a jump­ing off point to ex­plore the sur­round­ing moun­tains or the un­spoiled Spo­rades is­lands.

PORTOFINO, ITALY

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