Discover four hidden gems with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Credit: Canva

European hidden gems: Four of our favourite European cruise ports

Author: Lucy Abbott

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines sails to beautiful European cruise ports, and with a difference. Discover the hidden European gems just waiting for you to visit

Europe is brimming with culture hotspots, stunning vistas and mouth-watering local cuisine – so how do you decide where to visit?

Well, a Fred. Olsen cruise gives you the opportunity to wander multiple European hidden gems in one holiday.

After just a few relaxing days at sea, you could be sat in a bustling square with eager waiters spilling into the streets tempting you with delicious cuisine options.

And Europe pleases every type of cruiser – of course, the foodies, but also the culture vultures and the nature-seekers.

We round up four of our favourite European cruise ports that you can visit with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines…

1. Gijon, Spain

As the perfect fusion of beach and city, Gijon is a hidden gem nestled on the north-western coast of Spain.

First things first, lay out your beach towel on the soft sand of Playa de San Lorenza beach – a hotspot (quite literally) for refreshing water and soaking in the rays.

You’ll also want to pay a visit to the Roman baths of Termas Romanas de Campo Valdes – considered to be one of the most important Roman remains in all of Northern Spain.

Gaze in wonder at public baths built between the first and fourth centuries and gain an interesting insight into the daily life at this time.

You can also wander the historical hotspot of Plaza Mayor, which is the town’s main square featuring the town hall – shopaholics can find a sheltered shop to peruse before relaxing in one of the cider bars, also known as sidrería.

Fred. Olsen visits Gijon on multiple itineraries – take the ‘Discovering Northern Spain’ itinerary for example, which boasts additional calls to La Coruña and Getxo for Bilbao.

Propriano epitomises relaxation. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Propriano, France

This small coastal town epitomises relaxation. From the scent of thyme that drifts from the countryside to the rugged scenery that frames every landscape – it’s a beautiful sight no matter which way you look.

In terms of location, Propriano is in the middle of Bonifacio (south) and Corsica’s capital, Ajaccio. The town dates from the early 19th century and is overlooked by the Church of Notre Dame de la Misericorde – a peaceful church that is well worth a visit.

Saunter down to the harbour to gaze at glamorous yachts and admire views of the town – speaking of which, the centre is made up of one long street bustling with shops, cafés, and bars.

The beaches are a large attraction just outside of the town centre, with Plage de Lido only 1km west and Plage de Baracci 1km north of the town.

You also have scope to visit other areas nearby, with ferries to Sardinia and mainland France operating from the town marina.

Visit Propriano on the likes of the ‘Exploring the Islands of the Mediterranean’ itinerary with Fred. Olsen.

3. Olbia, Italy

Small but mighty, Olbia in the Italian region of Sardinia offers countless beaches, museums and churches to explore.

Must-dos include visiting the fascinating ruins, as the area around Olbia was inhabited during prehistoric times, including the sacred well of Sa Testa which measures just under 18 metres long and symbolises the gateway between the world of the dead from the living.

Closer in distance, the city centre is easily explorable by foot with the main street, Corso Umberto, housing plenty of shops, bars and local eateries to enjoy.

Churches are a main attraction in Olbia, with San Paolo featuring a dome that can be seen from almost anywhere in the surrounding areas. Inside is well worth a visit with stunning relics and paintings.

Other churches include San Simplicio Cathedral and Necropolis, which is the best-preserved Romanic church on the island. Instead of simply stepping inside the church, the interesting elements lie underneath, with a host of tombs.

You can visit Olbia on the ‘Colourful & Cosmopolitan Mediterranean with the Amalfi Coast’ itinerary with Fred. Olsen.

A visit to Kusadasi is not complete without visiting the ancient temples of Ephesus. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Kusadasi, Turkey

Famous in the cruise world for being a gateway to Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis and the Acropolis of Ancient Greece, this municipality offers much more than these hotspots.

First on your list should be to walk the historical Pigeon Island with a visit to the castle too, which dates back to the 13th century, after all – this is one of the oldest symbols of Kusadasi.

While in Turkey, it’s only right to try out the unique Turkish bath experience and feel the benefits to both your body and soul, making you appreciate the authentic hammam experience.

The shopping scene is also impressive, with Kusadasi Bazaar offering a plethora of local shops where you can spot something truly unique to bring back as a gift (or keep for yourself of course).

And you can visit Kusadasi on the ‘Discovering the Amalfi & Dalmatian Coasts with Greece and Turkey’ with Fred. Olsen.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.