The Mediterranean has long been a dream destination for travelers seeking the perfect blend of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. Windstar Cruises visits some of the most enchanting Mediterranean destinations, and what makes these voyages truly exceptional are the shore excursions that await you at each port of call.
From ancient castles in Greece to exploring the famed blue grottoes along the Sicilian coast, these are some of the most exciting shore excursions Windstar offers in the Med:
Concierge Collection: Castle & Liotrivi Olive Oil Factory (Monemvasia, Greece)
Monemvasia is a medieval marvel located off the east coast of the Peloponnese. As you walk along the narrow, cobbled streets around the famed Monemvasia Castle, you may feel like you’ve traveled back in time. After exploring the charming city, your adventure continues with a visit to the Liotrivi Olive Oil Factory, a meticulously restored mansion. Here, you’ll step into the heart of tradition as you explore the old olive mill, learning about the age-old art of producing extra virgin olive oil. You’ll then enjoy traditional bread baked in a wood-fired oven, along with a delectable array of local delicacies, which will be served under the shade of ancient olive trees on the patio. To complete this sensory journey, savor the wines of Monemvasia, whose flavor lends them a unique and unforgettable character. This shore excursion is available on the Treasures of the Greek Isles and Adriatic Archipelagos & Greek Goddesses cruises.
Concierge Collection: Cooking Challenge at a Farmhouse (Valletta, Malta)
Prepare for a culinary adventure that will awaken your senses and ignite your taste buds! Your journey leads you to Hal-Qormi, where an old farmhouse, known as Razzett l-Antik, awaits. Upon arrival, you’ll be assigned to one of six kitchenettes, each equipped with all the essentials for your culinary challenge. You’ll work alongside a talented chef, and your team will be tasked with crafting a delectable dish from a selection of fresh, local fare. Throughout the challenge, points will be awarded for ingredient selection, teamwork, and the artful presentation of your culinary creation. After enjoying your meal, you will head back through the picturesque towns of Siggiewi and Zebbug, with plenty of stops for photos. This shore excursion is available on the Sicilian Splendors and Star Collector: Cruising on the Rivieras cruises.
Wineries of Santorini & Oia Village (Santorini, Greece)
This tour begins at the Santo Winery, one of Santorini’s foremost wineries. After sampling some of the region’s most famous wines, you will continue to the underground Wine Museum of Santorini. Not only will you delve into the rich history of winemaking as you explore this labyrinth, but you will try four exquisite wines, further enhancing your appreciation for the island’s viticultural heritage. Next, you’ll visit the Oia Village, whose charming dwellings and narrow cobbled streets beckon exploration. Along the way, you’ll encounter a handful of quaint shops offering an array of handmade ceramics, paintings and semi-precious jewelry. Before boarding the ship, you’ll make a stop in Fira town, where you’ll have the option to explore further and even take a cable car to the pier below. This shore excursion is available on the Treasures of the Greek Isles and Adriatic Archipelagos & Greek Goddesses cruises.
The Game of Thrones Tour (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
Game of Thrones fans will take delight in this tour, which visits the very spots where iconic scenes from the hit HBO series were filmed. Highlights include the Pile Gate, where King Joffrey faced a riot, and the unforgettable Lovrijenac Fort, the site of the Battle of Blackwater in King’s Landing. Dubrovnik’s rich history is also on display, and the tour culminates on the bustling Stardun, the main city street, where you’ll have the chance to further explore this enchanting town on your own. This shore excursion is available on the Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast, Star Collector: Croatia to the Cote d’Azur and Vatican & Croatian Coastlines Tour cruises.
Concierge Collection: Salt Spa (Piran, Slovenia)
Experience the unique wonders of Slovenia’s Secovlje Salina Nature Park, where salt production has shaped a distinctive landscape over the centuries. Nestled in the heart of these salt fields is the Lepa Vida Thalasso spa, which uses only natural materials and eschews chemical treatments in favor of sea water. Explore the healing power of traditional thalasso therapy amidst this soothing setting, treating yourself to a rejuvenating salt pan mud wrap and a 20-minute massage, which are included in the excursion. The pools are filled with highly concentrated salt water, known for its ability to enhance blood circulation and fortify the body’s defenses. This shore excursion is available on the Adriatic Icons & Venetian Treasures cruise.
Cinque Terre: A Coastal Paradise (Portovenere, Italy)
Explore the five charming and colorful Mediterranean villages that make up Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll see Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia from the deck of a private charter boat, and you’ll disembark to discover the splendor of Vernazza, a resort town nestled at the river’s mouth. You’ll have plenty of time to wander through the village, and after re-boarding your boat, you’ll enjoy a scenic cruise to Monterosso, a quaint town with an expansive sandy beach—the only one of its kind in Cinque Terre. This shore excursion is available on the Romance on the Rivieras and Star Collector: Croatia to the Cote d’Azur cruises.
Concierge Collection: Rafting the Cetina River (Split, Croatia)
The Cetina River has carved a breathtaking canyon over millennia, shaping remarkable rock formations with its crystal-clear waters. During the three-hour rafting expedition, you’ll paddle alongside waterfalls and 600-foot cliffs, running through both calm stretches and exciting Class I and II rapids. After the adrenaline rush, you’ll have lunch at the Radmanove Mlinice restaurant, before heading back to Split. This shore excursion is available on the Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast and Vatican & Croatian Coastlines Cruise Tour itineraries.
Concierge Collection: Taormina & The Blue Grotto by Boat (Giardini Naxos, Italy)
Taormina is one of the most beloved towns in Sicily, and your guided tour begins with a walk along the charming cobblestone streets to the Palazzo Corvaja, a 15th-century architectural gem. A short stroll takes you to the breathtaking Greco-Roman theatre, Taormina’s iconic landmark, dating back to the 3rd century BC. You’ll then board a boat at the port of Giardini Naxos and head into the legendary Blue Grotto. This mesmerizing sea cave has a blue glow that illuminates the water, and it makes for an incredible photo op. After the cave exploration, you’ll have the chance to take a swim in the waters off Isla Bella, and you’ll also be treated to a plate of almond cookies. This shore excursion is available on the Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast and Vatican & Croatian Coastlines Cruise Tour itineraries.
Concierge Collection: Mount Etna by 4x4 (Catania, Italy)
This thrilling shore excursion takes you on a 4×4 tour of majestic Mount Etna, which is one of the most photographed stratovolcanoes in the Mediterranean. You will make a number of stops to witness the vast lava flows and the pathways carved by the eruptions of 2002, showcasing the raw power of this active volcano. You’ll explore the intriguing Lava Cave, an underground marvel with a length of approximately 2,854 feet and varying diameters of 16 to 26 feet. Following your thrilling morning, savor the local flavors with a typical Sicilian lunch. This shore excursion is available on the Sicilian Splendors and Star Collector: Cruising on the Rivieras cruises.
Castle & Gulet Cruise (Bodrum, Turkey)
This shore excursion offers the perfect mix of history and relaxation with a visit to the Bodrum Castle and a leisurely cruise aboard a traditional wooden “gulet” boat. The Bodrum Castle was built by the Knights of Rhodes using stones sourced from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Inside the castle, you’ll explore the Sunken Boat Museum, where underwater artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages are on display, providing a glimpse into the region’s rich maritime history. Then, it’s time to board the gulet, which has sailed these waters for centuries. As you cruise along the Bodrum Peninsula, you’ll have the opportunity to swim in pristine coves, and you’ll enjoy a delicious Turkish lunch featuring regional specialties. This shore excursion is available on the Cultural Gems on the Azure Aegean: Turkey & Greece and Aegean Sea Odyssey cruises.
Please note: Shore excursions are often subject to availability, so please call your travel advisor or contact Windstar Cruises for the latest shore excursions on each voyage.