Adventure Cruises in Italy

About Italy cruises

A romantic blend of nature and culture on Italy cruises take guests on a spectacular journey. Visit some of the most beautiful and untouched parts of this much-loved country on a small ship cruise to experience the very best Italy has to offer. The long coastline is dotted with beautiful islands, each unique in its nature, traditions, and cultural experiences, which has made the Italian coast a hotspot for visitors since Roman times. You can soak up the sun onboard or on one of the beautiful beaches that line the shore before enjoying the world-famous Italian cuisine. Italy has a rich history as well with some of the best-known archaeological sites found in Sicily and the Bay of Naples. In addition to the largest island of Sicily, there are several sizeable islands including Corsica and Sardinia, where a small ship cruise will take you to see the highlights as well as the hidden gems of these island’s coasts.

Best Italy cruises and areas to visit

Corsica

Despite its proximity to Italy, Corsica is a French island; however, small ship cruises can easily access it in Italy. The island enjoys a long and colorful history with several remaining archaeological sites from the Roman Empire and many Genoese towers built to protect against the pirates that once plagued the island’s residents. Corsica has three climate zones to explore with typical Mediterranean sunny and dry weather around the coast, wetter temperate weather with lush forests inland and mountainous alpine areas in the center at high altitude. The natural park of Scandola, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site features huge dramatic cliffs and secluded coves, this is not reachable by road, but on a small ship cruise, visitors can easily spend a day or two exploring this area.

Sicily

At the tip of the ‘boot’ of Italy is Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. A vibrant and exciting place, a cruise around Italy can take you to the numerous historic ports and harbors to experience the natural and cultural wonders of Sicily. The main island and its smaller coastal archipelagos are home to some of Italy’s best beaches, archaeological sites and of course, the natural wonder of the still-active volcano, Mount Etna. Popular spots for small ship cruises include the Aeolian Islands a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can visit therapeutic mud baths and historical sites by day and enjoy the vibrant nightlife and the sight of glowing lava pouring from the live volcano of Stromboli at night.

Naples

Famed for its historic architecture, bustling and energetic atmosphere, and mind-blowing views, Naples is a highlight of any cruise around Italy. History lovers will enjoy the array of museums, galleries and archaeological sites, such as the Catacombs of Napoli detailing Naples’ long and often turbulent past. With Mount Vesuvius looming close by it is only a short journey to the famously preserved Roman sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum where lava flow from Vesuvius volcano covered and immortalized these two Roman towns, sadly along with many of their inhabitants. When you are hungry from all your exploring, there are thousands of small restaurants and cafes serving the famous Neapolitan cuisine including their famous Pizza and traditional pasta dishes.

Tuscan Archipelago

This small collection of islands sits off the coast of the famous region of Tuscany, much loved for its natural beauty and fine cuisine and wines. These islands are no exception, home to a natural park and a beautiful coast full of tiny secluded beaches and coves, perfect for a small ship cruise. For something extra special visit to Giannutri, a tiny island with no cars or roads just tiny settlements around the coast and the magnificent remains of a historical Roman villa.

Best time to cruise in Italy

Much of Italy has the standard Mediterranean climate, hot and sunny in the summer months and cooler but dry in the winter. The best time to cruise Italy depends on how much you like the heat. Sun and beach fanatics will find June to the end of September has the hottest days perfect for sunbathing on deck or stopping off at hidden coves and beaches. Sightseers might find the cooler months around September to May offer more time to spend in the archaeological sites and museums. It is possible to do both; however, as the mornings on a small ship cruise are easily cool enough to get the best of both worlds. There are also several special events found around the Italian coast at various times of the year. The carnival time is mostly around February, where visitors can enjoy unique performances, vibrant celebrations and exhibitions from special artists from around Italy and Europe. These times are perfect for a small ship cruise as accommodation can be booked up well in advance. It is the same for cruises during the summer months and it is well worth booking as soon as possible to get the itinerary of your choice.

How to get to Italy

A much-beloved holiday destination, Italy is easy to reach by international flight or train from mainland Europe. International airports can be found all over the country, with the largest being the capital city, Rome. There are also many others nearby in Milan and Pisa in the north and Naples further south. If you are flying to Sicily, Palermo airport offers international flights with another smaller airport at Catania. If you are flying to Corsica island, it is worth noting that while there are international flights from major hubs such as Paris and London, there are fewer flights from Italy itself.