Port Spotlight: Hvar, Croatia

Hvar, Croatia, a.k.a. "the island of natural beauty" is well known for its mild climate and lush subtropical vegetation as well as its cultural and historical monuments. It is the sunniest and most luxurious of all Croatian destinations and, along with Dubrovnik, the most popular tourist town.

Hvar is also famed for the lilac lavender fields that dot its interior, as well as for other aromatic plants such as rosemary and heather. You’ll find that some of the really deluxe hotels use skin-care products made out of these gorgeous-smelling herbs.

Head to shore and enjoy one of Star Clippers' fabulous excursions which include hiking, touring the island by jeep, or jetting out to the Palenki Islands!

Have you visited Hvar in the past? Share your tips in the comments!

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Port Spotlight: Cadíz, Spain

[caption id="attachment_16789" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Cadiz is one of the oldest continually settled cities in Europe. (Photo by Jose Ra)

Situated on a narrow strip of land surrounded by the glittering sea, Cadíz is one of the oldest and well-preserved cities in southwestern Europe. Cadíz also boasts a unique experience, categorized by the distinct cultures of each historical old barrio, (village) a sharp contrast from more urbanized areas.

A visit to the Cathedral in the Old Town provides a spectacular panoramic view of the entire city.

Christopher Columbus is said to have brought over many of the trees that line Cadíz’s picture-perfect parks, perfect for a romantic stroll set behind a backdrop of colorful flowers.

You will discover narrow streets filled with charming cafés that arguably serve the world’s freshest fish. Europe’s oldest covered market, El Mercado Central, is a must-do if you’re looking for fresh groceries and an authentic Andalusian experience.

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Port Spotlight: Ajaccio, Corsica

[caption id="attachment_16709" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Star Clipper sailing into Corsica.

Ajaccio is a dazzling city located on the west side of Corsica, a mountainous Mediterranean French island.

Likely settled in the 2nd century, Ajaccio’s old-world charm and architecture juxtapose urban buildings built after a recent economic boom.

Once you’ve stopped for a fresh-baked croissant at traditional French bakery, the opportunities to explore are endless.

With exclusive boutiques, museums, beaches and picturesque walking paths, Ajaccio is certain to please even the most discerning passenger.

Not-to-be-missed sites include the Fesch Museum established by Napolean I’s uncle that includes one of France’s finest painting and Napoleonic collections.

Have you sailed to Ajaccio? Share your tips in the comments below!

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Port Spotlight: Grenada

[caption id="attachment_16678" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper at Grenada by Jean-Marc Papineau.

Grenada, “the spice island”, has more spice per square mile than any other place in the world. The island is fragrant with cocoa, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and vanilla, to name but a few. Despite the abundance of such crops, Grenada is very diverse in its general make-up. The island is volcanic in origin and boasts lush mountains, rain forests, volcanic crater lakes, mangroves, beautiful beaches and delicate coral reefs.

Grenada’s history is similar to its neighbors. Columbus discovered it in 1498 and named it Conception. However, its lush green hills were so evocative of Andalusia that Spanish sailors, no doubt yearning for their homeland, changed the name to Granada. The French called it La Grenade, but it was the British who gave the island the name used to this day, “Grenada”.

The French and British battled for the island for almost 100 years before it was eventually ceded to the British in 1783. Grenada achieved independence in 1974. Several years later an attempt was made to establish a Communist state, which ended in the famed invasion of 1983. Although Grenada does cater heavily to tourism, there is a strong push to maintain the natural environment with one-sixth of the island’s land devoted to parks and nature sanctuaries.

On a call at Grenada enjoy a hike at Seven Sisters Waterfall, take a sailing excursion or hit the beach!

Have you sailed to Grenada? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Port Spotlight: Corfu, Greece

[caption id="attachment_16569" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo by Kathi King.

The lushest (and some say the loveliest) of all the Greek Islands, Corfu lies just a stone's throw from the Albanian coast. Nowhere is the stunning natural beauty of Corfu more evident than in the small village of Paleocastritsa, where legend says Odysseus was washed ashore to be rescued by Nausicaa.

Corfu is studded with white washed houses, Byzantine architecture and gorgeous beaches with gin-blue waters. Compared to other Greek islands Corfu is very green, due to the winter rains. Summers are hot and dry, making it a perfect beach holiday and fabulous tourist destination.

Beyond tourism, Corfu is known for an abundance of olive trees -- over 2 million olive trees cover the island in cool groves, some even date back 400 years to the Venetian rule of Corfu!

You can visit Corfu on Star Clipper's 10- and 11-day Greece, Montenegro & Croatia sailings! For more information on Star Clippers' easter Mediterranean sailings click here.

Have you visited Corfu, Greece, before? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

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Port Spotlight: Athens, Greece

[caption id="attachment_16115" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Acropolis in Athens. Photo courtesy of UNESCO and F. Bandarin.

Star Clipper calls at Athens, Greece, this Saturday, Oct. 18. The ship currently is enjoying it's final Greece & Turkey sailing of the season before it begins the journey to the Caribbean for the winter. But it's never too early to book your summer holiday for next year. Many of the sailings begin and end at Athens, so read on to see why this port is a fabulous addition to any itinerary.

The second you step off of the ship you will instantly become immersed in over 2,500 years of epic history and architecture. A fascinating juxtaposition between the old and the new, Athens has become urbanized while still preserving its centuries-old architecture.

The magnificent times of the Greek Classical Age come to life as you traverse the city of The Acropolis, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Housing the largest temple of Acropolis, the great Parthenon looms above in all its glory, just as it did in 438 B.C.

Besides offering one of the most incredible views of Athens, The Acropolis also boasts The Temple of Athena Nike, the first temple of the city built in Ionic style.

Just north of The Acropolis you will find Plaka, a quaint historical village where you can take a pleasant stroll while viewing restored Neoclassical homes among scenic ruins that showcase more of Athens’ legendary history.

If you are looking to do a little retail damage, the district of Kolonaki should be your next stop. Home to many foreign embassies and Athens’ wealthiest citizens, Kolonaki features the city’s poshest boutiques and restaurants.

These are just but a few of Athens' highlights. Join us to discover all of the wonders of the ancient city.

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Port Spotlight: Ibiza, Balearic Islands

Nestled away in the western Mediterranean off the coast of Spain is a group of islands so mesmerizing and enchanting that we’ve devoted an entire itinerary to showcase their allure. Each with its own distinct personality, the four Balearic Islands are as diverse as they are similar. Here we take a look at Ibiza.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

As far as personalities go, Ibiza is the wild-child of the Balearic Islands as the party capital of the Balearic Islands! That's not to say the island is all party and no substance -- Ibiza is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Phoenician architecture, protected wildlife, plentiful coral reefs and a fortified acropolis all make Ibiza a location that is to be protected and preserved. You can spend the day relaxing by the crystal waters and watching the motorboats and yachts cruise by, exploring the ancient architecture, or enjoying the natural wonders of this gorgeous island.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

This photo of Ibiza is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

What would you most like to see at Ibiza? The beaches, the architecture or the parties? Let us know in the comments below!

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