The last part of my Constellation blog I have broken in to 2 sections as this is an overview of the destinations I visited.
The itinerary I did covered some different ports I have wanted to see for some time in Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro so I was keen to go exploring!
Lets start with Venice…
I have been to Venice before a few years ago where we had an overnight stay prior to boarding the ship. This time we stayed for 2 nights before boarding as we felt we didn’t get to cover a lot of Venice on our previous whistle stop visit.
I am so pleased we did the 2 nights as due to our outbound flight arriving around 10 am we had a full 2 days and nights to explore. By having this time before the cruise it also meant that on embarkation day we could get to the ship in the morning before the crowds on the flights arrived. We took a public water bus from our nearest stop to the port which was around 30 minutes and inexpensive, around 8 Euros each.
Anyway back to the city itself! If you haven’t been to Venice before it is such a must see place, rich with history, architecture and beautiful canal lined streets to meander around. They say you have not fully experienced Venice until you have got lost which is very easy to do!
St Marks Square and Doge’s Palace are among the most popular sights and get exceptionally busy at peak times. St Marks Square just after sunrise is apparently stunning, very quiet, serene and peaceful. I can’t say I did this myself but my husband did, as he went to watch Constellation sail in.
The best way to see Venice is to just wander around. The front desk at our hotel were very helpful in pointing out some of the best areas, not as well known to tourists, and restaurant recommendations. We walked miles over these couple of days and saw much more of Venice than previously, It really is a stunning and unique city.
Kotor – Montenegro
This was the port I was most excited about on the itinerary. The old town of Kotor is a UNESCO heritage site and I just had to walk up the steps ( approx. 1350 of them! ) to St John’s Castle to take in the view. What can I say about the climb… well if you have any kind of walking difficulty this is absolutely impossible as the steps are quite worn and slippy in parts making both the ascent and descent quite perilous in places. I saw people walking up in flip flops and even high heels, I have no idea how they managed this, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it!
The climb was the first thing we did after the scenic tender trip to shore, as we quite rightly thought it would be cooler in the morning. There is around a 3 Euros per person entrance fee to climb the steps and you will need plenty of water! The ascent we decided to take our time with and with having to negotiate people coming down, you come down the same way you go up, this was the best plan. We stopped around half way for a break and the view from even this point was stunning, especially of the Old Town of Kotor beneath you. After a brief ‘shall we just go back down’ I managed to persuade hubby to carry on to the top as I was not giving up that easily! When we finally made the top, with jelly legs and quite sweaty, it was well worth the effort. We explored around the ancient Castle and took in the amazing views surrounding us, taking lots of pictures of course, and it really felt like we had achieved something.
After our descent, which took around 50 minutes, we headed in to the Old Town and went for a lovely cold drink and a sit down!
The old town is beautiful and really well preserved, a lot smaller than I imagined, but I had’t realised the town was all in within the fortress walls.
We just walked around the town on our own however I think a walking tour with a guide would be great to find out more about the buildings and who once lived in them. I found myself listening to a few of the guides we came across whilst walking around!
The sail away from Kotor is spectacular! Due to the position of Kotor, the ship has to navigate narrow passages to get back to the sea and it really gives you a sense of how big the ship is. At certain points the ship must honk the horn to warn any ships/boats coming the other way. The echo around the valley is amazing! My pictures don’t really serve it justice but it really is spectacular!
Dubrovnik – Croatia
Having visited the old town before we decided to go to a different resort which is around 30 minutes south of Dubrovnik, called Cavtat. What a stunning place this is! The small resort centre is around the harbour area with a lovely peninsular to walk around which circles Cavtat. There are plenty of cafes, small bars and restaurants lining the harbour front so it is perfect for watching the world go by. The sea is crystal clear and although in the town itself there are no beaches to speak of, there are plenty close by. The pace of life here was very relaxed and I could definitely see myself coming back here on a land based holiday. The resort reminded me very much of a small Greek Island resort, I can highly recommend a trip here for the day as an alternative to Dubrovnik.
Please click here to read the final part of my destinations review.
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