Swap City for Sea

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We love cruises and have a Mediterranean one coming up in September followed by a journey through Europe. I am looking forward to perhaps trying some of these swapsies.

It can be great to see some of Europe's biggest cities while on Mediterranean cruises, but this can also get quite exhausting. So why not swap these big metropolises for their more relaxed coastal neighbours and have a quieter holiday?

This option, offered by tour operators like MSC Cruises, means that you will get a more varied look at some of the most popular tourist destinations around and be able to soak up the sea air even after coming into port. These locations are not far from their larger counterparts, but in many respects a million miles away.


Swap Paris for St Tropez

Move over Montmartre and see you later Seine, this favourite with artists and writers will capture the heart of all those looking to escape the hustle and bustle. With orange and pick townhouses framing the port, this picturesque location makes a wonderful alternative.

You can wander along the cobbled streets and see the locals playing petanque or even celeb spot in the trendy cafes and bars. But if you take a walk along the coastal path you will almost certainly have this beautiful landscape to yourself.

One unique place to visit is the Maison de Papillons or House of Butterflies, which is the former home of the first wife of Riviera photographer Jacques Lartige, Madeleine 'Bibi' Messager. His son covered the building's inside walls with more than 4,500 butterflies, carefully pinning them up. It makes for a stunning and extraordinary sight.

Swap Rome for the Amalfi coast

Rome may have the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona, but the Amalfi coast has beautiful lemon groves and jagged cliffs surrounded by fabulous blue sea. Dotted throughout are small and slightly larger villages, all with plenty to offer visitors as well as great photo opportunities.

Follow in the footsteps of the likes of Salvador Dali, Winston Churchill and Virginia Woolf, who all stayed at the Villa Cimbrone. You do not need to be a guest to gaze upon the building's spectacular exterior or walk through its well laid out garden.

From here there are splendid views of the surrounding area and the 11th century villa's terrace is lined with busts and statues in the classical style.

For something a little bit different head to the Grotta dello Smeraldo, which is a spooky cave with emerald green water coming from it. A lift and stairs are in place to take tourists down to rowing boats in situ to go on tours of the interior.

Swap Barcelona for Ibiza

Instead of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, wander through the thick woods of Ibiza or take a stroll on gorgeous golden sand. Despite its reputation as a party island, there is plenty to see and do in this part of the Mediterranean and the north-east is particularly unspoilt.

In 1999 the old walled town known as D'Alt Villa was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for good reason, as it is a remarkable place to visit. Situated on the hilltop it boasts a particularly ornate main entrance.

This Portal de ses Taules gateway has the coat of arms of Felipe II hanging above it and the date 1585, when it was completed, carved into the rock. The walls, bastions and ramparts make for an impressive sight and the views will also not disappoint.

Emma Dodd is a travel writer from Newcastle upon Tyne who was bitten by the travel bug when she was taken to Africa as a six-year-old child. Since then she has travelled to destinations as far and wide as Costa Rica, Vietnam and Russia. She completed her journalism training at Cardiff University.

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