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Reader Question: Can You Recommend Shore Excursions For Our Silver Spirit Voyage From Monte Carlo?

Q. My wife and I will be be taking Silver Spirit from Monte Carlo to Barcelona in July. Based upon your experience, what excursions would you recommend at each stop? We are big city people who are interested in atypical things to do or any tips to consider.

Avid Cruisers: Been to any of the ports listed below? Please let us know what you would do if you were visiting.

16 Jul 2012MonMonte Carlo, Monaco23:00
17 Jul 2012TueCalvi, Corsica, France08:0019:00
18 Jul 2012WedLivorno (Florence), Italy08:0023:00
19 Jul 2012ThuPortofino, Italy08:0023:00
20 Jul 2012FriSaint Tropez, France08:0023:00
21 Jul 2012SatMarseille, France08:0019:00
22 Jul 2012SunSete08:0019:00
23 Jul 2012MonBarcelona, Spain07:00

Fortunately, I’ve been to all of the ports on the seven-day voyage that you’ll be doing on Silver Spirit, but, of course, I haven’t done all of the excursions. I have done a few that I enjoyed, however, and I’m happy to make recommendations. I encourage other avid cruisers to join in the conversation with their recommendations.

Monte Carlo

Silver Spirit docked in Monte Carlo.

If you haven’t booked your air already, plan to arrive in Monte Carlo a day or two before your cruise so that you can explore the principality. Tip: You may want to consider staying in Nice, where your flight will land. Nice has a broad selection of hotels and restaurants, and there’s a lot to see and do. See Two Perfect Days: Nice, Villefranche & Monaco for advice on what to do before or after your cruise.

You’re boarding Silver Spirit on a turn-around day, so I’m not sure if the ship will be offering its full complement of shore excurson. Nonetheless, from Monte Carlo, there are two excursions that I really enjoy.

Lunch in St. Paul de Vence

St. Paul de Vence with lunch is offered by Silversea, but be sure to check in advance to see if the ship will be operating shore excursions on the day you board. I wrote about the excursion and produced a video that will give you a taste of the experience. See From Monte Carlo, A Silversea Fine Dining Experience In St. Paul de Vence.

Trouble viewing the St. Paul de Vence video? Click here.

If the St. Paul de Vence excursion is not operating, or if you’re budgeting, you could go to Eze – for two euros per person. Eze is an exceptionally charming midieval village, not more than 45 minutes from Monte Carlo using public transport. To get to Eze from the cruise terminal, see Six Steps & 2 Euros To Get To Eze — And Back

Trouble viewing the Eze video? Click here.

Calvi, Corsica

The Citadel in Calvi, Corsica

I visited Calvi on Star Clippers, and along with a friend I explored the Citadel and enjoyed a local beer at the harbor. Read more about my day in Calvi.

Silversea offers several excursions in Calvi, but I’ve not experienced any of those.

Livorno

In Livorno, Silversea offers a guided tour of Florence. If Florence is a must-see for you, then join the tour. But know that it’s a full-day tour and three hours of transferring between the ship and city.

In less than half that time, you can visit Lucca on a Silversea excursion, Tuscany Village of Lucca, and put Florence on your must-see list for another time, when you can allot more than a day to this wonderful city.

Lucca is charming and historic, with intact Renaissance-era walls. If I were to move to Italy, Lucca would rank high on my list.

Portofino

Snapping photos in pretty Portofino.

Portofino is so picturesque that you’ll find it hard to take your eye off the viewfinder of your camera. Do so, however, to join the tour Tasting at Brown Castello, offered by Silversea.

View from Castle Brown in Portofino.

The excursion begins with a guided tour of Portofino, followed by a beautiful walk uphill (slight grade) to Brown Castle. Silversea guests proceed inside the castle for a well-presented (and fun) wine-tasting and to sample regional specialties. The good-nature and knowledge of the presenters alone was worth the price of the tour.

Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

Saint Tropez

From Saint Tropez, Silversea offers a half-day excursion called Le Lavandou & Bormes-Les-Mimosas. I haven’t been to Le Levandou, but I’ve heard it is one of the most beautiful towns in France. After the excursion, you’d still have lots of time to explore Saint Tropez.

Last summer, I visited Saint Tropez to produce a video about the Var Provence region.

Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

Marseille

From Marseille, Silversea’s half-day tour to explore Aix-en-Provence would be my choice. I do like Marseille, but Aix has a little more charm.

Sete

Silver Wind docked downtown in Sete.

Sete just oozes charm. I was there on Silver Wind, which docked right smack in the middle of the city.

I’m not sure if Silversea offers it any longer, but I did a wonderful shore excursion featured in this video, Market Visit & Cooking Class.

Trouble viewing the video? Click here.

Barcelona

Stroll into St. Joseph’s Market on Las Ramblas. Entering the market the market, look to your right for Pinotxo Bar and pull up a seat for a cappucino, a cava and Pinocho’s warm hospitality.

As the capital of Catalonia and one of Europe’s most captivating cities, Barcelona is a wonderful city to explore on foot, strolling La Rambla through the outdoor markets and the brilliant flowers. I always pay a visit to St. Joseph’s Market.

Barcelona is home to the ambitious architecture of Antonio Gaudi, whose stunning and fantastic buildings are scattered all around the city center. Some of the most famous and impressive can be seen along Passeig De Gracia where you will find La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. The Gothic Quarter is famous for its historical landmarks and bohemian atmosphere.

Other popular attractions include the elegant Santa Maria del Mar, the scattered ruins of the old Roman Wall, the Moderniste architecture of Exiample, and the Museu Picasso, which features the artist’s Blue Period.

Word of warning: The city is notorious for pick-pockets. Guard your belongings.

Add your comments Avid Cruisers. Cruised Cote d’Azur and beyond? If so, what do you recommend doing ashore?

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