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The culture club: Our top 6 ports of call on our European cruise adventure

Relaxing seaside in Corfu.

We recently spent a week with Silversea Cruises hopping along the coast of Italy, Croatia and Greece. Here are some of our favourite stops:

Venice, Italy: With only 24 hours in this heavenly city–our first port of call–we opted for a contemporary art overdose, taking a crash course at Palazzo Grassi (, which houses one of the best contemporary art collections in Italy, and the Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova (, which is currently showing an exhibition of some of the rare textile works by the late Louise Bourgeois.

Trieste, Italy: The home of Illy Coffee is, like the rest  of the country, a historic hot-bed. Culturites recommend grabbing a coffee (Illy, obvs) in the largest seaside piazza in all of Italy, the Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia, which is surrounded by Viennese architecture left over from the time of the city’s Austro-Hungarian rule. Post java fix, take in the Museo Civico Revoltella ( to immerse yourself in works by some of Italy’s most significant artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Hvar, Croatia: This was our favourite stop on the cruise. The turquoise waters, rocky beaches and hillside cafés were equal parts charming and chic. We spent the day getting lost in the tiny cobblestoned streets, checking out the views from atop the citadel, shopping the local market for bags of fresh lavender and swimming at the stunning beach club Bonj les Bains, a much less ostentatious version of Nikki Beach Club).

Corfu, Greece: We spent a day in Corfu, an island full of mythology and brimming with charm, checking out the views from the impressive 14th-century Venetian fortress and roaming the streets of the city’s old town (named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007). We ended the day by sunning ourselves on the patio of En Plo, a charming seaside café (, while indulging in a traditional Greek salad and coffee.

Nafplion, Greece: Although we had a hard time getting down the pronunciation (just as it reads, we later found out), we loved this stunning seaport town, the first capital of Greece. Our day was spent hiking the 999 steps to the top of the Venetian Fortress, which had stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Needless to say we worked up quite the appetite and headed straight for the closest taverna for saganaki and souvlaki.

Athens, Greece: The New York Times just called Greece’s captial the next Berlin, due to the city’s cheap rent for artists, gallerists, and vibrant young folks. With only a few hours in town, we headed straight for the Acropolis, one of the most visited sites in the world. Yes it’s overflowing with tourists like us, equipped with our digital cameras trying to get that “Facebook shot,” but you really can’t help but feel humbled by these amazing feats of architecture. The Parthenon takes your breath away! We ran out of time, but recommend a visit to Plaka, a car-free historical neighborhood full of cafes, restaurants & boutiques.

Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley are the co-founders of The Society Global, a social club with chapters in Toronto, New York, L.A. and Miami.  For more info on The Society Global, visit their website,, or follow them on Twitter at

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