Inspiration Destinations Europe Malta 10 Hidden Cruise Ports You Need to Visit in 2024   

10 Hidden Cruise Ports You Need to Visit in 2024   


Ready to venture to new shores? Skip the crowds and sail away to these hidden gems on your next cruise. 

Embark on an awe-inspiring adventure to explore some of the world's most captivating hidden cruise ports, all just waiting to be discovered. From the wild beauty of icy Alaska to the sizzling Greek islands, these unexpected destinations are set to be the hottest cruise stops of 2024. 

Prepare to be amazed by the stunning natural beauty of each destination and the one-of-a-kind experiences that await. Stroll charming cobblestone streets, explore UNESCO Heritage-listed sites and uncover hidden gems with a fresh take on the traditional cruise experience, promising adventure, relaxation, and discovery. 

Ready to set sail? Check out our selection of exclusive cruise offers.        

Valletta, Malta: medieval history and Mediterranean charm 

Described as ‘one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world’ by UNESCO, the Mediterranean city of Valletta boasts a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking architecture, and warm hospitality that will make you feel right at home. Explore the winding streets of the city's historic centre and marvel at the stunning Baroque architecture that is on full display. Visit St. John's Co-Cathedral to admire breathtaking art, stroll through the stunning Upper Barrakka Gardens and soak in the panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea, or pay a visit to St. Elmo Heritage building, home to the National War Museum. If you have a full day in port, explore the many quaint towns that dot the island by renting a car or simply relax at one of the waterfront restaurants. 

Ready to explore? Check out this Mediterranean cruise.

Ketchikan, Alaska: awe-inspiring wilderness  

Experience the raw beauty of Alaska when you set foot in Ketchikan, Alaska, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the Inside Passage. This charming port town is a treasure trove of indigenous culture and natural wonders, boasting a rich history and landscapes that will take your breath away. Explore the Totem Heritage Center and Saxman Native Village & Totem Park to learn about the Haida and Tlingit heritage of the region and immerse yourself in the rugged wilderness of the Alaska Rainforest. Along the way, savour some of the best seafood and local cuisine that Alaska has to offer and take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.  

Haifa, Israel: mountaintop views and Middle Eastern culture 

Haifa, Israel is a hidden gem among the bustling Mediterranean ports, and the perfect place to soak up some Middle Eastern magic. From the moment you disembark, the city's bustling cafe and dining scene will leave you captivated. A trip to the breathtaking Stella Maris Monastery, with its stunning views of the bay, is a must, as is the exhilarating cable car ride to the top of Mount Carmel, which offers panoramic views of the city. Downtown Haifa is also worth exploring, with its vibrant mix of modern architecture and ancient ruins. Be sure to visit the Baha'i Shrine, renowned for its beautifully manicured tropical gardens and intricate designs.  

Istanbul, Turkey: a sensory feast of old and new 

Experience the enchanting blend of ancient and modern in Istanbul, Turkey, where east meets west. Glide along the famous Bosphorus and admire the stunning cityscape from the water as you arrive at Yolcu Salonu, located in the heart of the city. Step ashore and take a leisurely stroll through the ancient streets, immersing yourself in the vibrant bazaars and historic landmarks. Be awe-inspired by the iconic Hagia Sophia, a magnificent masterpiece of Byzantine architecture that has stood the test of time. Hear the beautiful songs of prayer echoing from the Blue Mosque and indulge in a traditional Turkish breakfast of savoury cheeses, olives and freshly baked bread. Don't forget to barter at the world-renowned Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, where you'll find treasures galore. 

Discover Istanbul and Greece on this 10-night cruise.

Skiathos, Greece: Greek island glamour 

Experience the magic of the silver screen in the charming Greek port town of Skiathos, where the iconic scenes of Mamma Mia were brought to life. This idyllic island paradise is a true hidden gem, with its crystal-clear waters, over 60 picturesque beaches and quaint cobblestone streets. Explore the charming town and indulge in some retail therapy at the island's boutiques before dining at one of the many seaside tavernas, savouring the delicious flavours of Greek cuisine. As the sun sets, immerse yourself in the island's buzzing nightlife before returning to your ship. Skiathos is a must-visit destination for those seeking the ultimate Greek island experience. 

Kangaroo Island, Australia: Aussie wildlife and farm-fresh produce  

Experience the best of Australia all in one day on Kangaroo Island, a stunning and picturesque destination just a short 45-minute ferry ride from Adelaide. This idyllic island paradise is a foodie's dream, boasting a rich culinary scene that showcases the best of South Australian produce. Visit Clifford's Honey Farm, Dudley Wines, and Kangaroo Island Spirits for a taste of the island's finest. Explore the scenic Flinders Chase National Park and marvel at the iconic Remarkable Rocks, a mesmerizing natural landmark that is sure to take your breath away. Head to Seal Bay Conservation Park to encounter a colony of wild sea lions up close and personal. With its stunning natural scenery and warm hospitality, Kangaroo Island is a truly unforgettable destination that will capture your heart and leave you wanting more. 

Stavanger, Norway: Nordic heritage and natural wonders  

Glide into Stavanger, Norway’s hidden coastal gem. Indulge in the warm hospitality of this idyllic city, a haven for outdoor adventurers, culture lovers and relaxation seekers alike. Stroll through the charming streets of Old Stavanger, a picture-perfect hamlet, featuring quaint wooden houses, cobbled streets, and vintage street lamps. Visit Stavanger Cathedral, famed for its stunning Gothic architecture. Time permitting, venture to Lysefjord, where you can experience the beauty of Preikestolen, Norway’s most iconic natural wonder. Hike to the top and be rewarded with panoramic views of the fjord below. From scenic wonders to cultural treasures, Stavanger is the perfect destination for cruisers looking for a memorable and authentic Norwegian experience. 

Nagasaki, Japan: cosmopolitan vibrancy and World War II history 

Embark on an unforgettable journey to the captivating city of Nagasaki, Japan, where ancient traditions and modern culture combine amid breathtaking natural beauty. As you sail into this stunning natural harbour, take in the panoramic views of the rolling hills. The largest city on the island of Kyushu, Nagasaki boasts a fascinating history of trading with Europe, which has resulted in a unique blend of European and Japanese culture. Be sure to sample the city's culinary delights, including Champon ramen and Wagyu steaks, at one of the many acclaimed restaurants. Explore rich cultural and historic landmarks, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki Peace Park, which serve as a poignant reminder of the city’s World War II history.  

Napier, New Zealand: a melting pot of architectural styles  

Experience the charm of Napier in New Zealand’s North Island and its stunning Art Deco architecture on your next cruise. This picturesque city is a feast for the senses, with a unique blend of architectural styles, from Stripped Classical to Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Take a leisurely stroll through the city and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage and unique architecture that Napier is famous for. Don't miss out on the chance to indulge in the fine wineries of Hawke’s Bay, sample delicious cuisine at one of the many restaurants, or browse the boutique shops and magnificent Sea Walls murals. With the Port of Napier located just a short distance from the city centre, you can easily return to your ship after a busy day exploring. 

Explore Napier on this 12-night New Zealand cruise.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: maritime magic 

Experience the allure of Halifax, Nova Scotia on the eastern coast of Canada – the world’s second-largest natural harbour, where maritime history and modern delights come together. As you glide into the bustling port, soak up the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean before stepping ashore. Discover the city's rich cultural heritage as you wander through its historic districts and soak up the sights and sounds of its bustling markets (laden with fresh fish, blueberries and apples) and waterfront. Admire the beautifully manicured Halifax Public Gardens and explore the city's many museums, including the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Sample delicious seafood and local specialities at one of the many renowned restaurants or cafes located within and around the charming Seaport Farmers’ Market, the oldest in North America.  

Looking for more cruising inspiration? Read Sail into Family Holidays with the Best Child-Friendly Cruise Lines

About Annabel Fuller
Lover of gelato and all things travel, Annabel is happiest when exploring new places, soaking in the glorious sun rays and scuba diving. When she's not writing about the most glamorous destinations, she's on the lookout for her next adventure.

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