Ports are the link between sea and land, the starting and arrival points of exciting boat trips.
But sometimes these places are themselves real attractions, thanks to the charm that comes from centuries of history and the imposing structures.
Here are the most beautiful ports in Europe, between past and future, tradition and modernity.
Italy is home to two of the ports best known to all captains and shipowners: Genoa and Venice.
The Port of Genoa certainly holds the record for its size, with an operating area of 345 thousand square meters, 3 million passengers, and 55 million tons of goods per year.
In addition to being a strategic point for the Italian sea routes, it combines the Old Port tradition with the modernity of the most recently built terminals. Once on the ground, you are surrounded by restaurants, bars, and shops, places of culture such as museums, libraries, and, of course, the famous Aquarium of Genoa.
Venice’s main strength is its historical identity: the old port located in the San Marco Basin extends from the Grand Canal to the Lido Channel, thus embracing the most beautiful places in the city.
On the other hand, the Maritime Station in Santa Croce, intended for ferries and cruise ships, is more recent.
You can also breathe the historical atmosphere of the Venetian Arsenal, the area used for shipyards that made the Venetian Republic great in its glorious past.
Alongside these most well-known ports, other Italian places deserve to be visited: Portofino, with its 300 meters of quay colored by the picturesque Ligurian buildings; the natural inlet of the port of Capri and the Sardinian Porto Rotondo and Porto Cervo, ideal places to enjoy the Italian Bella Vita and the Made in Italy beauties.
Moving abroad, you can find the Port of Barcelona. With a history of 2000 years behind it, it has undergone a profound transformation for the 1992 Olympics, becoming an entertainment venue for locals and tourists thanks to shopping centers, bars, restaurants, and cinemas. The Old Port, however, has been preserved and houses the aquarium and old sailing ships.
Rotterdam holds the record for size in Europe and is one of the largest in the world, extending for 40 kilometers. Unlike other locations, the port area does not have any particular attractions, but the industrial atmosphere and the grandeur of the structures alone are worthy of being admired.
The so-called Port de la Lune in Bordeaux, housed in a bend in the Garonne River, takes the form of a crescent moon. The architectural beauty of the buildings, the charm of the quays, and the historic center’s tradition contribute to creating a unique atmosphere, which UNESCO recognized as a world heritage site.
There is no shortage of European destinations for those looking for luxury and preciousness: to name just a few, the Porto Hercule of Montecarlo, Saint-Tropez and Cannes in France, where you can experience the typical way of life of the French Riviera.