Three continents -- Europe, Asia and Africa -- are connected by the Mediterranean Sea, allowing for the convergence of a wealth of history and culture. Societies inhabiting the Mediterranean have contributed widely to the philosophy, music, art, architecture, religion and science of the modern world. The remnants of ancient civilizations, stunning natural beauty and strong traditions draw people from all over the world to visit this uniquely varied region.
The lands surrounding the Mediterranean have seen many civilizations rise and fall. This diversity of people -- interacting for thousands of years through trade, politics, religion and warfare -- has produced an intriguing destination for every kind of traveler, from foodies to history buffs to nature lovers.
On one trip visitors can be inspired by ancient Greek temples to the gods, take a gondola ride in Venice, swim off the coast of a volcanic island, roll the dice in Monte Carlo and sample some of the most delectable cuisines in the world. Others may choose to be transported back to medieval times while visiting a city built by knights in the 16th century in Malta, or perhaps enjoy the traditional baths in Turkey.
Many important religious sites are located in the Mediterranean region as well. Vatican City is a highly anticipated stop for many cruise passengers visiting Rome, as is Jerusalem for its religious significance to Islam, Christianity and Judaism -- the Mosque of Omar, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall are all located here. Cruises to the Holy Land usually combine some Eastern Mediterranean ports with Israel and Egypt.
Steeped in history and boasting an exceptional blend of cultural influences and awe-inspiring setting, the Mediterranean has something for everyone to enjoy.