• Annabel Langley

    We’ve all been there – a bad case of wanderlust, but no annual leave left to use. Well, there’s a solution. You can see more places in less time on a cruise. Here’s how…

    Packing lots of countries into a short amount of time is generally considered to be the backpacker’s domain. But you don’t need to sling a rucksack on to see the world. With Thomson Cruises, there’s no need to worry about the tricky bits, like transfers or stopovers – it’s backpacking made easy. We’ve rounded up our top picks for adventure-hungry cruisers.

    Touring the Adriatic

    You can make the most of your time off on one of our Eastern Mediterranean cruises. Take the Adriatic Explorer, for example, which squeezes five countries into eight days. The itinerary ticks off favourites like Venice and Corfu, as well as up-and-coming names like Slovenia’s Koper and Kotor in Montenegro. There’s only one day at sea during the whole cruise, so sightseeing’s high on the agenda. Start by pounding the cobbled streets of Corfu Town, then spend day three in Medieval Koper. The really adventurous can pack in more sights on a daytrip to Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, and postcard-perfect Lake Bled. You’ll spend the next few days in Italy and Croatia, before crossing the border into Montenegro.

    Sail Three Seas is another Adriatic option. Island-hopping, cable car rides and Game of Thrones set hunting are all on the cards at your homeport, Dubrovnik. After a day off your feet, you can then get stuck back into the sightseeing in Valletta, Malta. This historic capital comes highly rated – UNESCO has given it a stamp of approval, plus it’s the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Things take a different turn on day four in Messina, Sicily. Here, all eyes are on Europe’s biggest active volcano, Mount Etna. The next two days are spent in Greece – then it’s on to Kotor, where spectacular, fjord-like scenery and Medieval architecture reign supreme.

    Short jaunts

    If you’re really short on time, don’t fret. Instead, consider our Canarian Escape itinerary. There aren’t many holidays that let you explore four different destinations in less than a week. This five-day cruise takes in Spain, Lanzarote and Tenerife. A stop in Cadiz, Spain, is a real highlight. As well as holding the title of Europe’s alleged oldest city, Seville is just over an hour’s drive away. After a day at sea, you can swap pool for beach in Arrecife, Lanzarote. And Tenerife adds the dramatic Mount Teide to its clutch of sandy beaches.

    Longer trips

    Those with time to spare can take on the epic Baltic Capitals. This one lets you check off the likes of Sweden, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Norway. In fact, you’ll swing by eight countries during the 15-day sailing. Admire the lavish Church of the Savior on Blood in St Petersburg, snap photos with the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, and explore Tallinn’s turreted old town by Segway. And it takes place on TUI Discovery, so you can make use of a rock climbing wall, a minigolf course and an outdoor cinema on your days at sea. The best bit? You don’t have to fly to reach the ship, as it leaves from Newcastle in 2018.

    Want to go on your own country-hopping adventure? Head over to the Thomson Cruises website.

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