This post highlights the best shore excursions for kids in the Med. One of the highlights of cruising with kids is the opportunity to explore many different ports in one holiday. It’s what makes cruise family holidays so unique. Most cruise ships only call into a port for a day and so making the most of precious hours ashore is crucial. It’s important to do your research before you cruise to ensure you pick the best shore excursions for your family.
I spent three years at sea working for P&O Cruises, first assisting and then managing the Shore Excursions department. Through my job I was fortunate to visit the most popular tourist attractions around the world. Particularly in the Mediterranean, a region which provides an immense variation of culture and sightseeing opportunities plus lots of family friendly fun activities too. As it’s been a long time since I left my life at sea I’ve asked my good friend Daniel, who was until recently a P&O Cruises Shore Excursions manager for 12+ years, to help me in rounding up the best shore excursions for families.
I hope you find this article useful. A round-up of the best shore excursions for kids in Norway and the Caribbean are coming soon, so make sure you keep Cruising With Kids in mind for when you are planning your next family cruise.
Note – Many of the cruise lines offer similar shore excursions. (Most will even use the same tour agents, guides etc, in port). The tours will have different names but if you look at the content of the itinerary you will notice the similarities. I have provided links to the P&O Cruises shore excursions that Daniel recommends, I have also provided a link to a similar tour being offered by other cruise lines.
If you do your research you may even find that the tours can be booked independently, often for a lower price. There are many advantages and a few disadvantages to booking shore excursions direct through the onboard shore excursions team verses going ashore independently. I have highlighted them in this post – Are shore excursions worth the money?
Best shore excursion for kids in Dubrovnik
Kayak tour around the City Walls. A brilliant chance to get your kids out on the water with an experienced kayak in a small group. A half day excursion leaving you plenty of time to take a walk around the walled city whilst enjoying a well deserved ice cream with your free time.
P&O Cruises shore excursion description – “Paddle the crystal waters of the Adriatic, beneath the imposing city walls of Dubrovnik”. Duration – 4 hours.
NCL Cruises similar shore excursion – Sea Kayaking on the Adriatic. Description – “A combination of scenic cruise and kayaking await. Sail by motor boat and cruise along Lapad Peninsula, an area known for its luxury hotels. Pass the magnificent city ramparts and reach the Old Town port. You’ll walk along the Stradun, the city’s main street towards Pile Beach where you’ll board your sea kayaks and set out into the clear blue Adriatic Sea. Enjoy paddling along the magnificent Dubrovnik city walls, take a swim in one of the secluded caves and become one with nature. Minimum age 8”. Duration – 5 hours.
Best shore excursions for kids in Palma
There are lots of family friendly tours in Palma including our two favourites a Catamaran Tour and (for older kids) Rancho Grande Horse Ride.
P&O Cruises shore excursion description – “Ride the cowboy trail at Rancho Grande, the largest horse ranch on Mallorca, where you’ll enjoy a taste of the ‘Wild West’ surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery on the island”. Duration – 5.5 hours
MSC Cruises shore description for Catamaran tour – “Get a closer look at Palma’s beautiful coastline from a whole new perspective: the water. Your boat trip will take you past Palma’s main sights, the old port as well as the suburb of Cala Mayor and the pretty coves around the coastal town of Illetas. If weather conditions are fine, the catamaran will stop so passengers can take a dive into the sea”. Duration 3.5 hours.
Best shore excursion for kids in Malta
Off the Beaten Track – Jeep Tour. An action packed half day excursion exploring some hidden gems including famous movie locations.
P&O Cruises shore excursion description – “Take a jeep ride adventure, heading off the beaten track to see some of Malta’s beautiful scenery and coast. See parts of Malta rarely visited by tourists. Drive through the countryside and travel off-road to view Popeye Village where the original ‘Popeye’movie was shot, and Golden Bay, recently made famous by Brad Pitt in the shooting of the film ‘Troy’. Stop for a swim and pass through fishing villages where it seems that time has stood still”.
MSC Cruises similar shore excursion – Jeep Tour. Description – “Get set to enjoy four hours of uninterrupted fun on a guided tour around the north of Malta by jeep. Visit Gadira Bay, near Melliea, to see the square-shaped St. Agatha’s Tower. Enjoy the superb views of the nearby Gozo and Comino islands from this historical spot, before continuing a scenic route to Golden Sands Bay, a wonderful stretch of fine sandy beach. Then it’s on to the lovely Fomm ir-Rih, with a photo stop on the way, and finally the walled city of Mdina Malta’s one-time capital before you return to the port and your ship”.
Best shore excursion for kids in Livorno
‘Pisa by train and bike’ for older kids and ‘Pisa by trolley and boat’ for younger kids. Both tours provide families with the opportunity to snap the perfect family selfie – holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Kids love the added excitement of a train and bike ride OR trolley train and leisurely boat ride.
P&O Cruises shore excursion description – “Pisa by train and bike – Enjoy the highlights and picturesque city of Pisa on an invigorating bike ride”. Duration 4.5 hours. “Pisa by trolley and boat – Take in the sights of Pisa by trolley train and boat. Perfect way to see the highlights of Pisa at an easy pace”. Duration 4 hours.
Princess Cruises similar shore excursion – Leaning Tower of Pisa by Trolley. Description – “Looking to see the most noted sites in Pisa in just a short amount of time, this is your tour. This guided excursion takes to you “Field of Miracles,” where you’ll see the city’s most famous attraction – the Leaning Tower along with other historically significant buildings and monuments. Similar to LI1-200 with the inclusion of the trolley ride”.
Also worth noting that Princess offer – Discovery Family Pisa. A family friendly walking tour with an interactive booklet to fill in as you go around the city.
For other family friendly tours in Livorno check out our guide – The Best Livorno Shore Excursions with Kids
Best shore excursion for kids in Lisbon
See Lisbon by Tuk Tuk. Lisbon is a very hilly city. To make the most of your time in the city with kids you definitely need some form of transportation and a tuk tuk is about as unique as you can get!
Claire and I toured the city by Tuk Tuk last May during our cruise onboard the Navigator of the Seas, we actually flagged down a driver on the street as we left the ship. We managed to negotiated a price of $50 for a whistle-stop tour around the city which we thought was great value for money.
P&O Cruises shore excursion – “Your tuk tuk will take you on a journey through the city in an up close and personal way. Lisbon is a city of contrasts and during your ride you can admire both the modern and historic aspects. Enjoy splendid views across the River Tagus and take a step back in time in the Old Town. You’ll also have the opportunity to sample a taste of regional cheese, bread and port wine, as well as one of Lisbon’s famous custard cream cakes”.
None of the other major family cruise lines seem to offer tuk tuk rides in Lisbon. This maybe because they can be easily booked independently ashore.
Our favourite family shore excursions in the Med by the Cruising With Kids team
Many thanks to Daniel for kindly sharing his top recommendations for the best shore excursions for kids in the Med. Here are a few of our favourites by the Cruising with Kids team…
We have dedicated an article to the best shore excursions for kids on the popular island of Tenerife including Loro Parque, Siam Park, a whale and dolphin cruise plus a sightseeing tour to Mount Teide. You can check it out here – Best Shore Excursions In Tenerife For Families.
We have also dedicated an article to the family friendly shore excursions on Tenerife’s sister Canary island, Lanzarote including a camel ride, visit to a cactus garden and exploring caves. Click here for more info – Tried and Tested Shore Excursions in Lanzarote and check out this guide and video – 15 fun things to do in Lanzarote with kids.
Known as the party island however as we explain in this useful post – The Best Ibiza Shore Excursions for Families – the island has so much to offer for families too. Our recommendations for a day ashore include Agua Waterpark, Can Marca Caves, Jeep Safari and swinging through the trees at Acrobosc Ibiza Adventure Park.
Best shore excursions for kids in Madeira
And finally, we have dedicated an article to the best shore excursions for kids on the stunning island of Madeira including the thrilling Madeira toboggan ride, cable car ride and whale and dolphin boat safari. Check it out here – Best Shore Excursions In Madeira For Families.
Other useful posts for making the most of port days with kids
Check out our Mediterranean port guides for making the most of your time ashore. We have featured useful maps showing where the cruise ship terminal is in relation to the main town and answered many of the questions we get asked by readers on a regular basis… For example – Where to eat in port? The best attractions for kids in port? Will there be shuttle buses in port?
Please let us know about any shore excursions in the Med you have enjoyed with your family! We are always keen to hear readers recommendations.
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