Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon July 13 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | July 13, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    4 Stunning Ancient Ruins To Visit In Mediterranean Europe

    4 Stunning Ancient Ruins To Visit In Mediterranean Europe

    Photo by Barry Kaufman

    Mediterranean Europe is typically associated with its picture-perfect coastlines, delicious cuisine and quaint villages. But there are also heaps of stunning reminders of the region’s ancient past that dot the area. While many of the most memorable ancient ruins are the ones you stumble upon unexpectedly, there’s something to be said for experiencing the grandeur of the Mediterranean’s most magnificent architectural marvels.

    Here are four stunning ancient ruins you can miss on any visit to Mediterranean Europe:

    1. The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

    The Parthenon

    Photo by Tsak_d via Flickr

    This fifth-century testament to the splendor that was once the Hellenistic Period is truly a sight to behold. The Parthenon was first built to worship the goddess Athena; since then the magnificent structure has been a temple, a treasury, a fortress, a mosque and a Christian church. You don’t have to be a history buff to stand in awe of the white marble, the thick columns and the amazing architecture that is beyond comprehension. Even if you’re sharing the site with loads of other tourists, the Parthenon is guaranteed to mesmerize. Time your visit at sunset for a particularly memorable experience.

    2. The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

    Colosseum Floor

    Photo by vgm8383 via Flickr

    Now that there is no longer traffic buzzing about, it’s a little easier to picture the days when gladiators battled in the renowned Colosseum. The largest amphitheater built by the Roman Empire (it could hold over 50,000 people!), the Colosseum is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. If you desire to go inside and view where the combat was once held, we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance and getting a reputable guide. The Colosseum is a historic goldmine, and it’s best experienced with a trained local. Otherwise, simply enjoying the splendor of the Colosseum from afar is enough to take most people’s breath away.

    3. Ephesus, Turkey

    Ephesus - Efes

    Photo by A H T via Flickr

    This wondrous ancient city off Turkey’s Aegean Coastline is considered to be the best preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean. Ephesus was once the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor, with over 250,000 inhabitants during its peak. Walking around the ruins is a mesmerizing experience, and there are numerous stops at temples, fountains and more that must be made along the way.

    4. Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia

    Square in Diocletian

    Photo by Book of Wander via Flickr

    In the heart of the seaside village of Split is the enormous 30,000 square meter complex of the Diocletian Palace. It is said that Diocletian wanted a palace he could enter from his ship without leaving the deck! While the waters may have lapped against the side of the palace long ago, today the water has receded and a waterfront park has been built. As for inside the castle walls, what was once his retirement home is now a fully functional “old town” complete with restaurants, hotels, apartments and cafes.

    There are countless other ruins to explore throughout the Mediterranean, but these are some of the most popular “big names’ that certainly warrant a spot on any bucket list.

    Have you visited any of these Mediterranean ruins in Europe? Which one would you most like to explore?


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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