Some cruise travelers are so intent on doing things in port that they never think to take time to see the city or countryside around them. As they cram trekking adventures through ancient ruins, marathon visits to world-class museums and historic sites, and back-to-back vineyard tours into their 10 hours in port, they hardly have time to glance up and notice what makes each destination unique.
Yet Europe -- where cruise travelers can choose from Mediterranean, Baltic and round-Britain itineraries -- is home to some of the most fascinating architecture in the world, and you're missing out if you don't take a look. Beyond the tourist magnets like the Colosseum or Saint Paul's Cathedral, you could discover Barcelona's Avante-garde legacy, Mykonos' functional yet attractive design, or the traditional styles of Constanta, Romania, where legend has it Jason and the Argonauts ended up with the Golden Fleece. (Don't worry; you won't have to ward off an army of skeletons there.) Setting aside the extra time to explore a port's architectural legacy will certainly net you some memorable vacation photos, but it'll also give you a better feel for the area itself.
See for yourself, by wandering the streets vicariously through our slideshow of 15 European ports with amazing architecture, featuring photos submitted by Cruise Critic members. Who knows -- maybe you'll garner some ideas for your next cruise.