April 09, 2013

"H" is for Harbour

This is Day 8 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

I've always been drawn to the water, so today's post is about some of the harbours and ports on the French Riviera and in southern Italy.

The town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is located midway between Nice and Monaco on the coast of the French Riviera. This first photo was taken from our hotel balcony, a great place to observe the comings and goings of tiny sailboats, motor boats and tour boats at any time of day, but especially at dusk with a glass of the local rosé.

Port of Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Large cruise ships drop anchor in the outer harbour, one of the deepest natural harbours on the Mediterranean. Passengers are ferried ashore to the Villefranche cruise terminal. The view of the harbour below is from Cap Ferrat peninsula.

Villefranche Harbour

There's also room for swimmers in the waters of the harbour, including a stretch of sandy beach with a jellyfish-free zone!

The Beach at Villefranche-sur-Mer

A few kilometres down the coast from Villefranche-sur-Mer is Monaco, the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican. Monaco has two ports. Port Hercule in the La Condamine district is a deep harbour which can accommodate large cruise ships. The waters here are filled with million-dollar yachts and sailboats. 

Monaco's Port Hercule in La Condamine

The bateau bus (boat bus) provides travellers with a 10-minute shortcut across Port Hercule, from the Quai des Etats-Unis to the cruise terminal, for the same price as a bus ticket.

Monaco's Bateau Bus

The second and newer port is in the district of Fontvieille, which is built largely upon land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea.

Port of Fontvieille, Monaco

Jacques Cousteau was the director of Monaco's Oceanographic Museum for many years. The impressive building also houses an aquarium with a shark lagoon.

Oceanographic Museum, Monaco

Located between Villefranche-sur-Mer and Monaco is the Cap Ferrat peninsula and the small town of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. This is a lovely place to relax with a cold drink by the water, watching small boats bobbing on the water.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Saint Jean also has a sandy beach for swimmers.

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat Beach

Moving on to Italy, the town of Sorrento sits high on the cliffs of the Sorrentine Peninsula overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

Mount Vesuvius across the Bay of Naples

Marina Piccolo is the departure point for jet boats travelling to nearby Naples and Capri. But I preferred the vessel (second below) which was anchored in the Sorrento harbour during our stay.

Jet Boat, Marina Piccolo

Unlike the French Riviera, beaches are scarce around Sorrento so bathing platforms have been constructed for swimmers.

Sorrento Bathing Platforms

Visitors arriving on the Isle of Capri dock at Marina Grande, where you'll also find smaller boats for tours of the Blue Grotto. (Unfortunately the sea was too rough for visitors to enter the cave the day we were there.)

Marina Grande, Capri

A visit to the other town on the island, Anacapri, provides great views of the harbour.

Isle of Capri

After spending time in all of these places, I discovered that I much prefer the smaller ports. They offer the visitor a peaceful opportunity to enjoy the views and the special ambience only water can provide.

Next:  "I" is for Island


  1. They look like lovely harbors! I live near a harbor in Southwest Florida, it never gets boring looking at it.

    Happy A to Z blogging!

    1. Living on the water is just the best, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I especially like the museum building/photo. :)

    1. Isn't it a beautiful building? I much prefer it to modern architecture.

  3. Nice photos! Ooh, would much rather be travelling than starting my work day. : (

    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I'm with you 100% (working on plans for 2014).


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