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Guidebook Updates for ‘Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports’

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our Mediterranean Cruise Ports guidebook, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Barcelona

  • Barcelon's main airport is now called Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
  • The Barri Gòtic street Sant Doménec del Call has been renamed Carrer de Salomó Ben Adret.
  • Paid visiting hours at the Barcelona Cathedral have changed: Mon–Fri 12:30–19:45, Sat 12:30–17:30, Sun 14:00–17:30. The telephone number is +34 933 428 262.
  • At the Barcelona Cathedral, visitors can no longer use the side door facing Carrer dels Comtes, and cloister doors are reserved for those with reduced mobility.
  • The T10 Metro travelcard is no longer available. A new card called T-casual covers 10 rides for €11.35, but this card is not sharable; each rider will need their own ticket.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The Eixample audio tour is available as of Spring 2020.
  • Sagrada Família now costs €17 for a basic ticket (church only, available only from 17:00), €26 to visit with a live guide, €25 with an audioguide, or €32 for a visit with an audioguide and access to the tower elevator (and we still strongly recommend buying timed-entry tickets online in advance of your visit). The church's new hours are April–September daily 9:00–20:00, October & March daily until 19:00, November–February daily until 18:00.
  • The Picasso Museum is now open mid-March–Oct Mon 10:00–17:00, Tue–Sun 9:00–20:30, Thu until 21:30; Nov–mid-March Tue–Sun 9:00–19:00; Thu until 21:30, closed Mon.
  • The nighttime tour at La Pedrera ("Gaudí’s Pedrera: The Origins") has a new name: "La Pedrera Night Experience."

For our Barcelona audio tours, these older updates also apply:

  • Sardana performances take place on Sundays in front of the cathedral at 11:15 (not noon, none in Aug), and some Saturdays at 18:00.
  • Casa Lleó Morera has closed to visitors, indefinitely.
  • La Pedrera no longer offers free entry to its atrium.

Aix-en-Provence

  • The Brunet Chocolatier mentioned in the "Aix-en-Provence Walk" and noted for its macarons has closed. (A different shop has opened at that location but sells very few macarons.)
  • A fire destroyed the historic Les Deux Garçons restaurant.

French Riviera

  • The website for Le Grand Tour Bus (hop-on, hop-off) is www.nicegrandtour.com.
  • In Nice, the Lignes d'Azur info desk at 17 Rue Thiers has closed, but there is a Lignes d'Azur info desk in Nice's main train station. Office hours are now generally Mon–Fri 7:30–17:30, Saturday until 15:00, and closed Sunday.
  • The combo-ticket for Villa Kérylos and Le Trophée des Alpes is no longer available.
  • Transportation to Le Trophée des Alpes from Nice has changed. Bus #116 leaves from the Vauban tram stop except on Sundays, where it departs from the Pont St. Michel tram stop.
  • In Nice, airport buses #98 and #99 have ceased operations. Instead the T-2 tram line runs between the airport and Port Lympia.

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Bus route #81 has changed. It is now route #15.
  • The Nice Tram #2 now goes from the Nice airport to the city center at Jean Médecin, where visitors can transfer to Tram #1.
  • In Nice, the Coco & Rico restaurant near the Promenade des Anglais has closed.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Cruise lines now provide a shuttle boat right from the cruise dock at Port of La Seyne-sur-Mer (near Toulon) that takes passengers directly to Toulon's central waterfront (free or €10, depending on cruise line, 20 minutes).

Across Italy

  • State museums in Italy are free to enter once or twice a month, usually on a Sunday. Free days are actually bad news — they attract crowds. In peak season, check state museum websites in advance and make a point to avoid their free days.

For books printed before December 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The intercity bus services formerly operated by Sena/Baltour have been taken over by Flixbus, with some changes in frequencies and routes.
  • Eurail Select Passes are no longer being sold (but similarly priced Global Passes still are) — see our 2019 rail-travel update.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Both Trenitalia and Italo have call centers for answering general questions. You can dial these numbers direct from any US number: Trenitalia +39 06 6847 5475 (daily 7:00–24:00); Italo +39 06 8937 1892 (daily 6:00–23:00).

For books printed before November 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The number for making a collect call from Italy to the US via AT&T is now 800-172-444.

Florence

  • The main ticket office for the Duomo and its related sights (opposite the Baptistery at Piazza di San Giovanni 7) is undergoing renovation; for now, there are self-service ticket machines there and a temporary ticket office at Piazza del Duomo 14a (opposite the entrance to the Duomo's crypt).

For books printed before December 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Tour guide Karin Kibby's new email address is: klkibby@yahoo.com.
  • Hotel Maxim and Hotel Axial are now one hotel: Hotel Maxim Axial. Their new contact info is: tel. +39 055 217 474, www.hotelmaximaxial.com, info@hotelmaximaxial.com.
  • Prestige Rent has a new address and phone number: Via della Saggina 98, tel. +39 055 286 059.
  • Transfer Chauffeur Service has a new email: welcome@transfercs.com.
  • The Bargello's new hours are: daily 8:15–14:00 (until 17:00 for special exhibits); closed on second and fourth Sun and first, third, and fifth Mon of each month.
  • The Medici Chapel's new hours are: Tue–Sat 8:15–14:00; also open first, third, and fifth Sun and second and fourth Mon of each month.
  • The Basilica of San Lorenzo is now closed Sundays. It also has a new website: http://www.operamedicealaurenziana.org/. The basilica library's hours are now Mon–Fri 9:30–13:30, closed Sat–Sun.
  • The Vasari Corridor above the Ponte Vecchio is closed until at least 2021.
  • The Gucci Museum (now called the Gucci Garden Gallery) is now open daily until 23:00.
  • The Duomo now closes at 16:30 Mon–Sat year-round (though opening times sometimes change due to religious functions).
  • English mass at the Duomo is now Sunday at 17:00.
  • The Duomo sights combo-ticket is now valid for 72 hours.
  • There's a new contact email for booking Duomo-themed tours: commerciale@operadelduomo.firenze.it.
  • There is a new combo ticket for the Uffizi/Pitti Palace/Boboli Gardens. Valid for three consecutive days, this €38 combo-ticket offers admission to the Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Boboli Gardens at a €12 savings (€38 March–Oct, €18 Nov–Feb). Note that with this ticket, you must start your visit at the Uffizi.
  • The Pitti Palace's two ticket options have changed. Ticket #1 now covers most of the sights (the Palatine Gallery, Royal Apartments, Treasury of the Grand Dukes (silver museum), Museum of Costume and Fashion, and Gallery of Modern Art) while ticket #2 now covers the Bardini and Boboli Gardens as well as the Porcelain Museum.
  • From July–Aug, the Uffizi and Accademia stay open until 22:00 two nights a week. (Uffizi: Wed and Thu, Accademia: Tue and Thu, also open from 7:00.)
  • The new tram line, T2, is now operating between Amerigo Vespucci Airport and near Florence's SMN train station (runs every five minutes, 20 min, runs 5:00–24:00).
  • Bus #7 to Fiesole now leaves from near the train station on Piazza Adua rather than from Piazza San Marco (only return buses stop there now; with returns also near the train station at Largo Alinari).
  • Buses #14 and #17 no longer run between the train station and Piazza San Marco but buses #7 and #12 now do.
  • The city of Florence no longer rents bikes at the train station.
  • Turishav Travel is now Florentour. Their hours are now 9:30–16:30, closed Sat–Sun.
  • Walks Inside Florence's website is now www.walksinsideflorence.it.
  • Istituto Gould has been renamed Foresteria Valdese di Firenze.
  • Hotel Europa has new ownership and has been reopened as Arté Hotel.
  • Panella's Residence has new ownership and is now open under the name Haggi's Residence.
  • Lovelife Café has closed.
  • Due Sorsi e Un Boccone has closed.
  • Trattoria I' Cche c'e' c'e' has closed.
  • Reserving an entry time for the Brancacci Chapel is not required, but it is recommended. You can book spots up until the day before your visit. It should still be considered mandatory from March through the end of May and advisable through the summer and fall. It's no longer possible to make the reservation at the Palazzo Vecchio.
  • The Medici-Riccardi Palace has a new phone number and website: +39 055 276 8224, www.palazzomediciriccardi.it.
  • The Museum of San Marco's is now open every Sunday rather than select Sundays. It's now open Tue–Fri 8:15–14:00, Sat–Sun until 17:00, and until 14:00 on the first, third, and fifth Monday of each month.
  • Minibus #D is now #C4, and runs on a slightly different route, traveling from near the Duomo to the train station, across the Carraia bridge, through the Oltrarno (passing the Pitti Palace), and on to the San Niccolò neighborhood.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Firenze Card holders visiting the Accademia and/or Uffizi now need to make a free reservation to receive priority access. Reservations can be made over the phone (+39 055 294 883, Mon–Fri 8.30–18.30, Sat 8.30–12.30) or at dedicated ticket counters on-site.
  • Cruise passengers arriving in the Port of Livorno have a new option for getting inland: TuscanyBus.com, which offers cheap bus excursions to Pisa and/or Florence, as well as combo-rides that include Lucca. Buses leave from Livorno's Piazza del Municipio (near the port shuttle dropoff point).
  • Bellevue House/Palazzo Riblet, a hotel near Santa Maria Novella and the newly opened tram line to the airport, now has an elevator.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The Duomo sights combo-ticket is now €18.
  • After years of flux, the Uffizi, Accademia Gallery, and Bargello now have stable websites with useful information for visitors (see links).
  • The price of admission to the Uffizi Gallery has increased fairly dramatically (from €12.50) to €20 March–Oct (€10 if no special exhibits); off-season (Nov–Feb) it drops to €12 (€6 if no special exhibits).
  • The Uffizi and Pitti Palace will offer a combined three-day ticket (valid for three days from first use) offering ticket holders priority admission (once to each complex) to all the museums in the Uffizi Galleries' circuit (Uffizi, Pitti, Boboli).
  • Accademia Rooms is now the Hotel Accademia and has 21 newly renovated rooms and new contact info: tel. +39 055 290 993, info@hotelaccademiafirenze.com.

Pisa

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • While it's best to make a reservation for the Leaning Tower in advance, there's usually no line after 18:00 (and you may be alone after 19:00; it's open until 20:00 April–Sept and until 22:00 mid-June–Aug).
  • Antica Trattoria il Campano is now open nightly 19:30–22:45.
  • Il Vegusto has closed.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • Cruise passengers arriving in the Port of Livorno have a new option for getting inland: TuscanyBus.com, which offers cheap bus excursions to Pisa and/or Florence, as well as combo-rides that include Lucca. Buses leave from Livorno's Piazza del Municipio (near the port shuttle dropoff point).

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The LAM Rossa bus stop at the Pisa Centrale Train Station is now outside the main entrance and to the right (not in front of the NH Cavalieri Hotel). Travelers can no longer take this bus line to or from the Galileo Galilei Airport to Pisa Centrale Station. Travelers must use either the "Pisa Mover" train to get to Centrale station from the airport, or take a taxi.

Lucca

For books printed before December 2019, the following may apply:

  • Ostello San Frediano has closed indefinitely.
  • La Locanda Sant'Agostino and Sogni d'Oro Guesthouse have closed.

Rome

  • The Opera da Camera di Roma has moved to Palazzo Albertoni Spinola at Piazza Capizucchi 6 (close to the Jewish quarter).
  • St. Patrick's Church no longer arranges papal audience tickets. Requests can only be made by fax to the designated Vatican office at +39 (0)6 6988 5863.
  • The shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's is no longer an option. It is strictly for tour groups and the exit is monitored.
  • The Museum of the Liberation of Rome is now open daily 9:00–19:00, closed August.
  • At the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the café has closed.
  • At the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Museum of the Risorgimento is closed for renovation.
  • Colosseum and Forum tickets have changed: The basic Colosseum and Forum/Palatine ticket has gone up to €16 and is valid for 24 hours. The SUPER ticket is gone; in its place are two new tickets:
  1. The Full Experience ticket, which €22 and valid two consecutive days, covers the Colosseum (plus choice of arena or underground area), Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, special Super sites, and the newly opened Imperial Forums (Forum of Julius Caesar and Forum of Trajan, connected by a new path that passes beneath Via dei Fori Imperiali).
  2. The Forum Super Pass, which is €16 and valid one day, includes Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, special Super sites, and the Imperial Forums, but not the Colosseum.

Both of these tickets allow entry near Trajan's Column.

  • Electric minibuses are back. Elettrico #117 connects San Giovanni in Laterano, Colosseo, Via Cavour, Via Nazionale, and Trevi Fountain. Elettrico #119 connects Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso, Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, and Piazza Augusto Imperatore.
  • Feltrinelli International bookstore is closed.
  • The 48-hour Roma Pass only offers 1 sight, not 2. This pass now covers the Villa Borghese.
  • "Decorum laws" are now more strictly enforced, including fines. We no longer recommend picnicking anywhere but in parks or other green spaces. Eating discreetly is fine, but not near major sights.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • For Walks of Italy tour company, Rick Steves readers should use discount code: RICKWALKSROME.
  • Sitting on the Spanish Steps is no longer allowed. Violators face a €250 fine.
  • The Canadian Embassy in Rome has a new phone number: +39 06 854 441.
  • The Eataly restaurant/gourmet food shop on Piazza della Repubblica, also known as Officine Italia, has closed.
  • The Repubblica metro stop in Rome has reopened.
  • Roma Pass holders now need a €2 reservation to access the Colosseum, which should be made as soon as possible — spots can sell out weeks in advance (see its site for info on reserving, or call +39 06 3996 7575).
  • The ticket table in the narthex (portico) of St. Peter's Basilica, which once sold tickets to the Vatican Museums, is now gone (but the Vatican tourist information office still sells them).
  • The Vatican post office branch near the columns of St. Peter's Basilica's portico (just before the security checkpoint), is now closed (but you can still get the famous Vatican stamps at the other Vatican post office, next to the Vatican tourist information office). 
  • Two central metro stations, Spagna and Barberini, are currently closed.
  • Hotel Selene Roma is now Dharma Style Hotel, and has a new phone number: +39 06 482 4460.
  • Domus Nova Bethlem is now the Dnb House Hotel.
  • The Hotel Gerber near the Vatican is closing in June 2019.
  • The basic €12 combo-ticket for the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill (for those who don't have a Roma Pass) now includes a timed-entry slot for the Colosseum. Entry to the Forum/Palatine Hill is possible anytime during the validity of the ticket.
  • The north entrance to the Roman Forum, below Capitoline Hill, is now closed.
  • The Assaggi d'Autore restaurant near the Trevi Fountain has closed.

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Visitors to the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill now choose from one of two tickets, both good for two consecutive days: a €12 combo-ticket allows one admission to the Colosseum (after 14:00 only) and one admission to the Forum/Palatine Hill; or an €16 "super" ticket (which doesn't include the Colosseum — see more recent update, above). Admission to the Colosseum is free for kids ages 17 and younger (must present proof of age). Access to the House of Augustus and the House of Livia on Palatine Hill is available only with the "super" ticket.
  • Visitors to St. Peter's Basilica who are short on time can download an (expensive) audioguide that includes line-skipping entry to the basilica. See www.voxmundi.eu for details.
  • The Victor Emmanuel Monument has new hours: daily 9:00–17:00 (shorter in winter).
  • The combo-ticket for the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili on the Appian Way is now valid for two consecutive days.
  • Rome's tourist call center now answers the phone daily 9:00–19:00 (+39 06 0608).

For our Rome audio tours, these older updates also apply:

  • Visitors to the Roman Forum cannot exit through the Capitoline Hill entry point. The best exit to go directly from the Roman Forum to Capitoline Hill is behind the Column of Phocas, near the WCs.

Naples

For books printed before March 2019, the following may also apply:

  • The southbound Circumvesuviana commuter train now stops at a new station called "Villa Regina" just before the stop for Pompeii — meaning that the Annunziata stop is no longer the last station before the Pompeii stop (Pompei Scavi).
  • Trams are not currently running in Naples (because of road construction), and won't be for several years. Take the Metro if you need to get between the port area and the main train station.
  • Cruise-ship passengers can now use a handy CitySightseeing shuttle that runs between the Naples cruise port, Naples' main train station, and Pompeii. This is easier than taking a train and much cheaper than a taxi or private cruise excursion (€15, 4/day usually at 9:15, 10:00, 10:45, and 11:30; last bus leaves Pompeii at 16:30).

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The location of the Alibus airport shuttle bus stop has changed at Centrale Station. It is now to the left as you exit the station, near the Tiger store.
  • The tourist information office inside Centrale Station has moved to the main lobby, next to the Trenitalia ticket office.
  • Galleria Borbonica's website is www.galleriaborbonica.com.

Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • Pompeii archaeological site no longer sells the bracelet allowing re-entry to the site. Each ticket is for a single entry only.

For books printed before October 2019, the following may also apply:

  • There is no longer a combo-ticket that covers both Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • Rick now also recommends Gaetano Manfredi as a guide to Pompeii.
  • Cruise-ship passengers can now use a handy CitySightseeing shuttle that runs between the Naples cruise port, Naples' main train station, and Pompeii. This is easier than taking a train and much cheaper than a taxi or private cruise excursion (€15, 4/day usually at 9:15, 10:00, 10:45, and 11:30; last bus leaves Pompeii at 16:30).

Venice

For books printed before November 2019, the following may also apply:

For books printed before September 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Italo now runs a useful Milan–Venice train route.

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

Across Croatia

For books printed before May 2020, the following may apply:

  • Eurail Select Passes are no longer being sold (but similarly priced Global Passes still are) — see our 2019 rail-travel update.

Dubrovnik & nearby

For books printed before May 2020, the following may apply:

  • Vina Matković, one of the four Potomje wineries, has moved and has a new website: www.iskrenavinamatkovic.com.
  • Karmen Apartments is now called Van Bloemen Apartments.
  • Dubrovnik's city walls are now 200 kn to enter. While it's now possible to make reservations, you'll still have to contend with crowds and heat on top of the wall, so visiting early or late remains the best plan.
  • The shuttle bus from the airport no longer stops at the Pile Gate in the Old Town. If you're staying near the gate, ride the airport shuttle to the bus station, then take a public bus (or taxi) to Pile Gate.

Across Greece

For books printed before June 2020, the following may apply:

  • The "Athens & the Peloponnese" map on the foldout map included in Rick Steves Greece and in Rick Steves Pocket Athens has the incorrect scale; it should read "40 Kilometers / 25 Miles."
  • For information on Greece's archaeological sites and museums, a better website than what's printed in the books is http://odysseus.culture.gr/index_en.html.

Athens

For books printed before June 2020, the following may apply:

  • Melissinos Art sandal shop has moved to Tzireon 16, two blocks down Athanasiou Diakou from the Akropoli metro station in Makrigianni.
  • In Athens, Uber operates as UberTaxi. You'll still book your ride through the app, but a taxi will pick you up. Rates to and from the airport are fixed, so Uber won't save you money on this route. It's still useful for the convenience and familiarity.
  • Gazi College Eatery has closed.
  • Tylixto Greek Wrap restaurant is now Ermina's Grill House.
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne's Roof Garden Restaurant has a new website: www.gbroofgarden.gr.
  • The Zillers email is: info@thezillersathenshotel.com.
  • The Acropolis Museum has doubled its price from €5 to €10.
  • Museum of Greek Popular Instruments, previously free, is now €3. It also has new opening hours: Wed–Mon 8:30–16:00.
  • The Library of Hadrian is now open daily 8:00–20:00 (shorter hours off-season).
  • The Roman Forum is now open daily 8:00–20:00.
  • The National Archaeological Museum has new hours: Daily 8:00–20:00 except Tue from 12:30; Nov–March 9:00–16:00 (Tue from 12:30).
  • The Benaki Museum of Greek History and Culture is no longer open until 24:00 on Saturdays (it's still open Thu until 24:00).
  • As many museums have throughout Greece, a few Athens museums are now closed Tuesdays instead of Monday: the Byzantine and Christian Museum, Benaki Museum of Greek History and Culture, and the Museum of Greek Popular Instruments.
  • CHAT Tours has a new website: www.chat-tours.com.
  • The tourist police have moved to east of the Central Market in Psyrri (Dragatsaniou 4, tel. +30 210 322 2230).
  • George's Taxi has a new email: info@taxigreece.com.
  • Olympic Traveller taxis is now Tune in Tours and has new contact info: tel. +30 210 653 7209, mobile +30 697 320 1213, www.tuneintours.com, info@tuneintours.com. Tune in Tours have also taken over the tour company Greek Travelling.
  • The Sunshine Express tourist train is now only for private tours.
  • The main tourist information office near the Acropolis now stays open later all week (Mon–Fri 8:00–21:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–18:00). Their new email is info@visitgreece.gr.
  • All Metro lines except Line 1 start running at 5:30 (Line 1 starts at 5:00).
  • When using the Metro, it's now required that riders scan their ticket at the turnstile each time they start and end a journey. For buses, scan your ticket as you board.
  • Athens' transit system is gradually transitioning from single-use paper tickets to multiride "passes" and a smart card system that's reusable and rechargeable. The new multiride passes are available as paper tickets with 2, 5, or 11 rides (appears as "10+1" on ticket machines). They offer a slight per-ride discount and do not expire, but cannot be shared between people.
  • The two "back-door" exits from the Agora, at the South Gate and to the Apostolou Pavlou pedestrian street, are closed. Visitors to the Agora can only enter and exit at the main entrance on Adrianou street.
  • The Theater of Dionysus can only be visited from within the Acropolis site. Admission is included with Acropolis ticket.
  • A second entrance — on the south side of the Acropolis — is now open across the street from the Acropolis Museum. It is often less crowded than the west entrance.
  • The €20 Acropolis ticket (€10 Nov–March) now covers just the Acropolis and sights on the north and south slopes, including the Theater of Dionysus. If buying this ticket, you can save time by purchasing it at the south entrance ticket office rather than the often-crowded main (west entrance) Acropolis ticket office.

For books printed before July 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Kazani Meze Restaurant has closed.
  • Folli Follie shop has closed.
  • Pantopolion shop has closed.

For books printed before June 2018, the following may also apply:

Mykonos

For books printed before June 2020, the following may apply:

  • Local guide Antonis Pothitos's new email is info@delosguide.com.
  • The Mykonos Folklore Museum is now closed Sunday year-round.
  • The Mykonos Archaeological Museum has new hours: daily 9:00–18:00, Thu–Sat until 21:00, closed Tue, shorter hours Nov–March.
  • Restaurant Madoupas has closed.
  • Hellenic Seaways no longer runs ferries between Mykonos and Santorini. SeaJets still runs.