Old World Gateways to the Atlantic

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05.14.24-05.24.24
SH Vega
10 Nights
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Leaving from Lisbon, experience lesser-known ports and cities along the Portuguese, Spanish, and French Atlantic coasts, before exploring the rugged beauty of Brittany, and finally landing in the historic Naval town of Portsmouth. Immerse yourself in Europe’s rich maritime history as you discover old towns and medieval walled cities, steep streets and exotic gardens. And savor local specialties, from port and cider, to butter biscuits and crepes.

Trip Highlights

Explore the old streets of Gijon’s fisherman’s quarter, Cimadevilla
Admire the striking ship-shaped Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Wander the steep cobbled streets of the medieval hamlet and holy island of Mont St Michel
Explore one of Brittany’s most beautiful port cities: Concarneau
Vist the town of Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage centre

Itinerary

Lisbon
Day 1
Spread over seven hills with São Jorge Castle views, bustling Lisbon is one of the world's oldest cities. Elegant Baixa, hilltop Alfama with its yellow tram, and scenic Graça overviewing pastel buildings, are top areas. The Jerónimos Monastery in Belém is a World Heritage Gothic site. The classic Portuguese pastel de nata custard tarts are a local treat. Europe’s longest suspension bridge, the Ponte 25 de Abril, crosses the river Tagus.
Leixoes (Oporto)
Day 2
Famed for its port wine and bridges over the river Douro, Portugal’s second city, Oporto (Porto) is a city of two halves. On the left bank is Gaia's famed port houses such as Graham's and Taylor's. Ribeira, on the right bank, has rows of colourful old houses that line the riverfront, narrow streets that rise up the hill and Igreja de Carmo church whose facade is adorned with blue azulejos (tiles). A vintage tram trundles to the Foz district.
Vigo
Day 3
Gateway to the Atlantic, Vigo is a major fishing port with a canning and freezing industry. Casco Vello, the old town with steep narrow streets and picturesque squares, leads to the fish market. Monte O Castro hill offers an old fortress and a third-century BC archaeological site. Nearby, the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage way leads to the UNESCO-protected Old Town of Santiago de Compostela with its majestic cathedral is a short bus ride away.
Ferrol
Day 4
With a rich seafaring history and scenic beaches, Ferrol, in A Coruña, Galicia, on the Atlantic coast, champions the Ferrol Naval Museum and the 16th-century San Felipe Castle. Nearby, La Coruña, dubbed the Crystal City for its glass-fronted buildings, showcases the 1st-century Hercules Tower, a UNESCO landmark. Santiago de Compostela, a famed pilgrimage centre, houses the cathedral believed to hold the remains of St. James the Great.
Gijon
Day 5
The Asturian port city Gijon with colourful old houses is surrounded by green hills and is home to the Atlantic Botanical Gardens with over 2,000 plants. The monumental sculpture "Eulogy to the Horizon" by Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida overlooks the sea. In the fisherman’s old quarter, Cimadevilla, the Campo Valdés Roman Baths date from around 100 AD. Local ciders are a speciality, best enjoyed in a traditional sideria.
Santander
Day 6
Santander, known for its beaches, unveils tales of a bygone era through medieval alleyways and ancient architecture. The Paseo de Pereda is a lush haven of gardens and sculptures. The city's history, dating back to Roman times, is marked by landmarks like the 13th-century Gothic cathedral, Catedral de la Asunción, and the Palacio de la Magdalena, a former royal summer residence. Santander is also renowned for traditional Basque cuisine.
Day at sea
Day 7
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.
Saint-Malo
Day 8
The medieval coastal city of Saint-Malo is a labyrinth of streets. Dating back to the 12th century, Saint-Malo was once a haven for pirates and a stopping point for merchant ships. Today, colourful shops sit alongside aromatic markets, cafes and restaurants serving oysters, crêpes and cider. Intra-Muros, the ancient walled town, forms the heart of Saint-Malo, where the striking Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo dominates the skyline.
Cherbourg
Day 9
Cherbourg, on Normandy's Cotentin peninsula, packs maritime history at the Art Deco transatlantic terminal's Cité de la Mer—home to Titanic exhibits and the colossal submarine, Le Redoutable. Fort du Roule Musée de la Libération retraces WWII in Normandy. Nearby, the city of Rouen is celebrated for impressionist art and Rouen Cathedral, while Bayeux hosts the famous 70m-long Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Norman conquest and Battle of Hastings.
Honfleur
Day 10
Honfleur in Normandy has attracted artists for centuries, including Impressionist Claude Monet, with many works on display at The Eugène Boudin Museum. Set on the Seine estuary in the department of Calvados (known for apple brandy), this picturesque harbour town has cobbled streets and colourful 16th- to 18th-century townhouses around the Vieux Bassin (old harbour). The 15th-century St. Catherine's Church is built entirely of wood by shipwrights.
Portsmouth, England
Day 11
Your cruise end in the UK’s only island city and the world’s oldest dry dock. With easy access by rail and road from airports in London and Southampton, Portsmouth has a long and proud naval heritage. Boarding your boutique ship, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the likes of Admiral Nelson and Henry VIII as you settle in for your voyage. If time permits, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is definitely worth a visit. The attraction is home to a wonderful collection of famous historical ships including Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory, Queen Victoria’s HMS Warrior and the only surviving ship from the First World War’s Gallipoli campaign, the HMS M.33. A very fitting way to begin your sea faring adventure.
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