Moors, Celts and Fjords

Casablanca, Morocco - Bergen, Norway

Old civilisations have shaped Europe into a unique continent of incredible contrasts. But just how great is the influence? Find out and join us on a one-of-a-kind cruise adventure from the Sahara desert up the European coast, over to the British Isles and the majestic fjords of Norway.

  • Explore the magnificent scenery, islands and cities along the European coast on a spring expedition
  • Get unique insight into the diverse European culture and history
  • Stay active with our wide selection of optional excursions
  • Visit small ports and islands that are inaccessible with larger cruise ships

Overview

Discover intriguing history and culture, from Casablanca in Morocco to the fjords of Norway. See structures including the Tower of Hercules and the Moorish Castle's Tower of Homage. Witness the wild natural beauty and prehistoric remains of the British Isles. Our onboard team of expert geographers, geologists and biologists will be giving lectures during the whole expedition, to make your journey even more fascinating. 

A journey through millennia of Europe's history

On this expedition, you will experience the beauty of Moorish legacy and the might of Celtic heritage. We start our voyage by exploring the Iberian coast of Spain and Portugal. After a short stop in France, we enjoy the - unspoilt landscapes of the Isles of Scilly. Then we sail along the rugged west coast of Ireland to the windswept beauty of the British Isles. We visit Scotland and Germany, before crossing the North Sea reaching Bergen, the gateway to the Norwegian fjords.

The perfect time to visit Europe

Spring is an amazing time for travelling in Europe. You can expect nice warm days with sunshine, yet the heat of the summer is not yet here. The weather should be just perfect for your activities ashore and relaxing days on board. Take pleasure in the first warm and sunny days of the year on the open decks and watch the sunset from the comfortable Observation Lounge with a nice cocktail in the company of likeminded people. You will get lots of new experiences during your landings. We will offer you a combination of history with important UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you will gain insight in the way of life of the people in the different countries, and of course you will be impressed by the indredible scenery on our way North.

Your holiday price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition Voyage in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team that gives lectures as well as accompany landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities

Note: 

  • Prices are in EURO per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change
Itinerary

The itinerary

Learn more about the ports and cities you will explore on this northbound expedition along the European coastline, home to lively cities, historical landmarks and stunning scenery.

17 April 2017

Departs From Casablanca, Morocco
Day 1
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The White City


Location: Casablanca

Your enriching 21-day voyage through Europe starts in Casablanca. "The White City" has a rich heritage where various arts, cultures and old traditions live harmoniously together. Here, the past is ever-present in the traditional way of life and in the crafts that have remained unchanged for centuries. We recommend a visit to the colourful souks (African market place) before departure. Everybody should be on the outside decks when the ship sails slowly from the harbour of Casablanca. The Hassan II Mosque will grab your attention. The Mosque is the 7th largest Mosque in the world. 105,000 faithful can pray here at the same time. It doesn´t matter if you are religious or not; this building impresses everybody.

Day 2
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Top of the Rock


Location: Gibraltar, British Overseas Territory

The rich diversity of Gibraltar's nature draws many visitors every year. The Rock is home to Gibraltar’s most famous residents, the friendly, charming and inquisitive Barbary apes, Europe’s only wild primates, that have lived here for centuries. The history of Moorish Gibraltar began with the landing of the Muslims in Hispania in 711 and ended with the fall of Gibraltar to Christian hands 751 years later. The Moorish Castle's Tower of Homage is the largest surviving remnant of Moorish Gibraltar. 

Day 3
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Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean


Location: Cádiz, Spain

We reach the harbour of Cádiz in the morning. Cádiz is the oldest city in the Western world. The Phoenicians founded the town around 1100 B.C. Later on, the Carthaginian, the Romans, the Visigoths and the Moors have all found their way into the city. The historic city is still surrounded by vestiges of the old city wall and is really worth a visit. 

The city is nearly totally surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and only connected with the mainland over a very small isthmus. Take some time to enjoy the seafood, churches, museums and explore the narrow streets whilst Atlantic waves crash against the sea walls. Long beaches with fine white sands invite you to perhaps set your feet into the Atlantic.

Day 4
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In the wake of the pirates


Location: Portimão, Portugal

Portimão is a popular holiday resort on the Algarve coast. The weather is amongst the best in Europe and offers around 300 days of sunshine each year. Portimao is a commercially oriented town with 35,000 inhabitants, and its location in a natural harbour at the mouth of the River Arade means that it has been associated with many famous smugglers and pirates in the past. Join us today on an optional excursion to Lagos, one of the most interesting towns on the Algarve. Inhabited in turn by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Moors, Lagos later became the launching point for Henry the Navigator's caravels of discovery to Africa; it was also the site of the first slave market in Europe in 1444.

Day 5
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Photo: Rrrainbow / Shutterstock Photo

Centuries of charm


Location: Lisbon, Portugal

One of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon offers centuries of heritage and charm. Visit the city’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, or simply explore at your own pace, discovering the many hidden gems of Portugal’s capital.

The old city lays quiet near to the harbour area, so you will have enough time to explore the city and its famous buildings like the 45m/148ft high Santa Justa Lift built by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, a student of Gustave Eiffel, in a Neo-Gothic style. Or perhaps you like to sit in one of the nice restaurants, cafes or bars to watch the way of life in Lisbon.

Day 6
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Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock Photo

In the City of Baroque


Location: Leixões (Porto), Portugal

Leixoes is the harbour of Porto and belongs to Portugal's major seaports. In contrast to the brilliant natural harbor of La Coruña, Leixoes is a man-made harbour, 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) north of the mouth of the Douro River. From Leixoes it is a short and very interesting tour to Porto. Its historic centre, Ribeira, at the northern bank of the Douro River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boat tours in replicas of the old “Rabelo boats” allow you a perfect view over the historic city from the riverside.

On your rumbling through the city you should not miss Porto's Cathedral from the Reconquista period. The Cathedral is remodeled in Baroque and Rococo. As you can find lots of churches and other buildings out of the Baroque, the city is also described as the City of Baroque. Don’t forget that Porto and the Douro valley are home of the Port wine and you should take your chance to visit one of the famous distilleries.

Day 7
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Photo: Anibal Trejo / Shutterstock Photo

Back to Roman times


Location: La Coruña, Spain

La Coruña in Spain is a city full of history. The Phoenicians, Celts and Romans have all lived here and used the sheltered harbour at this isthmus in the north west of Spain. You will get a first glimpse of the 55-metre high Hercules Tower, the oldest Roman lighthouse still in use today, as we pass on our way into the harbour. The oldest part of the city, known popularly as Cidade (City), is built on an ancient Celtic castro. Today La Coruña is well known for its characteristic glazed window balconies, called 'galerías'.

As you walk through the city, you should not miss the very famous Street Avenida Marina. Here you will find the very well-known multi-level traditional Galician buildings with an elegant glass front that became an architectural emblem for La Coruna.

Day 8
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Photo: Stephanie Tubbecke / Guest Photo Photo

Cruising the seas


Location: Bay of Biscay

Take your time to get to know the ship and its facilities. The lecture team has prepared informative lectures for you, so that you will be well prepared for the landings tomorrow. Have a cocktail or coffee in the bar or Observation Lounge and enjoy the marvelous meals in the Restaurant. 

Day 9
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The French connection


Location: Brest, France

Brest is situated at the western tip of Brittany. Since medieval times Brest has been an important port and naval base. Richelieu first recognised the advantages of the location as a port and constructed a harbour with wooden wharves in 1631. This soon became a station for the French navy. Today, we will have the chance to explore Brest and its surroundings, which include impressive landscapes and historical heritage.

Day 10
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Unique Islands


Location: Isles of Scilly, UK

Just 28 miles off the south west tip of Britain, we find the small, beautiful archipelago of the Isles of Scilly. Discover white sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes and a rich, fascinating history, including a huge number of prehistoric remains. The islands are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and are home to rare species of birds and plant life, many of which are unique to Scilly.

Day 11
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The gift of eloquence


Location: Cobh, Ireland

Cobh is found on the largest island in Cork Harbour. The island has a history dating back to pre-Christian times. The town itself is relatively new, it was founded in the 17th century. Cobh's varied history includes a reputation as a health and seaside resort, but it is probably best known for being the country's main emigration port during the 19th century. Close by, we find Cork, Ireland’s second largest city. Most of Cork’s finest monuments can be found in the heart of the city, including the Crawford Art Gallery located next to the Opera House. Just five miles away is Blarney Castle, containing the famous stone said to give the 'gift of eloquence' to all who kiss it.

Day 12
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The beloved capital


Location: Dublin, Ireland

Originally founded as a Viking settlement, the city evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island's primary city following the Norman invasion. With its rich Celtic heritage, Trinity College, Ha' Penny bridge, stunning cathedrals, friendly people, bars and fiddle players, Dublin is one of few European cities that offer the combination of fascinating history and swishy modernity that ring through the tightly packed, song-enlivened streets of Ireland's beloved capital.

Day 13
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Into the mist


Location: Douglas, Isle of Man

Fiercely proud of its diverse culture and fascinating heritage, stunning natural landscapes and unspoilt beaches, the Isle of Man has a captivating story to tell that stretches back thousands of years. Legend has it that the Island’s name came from the Celtic sea god Manannan Mac Lir, who protected the land from invaders by shrouding it in a cloak of mist.

Day 14
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A taste of the Middle Ages


Location: Iona and Staffa, Scotland

Visiting the Inner Hebrides and the tiny island of Iona, you have a chance to see Iona Abbey, a church of historical and religious interest to pilgrims and visitors alike. It is the most elaborate and best preserved ecclesiastical building surviving from the Middle Ages in the Western Isles of Scotland. Later, we continue on to Staffa. This small island is well known for its basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave, the inspiration behind Mendelssohn’s overture of the same name.

Day 15
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Vikings and the fjords of the west


Location: Stornoway, Scotland

It might have been the first visitors to the Outer Hebrides of Scotland who created the phrase 'wild and woolly' for that is a most fitting description of Scotland’s westernmost islands. Deep glens and fjords dominate the Isle of Lewis and its main town, Stornoway was originally settled by the Vikings and was developed around its sheltered natural harbour. We will spend a day here to explore its beautiful surroundings.

Day 16
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Photo: Leslie A. Kelly Photo

Life on the island


Location: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Kirkwall is the largest town and the capital of the Orkney Islands, situated off the coast of mainland Scotland and dominated by the famous St. Magnus Cathedral. The first mention of a settlement is in a saga from 1046, and the name Kirkwall derives from Norse Kirkjuvagr (Church Bay). Today, Kirkwall has a population of 8,500, and is one of the most attractive and well-preserved small towns in Scotland.

Day 17
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Where the old meets the new


Location: Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland

Leith is situated just a few miles from Edinburgh. After London, Edinburgh is the most visited city in the UK. With streets steeped in history and a thriving cultural scene, Edinburgh offers the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary. The UNESCO World Heritage Site at the heart of the city combines the medieval Old Town, the Georgian New Town and award-winning modern architecture.

Explore mysterious winding streets, elegant terraces and an abundance of shops, bars and restaurants. From the well-known Edinburgh Castle, you will have a magnificent view of this cosmopolitan city surrounded by beautiful landscape. The castle is at the heart of Scotland’s history, and here you will find the crown jewels and the famous “Stone of Destiny”.

Day 18
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Changing course


Location: The North Sea

This entire day will be spent sailing towards Bremerhaven. Our expedition team will wrap up our on board academic programme, and you may enjoy the lectures, the view from our observations lounge or maybe just relax in one of our outdoor Jacuzzis.

Day 19
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Adventures in a maritime city


Location: Bremerhaven, Germany

Where the River Weser and the North Sea waters meet, you'll find Bremerhaven. The town was founded in 1827, and even though it is a relatively new city, it has a rich history as a trade port that stretches back to the 9th century. Bremerhaven offers a fantastic mix of maritime flair, adventure and knowledge, a great variety of fish, and excellent shopping. 

Day 20
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Heading north


Location: The North Sea

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea with on board lectures while we set course towards Norway.

Day 21
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The gateway to the fjords


Location: Bergen

The journey ends in Bergen, 'Gateway to the fjord'. Stroll through the picturesque streets of Bergen and enjoy famous sites including the Håkon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Bergen harbour and the famous fish market. The UNESCO World Heritage houses of 'Bryggen' are well worth discovering!

7 May 2017

Location Bergen, Norway
Your ship

Our ship sailing this route

Move down the coast of Europe on board MS Midnatsol, our discovery style ship with unmatched panoramic views

Everything you need to know about a cruise with Hurtigruten

Learn more about what you can experience on board - and cruise with confidence on MS Midnatsol

Things to see and do

Excursions

Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that Europe has to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions.

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