Portugal, Spain, France – Exploring Hidden Harbors
Duration: 14 days
Ship: MS Roald Amundsen
May 17, 2019
Portugal, Spain, France – Exploring Hidden Harbors
Duration: 14 days
Ship: MS Roald Amundsen
May 17, 2019
- See many of the UNESCO World Heritage sites along the European coast
- Enjoy visiting big cities, charming towns and beautiful islands
- Learn more about the history, culture and nature of the places we visit
- Exciting and extensive excursion program
This cruise has limited availability. Please call us for more information 8665520371
- Day 1 Lisbon, Portugal
- Day 2 Leixões / Oporto, Portugal
- Day 3 Vigo, Spain
- Day 4 La Coruña, Spain
- Day 5 Bilbao, Spain
- Day 6 At Sea
- Day 7 Belle-Île, France
- Day 8 Saint Malo, France
- Day 9 Honfleur, France
- Day 10 Ostend, Belgium
- Day 11 Antwerp, Belgium
- Day 12 Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Day 13 Helgoland, Germany
- Day 14 Hamburg, Germany
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon offers centuries of heritage and charm, and has been influenced by many different cultures over time. It was home to great explorers like Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Take time to explore this fascinating city before embarkation.
Lisbon's historic districts feel like different villages as you stroll the charming streets. Visit the city’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. Lisbon has a network of quaint, old-fashioned trams that lurch and screech around the narrow streets. No visit is complete without taking a ride on one of these classic, pre-war, Remodelado trams. Discover the many hidden gems of Portugal’s capital at your own pace.
From Leixões, it is a short yet very interesting trip to one of the last undiscovered European metropolises: Oporto. This ancient port is steeped in history and tradition, but with a modern outlook and bold new architecture. The cultural attractions are so diverse they will please everyone.
See amazing baroque carvings and churches with spectacular interiors as you walk down the monumental avenue Avenida dos Aliandos and discover the historic center, Ribeira, with colorful houses facing the river and its charming boats. A river cruise in a replica of the old Rabelo boats offers a perfect view over the historic city from the riverside.
Oporto is also the home of the Port wine, made exclusively in this area. Join a wine tour through the spectacular landscapes of Portugal. Visit one of the old wineries and taste this sweet and fortified red wine before you finish the excursion with a Portuguese meal. If you want a taste of wilderness instead, you can have an adventure in the only national park in Portugal: Gerês.
Sailing into the Vigo estuary we pass the beautiful island of Cíes, a National Park. The beautiful clean water here is well known for its fine seafood including local mussels. You might like to try some as part of traditional tapas, combined with some octopus á feira, all washed down with albariño, Galicia’s fresh, aromatic white wine.
Time to walk off your lunch? Why not wander through Parque del Castro’s botanical gardens and Roman remains, crowned by a 17th-century fort with panoramic views. If all that is too energetic, Vigo has a plentiful supply of beaches a short taxi (or boat) ride outside the town.
La Coruña is a city full of history. Phoenicians, Celts and Romans lived here and use the sheltered harbor at the isthmus in the north west of Spain. You will get a first impression when we pass the 180 feet high Hercules Tower, the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today, on our way into the harbor.
Take your time for a walk through the historic city and you will be impressed by the relicts from the different people and cultures who gave the city the amazing appearance. The city had its bloom in the 14th and 15th centuries when it functioned as the port for especially English pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Today the passengers from cruise liners from all over the world start their excursion to Santiago de Compostela in the harbor of La Coruña. When you are walking through the city you should not miss the very famous Street Avenida Marina. Here you will find the world wide very well-known multi-level traditional Galician buildings with an elegant glass front that became an architectural emblem for La Coruña.
Bilbao is the heart of the Basque Country. The city boasts an unexpected duality, as it has successfully mixed traditional Basque culture with a new vision for the future. It is sophisticated and humming with action, but at the same time it is super relaxed.
And it is an absolute must for design and culture lovers: The Guggenheim Museum designed by architect Frank Gehry, a timeless Metro system designed by Sir Norman Foster, a community center designed by Philippe Starck. The list goes on and on.
On the other hand you have the Casco Viejo, Bilbao’s atmospheric old quarter, full of charming streets, the market and plenty of distinctive, independent shops. At the heart of the Casco are Bilbao’s original seven streets, Las Siete Calles, which date from the 1400's. Explore this wonderful and diverse urban landscape, either on your own or with one of our many excursions.
From Bilbao, on our way to France, we will sail the Bay of Biscay. Due to its legendary reputation, many sailors feared this bay. The area is home to large storms during the winter months and there have been countless ship wrecks reported as a result of the gruesome weather.
To a large extent this is a result of ships, in the days of square-riggers, being unable to make way to windward, so they were often driven into the Bay by the prevailing westerlies. Some of the fiercest weather conditions of the Atlantic Ocean can still be witnessed in the Biscay Bay, but in late spring and early summer the area is cool and cloudy, with large fog pockets filling the southwestern part of the inlet.
We will sail far out to sea, out of sight of land. Enjoy the salt air, hopefully catch a glimpse of birds and sea mammals and listen to the peaceful sound of the ocean. During the day, you can participate in the interesting lectures by the expedition team, and maybe you even get to hear about the many famous naval engagements that have taken place here during the centuries.
As its name suggests, Belle-île is one of France’s most beautiful islands. With stunning cliffs, quaint seaside hamlets, pastel colored houses, green countryside and jagged rocky coastlines, Belle-île’s beauty has inspired adventure novelists such as Dumas, as well as impressionist painters like Monet and Matisse.
The island is a well-kept secret in France, and now it's your turn to discover it! The town of Le Palais is the "capital" of the island. It is situated around the Bassin de la Saline and is overlooked by the massive Citadelle. From here you can either join several hikes and outings with the Expedition Team, or discover this busting towns many markets, shops and sights independently.
Approaching the walled city of Saint Malo from the sea is a sight to behold: impenetrable bastions fringed by shallow beaches ring the city. No wonder that from Roman times onwards it has been held by empires, independents and republics as a strong fort.
Take a tour of the château of Saint Malo which today is the town museum, visit the Privateers House built in 1725 where you can learn about the pirate heritage of the town. If the weather is fine then why not have a restful time on one of the towns’ beaches. At a waterfront café, try the oysters from the Emerald coast (just the west of the town) or sample the local cider.
If a prize were to be offered for “the most picturesque harbor”, then Honfluer in Normandy would certainly be in the final. Indeed, Claude Monet thought so as he spent time here painting the distinctive tall and thin slate-fronted houses. Honfleur is located at the mouth of the Seine river.
Venture ashore and wander through the cobbled streets of this medieval town. Discover the largest wooden church in France, dedicated to Saint Catherine. Take a moment to sample some local Calvados brandy produced with apples.
Ostend has a six mile long white sand beach and is a popular beach destination for locals, but the city offers so much more. The seafront is Ostend’s principal tourist attraction. But as an adventurer, you might enjoy a visit to the small and bustling fish market.
Take a walking tour in the Footsteps of Marvin Gaye, the American singer who spent time here. Have your own personal moment of Zen in the beautiful Japanese Garden, called Shin Kai Tei. Visit the deceptively large Ostende Art Museum, with corridors snaking in all directions. Wander through the subterranean fortifications in the best-preserved sections of the infamous German Atlantikwall.
Stand in line to get a large steaming pot of delicious mussels and fries (moules frites), and later, for dessert, have a waffle or some of the famous Belgian chocolate. Or join in on a trip to Bruges and see the historical center that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Ostend it is possible to visit the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.
In the 16th century Antwerp was one the most important financial centers of the world and home to baroque superstar painter Rubens. Today it is Belgium's capital of cool with astonishing architectural and cultural contrasts, and a vibrant fashion and entertainment scene. Antwerp is also the world's leading diamond city, as more than 70% of all diamonds are traded here. Join our city tour to get an overview of the fascinating past and present, before you set out to explore the cobbled lanes, quaint architecture, museums, shops and cafés in the intriguing medieval heart of this Flemish city.
Amsterdam which is the capital of the Netherlands even though the Dutch government is seated in The Hague. Amsterdam developed from a small fishing village in the 13th century to one of the most charming and culturally important cities of the world.
The city became a very famous worldwide trading center with important connections to the Hanseatic League in the 17th century, Amsterdam's so called "Golden Age". Patrician houses in the city and the Amsterdam Canal District, both international symbols for an impressive urban planning and architecture, are also to date back to the “Golden Age” and belong today to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city is well-known for its outstanding museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt House or the van Gogh Museum.
Germany’s only high sea archipelago consists of two small islands called Helgoland and the Dune. Helgoland is famous for its unique scenery and diverse wildlife. Germany’s smallest nature reserve, Lummenfelsen, consists of one single rock – essentially a huge bird condo, densely occupied by the thousands of sea birds that nest here.
Helgoland also has an intriguing history: Originally, it was founded by Frisians, then became a pirate base in the Middle Ages. Afterwards, it was claimed by the Danes, only to be conquered by the British some years later. Then the British swapped the islands with the Germans for Zanzibar. During WWII attempts were made to wipe the entire island of the map for good. It's safe to say that Helgoland is rich with exciting history. Come ashore to explore this fascinating narrow island!
The "free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg" to give its official title is a fascinating finale to our voyage. Hamburg has more miles of the canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined, including the UNESCO listed Speicherstadt district with ancient warehouses, now housing a variety of museums, attractions and restaurants.
Although the Reeperbahn is known for things other than the fact that the Beatles played there in the 1960s, it is still today an exciting live music area, with many bars and clubs open to the small hours. Whatever your taste, take some time to sample Hamburg before you head home.
Included in Your Expedition
- Hurtigruten expedition in the cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Wind- and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Complimentary tea and coffee
Not Included In Your Expedition
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Luggage handling
- Optional excursions and gratuities
MS Roald Amundsen
In 2019, Hurtigruten will add a brand new ship to its fleet: MS Roald Amundsen. This state-of-the-art vessel will feature new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.