One of Europe’s smallest capital cities, Lisbon is for many, one of it most beguiling – an easily accessible mix of new and old worlds. Elegant outdoor cafés line Lisbon’s mosaic cobblestone sidewalks along grand 18th-century boulevards. Turn-of-the-century funiculars dot its steep hills. Two-thirds of the city was leveled in a 1755 earthquake, but in its churches, peeling buildings, tiny alleyways and hidden squares, you can still feel the glorious past.
Built into the granite cliffs at the mouth of the Rio Douro, the hilly city of Porto presents a heady juxtaposition of eras and styles. Here, medieval alleyways, orderly neighborhood squares and ornate baroque churches readily intermingle. This scenic, cosmopolitan center offers an array of architectural gems from Roman, Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassic and Renaissance eras. Porto’s historic heart is the Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage zone of winding lanes, zigzagging staircases and tiled churches. Generations-old traditions of public life continue as locals gather in storefronts, plazas and in the old houses of commerce built over Roman ruins. Known as the capital of Portugal's beguiling north – as well as its second-largest city – Porto is globally recognized for its trade in Port wine, which travels along the river that gives this city a unique identity.
As one of the largest cities of Spain, Vigo is a fascinating combination of ancient history, and beautiful beaches in a cosmopolitan setting just north of Portugal. It houses the fourth-largest fishing fleet in Spain, with an urban area built over both a Roman settlement and a hill-fort. First-time visitors to Vigo will definitely want to see the twisting streets, old mansions, beautiful plazas and streets of the old district, parts of which have survived since medieval times. The port boasts a large marina, one of Spain’s most exclusive yacht clubs and beach-lovers can bask at the numerous, sparkling beaches like Playa Samil, Canido and Alcabre. This eclectic port also offers some impressive museums, galleries, restaurants and the remnants of an old fort. Sites to see include Museo de Arte Contemporanea, the outdoor Museo del Mar de Galicia, Verbum, Casa das Palabras, an interactive museum, and Santa María Collegiate Church. Abundant and fresh seafood can be found all over Vigo but especially in the famous El Berbes Quarter, and walkers will find routes above the city offering spectacular views of Vigo bay below.
Surrounded by the ocean, the modern city of La Coruña has been a gateway to world travelers for over 2,000 years. From almost any spot in this city you can find breathtaking views of the sea. Most notable in La Coruña is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse that has been in continuous operation since the 2nd century. Take time to explore the glazed glass-fronted harbor buildings known as galerias, a type of structure that came about as a naval architectural solution for the challenging weather, especially rainy days. Worth seeing in La Coruña are the shopping areas of Calles Real, San Andres and Canzones to find everything from antiques to beautiful handmade leather goods. The work-in-progress Paseo Marítimo is one of the largest promenades in Europe, currently 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) long, and when completed, it will be 13 (8 miles) kilometers of interesting sites. Other must see attractions include Maria Pita Square, Palacio Municipal, As Bárbaras Monastery, Mount of San Pedro Park, with unforgettable views of the city, Castle of San Antón Archaeological Museum, and the beaches of Orzan and Riazor. Bring your appetite because the Galician coast is famous for its dishes of freshly caught fish, tapas, light olive and cheese snacks and elaborately prepared hot dishes.
This is your invitation to a day of indulgence. Treat yourself to a luxurious spa experience. Stretch out by the pool with your favorite beverage. Grab a great book or your favorite movie from the library. Stretch your muscles with our state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Dine in sumptuous casual style, or wrap yourself in that comfy waffle-weave robe and enjoy your meal in the privacy of your beautiful stateroom. Your delight is our single priority for your day at sea.
Located in the Finistère, Brittany, Brest is a town with a proud maritime history, a fierce resiliency and natural beauty. Its tradition as an important warship-producing port during the Napoleonic wars permeates the essence of the town in ways both major and subtle. The Château de Brest is the oldest castle in the world still in use, with more than 1700 years of history as a military fortress and strategic location. The castle also houses the Musee national de la Marine, and the Oceanopolis marine center. Facing the castle is the Tanguy Tower, housing the Museum of Old Brest. Few other historic structures remain because of heavy bombing of the town during World War II, but the stalwart core of Brest remains ready to be explored.
Once an island fortress during the Middle Ages and notorious in the 19th century as the home of pirates, the walled city of St. Malo is now connected to the mainland by a modern harbor. Situated at the mouth of the Rance River, St. Malo is France's largest marina, where fresh seafood abounds, including the famous oysters from nearby Cancale. As the most visited city in Brittany, part of its appeal is that it’s only an hour's drive from the monastery and town of Mont St Michel, one of France’s major tourist attractions which gets cut off from the mainland at high tide. There are many sites to see in St. Malo including the world’s first tidal power plant, Saint-Malo Cathedral, a French national monument, the Chateau of St. Malo, La Ville Intra-Muros (the walled city) and the Great Aquarium St. Malo, one of France’s major aquariums. Walking opportunities include the top of the city’s ramparts, or the National Fort with spectacular sandy beaches and delightful harbor views. St. Malo cobblestone streets boast many quaint medieval buildings, and numerous delightful shops, bars and eateries.
The port city of Cherbourg resonates with Normandy romance and engaging sights in every quarter. The town as it was depicted in the 1964 classic film “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” remains as compelling today, ready to capture the heart of visitors with its Gallic charm. Stroll along the walkways by the marina, linger at the end of the Port de Plaisance to watch boats venture to and from the sparkling blue sea, and discover the downtown district, home to Cherbourg’s finest restaurants, pubs and shopping. At the architectural heart of the town is its 19th century theatre, recognized as a leading example of Italianate style and one of the few original buildings to survive World War II. The lovely Place de Verdun plaza and Cherbourg Cathedral nearby also invite travelers to spend time in their memorable presence.
The birthplace of Charles Dickens is England’s only island city with a long and significant naval history. Portsmouth is home to the Historic Dockyard, one of the top ten visitor attractions in the UK and home of the world’s oldest dry dock still in operation. It also houses such famous ships as the HMS Warrior (Britain’s first iron-hulled warship), the Mary Rose, (Henry VIII’s ship that sank in 1545 and was raised in 1982) and Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory. Most of Portsmouth’s attractions are related to its naval history. Fort Nelson is home to the Royal Armouries Museum, Portsdown Hill features several Victorian-era forts, Fort Purbrook and Fort Widley are activities centers and there are a large number of war memorials located around the city. A striking recent addition to Portmouth’s skyline is the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays. Completed in 2005, the tower is 560 feet tall. Other points of interest include the Blue Reef Aquarium, the Cumberland House, Southsea Castle, Clarence Pier Amusement Park and Genesis Expo, England’s first and only creationist museum. Southsea Seafront boasts 4 miles of seaside promenade and the Renaissance Trail around the Millennium Promenade offers a chance to take a self-guided, scenic walk.