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Unique houses designed by Gaudi

Portugal and Spain: From the Algarve to Catalonia

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Follow in the footsteps of Roman conquerors, Phoenician traders & Moorish kings on this 8-day voyage on the National Geographic Orion. See the tangerine skies of a Rio Tejo sunset and the sparkling daybreak over Barcelona. Thrill to the juxtaposition of the exquisitely ornate interiors of Moorish fortresses (including a life-list visit to the Alhambra), with the gothic peaks of early Christian cathedrals. From the tranquil Algarve village of Alte to the splendors of Seville; experience flamenco, medronho, tapas and Picasso, the fossils of El Torcal and the Strait of Gibraltar.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Lisbon, Portugal | Embark
Day 2 : Portimão | Algarve
Day 3 : Cadiz, Spain | Seville
Day 4 : Gibraltar, U.K | Malaga, Spain
Day 5 : Motril | Granada
Day 6 : Mazarrón Escarpment | Cartagena
Day 7 : Valencia
Day 8 : Barcelona | Disembark


  • Encounter an array of architectural marvels
  • Explore the spectacular mountainous landscapes of Andalusia
  • Search for whales and dolphins along Spain’s Murcia coast
  • Sample local Iberian specialties including paella, tapas, and sherry


National Geographic Orion

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Unique houses designed by Gaudi Portugal city on the river A young couple dances a traditional tango in the streets of Buenos Aires Plaza in Lisbon, Portugal Delicious cheeses and wines enjoyed at a vineyard

Day 1 Lisbon, Portugal | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Lisbon and embark the National Geographic Orion. This afternoon enjoy a performance of authentic fado music aboard the ship. Take in splendid sunset views of Portugal’s capital as the ship sets sail.

Day 2 Portimão | Algarve

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Portimão is the gateway to Portugal’s southernmost province, the Algarve, known for its whitewashed villages, lush farmlands, and remnants of Moorish culture. Travel north to Silves, home to a fortified sandstone castle built by the Moors, and learn about the tradition of harvesting cork oak. Alternatively, explore the sea caves of the Algarvian coast by small boat while savoring a glass of Medronho, a local fruit brandy. Your transport into the Portuguese countryside today is by off-road jeep, returning by way of small river boats along the Arade River. Keep an eye out for the large stork nests nestled atop cottage chimneys!

Day 3 Cadiz, Spain | Seville

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive on the shores of Spain today. From Cádiz, travel to the graceful Andalusian capital of Seville, where contemporary culture is interwoven with layers of history. In the old city, see one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedrals and the Alcázar palace, where the king and queen of Spain greeted Columbus on his return from the New World. Delve into the art of flamenco during a private performance at the intimate Museo del Baile Flamenco, and perhaps try some classic zapateado (footwork) yourself. Opt to visit one stop on the famed sherry triangle. Visit a traditional sherry bodega, interesting not only for its extra-aged sherries (20 or more years old), but because it houses the Colección Joaquín Rivera, a private Spanish art collection that includes important works by Goya, Velázquez, and Zurbarán.

Day 4 Gibraltar, U.K | Malaga, Spain

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Stand on deck as you pass the tiny British colony of Gibraltar, which presides over the strait between Spain and Morocco. Enter the Mediterranean Sea on your way to Málaga, the birthplace of Picasso and a gem of a coastal city surrounded by charming Andalusian towns. Explore the city’s artistic treasures on guided visits to the Picasso Museum and Carmen Thyssen Museum; ride along the newly finished bike path hugging beaches and beautiful coastline; or explore the city at your leisure with suggestions from the Onboard Concierge.  Gather for dinner at a special wine bar, featuring local Andalusian products. Feeling energetic? Grab a bike and cycle through the natural paradise surrounding Málaga, with a pre-mapped route in hand.

Day 5 Motril | Granada

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A variety of excursions await you today. For a deeply cultural experience, travel into Andalusian countryside past orange groves and olive trees for a specially prepared lunch in the homes of local women. Alternatively, take the full day to see enchanting Granada, set high in the Sierra Nevada, exploring magnificent Moorish architecture including the 13th-century Alhambra Palace and Genera life gardens. Or, set out for an early morning trek following Mr. Henderson’s Railway to the neighboring city of Ronda, famous for its dramatic escarpments and views, and for the deep El Tajo gorge.

Day 6 Mazarrón Escarpment | Cartagena

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today look for whales and dolphins along the submerged volcanic mountains of the Mazarrón Escarpment with the naturalists. Later, arrive in the deep natural harbor of Cartagena—a historic naval base where Phoenicians, Romans, and Moors all left their mark. Set out on foot to explore the city’s medieval fortresses and modernist houses, or glide along the streets on an electric Segway scooter for a modern way to see this ancient city!

For a striking visual of the times, walk to the lookout at Parque Torres and look down on the ruins of the Roman amphitheater, now placed back-to-back with a modern-day one.

Day 7 Valencia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In sunny Valencia, old-world cafés mingle with Gothic cathedrals and futurist architecture. Visit the City of Arts and Sciences, an otherworldly cultural complex designed by native architect Santiago Calatrava. Explore the rich birdlife of Albufera Natural Park, one of the most important wetland areas on the Iberian Peninsula. Enjoy a lunch of traditional paella, Valencia’s signature dish. Later this afternoon hop aboard private fishermen’s boats along the marshy canals of the Albufera Lake ecosystem, where they cultivate rice and harvest shellfish for paella—and learn how to make a delicious paella in the city it was invented.

Day 8 Barcelona | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Wake up in Barcelona, and have breakfast on board. Disembark and transfer to the airport for your return flight, or remain in Barcelona for an added stay.

National Geographic Orion

Per person starting at
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Main deck with 1 or 2 portholes
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1 Single
Main deck with 1 or 2 portholes
National Geographic Orion's Category 2 Cabin.
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Category 2
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Main deck with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Upper and veranda decks with window
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Upper deck with balcony
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Veranda deck - suite


Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability.

Please Note: Flexibility is a hallmark of National Geographic expeditions, and often the day-by-day itinerary will change as you take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or photographers linger ashore through the golden hour of light. Extraordinary adventure is a guarantee.

Included in Cost:
  • All accommodations aboard ship
  • Meals as indicated
  • Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship
  • Excursions
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Special access permits
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • Use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment
  • Services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guides
  • Services of a ship physician
  • All gratuities
  • All port charges and service taxes

Not Included:
  • Air transportation
  • Extensions
  • Passport, visa, immigration fees 
  • Travel protection plan
  • Iinternet
  • Laundry


  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
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Erin Correia
Erin C

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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