Arrive in Lisbon. Board Le Boreal between 4:30 and 5:30 PM. Settle in to your cabin and familiarize yourself with the ship and her crew.
The city of Porto is located in the estuary of the Douro river in northern Portugal. The largest city in the region is considered the economic and cultural heart of the entire region. The historic Centre of Porto has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (1996). One of Portugal's most internationally famous products, Porto wine, was named after the city because it was originally shipped from the area, or, more precisely, from Vila Nova de Gaia, a city just across the river which belongs to the same conurbation. Porto is well known for its enterprising spirit, characteristic culture, people, and local cuisine.
Choose from two optional excursions: Historic Porto, which will take you on a panoramic tour of the city by coach, and to a river cruise along the Duoro. End this trip at Vila Nova Gaia, where you can partake in a wine tasting of the local varietals.
The Aveleda Wine Tasting tour offers an opportunity to see main Oporto sights and an unique experience in one of "vinho verde" main producers: Quinta da Aveleda. Quinta da Aveleda has just been awarded with the international Best of Wine Tourism 2011 award, in the “Architecture, Parks and Gardens” category. The ivy-covered 17th century main house and its private chapel can be admired from outside but you will also visit the wine facilities, such as the old cellar and the wine bottling center. End the visit tasting two wines accompanied by local cheese. Enjoy some free time or visit the shop before returning to the ship.
Viana do Castelo is one of the most beautiful Portuguese cities, in the Minho-Lima subregion of Northern Portugal. The Pilgrimage of Nossa Senhora da Agonia and the amazing views of the Lima River make this city unforgettable. Classified as a Mecca of Architecture, the city is famous for the monuments in and around the city, and the surrounding natural beauty.
Three optional excursions will take you into this gorgeous region:
Villages of North Portugal is a full-day trip through Caminha, into Ponte de Lima, and Viano do Castelo. At each stop, explore the small and historic villages on foot.
This full day tour takes you the top of Church Santa Luzia and her magnificent panoramic view of Viana do Castelo. Your next stop is a wine producer. Paco d´Anha, a "quinta" with an ancient manor house in Vila Nova de Anha. Next up is another "Vinho Verde" wine producer. The history of the "Quinta de Merufe" goes back to the 15th century and you can witness it during your visit. The Winner of the Best of Wine Tourism on Sustainable Wine & Tourism Practices, see the vineyards, the cellars and taste five different types of region wine.
Viana do Castelo
Visit one of Northern Portugal treasures: Viana do Castelo. This town was founded in the 13th century , developed during the Manueline and Renaissance period, had a Baroque building boom in the 18th century and has always been connected to the sea, having till nowadays an important fishing community.
Port details pending.
As you prepare for the next stops on your adventure, enjoy the ocean views from the deck, acquaint yourself with the ship's luxurious amenities, or simply relax as you cruise.
Departing from the port, explore Bilbao on one of two optional excursions:
Guggenheim Museum & Bilbao takes you on a panoramic coach tour of the city before stopping at the iconic Guggenheim museum of modern and contemporary art. One of the most admired works of contemporary architecture, the building has been hailed as a "signal moment in the architectural culture." After some free time on your own at the museum, re-board your coach to the Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are lined with Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist buildings. As you stroll through this area, your guide points out the main sights including the Cathedral of Santiago, the Gothic Church of San Anton and the Plaza Nueva and arcaded square. Spend some free time exploring before returning to the ship by coach.
On La Cote de Biscaye excursion, discover the Cantabrian corniche, a fishing port or Bermeo and historic Guernica. First visit Bermeo, one of the area's most important fishing ports in the region. This colourful, working town has a large deep-sea fishing fleet that regularly operates off the coast of the Azores and southern Africa. Continue to Guernica, once the capital of the Basque Country. After the visit, drive to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe for a photostop before returning to the pier in Bilbao.
Le Verdon sur Mer is situated on the Pointe de Grave on the Gironde estuary, close to large vineyards. Le Verdon also offers extensive beaches on the Atlantic coast and on the Gironde estuary, forests and marshland, cycling paths and hiking trails. The streams also offer a complete change of scenery, sail on the estuary or go and explore the Cordouan lighthouse on optional excursions.
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River and is the ninth largest city in France and the world's major wine industry capital. It is home to Vinexpo,the world's main wine fair, and the local wine economy takes in 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.
Choose among several half- or full-day excursions to explore this enchanting city.
Following breakfast on board, disembark Le Boreal in Bordeaux. Transfer to the airport to continue your travels.