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Culture and Cuisine from Oporto to Basque Country

Example 8 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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From Oporto’s local Port Houses to the chocolate makers of Bayonne, this 8-day voyage is sure to satisfy your appetite for the cuisine and culture of the upper Iberian coast. Explore the splendor of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, tour a Galician mansion, meander through the local villages of A Coruña and Bilbao, and hike the beautiful Basque coastline. Visit Hercules Tower and the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, thrill to the melodies of the gaitas and trikitixas, and savor a Basque-style dinner in San Sebastian. Compare and contrast French and Spanish Basque cultures, and learn about the Celtic influence on the region as well.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Lisbon, Portugal | Embark
Day 2 : Oporto
Day 3 : Villagarcia de Arousa, Spain
Day 4 : A Coruña
Day 5 : Bilbao
Day 6 : Saint Jean-de-Luz, France | San Sebastian, Spain
Day 7 : Bayonne, France
Day 8 : Bordeaux | Disembark

Highlights

  • Spend a day discovering Galicia and visit a splendid Galician estate
  • Discover an array of iconic architectural masterpieces
  • Visit a port house in Oporto to sample world-renowned port wines
  • Experience Basque country's music, cuisine, and markets

Ship

National Geographic Orion

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Enjoy fine dining on a Culinary tour, food One of Rab's beautiful beaches Bilbao’s Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum

Day 1 Lisbon, Portugal | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Lisbon and embark National Geographic Orion. After lunch, relax on the ship or spend the afternoon exploring on shore. This evening, enjoy the Tagus River at sunset, drink in hand, as you begin your journey.

Day 2 Oporto

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Oporto in the late morning. The birthplace of port wine, Oporto straddles a gorge on the Douro River, linked by numerous bridges and filled with medieval architecture. See the famous azulejo tiles of the region and take in the views from the iron masterpiece Ponte Dom Luis. Later, learn the secrets of port-making during a tasting at a riverside port house. Explore with a range of transport modes: vintage tram or auto, tuk-tuk, or on foot.

Day 3 Villagarcia de Arousa, Spain

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Anchor in Villagarcía de Arousa and drive to Santiago de Compostela. Visit the cathedral that has welcomed millions of pilgrims over the centuries, and enjoy a tapas lunch and vibrant musical performance at the adjacent Hostal de los Reyes Católicos.  Alternatively, you may visit a historic mansion with impressive gardens followed by a wine tasting. Immerse yourself in the culture. Choose to join fishermen along an estuary as they collect mussels, which the Orion chef seasons and prepares. Or, walk in the steps of the pilgrims’ path to the magnificent cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. 

Day 4 A Coruña

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise into A Coruña, passing the impressive Tower of Hercules in the morning light. Pay a visit to the tower, the only working Roman lighthouse in the world, visit the local market, and learn about the architectural phenomenon that earned the town the nickname “The Glass City.” Take a late morning stroll or a bicycle ride around the area’s picturesque coastal villages before sailing east. 

Day 5 Bilbao

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Bilbao after lunch. Explore the titanium curves of the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, learn how it has transformed the city, and have a guided tour of the interior in small groups. Afterwards, wander through Bilbao’s old quarter, or attend a pintxos cooking lesson in a local cottage. 

Day 6 Saint Jean-de-Luz, France | San Sebastian, Spain

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore both the French and Spanish Basque cultures today. In the village of Saint Jean-de-Luz, get an introduction to French Basque culture and cuisine, followed by a journey to the French Basque countryside for a wine and tapas tasting. The second half of the day is dedicated to exploring Spain’s Basque capital of San Sebastian, where you discover the connection to the Celts.

Cider houses rule in Basque Spain, and a special Basque dinner and cultural event is planned in San Sebastian. Grab a glass and do as the locals do - sit at the long farm tables and sidle up to the barrel tap for a cider refill. The expedition's musicologist has arranged for a private performance by famous Basque musician Kepa Junkera.

Day 7 Bayonne, France

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a walk through the picturesque old port town of Bayonne and learn about the rich chocolate industry for which this area is so well known. Or, on an excursion to the former imperial retreat of Biarritz, stroll along the coast to the Rock of the Virgin, once used by Napoleon III as an anchoring point. You also won’t want to miss a stop in to Biarritz’s central food market. Chocolate lovers may attend a demonstration at a small, private French chocolate house.

Day 8 Bordeaux | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, disembark in Bordeaux and transfer to the airport for flights home.

National Geographic Orion

Per person starting at
$7,990
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

Notes

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
  • Meals not indicated
  • Travel protection plan
  • Items of a personal nature such as e-mail, laundry

Included

  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
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