Day 1 Embark in Lisbon, Portugal
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.
Day 2 At Sea
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.
Day 3 Cádiz, Spain
Cádiz is the most southern province of the Iberian Peninsula. It is extremely rich in natural beauty and some of the most important Natural Parks of Spain and Europe are found here: Sierra de Grazalema and los Alcoronocales. Both are rich in flora and fauna, including species under threat of exinction. Many birds find here their resting and feeding place just after or before making the jump from or to Africa.
Day 4 Malaga, Spain
Malaga is the major coastal city of Andalucia and is a genuine and typical Andaluz city with a gritty individualism untouched by tourism and, to a large extent, the passage of time. The Moors occupied the city until the mid fifteenth century, after which it grew to become one of the foremost merchant centres in the entire Iberian Peninsula. This illustrious past has left its imprint on the historic centre, particularly around La Alcazaba, a fortress which dates back to 1065 and is now a fascinating archaeological museum. Also worth a visit is the nearby castle which was rebuilt by the Moors and is today a traditional parador (state hotel) with superb panoramic views. During the nineteenth century, Malaga was a popular winter resort for the wealthy famed for its elegance and sophistication. The impressive park on Calle Alameda dates back to this era and is recognised as being one of the mostcelebrated botanical collections in Europe. During the winter, open air concerts are held here every Sunday which makes a refreshing change from the bucket and spade scenario on the coast. Pablo Picasso is the city’s famous son (not counting Antonio Banderas of course!) and there are several galleries showing his work, including the 16th century Museum of Fine Arts, adjacent to the Cathedral His birthplace in Plaza Merced is today an archive of his life and works and open tothe public; the entrance is absolutely free (so are all the services: Documentation Centre, exhibitions, museum, video projections...) Málaga's main theatre is the (Theatro Cervantes) where Antonio Banderas once trod the boards. He still visits. As well as being a cultural centre, Malaga is also a great place to eat out. The Malagueños love their food and the bars and restaurants here are where the real social life takes place. The choice in unlimited and, on the whole, reasonable with some bars offering a menu of the day with bread and wine for as little as 700 pesetas. Tapas, small portions of many different dishes is an Andalusian tradition and a wonderfully inexpensive way to try a variety of local food. The best known local fare in Malaga is pescaito frito, an assortment of fried fish, including small sardines and red mullet, best washed down with a glass of ice cold fino at one of the many old fashioned bodegas in town. But it is El Palo, to the east of the city which is a typical fisherman’s village and the place to go if you want that veritable ‘catch of the day’ freshness. In the centre try a tapas and a glass of Malaga wine at Malaga's oldest tapas bar called 'Antigua Casa de la Guardia'. Keep to the north side of the Alameda and find no. 16. Malaga is always closed for the siesta period, so this is a perfect time for a long relaxing lunch. These days, Malaga prides itself on being a modern city with the heart of commerce dominated by Calle Larios which is the local Bond Street equivalent. This is the recommended place to start exploring the city as it is surrounded by attractive small streets and plazas, as well as the magnificent cathedral (Renaissance cathedral with a Baroque façade and choir by Pedro de Mena) which offers daily guided tours. Garden lovers won't be disappointed in Malaga either. In the centre of the city is the beautiful Alameda Gardens, and just outside on the way to Antequera one finds the extensive Jardines de la Concepcion. Málaga airport is of course on of the major airports in Spain due to the number of tourist arrivals on charter flights from Northern Europe using Malaga airport as a gateway to the Costa del Sol.
Day 5 Almeria, Spain
The city of Almeria is situated in the southeast of Andalucia. Around the city there are numerous places of interest. The bizarre, almost lunar appearance of the landscape has made it a popular desert location for the movie industry. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here, as were a plethora of westerns including Fistful of Dollars, the set of which now stands as a popular tourist attraction. In nearby Los Milares there is a large archaeological site dating back to 1800BC that is believed to be Spain’s first metal works, and a crucial stepping-stone between the Stone and Bronze Ages. If you’re after sea and sand you have come to the right place. East of the city is Cabo de Gata where you will find the most beautiful and least crowded beaches in the province.
Day 6 Cartagena, Spain
Cartagena is a seaport in southeast Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, in the autonomous community of Murcia. It is a walled town and has a fine harbor defended by forts. In the time of Philip II of Spain, it was a major naval seaport of Spain. It is still an important naval seaport and a large naval shipyard is still in existence. There are plenty of parks and squares to rest in, surrounded by good restaurants and bars and you will almost certainly find life here very slow and easy going. The seashore offers a wide range of activities from sailing to windsurfing and good diving. The local countryside is perfect for hiking, horseriding and cycling. From Cartagena you can easily explore the ancient city of Murcia, the coastal resorts of Mazarrón, Cala Cortina and Cabo de Palos or a little further north, the world famous resort of Mar Menor.
Day 7 Valencia, Spain
Valencia is a striking, captivating and unforgettable city, which transmits a world of sensations and should be visited slowly. Take your time, stop at one of the many terraces and gardens, and relax in this superb setting.
Day 8 Soller, Spain
Picturesquely situated in the valley of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Serra de Tramuntana, Soller is a year-round resort whose prosperity depends on the fragrant orange and ancient olive trees surrounding it. Because it doesn’t particularly cater to tourists, Soller is a favorite destination for nature or ecotourism lovers for the walking, hiking, cycling, beachcombing, sailing, canoeing or swimming available there. The focal point of the town is the Plaça Constitució, surrounded by cafés with a fountain in its center. A vintage tram that runs between Soller and Puerto Soller passes through the Plaça. The quaint cobbled streets of Soller lead to such interesting attractions as The Balearic Natural Sciences Museum and Botanical Gardens, The Sant Bartomeu Cathedral, whose original building dates from around 1236, with a facade designed by Joan Rubió, a student of Gaudi, and the Miro and Picasso art displayed in the train station gallery.
Day 9 Barcelona, Spain
Capital of proud Catalonia, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city like no other. Old and new combine in Barcelona; narrow Gothic Quarter alleyways contrast with grand boulevards. Everywhere, the city celebrates the work of Gaudi, its surreal modernist hometown architect. The city also boasts an incredible collection of Picasso’s work. Stroll down Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s wide tree-lined boulevard and enjoy the street carnival. Enjoy delectable tapas in the many restaurants and bars. See what the Olympic fervor was all about.