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The beautiful port city of Cadiz, Spain

Spain, and Portugal: Legacy of the Moors

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Explorer
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Embrace the culture and history of Spain and Portugal on this 10-day small ship cruise. Begin in Sevilla, Spain, then transfer to Granada and sail West around the coast of Portugal and up to Northern Spain. Rich in history and culture, this cruise is sure to delight.
The colorful streets of SpainCadiz, SpainPlaza in Lisbon, PortugalPortuguese city on the riverThe beautiful port city of Cadiz, Spain
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Sevilla, Spain

  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Sevilla in the morning. After lunch, transfer to the Melia Seville hotel and have an afternoon at leisure.

Day 2: Sevilla/Cádiz/Embark

Explore the Old City, including the amazing Gothic cathedral, Giralda Tower, and Alcázar. In the late afternoon, drive through the scenic Andalusian countryside and arrive in Cádiz, where you embark on the National Geographic Explorer.

Day 3: Motril, Spain / Granada

Arrive in Motril and drive from the port of Motril to the beautiful city of Granada and its breathtaking Alhambra Palace. Built in the 13th century on a hill above the city, the city reflects both the wealth and love of beauty of the Moors. Also visit Generalife, the summer palace of the Moorish rulers, which features a maze of grandly terraced gardens. After a typical Andalusian lunch at the exquisite Alhambra Palace Hotel, visit the Capilla Real, or Royal Chapel, where the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella are entombed.

Day 4: Gibraltar, U.K.

Spend today in Gibraltar, one of the few places in the world where you can see two continents at once! Explore the rock fortress by minibus and spend some time with the famous Barbary Apes and Gibraltar macaques. Also visit the incredible St.Michael's Cave, where you may see magnificent stalagmites and stalactites formed from limestone. In the evening, pass between the Pillars of Hercules and through the Strait of Gibraltar as you exit the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 5: Portimão, Algrave, Portugal

Enjoy the day in the pastoral hills of the Algarve, where you find present-day farmlands and remnants of Moorish culture that once dominated the region. From Portimão, head North to Silves, one of the oldest villages on the Algarve. Here, visit the 12th-century sandstone castle and fortress that were by the Moors.

Day 6: Lisbon, Portugal

Connect with Portugal’s proud maritime traditions by arriving by sea, along the banks of the Tagus. Enter colorful Lisbon, known for its extraordinary architecture and the history of Portugal’s 15th- and 16th-century Age of Exploration. Columbus, Magellan, Vasco da Gama, Henry the Navigator each play a part in the city tour. Begin at the massive Monument to the Discoverers, the city’s symbol, and see the richness of Manueline architecture evident on visits to the Jeronimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 7: Oporto

Famous for its port wine, old town Oporto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site resounding in stately architecture: the 13th century Church of São Francisco with its dazzling Baroque interior and the 19th-century Neoclassical Stock Exchange. The scenic Douro was the main river for transporting the port wines from the highlands of northern Portugal aboard picturesque flat-bottomed wine boats. And of course, no visit would be complete without a visit to one of the colorful riverside port houses to sample the port wine which has made this region famous.

Day 8: Mouros, Spain

The most magnificent pilgrimage site of the Middle Ages is the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, declared a UNESCO site. With its detailed façade and massive size, the cathedral is awe-inspiring. By special arrangement, witness the swinging of the extraordinary 125-pound silver incense burner called the botafumeiro. After exploring this architectural marvel, enjoy lunch in town at the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos, which was built for pilgrims in the 16th century by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Day 9: At Sea / Bilbao, Spain

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A relaxing morning at sea gives you time to attend lectures on all you have seen. In the afternoon, lovers of art and architecture may appreciate Frank Gehry’s futuristic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum with its distinctive titanium wave. The finish of the 33,000 extremely thin titanium sheets gives an organic effect, changing color depending on weather and light conditions. It is possible to walk all the way around the Museum, admiring different configurations from each perspective of the structure Philip Johnson once called “the greatest building of our time.”

Day 10: Bilbao / Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark in Bilbao after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your continued independent journeys.

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Explorer

National Geographic Explorer's dining room.
Relax in the luxurious sauna aboard the National Geographic Explorer.
Relax in the National Geographic Explorer's lounge.

Dates & Prices

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National Geographic Explorer's Category 1 Cabin.
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Cat 1
Main Deck with one or two portholes. #301-308
National Geographic Explorer's Category 2 Cabin.
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Cat 2
Main Deck with window. #317-320, 335-336.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 3 Cabin.
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Cat 3
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340,342, 344, 346, 348, 350.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 4 Cabin.
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Cat 4
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. # 103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 5 Upper Deck Cabin.
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Cat 5
Upper Deck with Balcony. #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224.
National Geographic Explorer's Category 6 Cabin.
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Cat 6
Veranda Deck Suite #101-102; Upper Deck Suite with Balcony #213.
Luxurious Catagory 8 Suite
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Cat 7
Upper Deck Suite with Balcony. #215, 219, 230.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SA
C Deck Solo - Cabins 309-312, 329-334. Single cabins with window.
National Geographic Explorer's Category SA and SB.
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Cat SB
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window. #105-106, 203, 208.

Notes

Travelers under the age of 18 save $500 per person.
Included
  • 9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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