Summary : From Oporto’s local Port Houses to the chocolate makers of Bayonne, this 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. Satisfy your palette & cultural curiosity on this carefully curated voyage.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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Arrive in Bordeaux and board the National Geographic Orion in the heart of the city. Take time to settle into life on board before you set sail for Bayonne.
Walk through the picturesque old port town of Bayonne, known for its rich chocolate industry. Chocolate lovers may attend a demonstration at an authentic French chocolate house. On an excursion to the former imperial retreat of Biarritz, hike along the coast to the Rock of the Virgin, once used by Napoleon III as an anchoring point. Return to the ship for a free evening ashore in Bayonne. (B,L,D)
Explore both the French and Spanish Basque cultures today. Choose a market excursion in the village of Saint Jean-de-Luz to get an introduction to French Basque culture and cuisine, or journey to the French Basque countryside for a wine and tapas tasting, In Spain's Basque capital of San Sebastián, discover the connection to the Celts and hear the bouncing rhythims of a trikitixa, a traditional accordion. Cap off the day with a special Basque dinner and a private performance by famous Basque musician Kepa Junkera at a traditional cider house in San Sebastián. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Bilbao early this morning. 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 take part in a tapas cooking demonstration. (B,L,D)
Cruise into A Coruña, passing the impressive Tower of Hercules after lunch. 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 afternoon stroll or a bicycle ride around the area’s picturesque coastline before we set sail. (B,L,D)
Anchor in Villagarcía de Arousa and take a day trip to the Galician countryside, where you'll visit a winery, watch fishermen as they collect mussels, and enjoy the verdant Galician landscapes from the river. Alternatively, travel to Santiago de Compostela, and visit the cathedral that has welcomed missions of pilgrims over the centuries. Enjoy a typical Galician musical performance and a tapas lunch at the adjacent Hostal dos Reis Católicos. (B,L,D)
Arrive in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Oporto in the early 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. Learn the secrets of port-making during a tasting at a riverside port house. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, disembark in Lisbon and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, remain in Lisbon for an added stay. (B)
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Travel with a National Geographic photographer and certified photo instructor—at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. And, take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the expert photographers and instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; excursions; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of kayaks; services of expedition leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guide; services of a ship physician; gratuities; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; extensions; passport and visa fees; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.