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Culture and Cuisine from Oporto to Basque Country

Western European Cruise

  • National Geographic Orion
  • Luxury Expedition Ship
  • 102 Capacity
  • 8 Days
  • 2016 View Departure>
    • 2016
    • May 22 Sun Offer
    • Sep 18 Sun Offer
  • Price from
  • $7,199

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.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography


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Prices from
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Day 1
Lisbon, Portugal / Embark

Embark the National Geographic Orion for lunch on board. After settling in, head up to the deck for a sunset departure out of Rio Tejo.

Day 2

Sail through the night and into the early afternoon. Come to know Oporto, the bright coastal city that is the birthplace of one of the world’s most famous wines. While positioned here, you will experience Oporto’s central water feature (the meandering Douro River), look down on the city from the iron masterpiece Ponte Dom Luis, and learn the secrets of port-making in a local port house.

Day 3
Villagarcia De Arousa, Spain

Experience the splendor of Santiago de Compostela for the day. Tour a Galician mansion, join fishermen along an estuary to collect shellfish, and explore the natural bounty that the Galicia river region has to offer. Hear the dramatic sounds of gaitas, the Galician version of a bagpipe, during a lunch ashore in a local hotel.

Day 4
A Coruña

Sail into the Spanish coastal town of A Coruña at sunrise, passing the impressive Hercules Tower for a particularly photogenic opportunity. In town, see the Hercules Tower, the only working Roman lighthouse in the world, visit the local market, and learn why this town gets the nickname of “Crystal City”. Take a late morning stroll around the area’s picturesque coastal villages.

Day 5

Arrive in Bilbao after lunch for an afternoon and evening full of art and adventure. Visit the impressive Guggenheim museum, which lifted modern architecture–and Bilbao–into the 21st century. Later, stroll the atmospheric ‘Casco Viejo’, Bilbao’s old quarter, or go for a scenic hike along Basque coast. A free evening ashore after dinner gives you the chance to experience the vibrant nightlife this city has to offer.

Day 6
St. Jean De Luz, France / Porto Pasaia, Spain

This day will offer a taste of both Spanish and French Basque culture. At an early morning market adventure in the fishing village of St. Jean de Luz, you will receive an introduction to French Basque culture and cuisine, followed by a journey to the French Basque countryside.

Board the ship for lunch as it repositions to nearby Porto Pasaia just across the border into Spain. The afternoon will focus on Spanish Basque culture in the neighboring town of San Sebastian. You will learn about the Celtic connections in Spain and hear the bouncy rhythms of the Basque trikitixa (a button accordion). Finish the day with a special Basque-styled dinner and cultural event in San Sebastian that ties together the day’s sights, sounds and tastes.

Day 7

While docked in the French port of Bayonne, explore the history of the old port and learn about the rich chocolate industry for which this area is so well known. A visit to the neighboring city of Biarritz will deepen your historical understanding of this region, with strolls along the beautiful coastline where you can visit the Rock of the Virgin, once used by Napoleon III as an anchoring point.

Day 8
Bordeaux / Disembark

Arrive in Bordeaux, disembark and head to the airport to catch your flight home, or remain in Bordeaux for an added stay.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Reverse Itinerary (Bordeax to Lisbon):

Photo Expeditions:

The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.

All accommodations aboard ship; all meals; 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 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; passport; visa; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc.