Summary : CULINARY EXPEDITION - An epicurean voyage for gastronomes and oenologists alike! Savour the flavors of Portugal, Spain, France, and Holland as you travel up the Atlantic coast. Taste tapas in Bilbao, shuck oysters in Normandy, and indulge in the glorious wines of the Bordeaux region during an overnight stay.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$11,100 to $32,400
Embark Silver Cloud, and settle in. Later there will be a Sail Away cocktail and you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and your guest lecturers. Tonight enjoy the first of many memorable dinners in one of the restaurants, specially prepared by the Culinary Experts and your Executive Chef.
Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Also called Porto for short, the word easily brings to mind the city's most famous product - port wine. Oporto's strategic location on the north bank of the Douro River has accounted for the town's importance since ancient times. The Romans built a fort here where their trading route crossed the Douro, and the Moors brought their own culture to the area. Oporto profited from provisioning crusaders en route to the Holy Land and enjoyed the riches from Portuguese maritime discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries.
La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is among the country's busiest ports. The remote Galicia area is tucked into the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, surprising visitors with its green and misty countryside that is so much unlike other parts of Spain. The name "Galicia" is Celtic in origin, for it was the Celts who occupied the region around the 6th-century BC and erected fortifications. La Coruña was already considered an important port under the Romans. They were followed by an invasion of Suevians, Visigoths and, much later in 730, the Moors.
The Campo Valdés baths, dating back to the 1st century AD, and other reminders of Gijón's time as an ancient Roman port remain visible downtown. Gijón was almost destroyed in a 14th-century struggle over the Castilian throne, but by the 19th century it was a thriving port and industrial city. The modern-day city is part fishing port, part summer resort, and part university town, packed with cafés, restaurants, and sidrerías.
Time in Bilbao (Bilbo, in Euskera) may be recorded as BG or AG (Before Guggenheim or After Guggenheim). Never has a single monument of art and architecture so radically changed a city. Frank Gehry's stunning museum, Norman Foster's sleek subway system, the Santiago Calatrava glass footbridge and airport, the leafy César Pelli Abandoibarra park and commercial complex next to the Guggenheim, and the Philippe Starck Alhóndiga Bilbao cultural center have contributed to an unprecedented cultural revolution in what was once the industry capital of the Basque Country.
Bordeaux as a whole, rather than any particular points within it, is what you'll want to visit in order to understand why Victor Hugo described it as Versailles plus Antwerp, and why the painter Francisco de Goya, when exiled from his native Spain, chose it as his last home (he died here in 1828). The capital of southwest France and the region's largest city, Bordeaux remains synonymous with the wine trade: wine shippers have long maintained their headquarters along the banks of the Garonne, while buyers from around the world arrive for the huge biennial Vinexpo show (held in odd-number years).
Lovely Belle-Île-en-Mer is the largest of a small clutch of islands off the coast of Brittany. Just twelve miles long and less than four miles wide, this verdant atoll benefits from a mild climate, which contributes to the abundant flora found here. Fragrant eucalyptus, exotic gingko and mimosa trees, bountiful figs and colorful oleanders are all part of the lush landscape. Secluded, small beaches along coastal paths and quiet roadways are perfect for hiking and biking. Le Palais, the island’s main town, boasts a 16th-century citadel standing guard near the harbor.
Visit Locronan, France’s most picturesque medieval village. Once there, you will have a guided visit and will see the church with its 15th century stained glass depicting the passion of Saint Ronan. At Le Guillou bakery you can taste the traditional Breton butter cake known as “kouign amann” before watching a group of Breton dancers in their traditional costumes, introducing you to Brittany’s rich culture and identity.
Thrust out into the sea and bound to the mainland only by tenuous man-made causeways, romantic St-Malo has built a reputation as a breeding ground for phenomenal sailors. Many were fishermen, but others—most notably Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for Francis I in 1534—were New World explorers. Still others were corsairs, "sea dogs" paid by the French crown to harass the Limeys across the Channel: legendary ones like Robert Surcouf and Duguay-Trouin helped make St-Malo rich through their pillaging, in the process earning it the nickname 'the pirates' city.
Le Havre, founded by King Francis I of France in 1517, is located in Upper Normandy on the north bank of the mouth of the River Seine, which is considered the most frequented waterway in the world. Its port is ranked the second largest in France. The city was originally built on marshland and mudflats that were drained in the 1500s. During WWII most of Le Havre was destroyed by Allied bombing raids. Post war rebuilding of the city followed the development plans of the well-known Belgian architect Auguste Perre.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones, or simply relaxing by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Following breakfast on board, disembark Silver Cloud.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Unique to Silver Cloud, the Photo Studio offers a vibrant, creatively inspiring space where you can not only master the art of digital photography with Masterclasses, but also offers an editing suite where you can print images using state-of-the-art equipment plus a dedicated photo manager.
Ship accommodation; Wi-Fi aboard ship; most onboard meals (La Dame Restaurant excluded); butler service onboard ship; most wines, champagnes and spirits on the ship; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and soda onboard ship; onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees. Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive laundry service throughout the voyage as well as dinner for two in La Dame (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage segment. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at La Dame Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; Internet use not mentioned as included; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises