Portugal and Spain - The Southern Charm of Algarve and Andalucía
September 27, 2018
We start our voyage in Portugal's colourful capital of Lisbon, with centuries of history and culture chiselled into its grand buildings.
The Essence of Spain
Many would say that Spain's very essence can be found in Andalucía. The sounds and sights and this area echo with a long and colourful history. We explore hill towns and inviting beaches, enjoy memorable meals, discover historic churches and mosques, and take in the passion of the area, from religious fervour to flamenco.
The province of Huelva and Cádiz offers endless, pristine beaches and national parks. The inviting towns with narrow, cobbled streets opening into small squares are perfect for a having a sit down at a café in the sunshine with a glass of local sherry, or simply stopping to enjoy life in one of the inviting plazas.
Rich History and White Villages
Head inland to explore Seville, a city full of soul and fascinating historic sites. Visit the Bodegas of Jerez or see Jerez's graceful horsemen.
You may also explore the iconic pueblos blancos (white villages) of Cádiz. These small, quiet white villages clinging to the hilltops with picturesque narrow streets are a photographer's feast.
We leave the Atlantic Ocean, sail through the Strait of Gibraltar and enter the Mediterranean on our way to our next port call.
The Pleasures of Andalucía
Motril, set on Costa Tropica, enjoys a balmy year-round climate, sunny beaches and proximity to spectacular mountains. There will also be an option here to visit Granada and the Moorish palace of Alhambra.
Malaga maintains its history and authentic feel. Great experiences await inland with a visit to Córdoba with its former mosque, a wonder of the medieval world, or Rhonda, the most famous of the Malaga province's pueblos blancos, perched high atop a cliff.
Gibraltar, our next stop, is a stark contrast to the experiences we have had so far. This is a British enclave, perched on a mighty rock, rife with history and mischievous monkeys.
We leave the Strait of Gibraltar and sail to Portugal´s Algarve Coast and the town of Portimão. Join us as we explore the coastline and stand at the end of the world (that is – before we knew the earth was round).
We end our voyage of southern Spain and Portugal where we began, in lovely Lisbon.
- Explore vibrant, historic and colourful cities
- Discover a lovely coastline of hidden beaches and coves
- Experience the rich culture and heritage of Andalucía
- Visit The Rock of Gibraltar
- Hurtigruten expedition in the cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Wind- and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- International flights
- Travel protection plan
- Luggage handling
- Optional excursions and gratuities
City of Seven Hills - Lisbon, Portugal
As one of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon offers centuries of heritage and charm, and has been influenced by many different cultures over time. It was home to great explorers like Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Take your time to explore this fascinating city before embarkation.
Lisbon's historic districts feel like distinct villages as you stroll the charming streets. Visit the city’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. Lisbon has a network of quaint, old-fashioned trams that lurch and screech around the narrow streets, and no visit is complete without taking a ride on one of these classic, pre-war, Remodelado trams. Discover the many hidden gems of Portugal’s capital at your own pace.
Gastronomy and Natural Beauty - Huelva, Spain
Huelva’s coastline has been dubbed the “Secret Coast” with unspoilt gems for you to discover. Located in the far south-western corner of Andalucía between Cádiz and Portugal, there are loads empty beaches and a huge national park to explore.
We arrive at Huelva, the capital of the province, in the evening to enjoy the so-called “Spanish Capital of Gastronomy”.
Spend the evening sampling some of the wonderful local cuisine. White prawns and Iberian ham are some of the specialties, as well as fine white wines, quality liqueurs, fresh grape juice, and delicate vinegars and olive oils. We will overnight in Huelva.
National Parks and Exploration History - Huelva/Cádiz, Spain
Huelva offers a lovely old town, historical buildings and splendid architecture. For history buffs, this city has close ties to Christopher Columbus' first voyage and discovery of America. Discover the monuments and attractions linked to the famous explorer.
Explore the town, visit the unspoilt nearby beaches at your own pace or join one of the excursions on offer.
One excursion will take you to the Doñana Nature Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. For those interested in avian life, this area is of special interest, as the region is in the migration path of countless birds.
Visit the village of El Rocio after the trip to the reserve, as it is the site of one of Spain largest religious pilgrimages and has a Spanish "wild west" feel to it.
Another option is to join the excursion to Seville, the #1 City You Should Visit in 2018, according to Lonely Planet. Seville offers the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the Alzcázar's palace and garden, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, and much more.
Next, we sail to nearby Cádiz and should arrive around sunset. Enjoy the sight of the city´s beautiful waterfront from the deck as we approach.
Those who have spent the day in Seville will re-join the ship in Cádiz and we will stay overnight in this colourful city.
Fiery Sunsets over White Sand Shores - Cadiz
This lovely port stands on a peninsula jutting into the bay and offers a lovely old quarter and beautiful churches. If the weather permits, we will stroll on the fine golden sand of La Caleta beach. Feel free to explore this charming place on your own or join one of our excursions to explore inland.
The pueblos blancos or white villages of Cadiz are set in a mountain range with a rich architectural heritage and stunning scenery. Among them is the town of Arcos de la Frontera, dramatically positioned atop a rocky limestone ridge.
The vineyards of Jerez are another option for the day, set in lush areas of countryside. Jerez is the capital of Andalusian horse culture and the cradle of Spanish flamenco.
We will leave the city in the late afternoon, sailing through the strait of Gibraltar, leaving the Atlantic Ocean and entering the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy the sunset at sea as we make our way towards our next port call.
Costa Tropical - Motril
Motril's microclimate with plentiful sunshine and average temperatures of 68ºF allows local sugar cane and tropical fruits to thrive here, while its beaches and nearby mountains offer great outdoor activities.
Excursion options include a tour to Granada, a friendly and vibrant city that is full of culture. A visit to its Alhambra, the world’s most spectacular and renowned Arab construction, is an unforgettable experience. Throughout the Middle Ages, for over 700 years, Spain was a predominately Muslim society, leaving a deep artistic legacy.
Another excursion option will take you to the lower reaches of the Sierra Nevada range, known as Las Alpujarras, which are dotted with tiny scenic villages and wonderful trails for day hikes.
We depart from Motril for Malaga, where we will stay overnight and enjoy a full day.
Between the Sea and the Mountain - Malaga
Malaga keeps its historic roots and authentic Andalusian feel intact. It so much to offer; gastronomic delights, great museums, fascinating monuments, and an historic district with charming streets. For a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city, head up to the Girafaro Castle. And the attractive beaches of the area have made it a popular international destination.
Our excursion options take you inland to discover the beauty of the famed white villages of the Serranía de Ronda. Another excursion takes you to follow the path of the kings, hiking Caminito del Rey through dramatic scenery.
You may also enjoy a tour to Córdoba to see the mesmerising Mezquita, one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings, and to take a walk in the UNESCO- listed historic centre.
A Slice of Britain - Gibraltar
You will realize at once that Gibraltar is British territory. Bobbies are on patrol, fish-and-chip shops, pubs, and street signs in English abound. And all this with the stunning backdrop of Gibraltar; The Rock.
You can take the cable car or walk up the steep steps to the top of The Upper Rock Nature Reserve for some fantastic views of the bay. Spain’s Costa del Sol arches eastwards, and across the hazy strait, the shores of Morocco beckon.
You will also encounter wild barbary macaques at the top, whether you like them or not. Keep a safe distance and watch your belongings, as these primates have learned how to unzip backpacks and pockets in search of food.
With its strategic setting, Gibraltar has a long military history and remnants of its martial past are everywhere.
Enjoy exploring this British outpost on your own or join one of our excursion options that feature tours of the Rock and St. Michaels Cave, a spectacular natural grotto full of stalagmites and stalactites.
We depart in the early evening and make our way towards Portimão and the Algarve coast.
Launching Point for Exploration - Portimão, Portugal
In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers set off from this town on epic journeys that led them to discover new places and cultures around the world.
Sited on the broad estuary of the Rio Arade, Portimão has made its living from fishing since pre-Roman times, but today it’s a sprawling modern port of around forty thousand people.
Because of its strategic position, Portimão was constantly under attack by pirates and privateers. During the 15th century, two forts were built to on each side of the estuary to protect it from these attacks.
Explore the streets of Portimão to discover the city’s history and cultural heritage. Take a cruise up the river to the old Moorish town of Silves or join a boat tour to the sea caves. There is no shortage of quality beaches in the region, framed by golden cliffs and small coves sheltered by the rocks.
Portimão’s nature trails invite you for walks, or you can enjoy excursion options such as a tour taking you Europe’s south-westernmost point.
End of the Expedition - Lisbon, Portugal
Our voyage ends where it began, in the lovely Portuguese capital of Lisbon.