Portugal, Spain, France - Exploring Hidden Harbors

The coastline of Western Europe offers a fascinating journey through history and culture. Join MS Roald Amundsen on this springtime expedition taking you through twelve different ports of call, across six countries. Starting along the beautiful coast of Portugal, we continue north through Spain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium before ending the adventure in Germany.
14 days


Cruising the Coast of Europe

The coast of Europe offers beautiful scenery, interesting ports and a rich variety of cultural and natural heritage. Explore this diverse coastline at a relaxed pace, waking up in your comfortable cabin every morning knowing that you are in for a new and interesting adventure.

UNESCO Sites and Port Wine

Starting in legendary Lisbon, you should explore the city before embarking MS Roald Amundsen. Then get a taste of the world-famous Port wine in Oporto. Both cities offer UNESCO sites, historical centers that are deeply charming and each creates a unique atmosphere.

Crossing the border, we find golden sandy beaches and gourmet delights at Vigo on Spain's Galician coast, while architectural delights abound at La Coruña.

Bilbao is the main city of the Basque Region with an amazing mixture of architecture - and home to the famous Guggenheim museum.

Then one of France's best-kept secrets is yours to discover: Come ashore on Belle-île, famed for its natural beauty and unique culture that has inspired painters and authors for centuries. Experience the thrill of approaching the fortified city of Saint Malo from the sea.

Honfleur is a remarkably beautiful port town on the banks of the Seine. Ostend in Belgium is a known beach getaway, but offers small town charm and sights as well. Antwerp, the "diamond capital" has several architectural and cultural gems to discover.

City Life

Amsterdam, a city of canals, cafés and culture has a wealth of museums and art galleries: it was once the home of Rembrandt and van Gogh.

Helgoland offers spectacular nature, great birdlife and a very fascinating history.

Hamburg brings us back to city life, offering everything from medieval history to live bands following in the footsteps of the Beatles.

 




Price includes: 

Not included: 

This is an expedition where weather and wind conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

Itinerary

  1. A Legendary City Built on 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 time to explore this fascinating city before embarkation.

    Lisbon's historic districts feel like different 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. 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. 

    A Legendary City Built on Seven Hills - Lisbon, Portugal
  2. The Home of Port Wine - Leixões / Oporto, Portugal

    From Leixões, it is a short yet very interesting trip to one of the last undiscovered European metropolises: Oporto. This ancient port is steeped in history and tradition, but with a modern outlook and bold new architecture. The cultural attractions are so diverse they will please everyone.

    See amazing baroque carvings and churches with spectacular interiors as you walk down the monumental avenue Avenida dos Aliandos and discover the historic center, Ribeira, with colorful houses facing the river and its charming boats. A river cruise in a replica of the old Rabelo boats offers a perfect view over the historic city from the riverside.

    Oporto is also the home of the Port wine, made exclusively in this area. Join a wine tour through the spectacular landscapes of Portugal. Visit one of the old wineries and taste this sweet and fortified red wine before you finish the excursion with a Portuguese meal. If you want a taste of wilderness instead, you can have an adventure in the only national park in Portugal: Gerês.

    The Home of Port Wine  - Leixões / Oporto, Portugal
  3. Tasty Delights in Vigo - Vigo, Spain

    Sailing into the Vigo estuary we pass the beautiful island of Cíes, a National Park.  The beautiful clean water here is well known for its fine seafood including local mussels.  You might like to try some as part of traditional tapas, combined with some octopus á feira, all washed down with albariño, Galicia’s fresh, aromatic white wine.  

    Time to walk off your lunch?  Why not wander through Parque del Castro’s botanical gardens and Roman remains, crowned by a 17th-century fort with panoramic views.  If all that is too energetic, Vigo has a plentiful supply of beaches a short taxi (or boat) ride outside the town.

    Tasty Delights in Vigo - Vigo, Spain
  4. Architectural Emblems - La Coruña, Spain

    La Coruña is a city full of history. Phoenicians, Celts and Romans lived here and use the sheltered harbor at the isthmus in the north west of Spain. You will get a first impression when we pass the 180 feet high Hercules Tower, the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today, on our way into the harbor.

    Take your time for a walk through the historic city and you will be impressed by the relicts from the different people and cultures who gave the city the amazing appearance. The city had its bloom in the 14th and 15th centuries when it functioned as the port for especially English pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

    Today the passengers from cruise liners from all over the world start their excursion to Santiago de Compostela in the harbor of La Coruña. When you are walking through the city you should not miss the very famous Street Avenida Marina. Here you will find the world wide very well-known multi-level traditional Galician buildings with an elegant glass front that became an architectural emblem for La Coruña. 

    Architectural Emblems - La Coruña, Spain
  5. Delights of Design - Bilbao, Spain

    Bilbao is the heart of the Basque Country. The city boasts an unexpected duality, as it has successfully mixed traditional Basque culture with a new vision for the future.  It is sophisticated and humming with action, but at the same time it is super relaxed.

    And it is an absolute must for design and culture lovers: The Guggenheim Museum designed by architect Frank Gehry, a timeless Metro system designed by Sir Norman Foster, a community center designed by Philippe Starck. The list goes on and on.

    On the other hand you have the Casco Viejo, Bilbao’s atmospheric old quarter, full of charming streets, the market and plenty of distinctive, independent shops. At the heart of the Casco are Bilbao’s original seven streets, Las Siete Calles, which date from the 1400's. Explore this wonderful and diverse urban landscape, either on your own or with one of our many excursions. 

    Delights of Design - Bilbao, Spain
  6. The Legendary Bay of Biscay - At Sea

    From Bilbao, on our way to France, we will sail the Bay of Biscay. Due to its legendary reputation, many sailors feared this bay. The area is home to large storms during the winter months and there have been countless ship wrecks reported as a result of the gruesome weather.

    To a large extent this is a result of ships, in the days of square-riggers, being unable to make way to windward, so they were often driven into the Bay by the prevailing westerlies. Some of the fiercest weather conditions of the Atlantic Ocean can still be witnessed in the Biscay Bay, but in late spring and early summer the area is cool and cloudy, with large fog pockets filling the southwestern part of the inlet.

    We will sail far out to sea, out of sight of land. Enjoy the salt air, hopefully catch a glimpse of birds and sea mammals and listen to the peaceful sound of the ocean. During the day, you can participate in the interesting lectures by the expedition team, and maybe you even get to hear about the many famous naval engagements that have taken place here during the centuries.

    The Legendary Bay of Biscay - At Sea
  7. A Well-Kept French Secret - Belle-Île, France

    As its name suggests, Belle-île is one of France’s most beautiful islands. With stunning cliffs, quaint seaside hamlets, pastel colored houses, green countryside and jagged rocky coastlines, Belle-île’s beauty has inspired adventure novelists such as Dumas, as well as impressionist painters like Monet and Matisse.

    The island is a well-kept secret in France, and now it's your turn to discover it!  The town of Le Palais is the "capital" of the island. It is situated around the Bassin de la Saline and is overlooked by the massive Citadelle. From here you can either join several hikes and outings with the Expedition Team, or discover this busting towns many markets, shops and sights independently.

    A Well-Kept French Secret - Belle-Île, France
  8. A Pirates Stronghold - Saint Malo, France

    Approaching the walled city of Saint Malo from the sea is a sight to behold: impenetrable bastions fringed by shallow beaches ring the city.  No wonder that from Roman times onwards it has been held by empires, independents and republics as a strong fort. 

    Take a tour of the château of Saint Malo which today is the town museum, visit the Privateers House built in 1725 where you can learn about the pirate heritage of the town.  If the weather is fine then why not have a restful time on one of the towns’ beaches.   At a waterfront café, try the oysters from the Emerald coast (just the west of the town) or sample the local cider.

    A Pirates Stronghold - Saint Malo, France
  9. The Most Picturesque Harbor? - Honfleur, France

    If a prize were to be offered for “the most picturesque harbor”, then Honfluer in Normandy would certainly be in the final.  Indeed, Claude Monet thought so as he spent time here painting the distinctive tall and thin slate-fronted houses. Honfleur is located at the mouth of the Seine river.  

    Venture ashore and wander through the cobbled streets of this medieval town. Discover the largest wooden church in France, dedicated to Saint Catherine. Take a moment to sample some local Calvados brandy produced with apples.

    The Most Picturesque Harbor? - Honfleur, France
  10. So much more than a beach destination - Ostend, Belgium

    Ostend has a six mile long white sand beach and is a popular beach destination for locals, but the city offers so much more. The seafront is Ostend’s principal tourist attraction. But as an adventurer, you might enjoy a visit to the small and bustling fish market.

    Take a walking tour in the Footsteps of Marvin Gaye, the American singer who spent time here. Have your own personal moment of Zen in the beautiful Japanese Garden, called Shin Kai Tei. Visit the deceptively large Ostende Art Museum, with corridors snaking in all directions. Wander through the subterranean fortifications in the best-preserved sections of the infamous German Atlantikwall.

    Stand in line to get a large steaming pot of delicious mussels and fries (moules frites), and later, for dessert, have a waffle or some of the famous Belgian chocolate. Or join in on a trip to Bruges and see the historical center that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Ostend it is possible to visit the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.

    So much more than a beach destination - Ostend, Belgium
  11. Diamonds (and Antwerp) are forever - Antwerp, Belgium

    In the 16th century Antwerp was one the most important financial centers of the world and home to baroque superstar painter Rubens. Today it is Belgium's capital of cool with astonishing architectural and cultural contrasts, and a vibrant fashion and entertainment scene. Antwerp is also the world's leading diamond city, as more than 70% of all diamonds are traded here. Join our city tour to get an overview of the fascinating past and present, before you set out to explore the cobbled lanes, quaint architecture, museums, shops and cafés in the intriguing medieval heart of this Flemish city.

    Diamonds (and Antwerp) are forever - Antwerp, Belgium
  12. Laid-back Amsterdam - Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Amsterdam which is the capital of the Netherlands even though the Dutch government is seated in The Hague. Amsterdam developed from a small fishing village in the 13th century to one of the most charming and culturally important cities of the world.

    The city became a very famous worldwide trading center with important connections to the Hanseatic League in the 17th century, Amsterdam's so called "Golden Age". Patrician houses in the city and the Amsterdam Canal District, both international symbols for an impressive urban planning and architecture, are also to date back to the “Golden Age” and belong today to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    The city is well-known for its outstanding museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt House or the van Gogh Museum. 

    Laid-back Amsterdam - Amsterdam, Netherlands
  13. Small Islands with Big History - Helgoland, Germany

    Germany’s only high sea archipelago consists of two small islands called Helgoland and the Dune. Helgoland is famous for its unique scenery and diverse wildlife. Germany’s smallest nature reserve, Lummenfelsen, consists of one single rock – essentially a huge bird condo, densely occupied by the thousands of sea birds that nest here.

    Helgoland also has an intriguing history: Originally, it was founded by Frisians, then became a pirate base in the Middle Ages. Afterwards, it was claimed by the Danes, only to be conquered by the British some years later. Then the British swapped the islands with the Germans for Zanzibar. During WWII attempts were made to wipe the entire island of the map for good. It's safe to say that Helgoland is rich with exciting history. Come ashore to explore this fascinating narrow island! 

    Small Islands with Big History - Helgoland, Germany
  14. A Farewell in Hamburg - Hamburg, Germany

    The "free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg" to give its official title is a fascinating finale to our voyage. Hamburg has more miles of the canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined, including the UNESCO listed Speicherstadt district with ancient warehouses, now housing a variety of museums, attractions and restaurants.

    Although the Reeperbahn is known for things other than the fact that the Beatles played there in the 1960s, it is still today an exciting live music area, with many bars and clubs open to the small hours. Whatever your taste, take some time to sample Hamburg before you head home.

    A Farewell in Hamburg - Hamburg, Germany

Contact our travel experts for more details

More Cruise Options

Travel in harmony with the elements to the White Continent. En route, you will experience the wild natural wonders of...

This voyage of rich culture and history calls on colorful towns and sails spectacular coastlines. We visit 10 ports of...

This epic voyage circumnavigates the large island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. Explore glaciers, mountains and fjords in the west, and...

This expedition takes you to the most intriguing spots along the South American coast and to Antarctica. Visit one of...

Our journey begins in beautiful Costa Rica and the pristine beaches at Bocos del Toro before transiting the amazing Panama...

Norway is renowned for its Christmas traditions, steeped in the origins of countless legends of trolls and yuletide tales and...

Join us for an expedition cruise from exciting New York to the tropical paradises of the Caribbean and Central America....

Exciting adventures await! Sail with us on our next generation explorer ship, MS Roald Amundsen, and experience the perfect meld...

Hurtigruten