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Discoveries of Coastal Europe

  ​Small Ship Cruise 

Journey Overview

The coast of Western Europe makes for a sweeping journey—soak up the fine food and fantastic art, plus the myriad historical sites, from France’s Mont Saint-Michel, Spain’s Santiago de Compostela, and the French- and British-influenced Channel Islands.

Journey Itinerary

DAY 1Depart USA

Board your independent overnight flight to Portugal.

DAY 2Lisbon, Portugal

Arrive in Lisbon and transfer to the Intercontinental Lisbon. Spend the day at leisure, with dinner

and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 3Lisbon / Embark Sea Adventurer

Tour Lisbon’s architectural highlights, including the Sao Roque Church; the Gothic Jeronimos

Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and St. George’s Castle. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

before embarking the Sea Adventurer in the afternoon.

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DAY 4Porto

Porto’s historic center was awarded World Heritage status for its varied architecture—from Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance to Baroque, neoclassical, and modern. Stroll through the old town and visit the 13th-century cathedral. Sample port in its birthplace at a special tasting.

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DAY 5Mouros, Spain / Santiago de Compostela / La Coruña

Disembark in Mouros and depart overland to Santiago de Compostela, a World Heritage Site with a mélange of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque buildings. The splendid St. James Cathedral is the conclusion of the pilgrimage road that begins in Paris and winds its way through France and across Northern Spain. Continue to La Coruña, Galicia’s commercial center, where you will make stops at the Castle of San Anton and the Tower of Hercules.

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DAY 6At Sea

Lecturers recap your experiences on the Iberian Peninsula and prepare you for what’s to come.

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DAY 7Bordeaux, France

World famous for exquisite wines, Bordeaux also boasts more Monuments Historiques than any French city except Paris. Enjoy a tour of the 18th-century urban area, the largest square in all of Europe, the 16th-century Basilica of Saint-Seurin, and the subterranean church of Saint-Emilion. In the afternoon, sample some local vintages during a winery tour. Or, join a full-day birding tour at La Teich Bird Reserve.

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DAY 8La Rochelle

Known as La Ville Blanche (the White City), La Rochelle’s luminous limestone façades glow in the bright coastal sunlight. Stroll past three 14th-century stone towers and visit the neoclassical cathedral with a magnificent Baroque interior, and make a stop at the Cognac House for a tasting. Or, visit the Poitevin Marsh to search for a variety of waterfowl.

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DAY 9Brest

Brest has a long history as a military harbor and is the port where thousands of American soldiers landed from 1917-18. Take a stroll along the Crozon Peninsula, visit the fascinating Maritime Museum, and explore a botanical garden. Famed for its crepes, learn about the region’s food culture and sample local delicacies.

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DAY 10Guernsey, Channel Islands

An English outpost located off the coast of France, Guernsey is a fascinating mosaic of fishing villages, greenhouses, and fields dotted with the island’s eponymous dairy cows. See remnants of the German occupation during World War II, visit the lovely Candie Gardens, and take a stroll through the photogenic harbor of St. Peter Port, where Victor Hugo lived in exile while he wrote Les Misérables.

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DAY 11Jersey / Sark Island

Visit the wide-ranging Jersey Museum which explains the history, traditions, and culture of the island, and the award-winning Maritime Museum. Nature enthusiasts take a walk through coastal heathland to view the rocky cliffs that are home to puffins, fulmars, shags, and several species of gulls. Return to the ship for lunch and cruise to nearby Sark Island.

​With no cars—only tractors, bikes, and horse-drawn carriages—Sark is leisurely and relaxed. Join a local for a guided tour of the stunning cliffs and peaceful fields. Continue to La Seigneurie Gardens for a tranquil contrast to the windswept wildness of the rugged coast.

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DAY 12Normandy, France / Mont Saint-Michel

Visit Arromanches-les-Bains, the site of a temporary harbor established by the Allies immediately after D-Day, as well as Omaha Beach. View exhibits chronicling the campaign at the D-Day Museum and continue to Sainte-Mere-Eglise to visit the British and American cemeteries. Or visit medieval Mont Saint-Michel, which inspired Henry Adams and influenced the Gothic revival.

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DAY 13Brugge, Belgium

Board local boats for a tour of medieval Brugge, a World Heritage Site known for its Gothic architecture and serene waterways. Those with an interest in World War I history may travel overland to Ypres, the location of heavy fighting throughout the war. Visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, the best museum in Europe dedicated to the Great War.

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DAY 14Texel, West Frisian Islands, Netherlands

Broad white beaches, lush nature reserves, dense forests, and cute villages are the highlights of Texel, the largest of the Wadden Islands. Take a walk along the grass-covered dunes and search for shorebirds, including avocets, shelducks, plovers, gulls, redshanks, and spoonbill terns. Or, visit the Texel Brewery and go trolling for shrimp aboard a local boat.

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DAY 15Amsterdam

Board a local boat for a cruise along historic canals to observe Amsterdam’s lovely architecture, then join a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum, viewing several masterpieces by Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer. Or, head to the countryside for a bike ride among Holland’s iconic windmills, with a stop to sample local cheeses. A third option includes The Hague and Delft.

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DAY 16Amsterdam / Disembark / USA

Disembark this morning and board your independent flight, arriving in the USA the same day.

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Tour Details

Lisbon, Portugal
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Package price is per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement applies. Land, air, and governmental/park taxes are subject to change based on date of departure. International airfare is additional. Other restrictions may apply. Contact us for complete journey details.