Coastal Treasures of Spain, Portugal & France - 2017

Málaga • Seville • Portimão • Lisbon • Porto • Vigo • Ferrol • Gijón • Bilbao • St. Sebastian • La Rochelle • Concarneau • St. Pol de Léon • St. Malo • Poole
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Western Europe is a region of erstwhile empires and enlightened minds, of sweeping landscapes and storybook castles. It is a place that created visionary explorers, new philosophies, and grand monuments. Some of the greatest achievements in world history sprung from this collection of countries on the western edge of the continent. On this expansive exploration, you’ll experience the beauty, captivating history, and distinctive cultures of coastal Portugal, Spain, France, and England.

This comprehensive journey offers a startling variety of experiences, including visits to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Explore ornate Moorish palaces and towering medieval fortresses. See where the Age of Discovery began and where the legendary pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela ends. Discover grand cathedrals and the world’s most famous abbey. Admire the changing landscapes as you venture from Spain’s Costa del Sol and Portugal’s Algarve to France’s seaside jewels and Britain’s craggy coast.

Discover Europe’s western coast on this expansive and illuminating journey.

Malaga to Poole

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart home / Overnight flight / Malaga, Spain

If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy a short walk introducing you to the area, you’ll sit down for a Welcome Dinner at the hotel.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Malaga / Embark Ship

You’ll begin by discovering Spain’s Andalusia region—land of flamenco, bulls, and an exuberant personality—starting with Malaga. Though famous as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga’s treasures go far behind the ones found in the museum named for the painter (which you can visit on the pre-trip extension). You’ll enjoy a tour of the city, taking in the history and architecture that ranges from a Roman theater to a Moorish fortress. In the afternoon, embark the M/Y Variety Voyager and set off along the glittering Costa del Sol. This stretch of coastline is renowned for its beaches, but it’s also filled with history—the region was once occupied by empires ranging from the Greeks and Romans to the Vandals and the Visigoths. We’ll see remnants of this mottled past as we venture further along the coast.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 4:

Cadiz / Seville, Spain

Savor breakfast on the ship before arriving in Cadiz, considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. You’ll disembark and continue on to Andalusia’s capital and one of its true gems: Seville. A passionate city with a style all its own, Seville’s ebullient personality is evident everywhere from its vibrant, café-dotted cobblestone streets to the towering Seville Cathedral, one of the largest churches in the world. On an included tour, you’ll get a sense for the history, spirit, and grandeur of this town, including a visit to the Archiva de Indias – home to the archives of the Spanish Empire — and the fabled Alcazar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and striking example of Moorish architecture. Lunch will further introduce you to the culture, as you enjoy regional fare as well as a riveting flamenco performance.

Explore more of this cultural capital during your afternoon at leisure, before returning to the ship for dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Portimão, Portugal

Today, we arrive in Portugal. Though slightly smaller than the state of Indiana, this country’s empire once stretched from India to Brazil, and its proud culture endures in places all over the globe. This city at the heart of Portugal’s sun-drenched Algarve is renowned for its seafaring history, and you’ll get a glimpse of what life was like here over the centuries on an included walking tour. Discover the town’s charming squares, as well as its impressive Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Conceição, (which was one of the few buildings to survive the 1755 earthquake) as you get to know this fishing town. You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to wander through Portimão and soak in the maritime culture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6:

Lisbon, Portugal

The Age of Discoveries launched in Lisbon, so it’s fitting that you start off Day 4 with a spate of discoveries. On an included panoramic tour of the Portuguese capital, you’ll drive past the city’s famed monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Belém Tower and Monastery of Jerónimos. The latter is inextricably tied to the country’s explorers, and it is said that Vasco de Gama spent his last night here before sailing for the Far East (his tomb is in the monastery). You’ll enjoy an included entrance to this famed site as part of your tour, which culminates in a stop at the towering Monument of Discoveries: a massive white-stone tribute to the great explorers of the past. Cultural Connection: While on your tour, sample pasteis de Belém, Portugal’s favorite treat.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Porto, Portugal

Today, you’ll transfer to Porto, known as the “Unvanquished City” because it was never overtaken by the Romans or Moors. In the 15th century, it is said that the people of Porto gave all their meat to a military fleet leaving for battle—leaving themselves with nothing but offal (tripas). Considering the sacrifice an ancestral badge of honor, the people of Porto still proudly call themselves tripeiros.

Experience this unique culture as you enjoy a panoramic drive through Portugal’s second largest city, which will include the most intriguing sights in town as well as a visit to a local market. One can’t visit Porto without enjoying its eponymous wine, of course, so you’ll also stop by a picturesque port wine estate for a taste of the city’s signature beverage. You’ll also stop by one of the top bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello, where you can peruse the shelves and admire the décor of this one-of-a-kind gem. Your afternoon is at leisure to delve deeper into Porto’s charms.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Vigo / Santiago de Compostela

Arrive in the historic port of Vigo, before traveling inland to one of the most sacred places in the world for Christian pilgrims: Santiago de Compostela. It was believed that St. James was buried here in the first century, but the location was forgotten over the centuries. Then, a 9th century hermit saw a shining light over a spot in a wooded field, and an investigation of the spot revealed what was believed to be the lost tomb of St. James. A church was constructed, and it quickly became one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations of medieval times. It remains so today, with more than 200,000 people walking the nearly 500-mile path (called The Way of St. James). You’ll get a chance to see both the church and the route that millions have taken to get there.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Ferrol, Spain

After another overnight sail, continue your exploration of the Spanish coast as you venture to Ferrol, a city named for the lighthouse that once graced its harbor. Though that lighthouse no longer stands, the nearby Tower of Hercules — the world’s oldest working lighthouse — stands much as it has since it was built in the first century. We’ll take in breathtaking vistas of the sea and the tower from a clifftop overlook. You’ll also get to know the local character of this port town from which many ships in the Spanish Armada set sail, whether you’re discovering the battlements of Castle of San Antón or seeing what modern life is like in Plaza Maria Pita. The afternoon is yours to explore.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Gijon, Spain

Next, travel to Gijon, a city of beautiful beaches and a rich history situated on the shimmering Bay of Biscay. You’ll continue discovering this part of Spain by visiting Oviedo, the cosmopolitan capital of the region and home to some impressive churches including Cathedral de San Salvador, which is where the original Way of St. James began. In the 9th century, the saying went: “Who goes to Santiago but not to Salvador, visits the servant but not the Lord.” You’ll have the afternoon at leisure to soak in the Old World beauty of the town, before returning to the ship for dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:


This morning we arrive in the buzzing hub of the Basque region: Bilbao. A walking tour will introduce you to some charming parts of this city, including the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood and the Plaza Nueva. In the afternoon, however, you’ll visit the city’s biggest attraction: the world-famous Guggenheim Museum. The crowning achievement of architect Frank Gehry’s illustrious career, the Guggenheim is a work of art in and of itself. Outside, you’ll marvel at the building’s improbably fluid lines, and inside you’ll get a guided tour of its wonderful collection of art.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12:

San Sebastian, Spain

Discover San Sebastian today, one of Spain’s most charming towns. Our morning city tour includes the Parte Vieja (Old Town), the twin-towered Santa Maria Church and Good Shepherd Cathedral, but merely strolling the streets of this coastal gem — or watching the waves break over La Concha beach — is a pleasure all its own. You’ll enjoy lunch on the ship before setting sail again in the afternoon. Cruising in the daylight provides the opportunity to savor the beauty of the Basque coastline, enjoy the sea breeze on deck, and get excited for your next destination: coastal France.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 13:

La Rochelle, France

Arrive in La Rochelle, a luminous jewel on the French coast, adding yet another distinctive culture to what you’ve experienced on this journey. Known as the “White City” for the gleaming facades of its buildings, this picturesque town has a fascinating history — from its time as a base for the Knights Templar to its place as a hub for German U-boats in World War II. You’ll set off on a walking tour of this city, taking in all the impressive sights from Vieux Port (Old Harbor) and hearing what life was like during these separate eras in history.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14:

Concarneau, France

We’ll spend some time getting to know this quaint Brittany town known for its fishing trade. Ville Close, the Old Town, is set off on a rocky island just off shore, and is only reachable by drawbridge. You’ll discover this part of town — which dates to the 15th century and is filled with half-timbered houses and charming squares — on a walking tour. Yet the most interesting part of our time on shore may be learning about an oft-ignored underwater plant: seaweed. During a lecture here, we’ll learn about the many uses of seaweed and how it is harvested. You’ll also have some time to relax and enjoy the culture here, perhaps chatting with locals to learn more about the culture here.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 15:

St. Pol de Leon, France

Another day brings you to yet another jewel of the Atlantic coast of France. Get a glimpse of small-town France as St. Pol de Leon, a seaside enclave filled with Renaissance-era houses and an impressive Gothic cathedral. As we wander around town on the included walking tour, view the 13th-century cathedral as well as the striking Notre-Dame du Kreisker Chapel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 16:

St. Malo, France

You’ll be transported back to medieval times when you arrive in St. Malo, our next stop. This walled city has a strong seafaring history and was home to Jacques Cartier, the first European man to discover Canada. Inside the walls, the streets are brimming with cafes and restaurants — the modern mixing with the medieval.

While you’re here, you’ll get a chance to see a true gem of France: Mont Saint-Michel. The image of Mont Saint-Michel is iconic: a hulking granite island surrounded by stone walls, a thin spire crowning its medieval Benedictine abbey. We’ll visit this legendary site, learning about its history and wandering through the tangle of lanes within the walls.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 17:

Poole, United Kingdom / Disembark / London

Arriving in Poole, we disembark and travel to London. One of the world’s great capitals, this city is teeming with history and culture, and you’ll get a chance to experience the best of it on a half-day panoramic driving tour. You’ll see some of the sights for which this legendary city is most well known: Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster, and Westminster Abbey, the legendary church where Britain’s monarchs are crowned. The abbey is also home to scores of tombs, including those of Charles Dickens, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Rudyard Kipling. A Farewell Dinner at the hotel gives us an opportunity to share stores with fellow travelers over an excellent meal.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 18:

London / Return home

This morning you’ll be transferred to the airport for your return flight home if you purchased your airfare through Vantage. Or, opt to enrich your journey with our optional post-trip extension in London.

Included Meals:


Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or regional expert.

Please Note: Port-of-call orientation walking tours are subject to change based on port time and weather conditions

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Coastal Treasures of Spain, Portugal & France - 2017

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Vantage Deluxe World Travel Viking Ocean Cruise Vantage Advantage
Journey Coastal Treasures of Spain, Portugal & France Passage Through Western Europe
Cruise-Only Prices* $0 $4899 Smaller, more intimate and luxuirous vesel, less mass-market; not offered by competitors in best season.
Trip Length 0 days 15 days A much better experience for visiting the destinations — more excursions and more ports of call.
Per Diem $0 per day $326 A better value for the experience
Cabin sizes From 170 to 216 square feet. 270 sq ft More choices of cabin provide a range of great value accommodations.
Included Tours and Special Features Visit up to 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Westminster Abbey, Mont Saint-Michel, and the Monastery of Jerónimos 16 included sightseeing tours plus 2 Cultural Connections: Pastry tasting of pasteis de Belem in Portugal Lecture on seaweed gathering and its uses 15-day cruise visiting 5 countries & 10 ports with a private veranda stateroom Guided excursion in each port of call Culture Curriculum: Become immersed in your destinations through lectures on or performances of music, art, cooking, dance and history Many more ports of call than VIking! 14 stops to scenic ports not visited my most cruise lines.
Meals 46 meals: 16 breakfasts, 14 lunches, and 16 dinners 42 meals: 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches, and 14 dinners THE MOST MEALS!
Single Travelers Single Supplement up to $5,999; available in Cat A & B only. No Single supplements in lower cabins. Best value in single pricing.
Extend Your Trip 3-days London, United Kingdom, $599 $200 per day 3-days Malaga POST, $499 $166 per day 3-days Malaga PRE, $0 $0 per day Oslo/Bergen (FROM $849 PER PERSON) and Barcelona (FROM $599 PER PERSON) Even more chances to get the best value for your airfare.
Ship Accommodations Variety Voyager was launched in 2012. This sleek high-tech looking yacht complies with the most stringent SOLAS safety regulations. The 68m Variety Voyager accommodates up to 72 guests in 36 cabins. 28 cabins are located at the Marina and Riviera Decks and 8 staterooms at the Horizons Deck. Cabins at the Marina deck feature two oversized portholes and cabins at the Riviera and Horizons deck feature large windows. All cabins have all the amenities of a luxury ship. Bathrooms are finished with warm marble and Corian materials. Viking Ocean Cruises' Viking Sky, the third ship in the fleet, will set sail in March 2017. Holding 930 passengers, the 47,800-ton, 930-passenger Viking Sky joins near-identical fleetmates Viking Star and Viking Sea. Delivery of Viking Sky, one of the new vessels from Viking Ocean Cruises, has been rescheduled from June 2016 to February 2017. "We are disappointed in this change to our 2016 schedule, and we truly regret any inconvenience that this may cause our guests," a spokesman for the line said. More intimate, sleek yacht with ability to remote ports of call. Best value in deluxe small-ship ocean cruising.
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*Prices are subject to change & based on comparable March or November departure dates
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