The Chic Mediterranean
Seek out the Mediterraneans glamorous side
What jumps out about Valencia is the abundance of street art. Murals of all shapes, sizes and styles can be found, particularly around the El Carmen district, transforming many areas into a vibrant open-air art galleryNeil Cron, shore excursion manager.
The western Mediterraneans smaller boutiquey ports await your discovery on this cruise exploring Spains sun-blessed shores and the French Riveras breathtaking Cte dAzur. Contrast Barcelonas lively atmosphere and modernist sights with vibrant Valencia where you can watch a passionate flamenco show or try your hand at paella making. Look forward to sailing beneath Ibizas UNESCO-listed old walls and past the iconic Rock of Gibraltar while an overnight mooring in Palma means you can enjoy the sunset over Majorcas attractive waterfront capital either from on deck or at lofty Bellver Castle.
Go beyond the usual tourist trail on a choice of excursions too: perhaps hike along Malagas amazing Caminito del Rey crossing over a suspension bridge and passing through small tunnels, meet the team behind a popular Spanish liqueur in Cartagena or explore the Ibizan countryside by 4X4 or 2CV! You can also follow in Czannes footsteps in Provence and explore the seafaring history of Ferrol in northern Spain. Plus, quickly get up to speed with modern Spains role in Europe and refresh your Spanish during one of the Spanish-inspired activities on board.
Well known as a gateway to Spains sunny Costa del Sol, Malaga has been busy establishing itself as a capital of cultural. Historic landmarks such as the 11th-century Gibralfaro Castle have been rejuvenated and the new Mile of Art, which features the Museo Picasso Malaga, are just two reasons that make it a place well worth visiting in its own right. Other attractions include the palatial Moorish fortress The Alcazaba, numerous beautiful religious buildings, not least Malaga cathedral, and some lovely gardens, notably La Concepcin Historical Botanic Gardens. You can also join a walk along the eight-kilometre long Caminito del Rey, learning about local flora, wildlife and geology en route.
The Carthaginians, Romans and Byzantines have all played a role in this ancient walled towns long and fascinating history. For fantastic views of the city, perhaps visit the well-preserved Roman theatre which is set on one of the city’s highest hills. Tour this remarkable site with a guide, and visit the museum which displays a wealth of Roman and Moorish artefacts. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour of a local liqueur factory, visit Elche’s ancient palm forest or the Moorish city of Murcia, capital of the province the choice is yours!
Ibiza Town, Ibiza
Famous for its nightlife, Ibizas attractive scenery, which encompasses picturesque coves, high cliffs and scented pine forests, may be something of a surprise. Whilst the night owls rest, seek out these sights on a 4×4 or fun 2CV sightseeing tour, or learn about the healing power of the herbs that thrive on this Balearic isle. Alternatively, stay and explore D’Alt Vila, Ibiza’s old town. Enclosed by medieval walls, you can follow the steep winding streets of this UNESCO-listed quarter uphill to the cathedral for fantastic views of the harbour. A late night mooring means youll be able to appreciate the dazzling nights lights from on board ship or can experience the heady nightlife for yourself.
Set on the south coast of Majorca, Palma is a vibrant city which has nonetheless retained much of its traditional charm and culture. At this former Moorish kasbah you can trace an unusual part of the islands heritage by visiting the once-grand Arab Baths. For something different, why not venture high up into the mountains on a trip to the beautiful town of Valldemossa on a new excursion exclusive to Saga Cruises? Here you can meet some local artists and visit the CollBardolet Foundation, an art centre dedicated to local art and traditions. Afterwards, you can enjoy a delicious coca de patata, a Valldemosan pastry.
St Tropez, France
Since the arrival of the jet set in the 1960s, St Tropez has become the Mediterraneans if not the worlds best-known resort although its humble origins as a fishing town can still be explored in the old town. From its 17th century citadel and famous Place des Lices market, to its designer boutiques and a choice of museums, enjoy exploring its well-heeled streets and experience its elite atmosphere.
Cruise along the Cte dAzur to Toulon, originally a Roman industrial town and now a French naval port. In addition to the lively waterfront with its cafes and bars, there is a lovely old town to discover, which features the city’s impressive cathedral. Alternatively you can follow in post-impressionist painter Czannes footsteps on a tour of Provences inspiring countryside
Experience the vibrant Catalonian capital of Barcelona today. Its churches, monuments, galleries and tapas bars are easily explored on foot or reached by Metro. Enjoy the action of La Rambla, the wide boulevard which leads from the waterfront into the city centre. Explore the enchanting Gothic quarter where tightly-packed buildings crowd narrow lanes. Admire Gaudis modernist creations, from Parc Gell to the famously unfinished La Sagrada Familia. Pop into one of the many tapas bars for an authentic taste of the region and perhaps join us for cocktails at Casa de les Punxes, which often stops passers-by in their tracks with its impressive Modernist facade.
One of the biggest ports on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia has a wealth of historic sights for you to uncover. Key sights can be found in and around Barrio del Carmen, such as the Gothic cathedral, 15th-century silk exchange, La Lonja, Miguelete Tower and modernist Central Market. Of special note is Turia Park, one of Spains largest urban green spaces, which follows the course of a dried up riverbed. While here you can learn how to make Valencias traditional rice dish, paella, during a cooking experience or enjoy an authentic flamenco performance.
Set on the edge of the Mediterranean, the British outpost of Gibraltar offers an intriguing mix of English and Spanish cultures. You can pick up last-minute souvenirs in the duty-free shops of the town centre, delve into St Michael’s Cave to marvel at the expanse of stalagmites and stalactites, or join us at the top of the Rock for a magical piano recital by acclaimed pianist Aaron Monteverde. This evening, to celebrate the eve of All Saints Day, we will be throwing a fun Halloween party on board, minus the trick-or-treaters.
The naval port of Ferrol is well placed for discovering the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela. Its cathedral where St James the Apostle is reportedly interred is the destination for countless pilgrims who have followed the lengthy spiritual route known as the Way of St James. Alternatively, you can join us on a walking tour to follow part of the route on foot.