In the Footsteps of St James
|Resort:||Spirit of Discovery|
Celebrate Easter in northern Spain
Embark on an exploration of Green Spain, beginning in the beautiful region of Galicia. Dont miss the opportunity to visit UNESCO-listed Santiago de Compostela from La Corua where you will stay overnight on Easter Sunday. Its magnificent cathedral is said to house the remains of Spains patron saint, James the Apostle, and it marks the ultimate destination for the thousands of pilgrims who cross northern Spain on foot every year to reach it. You can learn more on board with talks from an expert speaker on this famous religious tradition. In Asturias, venture into the wild and rugged Picos de Europa mountains from Gijon to admire remote glacial lakes and the mountain village of Covadonga. By contrast, the historic shipbuilding port of Bilbao offers fine art within the mirrored Guggenheim Museum, tasty tapas-like morsels known as pintxos in its atmospheric bars and a rejuvenated old town thats well worth exploring. Step ashore in France when you visit La Rochelle a playground for yachting enthusiasts and from where you can enjoy a special cognac tasting session at the world-famous House of Hennessey. Last, but by no means least, is endearing St Peter Port in Guernsey where you can experience a unique mix of French and British culture.
La Corua (for Santiago de Compostela), Spain
Reach Spanish landfall on Easter Sunday and enjoy getting to know La Corua, an historic port which prospered under the Romans and prides itself on defeating the advances of Sir Frances Drake in 1589. The charming old town is packed within the confines of a narrow peninsula. An overnight mooring gives you ample time to enjoy the towns attractions, including Riazor Beach, the perfect spot for an evening stroll, and the Calle Estrella, the place to sample tapas made from the regions finest meat and seafood. From here you can experience the thrill of Ferrols elaborate Easter processions. Alternatively, take the opportunity to visit the holy city of Santiago de Compostela, famous for its magnificent cathedral which houses the remains of St James and marks the end of the pilgrimage route, the Way of St James. What you may not know though is that many of its Easter processions are held after nightfall!
Cruise along the top of northern Spain to reach Gijon, the largest city in the lush region of Asturias. Its historic core, Cimadevilla, is centred on a headland where you can stroll beneath the colonnaded arcades of Plaza Major and admire the quaint old fishermens quarters. This city can trace its origins to Roman times and its still possible to visit the ancient baths in the Campo Valdes quarter. Alternatively, you are well placed for exploring the natural beauty of Green Spain. An exciting new excursion visits the glacial lakes of Lagos Enrol and Lagos Ercina which arenestled deep within the heart of the Picos de Europa Mountains and the charming mountain town of Covadonga where you can see the pink-hued twin spires of Basilica of Santa Maria la Ral.
Enjoy the views as you cruise to Bilbao which straddles the River Nervin in Spains Basque country. This former 19th-century centre for shipbuilding and manufacture underwent a massive transformation following the opening of Frank Gehrys Guggenheim Museum in 1997. It houses an impressive collection of modern art, which includes pieces from the Guggenheim in New York along with local acquisitions for you to appreciate. Explore the surrounding art district and Bilbaos old town which branches out from the Plaza Nueva and attracts food lovers keen to sample tapas-style morsels served up in its atmospheric pintxos bars.
La Pallice (for La Rochelle), France
Call at the White City of La Rochelle, so known for its lustrous limestone buildings which attest to its 14th to 17th-century heyday as a significant seaport. Its now a popular destination for yachtsmen and its marina is packed with sailing boats. The medieval streets bustle with life and in historic Vieux Port you can see impressive 14th-century stone towers surrounding the city’s medieval core. While here perhaps visit the floating Maritime Museum or admire colourful marine life at the popular aquarium. Alternatively, connoisseurs of fine cognac will be delighted by the chance to visit the world-famous house of Hennessy in Cognac. Here you can look forward to a tour of the cellars and a tasting session.
St Peter Port , Guernsey
Cruise to the Channel Islands where you can explore the beautiful capital of Guernsey, St Peter Port. It has a lovely collection of wooden-fronted shops and boutiques to peruse. Highlights include the town church, which was completed in 1466, and hilltop Candie Gardens which offer excellent coastal views. Alternatively, take your pick from one of the waterfront cafes where you can relax and admire pleasure craft bobbing on the water.