A Great Trip Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe
We saw so many great spots cruising along the coast of Western Europe with Oceania Cruises. Our cruise in the Baltic finished with a day in Amsterdam. We stayed onboard and continued west along the coast.
On a quick stop at the White Cliffs of Dover we headed inland for a day trip to Canterbury Cathedral. We then crossed back across the channel and made several stops at great port towns in France. From France we continued to the north coast of Spain. We were excited to return to Porto in Portugal and then we finished this trip with another stay in Lisbon.
So many great stops that required much more time on another visit.
A First Stop At The White Cliffs Of Dover
From our stay in Amsterdam, we sailed west along the north coast of Europe and landed for our first port day at the White Cliffs of Dover. We were charmed when we woke and saw the white cliffs coloured pink by the sunrise. We got a closer look at the cliffs and Dover Castle as we headed out for a day excursion.
Our day trip took us to the charming town of Canterbury and the Canterbury Cathedral. As we walked through town we got our first glimpse of the church over the town and the decorative gates that led to the outside. We strolled through the inside of Canterbury Cathedral and marvelled at the beautiful stained glass windows. Throughout the church we saw many tombs. And the candle to St Thomas Becket. This represented the shrine that stood for 300 years before it was destroyed by Henry VIII.
We started our trip cruising along the coast of Western Europe with two iconic sights – the White Cliffs of Dover and the Canterbury Cathedral.
The Charming French Port Town Of Honfleur
The first port in France was the charming small town of Honfleur. While there were many day trips from Honfleur, we wandered on our own and enjoyed being locals for a day. We checked out the sights on a slow stroll along cobblestone streets.
We found a lovely small restaurant right on the port and enjoyed a slow lunch with wine and a view. It was the perfect way to begin our exploration of France.
On some ports like Honfleur when cruising along the coast of Western Europe, we explored on our own. Some people used this port for a long day trip into Paris. We visited Paris many times so did not need a rushed visit. This was also the port to visit spots along the Normandy coast for key sights critical during WWII. We knew one day we would visit those areas on a longer stay.
A Day Trip To Mystical Mont St Michel
When we found out that the port in St Malo was the closest spot to see mystical Mont St Michel, it was not hard to choose that for our day trip. We enjoyed a scenic trip along the coast before we got that first iconic view of the monastery high on the hill. The tide was out so the hill sat on a broad stretch of sand.
Our tour took us for a walk up through the small town to the monastery at the summit. We had amazing views as we walked. At the top we toured the Mont St Michel monastery and then meandered back down at our own pace.
Mont St Michel was on our travel wish list for a long time. We were so happy we saw this gem cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
Exploring Brest In France
Brest was another France town that we explored on our own. We marked off the key spots we wanted to visit and then headed off on foot. After a very busy tour day from St Malo, we loved the chance to move at our own pace.
We saw many of the local sights in Brest as we wandered around town. We got a good flavour of the maritime flavour of this port town. And we saw an interesting collection of modern art.
We were interested in the variety of small ports we saw in France cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
Experience Cognac Tasting In Cognac Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe
We loved to experience food and drink in the places of origin. We did wine and food tours in Italy and learned that certified products from a region spoiled us forever! So we did not miss a chance for cognac tasting in Cognac on our port stop in La Rochelle.
We visited the Otard Chateau de Cognac for our cognac tasting. Like most historic properties, the chateau had a long and colourful history. On our tour through the chateau we learned much about this interesting history and about the process of distilling fine cognac. Of course, we enjoyed a cognac tasting before we left.
From Cognac we headed to the town of Saintes. On our tour in Saintes, we saw many artifacts that showed that Saints was first occupied by the Romans.
We had a full day when we docked in La Rochelle with a great cognac tasting in Cognac and a short visit to Saintes. This was definitely one of our favourite stops cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
So Much To See Walking In Bordeaux
One of our treats on this trip was overnight stay in port in Bordeaux. There were a great number of day trips from Bordeaux. On the first day, we walked around the beautiful town of Bordeaux. Everywhere we looked, we found more great sites to explore.
When the sun went down, the city sparkled for us! It was wonderful to be docked right in town. We strolled along the quay and enjoyed every minute.
A Day For Wine Tasting In Emilion From Bordeaux
But we did not leave Bordeaux without a day trip to enjoy the great Bordeaux wine region. Our day trip took us to the small town of Saint Emilion. We enjoyed a stroll around this quaint small town.
After our walk, we headed to the Chateau De Ferrand for our Bordeaux wine tour and tasting. Most of the grape harvest was in. But we enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the wine making process. And of course, to sample the red wines from this region.
We had a lovely two days in Bordeaux and saw so much. But this was definitely a spot that required far more time on a return visit. But it was a great taste test cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
A Short Stop In Bilbao Spain
From France we moved to the Northern Coast of Spain. We were docked in Bilbao, Spain for two days. Unfortunately the weather stayed mostly cloudy and rainy. We were glad we did not book any excursions. But when the weather cleared, we headed into town and explored.
The top sight on our list was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. We wandered all around the outside and took in this stunning architectural gem in Bilbao. We did not have enough time to explore the inside and take in the exhibits. But this first taste left us wanting more.
Even with a short day in Bilbao, we enjoyed the sights and we glad for this port stop cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
Exploring In Galicia Spain Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe
From Bilbao we headed west along the coast of Spain and docked next in Ferrol. We visited many areas in the southern Andalusian area of Spain. But this was our first trip to the North. So from Ferrol we headed out on a tour of the Galicia region.
The tour included three very different spots in Galicia – Betanzos, Pazo De Marinan and Pontedume. We saw some common elements about the Galicia region as we toured the great sights along the sea coast.
Fresh local seafood was a perfect end and one of the highlights of Galicia for us. Cruising along the coast of Western Europe provided us with just a small taste test of Northern Spain. Weather cancelled our St Biarritz stop so we lost our booked excursion to San Sebastian. This meant we would definitely return another time to this region.
Port Tasting In Porto Portugal
We spent 4 weeks in Portugal and loved every stop we made. On that first trip, we spent several days in Porto. But we missed the chance for port tasting in Porto. So on this visit, we made up for that.
Our previous visits to Porto meant we knew our way around. We took the metro to the Morro Gardens high above the Douro River. From there we got the classic views of Porto over the Douro River.
The cable car (Teléferico de Gaia) took us down to the river level. There were many port houses in this part of Porto. But we had a great recommendation to try the Graham’s Port Lodge. The climb was worth it for the views from the terrace on a commanding ridge in Vila Nova de Gaia. The port tasting at Graham’s Port Lodge sure spoiled us for great tasting port. It did not hurt that we tasted the expensive port and paired it with cheese and dark chocolate.
Our stop in Porto for Port was a great finish to our tasty cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
A Final Stop In Lisbon Portugal
Our trip cruising along the coast of Western Europe finished in Lisbon. On our previous visit to Portugal, we spent a lot of time in Lisbon and loved every minute. On this visit we headed to the beautiful beach area of Cascais. While we missed a visit to Sintra yet again on this trip, we loved the relaxing vibe we found on the beaches of Cascais.
So Many Great Stops Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe
Once we hit Portugal again, we really never wanted to leave. But we started this trip cruising in the Baltic. When we stayed onboard in Amsterdam, we continued with an amazing trip cruising along the coast of Western Europe.
This trip brought us to many new places that we never visited before. At so many of the spots we stopped we got enough of a taste test to know we wanted to return. But that was the beauty of cruising for us. It always added so many spots for a longer return visit by land!
Have you gone cruising along the coast of Western Europe? Did you have a favourite stop?
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