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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Wow, so many amazing ports. I had the pleasure of seeing the white cliffs of Dover many years ago while taking the hovercraft over to France. Amazing natural phenomenon.
Seeing the White Cliffs of Dover in a hovercraft would be a fun experience. We were so glad the weather cooperated and we got a good view.
You stopped at so many beautiful cities in the western coast of Europe. However, I never heard about Brest, Saintes, and Saint Emilion in France before. I do like the Roman’s ruins in Saintes though. As well as the charm little town of Saint Emilion.
We were so happy we too visited many cities on the coast that we had not heard of before. Great to get a taste test and tease us to return.
Beautiful pictures! While I think I would not enjoy a cruise I can see that it is a very convenient and efficient way to get a feel for a certain area. And then come back later to explore more in depth. I would love to do some Cognac tasting in France and port tasting in Portugal.
We were happy this cruise introduced us to several spots we definitely want to re-visit for a much longer trip.
Looks like a cruise to put on my bucket list! Those Canterbury photos were gorgeous. Did visit St. Malo long ago on my way to Mont St. Michel. A restaurant there had the best mussels I ever tasted. Really appreciated the quality of French cooking after that particular meal.
We definitely want to go back and experience more of the western part of France. But this was a great taste test.
Such beautiful cities and places. I have been only to Lisbon in that entire list. I love those cathedrals, especially Mystical Mont St Michel looks amazing and intriguing. I have not traveled in the Western Europe much, but hopefully will get there someday.
I am glad this post added a few spots for you to visit in Western Europe. This trip definitely added many to our list to return to.
A visit to the Canterbury Cathedral is actually part of my bucket list. I have always admired stained glass windows in churches and this is actually one of the most beautiful ones. Thank you for sharing about your trip.
We were glad to have started with Canterbury Cathedral. Although I must admit it made many of the beautiful churches we saw later in this trip pale just a little.
I was supposed to have been in Ireland last year had it not been for the pandemic, as well as Bordeaux. Two places I really would love to see. Although I’m not a cruise person, I can see the appeal of getting a glimpse of a place and deciding whether you’d like to return for longer.
This cruise sure did give us some interesting stops and a taste test of this part of Europe.
Okay–I’m officially jealous you got to see Mont St. Michel. It’s the one place in France I’ve always wanted to visit in person, but have yet to see it. We went to Dover Castle two years ago and considered taking the tunnel to France, just to say we did. As it turned out, we went to explore a medieval town in England instead. Driving limits you to the number of miles you’re willing to drive each day. By the way, your western Europe cruise sounds amazing. Love that you were able to see so many wonderful ports!
This was indeed a great cruise. So many amazing port calls to tease us to return.
Sounds like you collected some great sights on this cruise. It must have been great to see the White Cliff’s of Dover turned pink by the sunrise from out at sea and I’ve always wanted to see St Michel. And a final stop in Lisbon, what a great place to finish.
It was hard to pick a favourite on this cruise. So many beautiful spots to see.
This sounds like one of the most interesting routes respectively stops I’ve ever heard of. There are so many places I’d be really interested in but haven’t visited yet, hence, this would be checking off a couple of spots on my bucket list. So unique!
This agenda was so intriguing to us that we added this cruise to another we booked before it. And we were so glad we did.
Wow you covered a lot of ground! I love the common thread of Roman history throughout the countries and each nation is so unique. I’m very partial to Spain having done my semester abroad there. I went to France as a kid and this post really reminded me how much I need to go back–same goes for England!
We did love the mix of stops on this cruise. A little bit of everything on our day trips.
I have traveled by ferry to Sweden, Finland, and Denmark but have never been on a cruise. Your cruising along the coast of Western Europe looks fascinating and strengthened my desire to cruise around the globe, starting from Southampton, England.
I hope you do meet your goad of travelling around the world by cruise ship one day.
Wow this looked like this was a great trip! Mont St Michel I think would’ve been my favorite part, it looks absolutely stunning. It seems like the cruise took you to so many different places so you definitely got the most out of the experience!
Our cruise through Western Europe sure gave us some great new spots to see. Mont St Michel was on my travel wish list too. So great to have finally seen it. But so many reasons to head back to this area.
I love Porto! It’s such a gorgeous spot. It looks like your trip was amazing!! I’m envious. Canterbury Cathedral looks especially beautiful with the windows. What a journey filled with lovely locations!
There were so many beautiful stops on this cruise. One to remember for sure.
This looks like such an exciting trip! I would love to be able to stop and explore all these places. I would love to visit the white cliffs and the Dover Castle. I love that you took it slow in Honfleur and experienced it like a local, I think that is the best way to do it sometimes! Taste testing would be amazing at these destinations to!
There were so many interesting and different stops on this cruise. We were happy we did something different in every port.
This looks like such an ideal cruise itinerary. Mont St. Michel and port tasting in Porto are two things high on my travel list. I would also love to see those white cliffs and Canterbury Cathedral.
This was an amazing cruise for great ports. Ticked off a few on our travel wish list too!
I think I actually said wow about 8 times out loud when seeing all your pics of all the ports you got to see during your Western European cruise with Oceania Cruises. I dont really know where to begin but I know just the start at the White Cliffs of Dover & Canterbury would be awesome. I am actually re-reading the Canterbury tales soon!
But then I have to say seeing Mont St Michel, the town of Sainte, and then drinking Cognac in Cognac all sounds pretty bucket list worthy!
I am glad you got to explore Galicia and Porto…I loved those areas when I walked the Camino a few years back. Nothing like recovering from 30 days of walking than sipping Port wine on the Duoro!
We too were quite blown away by the amazing stops on our cruise of Western Europe. So hard to pick a favourite. But most of the ports are places we now want to go back and spend more time. And Porto was already on our favourites list even before this cruise. So much more Port to try!
Wow, what an adventure you got to experience. All the places you stopped in France looked amazing. I too enjoy tours that offer tastings, so the Otard Chateau de Cognac caught my attention. I don’t know much about Congnac, so this would be a very interesting tour for me. I’m so curious to know what made the history so colorful 🙂
The trip in Western Europe was amazing. So many great new spots for us to sample. And so many to return to.
I have never done a cruise before, but this sounds like one I would enjoy. To see the various countries in one trip would be amazing. Also the Canterbury Cathedral IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for sharing.
This was a great cruise to see some interesting sites. Each stop gave us something new and exciting to see. And we too were very happy we got to see the beautiful Canterbury Cathedral.
Wine, cognac! This sounds like the kind of cruise I’d take!
We did love the food and drink spots on this great cruise.
Great post. I live especially Normandy and Brittany. Honfleur is one of my favorite towns there. I got to Mt St Michel back when you could still drive up to it. Another amazing place!
We loved the stops on this cruise. So much variety and fun things to do.
It sounds you have had the amazing experience. From your itinerary my favorītes are Mont St Michel and Bordeaux. Still want to see Bilbao. Thanks for sharing!
Hard to choose a favourite too. But many of these places will be on our list for a return visit.
Wow you covered a lot of territory. And some of my favorite European spots. But somehow I have never seen the Cliffs of Dover or been to Bordeaux. Crazy right? Still high on my list. As always your photos are wonderful.
Thank you so very much ? There was much to photograph on this great trip.
Fabulous cruise with so many great stops. I always love seeing the White Cliffs of Dover, I have seen it many times but can never get bored of it.
You give us a serious case of wanderlust ?
I am currently walking the Camino de Santiago with my husband, thoroughly enjoying it.
Writing about this cruise and the great stops in Western Europe brought back such great memories. We added so many spots to our list of places we need to go back. Wow! Walking the Camino de Santiago. That is on so many people’s travel wish list. Not sure I would be up to that!
Your cruise with Oceania in the Baltic sounded like a great trip. I loved that it went to some of my favourtie places in Europe. I loved the variety of food and wine that you done and I definitely would add cognac tasting in Cognac in La Rochelle.
So many great stops on this cruise. And so many options for great day trips.
Having travelled the terrestrial equivalent of this route in a campervan, it’s fascinating to see it from a different perspective. For example, you were happy to have a break in Bilbao, I was being shouted and screamed at for not being able to get us out of the place! (That was in 1989, and now there is a city bypass to make life easier). You obviously had a great trip.
We would like to go back and enjoy this part of Spain by land one day.