Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe

Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Dover White Cliffs - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Canterbury Cathedral From Dover.jpg

Canterbury Cathedral From Dover - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Canterbury Cathedral From Dover.jpg

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.

Honfleur France.jpg

Honfleur France - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Honfleur France.jpg

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.

Mont St Michel France - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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 Abbey France.jpg

Mont St Michel View France.jpg

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.

Brest Pont de Recouvrance France - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Brest Castle France.jpg

BrestL Eglise Saint Louis France,jpg

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.

Chateau Otard Cognac Tasting.jpg

Chateau Otard Cognac Tasting - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Chateau Otard Cognac Tasting - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Saintes France Roman Amphitheatre - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Saintes France Roman LArcde Tromphe.jpg

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.

Bordeaux France Statue Girondins.jpg

Bordeaux France Bourse Square - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Bordeaux France Bourse Square,jpg

Bordeaux France Bourse Square - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Saint Emilion France Great Wall Grandes Murailles Monastary - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Saint Emilion France Town Streets.jpg

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.

Saiint Emilion Chateau de Ferrand.jpg

Saiint Emilion Chateau de Ferrand - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Bilbao Spain GetXo Port.jpg

Bilbao Spain Bridge La Salve Zubia - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Bilbao Spain Guggenheim - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Bilbao Spain Guggenheim Maman Spider - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Betanzos Spain Town Plaza Hermanos.jpg

Betanzos Spain Church Iglesia de San Francisco - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Ponte dume Spain Taberna Octopus.jpg

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.

Porto Portugal Bridge View - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Porto Portugal Cable Car.jpg

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.

Porto Portugal Grahams Port Lodge.jpg

Porto Portugal Grahams Port Lodge Tasting - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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.

Lisbon Portugal Cascais Atlantico Outside.jpg

Lisbon Portugal Cascais Estoril - Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

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?

Save For Later – PIN To Pinterest:

Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

Cruising Along The Coast Of Western Europe.jpg

We would love if you could share this!
About TravelAtWill 748 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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 🙂

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.