Our featured sailing this month is the spectacular ‘European Cultural Canvas’ voyage which sails from Amsterdam to Barcelona.
You can indulge in 13-nights onboard the award-winning Crystal Symphony where you will spend overnights in the artistic havens of Lisbon and Honfleur and two nights among Bordeaux’s vineyards at the dawn of the harvest.
Day 1: Amsterdam
Passing bikes, beautiful canals, unique architecture and delicious food – just a part of what makes Amsterdam so distinctive. Whether you’re seeking rich history, or lush greenery in beautiful parks, Amsterdam really does provide the best of both worlds and that is why many travellers grow so fond of this fantastic city.
Recommendation from Becca, Product and Marketing Executive: Walk the canals for some picture-perfect sights, or hop on a canal cruise to get an insight of the city from the water. A must-see is the Anne Frank house which is home to a museum experience retelling her moving story, however it can get very busy so you should try to book tickets in advance!
Day 2/3: Honfleur
Honfleur is a gorgeous little harbour town on Normandy’s coast. It would be very difficult not to fall in love with LeVieux Bassin (Port de Honfleur Normandie), it will welcome you with open arms and many photo opportunities. This beautiful port is surrounded by 17th and 18th century narrow houses and colourful buildings. It may also feel like you have seen this place before– that’s because you probably have, through paintings by world-renowned impressionists Eugène Boudin and Claude Monet to name a few. Stop for a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants situated alongside the port where you can taste authentic French delicacies, and take in the magnificent views. As Honfleur is notorious for inspiring artists worldwide, it only seems right to pop into one of the many art galleries that are scattered around showcasing different eras of spectacular art.
Recommendation from Megan, Trade Sales Support Executive: Crystal provide a complimentary transfer which is a short coach journey taking you from the port to the centre of town in Honfleur. Here you will find the Vieux Bassin (old docks) the perfect place to potter around through the cobbled street, get the perfect snaps of the towns harbour, grab a coffee and people watch or treat yourself to a seafood lunch!
Day 4: Sea day
Day 5/6/7: Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a chic city with a maritime character – home to beautifully preserved architecture from the 18th century which makes a large part of this city a UNESCO world heritage site. Take a stroll around and you will find stunning medieval buildings, winding streets and world-class museums, travellers around the world continue to be impressed by this remarkable city that is often overshadowed by Paris. Pay a visit to an authentic French restaurant to get a taste of the rich, French cuisine and be sure to visit a winery to sample the highly-acclaimed wines that are produced here. There’s so much to do in Bordeaux, but the great thing about this voyage is you have plentiful time to do it all with two overnight stays offering ample time for exploration.
Recommendation from Megan, Trade Sales Support Executive: Docked in the heart of the city down the Garonne River you are well placed to explore all this city has to offer with gorgeous cathedrals and monuments there is a lot of history to see. Be sure to have your camera ready to get a beautiful shot of Place de la Bourse the landmark square where the reflection of the buildings can be seen in a pool of water.
Day 8: Sea day
Day 9/10: Lisbon
Lisbon, a city which boasts heaps of character and uniqueness. If you like to meander through cobbled alleyways, people-watch whilst sitting down at a stunning café patio or become captivated by ancient ruins and white-domed cathedrals, then you will feel right at home here. One of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks is ‘Castelo de São Jorge (St George’s Castle) which holds over 1,000 years of history and offers beautiful 360-degree views across the city, a great place to sit and admire the stunning views as the sun sets.
Recommendation from Natalie, Product Manager: I highly recommend taking a bus tour, or utilising the city tram system when exploring Lisbon as the city is quite hilly and it can be tiring. Make sure you stop off to see the beautiful Lisbon Cathedral, which is the oldest church in the city before taking a rest in the main square, Praça do Commercio, where you can indulge in a coffee and Pastéis de Nata – the delicious little Portuguese custard tarts that you will find everywhere in Lisbon
Day 11: Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British territory, even though it is located at the Southern tip of Spain, and that on its own makes this destination so unique. A must-see when visiting Gibraltar is the famous ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ that you can either visit by walking, or by cable car. You will enjoy some astonishing views once you reach the top and on a clear day, you can even see Africa. It’s also inevitable that you will have some encounters with some cheeky apes on your way up, so be sure to snap some photos (and hide your sunglasses!)
Recommendation from Elaine, Marketing Director: When you think Gibraltar, you think Monkey’s! And it’s certainly worth making the journey up to see them…but be warned, they may run off with your belongings and have been known to use us humans as springboards to get around so best to admire them from a distance even if they do look cute! The World War II tunnels are also well worth a visit – really interesting if you’re into your history and intriguing even if you’re not; just the logistics behind forming the tunnels and how they were used is fascinating. You also go out onto a great viewing platform high up, overlooking the airport so a great one for any plane spotters out there too.
Day 12: Màlaga
Màlaga – a charming city, that offers a fascinating blend of both beauty and history. Spain is known for its tapas, fresh seafood, and top-quality wines and you will definitely find some of the best of each of these here. Artist, Pablo Picasso was also born in this delightful city and therefore, it is highly recommended to visit the Pablo Picasso Museum which houses a large collection of the iconic artist’s original works.
Recommendation from Nan, Representative – Northern Ireland & EIRE: Malaga is a Port City that is very historic. It’s situated in the South of Spain – Costa del Sol, which makes it a year-round destination. Larids Street is the main hub in Màlaga which has lots of shops for travellers to enjoy. The City has a Renaissance Cathedral, and you can also visit the birthplace of Picassio! The scenic beaches and stylish harbours are well worth a visit and you will also find that you have lots to do in the evening in this wonderful city too.
Day 13: Sea day
Day 14: Barcelona
Barcelona is a wonderful city and justifiably one of the most popular cities in Europe to visit, and it’s easy to see why once you have been. This gorgeous city is known for its vibrant food scene, golden beaches, compelling historic sites and spectacular architecture by Antoni Gaudí. Indulge in Spanish food at a family-run tapas bar whilst sipping on Sangria, or visit the well-known and much-loved sites such as Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Park Guell.
Recommendation from Beth, Sales and Marketing Assistant: When I visited Barcelona, I fell in love with Las Ramblas and the best part is that it is only a short walk from the cruise port so it’s easily accessible. Browse through the wonderful local markets that offer famous, local delicacies, or if you don’t want to walk too much there are frequent open-top buses that come to bus stations within close proximity to the port, so you can tour and see even more of the beautiful city whilst relaxing in the sun.
To find out more information on this sailing, click here
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