From Oporto’s local Port Houses to the chocolate makers of Bayonne, this voyage is sure to satisfy your appetite for the cuisine and culture of the upper Iberian coast. Explore the splendor of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, tour a Galician mansion, meander through the local villages of A Coruña and Bilbao, and hike the beautiful Basque coastline. Visit Hercules Tower and the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum; thrill to the melodies of the gaitas and trikitixas; and savor a Basque-style dinner in San Sebastian. Compare and contrast French and Spanish Basque cultures, and learn about the Celtic influence on the region as well.
• Spend a day discovering Galicia, collecting mussels with local fishermen, listening to traditional music, and visiting a splendid Galician estate
• Discover an array of iconic architectural masterpieces—from the Roman Tower of Hercules in A Coruña to the billowing metal sheets of Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
• Visit a port house in Oporto to sample world-renowned port wines
• Experience Basque country from two angles, visiting French markets and villages and enjoying Spanish Basque music and cuisine in San Sebastian
Arrive in Lisbon, and embark National Geographic Orion. After lunch, relax on the ship or explore on shore. Then be on deck as we navigate the Tagus River at sunset, drinks in hand. (L,D).
Arrive in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Oporto in the late morning. The birthplace of port wine, Oporto straddles a gorge on the Douro River, linked by numerous bridges and filled with medieval architecture. See the famous azulejo tiles of the region and take in the views from the iron masterpiece Ponte Dom Luis. Later, learn the secrets of port-making during a tasting at a riverside port house. (B,L,D)
Explore with a range of transport modes: vintage tram or auto, tuk-tuk, or on foot.
Anchor in Villagarcía de Arousa and drive to Santiago de Compostela. Visit the cathedral that has welcomed millions of pilgrims over the centuries, and enjoy a tapas lunch and vibrant musical performance at the adjacent Hostal de los Reyes Católicos. Alternatively, you may visit a historic mansion with impressive gardens followed by a wine tasting. (B,L,D)
Immerse yourself in the culture. Choose to join fishermen along an estuary as they collect mussels, which our Orion chef will season and prepare. Or, walk in the steps of the pilgrims’ path to the magnificent cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Cruise into A Coruña, passing the impressive Tower of Hercules in the morning light. Pay a visit to the tower, the only working Roman lighthouse in the world, visit the local market, and learn about the architectural phenomenon that earned the town the nickname “The Glass City.” Take a late morning stroll or a bicycle ride around the area’s picturesque coastal villages before we sail east. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Bilbao after lunch. Explore the titanium curves of the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, learn how it has transformed the city, and have a guided tour of the interior in small groups. Afterwards, wander through Bilbao’s old quarter, or attend a pintxos cooking lesson in a local cottage. (B,L,D)
Explore both the French and Spanish Basque cultures today. In the village of Saint Jean-de-Luz, get an introduction to French Basque culture and cuisine, followed by a journey to the French Basque countryside for a wine and tapas tasting. The second half of the day will be dedicated to exploring Spain’s Basque capital of San Sebastian, where you'll discover the connection to the Celts. (B,L,D)
Cider houses rule in Basque Spain, and we’ve planned a special Basque dinner and cultural event in San Sebastian. Grab a glass and do as the locals do, sit at the long farm tables and sidle up to the barrel tap for a cider refill. Our musicologist has arranged for a private performance by famous Basque musician Kepa Junkera.
Take a walk through the picturesque old port town of Bayonne and learn about the rich chocolate industry for which this area is so well known. On an excursion to the former imperial retreat of Biarritz, stroll along the coast to the Rock of the Virgin, once used by Napoleon III as an anchoring point. (B,L,D)
Chocolate lovers may attend a demonstration at a small, private French chocolate house.
After breakfast the next morning, disembark in Bordeaux and transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. (B)
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
These cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These roomy cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419 These suites have a comfortable sofa in the sitting area with a large window and plenty of storage. They have a variety of bed configurations (call for details) plus a writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
Cat 4 Deluxe suite with Window #511, 515 - These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a two-seater sofa that looks out a large rectangular window. Beds are configurable. You'll find storage, climate controls, reading lamps, a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 5 Suite with Balcony #501, 503-506, 508 - These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors that open to a private French balcony. Beds are configurable, and you'll find sitting chairs or a couch, a writing desk, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512 - This solo suite features two beds and a large window, plus a bucket chair and small table, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 6 Owner’s suite with Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510 - These large, owner's suites feature a balcony (Cabin 509 does not have a balcony), a spacious bathroom with a large shower and separate soaking tub with a window, and a large separate living area with a couch and two bucket chairs, plus climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
National Geographic Orion
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 103 metres
Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins)
Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration.
National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.
Save 10% on 2 or More Voyages aboard NG Orion
Fall in love with Europe all over again, or for the first time, on one- or two-week voyages aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, the most intimate luxury ship in Europe.
Aboard National Geographic Orion.
Book two or more Europe voyages aboard National Geographic Orion and take 10% off each voyage. Savings is applicable to back-to-back or non-consecutive voyages. This savings is available on voyage fare only, and is not valid on airfares or extensions. Please contact us for more details.
Free Bar Tab and Crew Tips Included aboard NG Orion and NG Explorer
Aboard National Geographic Orion & National Geographic Explorer.
Beginning in Apr. 2017, we will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Explorer and
National Geographic Orion voyages. Promotion subject to availability, contact us for further details.