Spain lures travellers from across the world with its promise of authenticity, charisma, and memorable moments. Spain’s culture is a celebration of the finer things in life, an expression of spirit, heritage and fun: gothic cathedrals, colourful fiestas, delectable cuisine, age-defining art, music, dance, sport and so much more. Scratch the surface of this lovely country and you’ll find fiercely independent regions, colourful dialects and diverse landscape. Get ready to explore everywhere from Barcelona, with its World Heritage Sites and award-winning restaurants, to La Coruna, tucked away on the Iberian peninsula, via Seville, where you arrive by Guadalquivir river, and cruise right into the heart of the city.
Bilbao. Whether it’s the flow of its boundary pushing architecture, delights of its finger food tapas, or sweeps of gorgeous shoreline nearby, Bilbao is a city that places a premium on aesthetics. The relentless drive to all things beautiful may be a reaction to the city’s industrial past, but it has led this Basque city to emerge as a new beacon of artistry. American architect Frank Gehry’s masterpiece of flowing metal is the shining standout here, a perfect harmony of smooth titanium and glass, and a thrilling piece in itself.
La Coruna. Revolving around its golden urban beaches, La Coruna is a bustling, historic city, which luxuriates along the twisted Galician coastline. One of Spain’s most undiscovered, under-the-radar destinations, La Coruna boasts juicy seafood and unbridled relaxation beside the Mediterranean's rustling waves, and is set amid a surprisingly lush and vibrant green landscape. A pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella’s cultural wonders is also easily within your reach from these shores.
Malaga. Bathing in the sunshine coast’s stunning subtropical climate, and laying out endless spectacular beaches, it’s no surprise that Malaga is one of Spain’s most popular cities. The already impressive cultural appeal of this holiday city has skyrocketed over recent years, and with a storied old town and Moorish fortifications, Malaga has a lot to offer. Nearby, you can recline on the renowned beaches of the Costa del Sol, or venture inland to discover the Moorish treasures of Granada and Cordoba.
Cadiz. More than a hundred watchtowers gaze out across the waves surrounding this ancient Andalusian city. Sprinkled with evocative cobbled side streets, you’ll explore 3,000 years’ worth of history, while stumbling across palm-tree lined plazas of shaded coffee sippers. Cadiz claims the mantle of Western Europe’s oldest city, and every piece of architecture - and every wrong turn - offers a chance to discover fascinating new tales. Founded by the Phoenicians in 1100BC, Christopher Columbus used the city as a base for his exploratory, map-defining voyages of 1493 and 1502.
Barcelona. The infinite variety of street life, the nooks and crannies of the medieval Barri Gòtic, the ceramic tile and stained glass of Art Nouveau facades, the art and music, the throb of street life, the food (ah, the food!)—one way or another, Barcelona will find a way to get your full attention. The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafés and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches.
With glorious year-round weather, century-old cities, miles of stunning coastline and yes, fantastic wine, if Portugal is not on your destination bucket list, then it should be. Swashbuckling and romantic, Portugal is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: medieval castles, rocky hills and green meadows are all the norm - although we cannot guarantee any damsels in distress or knights in shining armour! Adding a further touch of mystique is the Douro River Valley, so lovely that many locals consider it enchanted as well as enchanting. Wander the lovely vineyards, sample the country’s eponymous wine and admire the stupendous scenery that warrants its UNESCO World Heritage status. Bookended by Roman, Visigoth and Moorish history, and underscored by fado rhythms and superb gastronomy (pasteis de nata anyone?) allow yourself the luxury of exploring this award-winning country and its islands.
Lisbon. A glorious mosaic of beauty, freedom and authenticity, Portugal’s capital is a stirring artwork of a city. Known for the seven hills it spreads across, and its stirring fado music, Lisbon is a pastel-coloured blend of houses and beautiful tile artworks - and this creative city strikes a perfect harmony between natural and manmade beauty. Stroll along Alfama's steep, cobbled streets as you explore one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods - where each house and door could be its own photograph.
Madeira. Bedecked with dramatic cliffs, fertile mountains and sun-gorged beaches, Madeira is a lush, colourful island of plants, paradise and Portuguese-flavoured pleasures. Bathing in year-round sunshine, Funchal - the lowkey capital of Madeira - is perfect for slowing the pace, and toasting the thrilling scenery with a bottle of the island's famous wine. Narrow, cobblestone streets line the old town, where whitewash buildings, iron-wrought balconies, and tiled patterns carry echoes of Lisbon. Rua de Santa Maria is the city's oldest street, and the doors have been vividly painted by local artists.
Oporto. Steep, stacked banks of evocative buildings and cobbled streets perch scenically over the River Duoro, in this authentic, atmospheric Portuguese city. Famed for its wine and bright azulejo tiles - which turn streets into art galleries - Oporto is a charming taste of the real Portugal. Wander the uneven paths of the country’s second-largest city, which are soaked with history, tradition and eye-catching details. Start in the gorgeous, historic Ribeira neighbourhood at the River Douro, and walk up through tiny alleys and narrow streets lined with restaurants and cafes.
Portimao. Sprawl out and relax across thick wedges of glorious, golden sands, in Portugal’s sun-worshipping paradise. Portimão is a beachy heaven and a perfect encapsulation of the Algarve’s Atlantic appeals, offering easy access to the wonderful Praia da Rocha. Head straight for the long and wide expanse of this famous beach, where you can kick back and enjoy soft, honey-coloured sands and gentle waves rolling ashore.
Horta. Far adrift, in the Atlantic's vast sweep, Horta serves as a welcoming island respite for some truly epic ocean voyages. One of the most westerly parts of Europe, these Portuguese islands lie a full 1,100 miles from the coast of the mainland. The bustling marina here serves as the perfect stopover and a welcome respite for tired sailors and yachts embarking on transatlantic crossings.
If you’re after a small ship cruise or an expedition ship cruise to Portugal or Spain Wild Earth Travel can help you find a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to guide you through our range of different options with impartial advice so you can experience the very best of this unique destination. Our team are all passionate expedition & small cruise ship travellers and our knowledge and stories come from our own personal experiences.