- Take a leisurely boat tour along the waterways of Bruges, nicknamed the Venice of the North
- Follow in the footsteps of French artists Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin in Brittany and Normandy
- Admire outstanding Gothic architecture while walking the granite ramparts of Concarneau and St Malo
- Admire the striking ship-shaped Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
- Explore the old streets of Gijon’s fisherman’s quarter, Cimadevilla
DATES / RATES
Rates are listed per person
|Start Date||End Date||From EUR||From USD|
Seti scientist are scheduled for Swan Hellenic’s 2023
cultural expeditions cruises.
Rates are listed per person
|Start Date||End Date||From EUR||From USD|
SETI Institute Research Scientist
Accompanying SH Diana, Historic Ports of the Western Seaboard, 8
– 17 August 2023
Maggie is an astrobiologist whose expertise is in identifying planetary
systems capable of supporting life as we know it. She developed a
Catalogue of Habitable Stellar Systems for the search for
extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) and has studied the spectrum of
the Earth to identify tell-tale signatures of life. She leads two
NASA-funded teams to study the nearest star systems and their prospects
for hosting habitable planets. Maggie’s lecture topic will be
“Search for life for around nearby stars: Will there ever be
Our port is the gorgeous Dutch city where a boat cruise along the canals gets to the very heart of things, but where walking the narrow streets and over the hundreds of bridges is magical too. Discover a treasure trove of fabulous museums such as the Rijksmuseum, filled with Dutch Masters – and just around the corner from the Van Gogh Museum. While, south of the city, explore windmill-filled stretches of countryside canal.
We sail into the Belgian port and seaside resort of Zeebrugge. The old fish market in the marina houses Seafront, a maritime theme park in the old fish auction house. The port is linked to the city of Bruges - or Brugge - via the Baudouin Canal. Famous for lacemaking, Belgian beer and chocolate, Bruges is also known as the Venice of the North for its charming canals. Take your time to appreciate these waterways by hopping on a leisurely boat tour.
Your port of call today is Honfleur, Normandy’s most charming port town. If it looks familiar, that’s because Honfleur was a favourite subject of Monet and many other artists too, including Boudin, Corot, Courbet, Dubourg, Sisley, Bazille and Daubigny. Thanks to landscapes by these masters, the town’s timber-framed houses and the appealing Vieux Bassin (Old Harbour) are part of our collective consciousness. Before the city became a refuge for 19th-century artists escaping Paris, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Honfleur was one of France’s most important ports. It was from here that, in 1608, Samuel de Champlain set sail to found Québec. Some of the city’s unmissable attractions include Les Maisons Satie Musée d’Ethnographie et d’Art Populaire Normand, Musée de la Marine and Musée Eugène Boudin. The Eglise Ste-Catherine is an extraordinary wooden church. Constructed in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, it contains maritime motifs.
The enchanting coastal city of Saint-Malo is a labyrinth of medieval streets filled with history and culture. Dating back to the 12th century, Saint-Malo was once a haven for pirates and a stopping point for merchant ships. Today you’ll find colourful shops and outdoor alongside aromatic markets, cafes and restaurants. Oysters and crêpes are the local delicacies - definitely sample some whilst here. The ancient walled town of Intra-Muros forms the heart of Saint-Malo. Here the striking Gothic and Romanesque Cathédrale de St Malo dominates the skyline.
The picturesque French port city of Concarneau is in the Finistère department in Brittany. Its medieval walled city is on a tiny islet with narrow alleys and ramparts that are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Nearby, the charming artist village of Pont Aven, discovered in the 1860s by American painters, became a popular stop for French artist Paul Gauguin who set up the École de Pont-Aven art movement known as synthetism. Try galettes, the local melt-in-the-mouth Breton butter biscuits.
The industrial city of Bilbao is the de facto capital of the Basque region, famed for its culture, skyscrapers and the striking ship-shaped Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which sparked significant revitalisation when it opened in 1997. Tour the city’s many pintxo bars and browse the stalls at the lively La Ribera Market whose origins date back to the 14th century. Spain’s famous La Rioja wine region is a full-day trip from the port, with plenty of time for wine tasting.
The Asturian port city of Gijon with colourful old houses is surrounded by rolling green hills, and is home to the Atlantic Botanical Gardens, packed with over 2,000 plants. Wander around the fisherman’s old quarter of Cimedevilla to see the monumental Eulogy to the Horizon sculpture, crafted from cement blocks by Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida in 1990, and the Campo Valdés Roman Baths dating from around 100 AD. Local ciders are a speciality, best enjoyed in a traditional sideria.
FISTERRA & VIGO
Fisterra lies at the westernmost point of Spain. Otherwise known as Land’s End, this is the end of the road (finis terrae in Roman), both literally and for pilgrims visiting Santiago de Compostela. Inland Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage centre, is a short bus ride away. Gateway to the Atlantic, the Spanish Atlantic city of Vigo is one of Europe’s major fishing ports, known for its freezing and canning industry. Wander around the steep narrow streets and picturesque squares of Casco Vello, the old town towards the fish market. Hike to the top of Monte O Castro hill encompassing an old fortress and the 3rd-century BC archaeological site of Castro. Outlying Cies Islands are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park, renowned for its birdlife.
FIGUEIRA DA FOZ
The oldest resort on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, Figueira da Foz, or Figueira, has a sandy, two-mile-long beach, the longest in Portugal. Once a centre for shipbuilding and deep sea fishing, the town became a popular tourist hotspot in the 1920s. Visitors come for walks along the promenade, stop at the beachfront cafes or wander north for seafood restaurants in Buarcos, a fortified town that’s known for its fisherman’s huts and for surfing.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon’s technicoloured past is evident just about everywhere. The medina-like streets of Alfama still bear Moorish influences. Baroque architecture surrounds you in Baixa and scars of the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 can still be found throughout the city. It’s estimated that over 100,000 people died in what became one of history’s deadliest earthquakes. Today Lisbon is a delightful mix of colourful neighbourhoods, all brimming with history, culture and tradition. Baixa is where you’ll find the hustle and bustle, set below São Jorge Castle. Nearby Chiado is one of Lisbon’s trendiest neighbourhoods with its historic cafes and designer shops.
(Click image to view Ship details)
- Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port
(via our included accommodation where applicable)
- One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a
4/5-star hotel or onboard
- All meals onboard
- Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
- 24-hour room service
- Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages
available 24-hours per day
- Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and
- One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port
- Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber
boots in Polar Regions
- Standard WiFi
- Onboard gratuities & port taxes