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SHVega - Guests

Old World Gateways To The Atlantic

Lisbon to Portsmouth

Experience Europe’s maritime history as we travel to lesser-known ports and cities along the Portuguese, Spanish and French Atlantic coasts, before exploring the rugged beauty of Brittany and finally landing in the historic Naval town of Portsmouth. Take in all the sights, sounds and flavours during our 10-night Western Europe cruise, as you savour local specialities from port to cider to Rioja wine and be tempted by Portuguese cakes, Breton butter biscuits and crepes (pancakes). This maritime odyssey takes you from Lisbon, one of Europe’s oldest cities, to Portsmouth, one of the world's best known ports whose history can be traced to Roman times. Along the way, discover old towns and medieval walled cities with steep narrow streets and ramparts, fisherman’s quarters, long stretches of sand and exotic gardens. Journey with us on our boutique expedition ship and enjoy everything that this little slice of Western Europe has to offer.




  • Explore the old streets of Gijon’s fisherman’s quarter, Cimadevilla
  • Admire the striking ship-shaped Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • Wander the steep cobbled streets of the medieval hamlet and holy island of Mont St Michel
  • Explore one of Brittany’s most beautiful port cities: Concarneau
  • Vist the town of Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage centre


Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD


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.

Portugal’s second city, Oporto is a city of two halves, known for stately bridges over the river Douro. On the left bank is Gaia, best-known for its port houses such as Graham’s and Taylor’s where you can enjoy a cellar tour or port tasting. Ribeira, on the right bank, has rows of colourful old houses that line the riverfront and narrow streets. Head to the top of the hill to admire blue azulejo tile murals in Igreja de Carmo church or take a ride on a vintage tram to the Foz district.

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. Inland Santiago de Compostela, an important pilgrimage centre, is a short bus ride away.

The lively port town of Ribadeo in Galicia connects with the Asturias and attracts sunseekers who flock to the spectacular Praia As Catedrais beach 10 km out of town, a 1.5 km long stretch of sands bedecked with a cluster of awe-inspiring Gothic-like rocks, chambers and arches. Ribadeo’s Old Town is an attractive melange of galleried and stone houses while from the nearby Roman port of Porcillan you can walk out to the charming Pancha Island lighthouse past the ruined castle of San Damian.

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.

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 12th-century Vieux Port (old harbour) in the maritime city of La Rochelle in southwestern France is distinguished by two medieval towers guarding the harbour. Lined with bistros, wine bars and market stalls, the area is popular for a bite to eat. France’s fourth largest island, Île de Ré, joins La Rochelle via a 3-km bridge, and is renowned for its salt marshes, cycle paths and pastel-shuttered cottages bordered with swaying hollyhocks. Its harbourside capital St-Martin-de-Ré attracts chic French holidaymakers.

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 charming French port of Roscoff sits on a peninsula at the tip of Brittany. Despite a history of privateers and smugglers, the ‘little city of character’ is known for its richly decorated merchants' houses. Near the port, a local hotelier created an exotic garden with more than 3,500 species of plants from the Southern Hemisphere. The town is also the origin of ‘Onion Johnnies,’ Breton farmers who crossed to England with their bikes to sell Roscoff pink onions.

DAY 10
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.

DAY 11
Your cruise end in the UK’s only island city and the world’s oldest dry dock. With easy access by rail and road from airports in London and Southampton, Portsmouth has a long and proud naval heritage. Boarding your boutique ship, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the likes of Admiral Nelson and Henry VIII as you settle in for your voyage. If time permits, the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is definitely worth a visit. The attraction is home to a wonderful collection of famous historical ships including Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory, Queen Victoria’s HMS Warrior and the only surviving ship from the First World War’s Gallipoli campaign, the HMS M.33. A very fitting way to begin your sea faring adventure.

(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 guest speakers
  • One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
  • Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
  • Standard WiFi
  • Onboard gratuities & port taxes


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DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person, subject to availability and can change at any time