Day 1 - Barcelona, Spain Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is said to have been founded by the Phoenicians, and was once the rival of the powerful states of Venice and Genoa for control of the Mediterranean trade. Today, it is Spain's second largest city and has long rivaled, even surpassed Madrid in industry and commerce. The medieval atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter and the elegant boulevards combine to make the city one of Europe's most beautiful. Barcelona's active cultural life and heritage brought forth such greats as the architect Antonio Gaudi, the painter Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso, who spent his formative years here. Other famous native Catalan artists include cellist Pau Casals, surrealist Salvador Dali, and opera singers Montserrat Caballe and Josep Carreras. Barcelona accomplished a long-cherished goal with the opportunity to host the Olympics in 1992. This big event prompted a massive building program and created a focal point of the world's attention.
Day 2 - Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain Ibiza, the third largest of the Balearics, began to grow from a quiet, little-known island into a playground for the rich and an enclave for artists in the 1950s and 1960s. The island's brilliant, whitewashed houses reflect not only the summer sun, but 300 years of Moorish rule, earning it the nickname of 'Isla Blanca' or White Island. The town of Ibiza, also known as Eivissa, is a delightful combination of Medieval and 19th-century architecture. Visit the picturesque upper town (Dalt Vila), far removed from the sometimes hectic pace of the rest of the island. The ancient cathedral, enclosed by 16th-century walls which are a national monument in their own right, provides a stunning view of the Mediterranean below.
Day 3 - Cartagena, Spain Founded by Carthaginians in the third century BC, this ancient Mediterranean port city exemplifies the region's tumultuous history. Romans, Visigoths, Castilians and Moors have all left their marks. Under King Philip II, Cartagena's naturally deep, sheltered harbor was developed into the nation's premier naval base, a position it still enjoys today. Ancient ramparts remain, as does a lighthouse erected in Moorish times.
Day 4 - Marbella, Spain
Day 5 - Tangier, Morocco Situated just across the narrow Strait of Gibraltar from Europe, Tangier has long comprised a hybrid culture that is nearly as European as it is African. Standing atop Cap Spartel, one can gaze down on the place where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. The “Hollywood” district where the foreign embassies have traditionally been located reflects the European influence. But ascending the hill above the waterfront, one enters the narrow, winding alleys of the Kasbah, the city’s oldest, most Moroccan section. Down the coast, nearby Tetouan retains a nearly untouched walled medina, with sections originally occupied by Andalusian, Berber and Jewish populations. It is small enough that visitors can explore it without risking becoming lost, making it a perfect choice as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 6 - At Sea
Day 7 - Leixoes (Porto), Portugal The commercial center of northern Portugal and hub of the port wine trade, Porto is a gracious, cosmopolitan city noted for its 12th century cathedral and medieval churches, picturesque narrow streets and wine lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia. It is clustered on hills overlooking a river, and is a northern European style city with granite church towers, narrow streets and hidden Baroque treasures.
Day 8 - Lisbon, Portugal The great period of "the Discoveries" accounted for phenomenal wealth brought back from India, Africa and Brazil by the great Portuguese navigators. Gold, jewels, ivory, porcelain and spices helped finance grand new buildings and impressive monuments in Lisbon, the country's capital city. As you sail up the Tagus River, be on deck to admire Lisbon's panorama and see some of the great monuments lining the river. Lisbon is one of Europe's smallest capital cities but considered by many visitors to be one of the most likeable. Spread over a string of seven hills, the city offers a variety of faces, including a refreshing no-frills simplicity reflected in the people as they go unhurriedly through their day enjoying a hearty and delicious cuisine accompanied by the country's excellent wines.
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