Day 1 - Copenhagen Copenhagen is one of the easiest European capitals to fall in love with. The sights of old buildings, cobbled streets and the tower- and turret-dotted skyline lend fairy-tale charm—this was, after all, the home of author Hans Christian Andersen. But make no mistake: This is a thoroughly modern city with international clout. Restaurants around the world draw inspiration from the New Nordic cuisine pioneered by Noma and other Copenhagen restaurants, while Danish design from this century and the last is universally admired and coveted. Urban planners flock here to try to work out just how the city remains so livable and yet so functional, and despite its wealth of old buildings, Copenhagen’s not locked in the past; there are also thrilling examples of modern architecture. Copenhagen is a city that’s easy to find things to do and explore on foot or by excellent public transport, where everyone speaks perfect English, the food is fresh and innovative, and there’s plenty of locally brewed beer—which, of course, is best enjoyed sitting by the water on a sunny day.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - Brest Sitting by a natural harbor at the mouth of the Penfeld River in western Brittany, the city of Brest has a rich maritime history that stretches from the Middle Ages to today, as it is home to the main French naval base in the Atlantic. Brest’s strategic importance was first established in the 1600s, when Cardinal Richelieu created a naval base and arsenal here. Throughout the Napoleonic Wars, warships were produced in its dockyards. During World War I, Americans maintained a naval air station in Brest, then Germany took control of the city during World War II and stationed U-boat submarines in its harbor. Though much of the city was destroyed in 1944 after an Allied invasion, one of Brest’s most important sites escaped the bombing: the Château de Brest, a 13th-century castle that’s the oldest structure in town. Just across the Penfeld River stands the 14th-century tower Tour Tanguy; inside is a museum that showcases the history of the city prior to World War II, with dioramas, photographs, postcards and other objects.
Day 5 - At Sea
Day 6 - Leixoes (Oporto) From lovely Oporto enjoy a leisurely drive along the Rio d'Ouro (River of Gold) into port wine country. Hear the fascinating story of its origin; taste test the season's best.
Day 7 - Lisbon Find your way in the city that launched the Age of Discovery. Cross the River Tagus on its soaring suspension bridge, watched over by a colossal statue of Christ. Wander the maze of streets in the Alfama, the old Moorish quarter, dominated by the medieval Castle of St George where peacocks strut and shriek. Stroll the Baixa and refuse to leave without a pair of elegant shoes.
Day 8 - Cadiz (Seville) Hanging off the southwestern edge of Spain, Cádiz is one of Andalucía’s regional capitals and a place bursting with personality. Europe’s oldest continually inhabited city, with a history stretching back 3,000 years, has fallen on hard times in recent years, but a combination of pride, good humor and stoicism keeps it on an even keel. The famous Carnival, one of Spain’s most important in the genre, is a thrilling fiesta into which Cádiz pours all its energy and ingenuity. The city’s fond nickname, la tacita de plata ("little silver cup"), alludes to its curious geography—it juts out on a long peninsula into a sheltered bay. Old town Cádiz is a warren of cobbled streets where the houses, painted white or dusty ochre, have the weather-beaten look of a place subjected to centuries of wind and salt. This ancient city has one good example of everything that matters: a great food market, a theater (the Teatro Falla, a grand Art Nouveau Moorish gem), a gorgeous cathedral, impressive fortifications and a beach—the picturesque and famous La Caleta.
Day 9 - At Sea
Day 10 - Barcelona On the northeast coast of Spain, overlooking the Mediterranean, Barcelona is a vibrant port city, packed with centuries of iconic art and architecture—Gaudí and Picasso both called it home—and lined with sunny white-sand beaches. Explore the Catalan capital's tourist attractions and historic neighborhoods, Modernisme and world-renowned art museums, galleries and local crafts shops—some of which are centuries old and stock traditional Catalan wares. After you see the sights, there are lively tapas bars around every corner where you can stop for a drink, a café amb llet (Catalan for espresso with steamed milk) or a snack, no matter the hour. Green spaces for picnics, long walks and respite from the hustle and bustle are scattered throughout Barcelona's attractions: There's Gaudí's mosaic-decorated park, a neoclassical maze at the Laberint d'Horta, as well as plenty of high places (mountains, monuments and edifices) where sightseeing visitors can take in the view. A short trip from Barcelona by car or train, luxury outlets, cava wineries, a mountaintop abbey and the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast await.
Day 11 - At Sea
Day 12 - Civitavecchia (Rome) When you embark on a cruise to Rome with Holland America Line you experience its bustling modernism along with its rich history. You can walk in the footsteps of emperors, have coffee in Renaissance piazzas and see contemporary art all in one afternoon. Your sightseeing time in Rome begins at the nearby port of Civitavecchia, a seaside town with roots that stretch back to the Etruscan era. Take note of the Forte Michelangelo (both Bramante and Michelangelo had a hand in its design), and the lungomare, a lively stretch along the sea with beach clubs, bars and restaurants. Once in the Eternal City you can fill your day with museums, churches, archaeological sites, traditional trattorias, artisan shops and, of course, gelato. The Colosseum and the Vatican Museums are Rome's superstar attractions, but there are plenty of quieter gems to explore. For food lovers there are the markets in Campo de' Fiori or the slightly farther flung Testaccio. The hip neighborhood of Monti, next to the Colosseum, has a vibrant piazza scene and boutique shopping, while the Villa Borghese offers a green oasis with a view towards Saint Peter’s Basilica and the masterpiece-filled Galleria Borghese. Although Rome might not have been built in one day, you'll certainly be able to see its highlights on our Rome cruises along with the top things to do there in 24 hours.
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