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Travel Guide to Europe

Europe is many things to many people. Now you can experience the continent’s magnificent and diverse coast in ways that are hard to beat and impossible to forget.

4 mins read

Why visit Europe?

Europe is well known to many, but some parts remain unknown even for experienced travellers. There are different ways of exploring Europe, each one with a unique touch. Explore the hidden treasures along Europe’s Atlantic coast and discover the smaller ports and colourful towns in countries like Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium and The Netherlands. 

When travelling by ship, you are not limited to visiting one island or city. Instead, you get a rich variety of diverse history, elegant port cities, charming towns and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Coastal access also means that you get off the beaten track and a different perspective.

Best time to visit

Mainland Europe is at its best in late spring/early summer. The coast of Europe enjoys a mild climate due to the Atlantic Ocean’s warm Gulf Stream current. If you visit before the peak season of mid-summer, the crowds are smaller and temperatures are pleasant. 

What to expect on a cruise to Europe

You can enjoy visiting big cities, charming towns and beautiful islands in Europe. Many of the destinations can be explored by foot. No matter your activity level or interests, you’ll find something that suits you so you can discover the European coast in the best possible way.

1. Experience historical places

Learn about history as you visit ancient fortresses, castles, cathedrals and monasteries. Stroll through historical towns and relive ancient times as you set foot in places from the ‘Old World’.

2. Enjoy unique local culture

Get close to local culture and unforgettable UNESCO sites. Learn about the history and processes of wine making, and sample products at local markets. Spend some time in gardens and museums, or just enjoy life at a quiet café.

3. Stay active in amazing surroundings

See more of each destination on scenic mountain walks and cycling trips. Test your comfort zone during paragliding and kayaking. If you want to get extra close to nature and wildlife, try swimming with dolphins or go whale watching.

Places to see and things to do along the European coast

Be inspired by the many incredible destinations accessible by ship. All elements combine to create a truly unique voyage of discovery, with different natural and cultural experiences waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

Lisbon, Portugal

The capital of Portugal has a fascinating history and it’s well worth spending some time there. In fact, food alone is a reason. The city is full of great restaurants from Michelin star food temples to casual eateries – and the food is top notch no matter what you choose.

Lisbon is said to be Europe’s second oldest capital and much of its Old World charm is intact. The neighborhood of Alcântara is a good place to visit to experience the city’s intact ‘Old World’ charm. In the Belém district the 16th-century monastery Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is worth a visit. São Jorge Castle stands majestically above Lisbon and is a must see.

Gijon, Spain

Historic Gijon is known for fine cheeses and cider. The Old Quarter boasts a baroque palace, beautiful churches and interesting museums. Enjoy a hike to Santa Catalina for spectacular views or a stroll in the ancient village of Cimavilla.

St Malo, France

St Malo in Brittany is full of history. It has been a prized fortification since the 1st century BC and was founded by the Gauls. The Romans conquered the town, before the Saxon took over after the fall of the Roman Empire. Later it became the home of French privateers - and occasional pirates.

Bordeaux, France

The Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 350 monuments and churches surrounded by a landscape of castles and vineyards. The city offer plenty of opportunities to learn about the history and processes of wine making, and a good chance to sample the local products. Some of the world’s best and most expensive wines are made here.

Porto, Portugal

Two thousand years of history enrich this lovely town, ranging from ornate Romanesque churches to the neoclassical Stock Exchange building. This second largest city in Portugal has one of Europe’s oldest city centers which also is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Penguins perched on the ice of Cuverville Island, Antarctica. Credit: Espen Mills / HX Hurtigruten Expeditions

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