Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Posted Nov 08, 2012
One of the best parts about a European cruise is that you can enjoy a variety of different landscapes, cultures and people.
Perhaps one of the most exciting and scenic regions in all of Europe is the Iberian Peninsula, where you can wander the rolling hills and magnificent cities of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. Here, you'll discover the historic wonders of people who built their reputation as great explorers and cartographers of the world. That's not mention their love of delicious food and extravagant festivities that often extend into the early hours of the morning.
Monument to the Discoveries
Portugal's capital Lisbon protrudes into the Atlantic Ocean on the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, so it should come as no surprise that this historic city was once the center of a vast trading empire. With Portuguese traders once sailing as far as the shores of Brazil and India in the 15th and 16th centuries, Lisbon has a rich tradition of bold explorers looking to go beyond the horizon - a cultural spirit that is captured in the city's Monument to the Discoveries. Inaugurated in 1960, the statue is shaped like a large wooden ship moving toward the Tagus River and flanked by 33 important Portuguese figures and explorers, such as Henry the Navigator and Vasco da Gama.
Santiago de Compostela
Sailing north from Portugal into Spain, your Iberian cruise vacation will take you to the medieval port of Vigo, the largest city in Galicia. Vigo sits on the slopes of the Monte del Castro, which overlooks one of the country's largest and most stunning bays. With the rich tradition of Catholicism in Spain, Vigo honors the life and work of St. James the Apostle, who the Spanish refer to as Santiago. With the St. James Cathedral in its center, the Old Town portion of the city is noted for its stunning Romanesque and Baroque architecture. It was here that the Apostle's' remains were said to be buried, and travelers and pilgrims who walk and bike this route have followed The Way of St. James to this point for hundreds of years.
The Azores Islands
Another amazing part of your cruise is sailing to the mysteriously beautiful Azores Islands, which lie about 800 miles west of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean. Sailors have sought shelter on this collection of nine islands for generations, and the landscape is noted for its extinct volcanoes and hot springs. Here, you can tour the magnificent blue and green Sete Cidadas and Crater Lakes. And with the Pineapple Greenhouses, Antonio Borges Botanical Gardens and Terra Nostra Park, vacationers can take in the exotic flora that thrive on these volcanic islands. Consider hopping into a four-wheel drive vehicle and touring the Azores on an off road adventure you'll remember for the rest of your life.
If you're ready to take in the amazing sights and sounds of Spain and Portugal, a European Cruise that takes you along the Iberian Peninsula is the vacation for you! Click here to explore the incredible destinations that lie in wait for you with a vacation from Princess Cruises.