Seville to Bordeaux cruise review on Voyages to Antiquity
Dr Fiona Richards, Editor-in-Chief of Timeless Travels Magazine, recalls her European Connoisseur voyage on her Voyages to Antiquity cruise, travelling from Seville to Bordeaux in June 2018.
I had been invited to join Aegean Odyssey and I can’t deny it, this was my very first cruise and I was excited. One of the reasons I was so keen to join the ship was her itinerary, as we were visiting several cities I’d always wanted to explore, including Seville, Lisbon, Oporto, Santiago de Compostela and Bordeaux.
Plaza de Espana, Seville
Our cruise started in Seville and our tour began at the wonderful Plaza de Espana, built for an expo in 1929, before carrying on to the Alcazar and the old town. Wandering through the picturesque narrow streets and small squares of the old city, as you weave your way to the Alcazar, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with Seville. It has such a lovely atmosphere and the Alcazar, built by Ferdinand in 1248, is a wonderful blend of Moorish and Christian architecture, as Ferdinand was apparently a fan of the former. It makes for a stunning building. Don’t miss the Cathedral nearby either. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and inside the Cathedral is the magnificent tomb of Christopher Columbus and his son Diego.
Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon
Our Lisbon tour started bright and early. Although the city has much to see, my favourite sites were out at Belem, on the southwestern limit of the city. Here you will find the magnificent Cathedral, Torre de Belem, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Monument to the Discoveries, which has one of my favourite things, a large map and timeline of Portuguese history on the ground. Do visit the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem too, if you have time. Located just two minutes from the Cathedral, it is one of the oldest bakeries in Lisbon and the first to produce the well-known Portuguese custard tart, or pasteis de nata.
Oporto on the Douro River
I was keen to visit Oporto as I had read much about it and seen the pictures of those brightly coloured houses next to the harbour. I explored on my own in the morning as there is a famous bookshop here that I wanted to find, the Livraria Lello, which was used by J.K. Rowling as the inspiration for the library in the Harry Potter books. In the afternoon, I met up with the tour from the ship and we visited the Romanesque Cathedral, the gorgeous 19th-century Stock Exchange Palace, complete with its stunning Arab Room, before crossing the river for a spot of port tasting. A great day!
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Another favourite day was our visit to Santiago de Compostela. We drove through lush green countryside from the port of Vigo to the city and then spent the morning exploring the Cathedral and its backstreets. It was wonderful watching all the pilgrims cheer each other as they arrived in Plaza do Obradoiro after completing their Camino Way walks.
Lunch today was in a glorious hotel called The Parador de Santiago, also situated on the Plaza do Obradoiro. The hotel was built as a hospital in 1499 to accommodate pilgrims travelling to Santiago. It has four cloisters and we ate in one of its beautiful rooms with high ceilings that used to be a chapel.
Our visit to Bordeaux coincided with its tall ships festival, which just added to the excitement of visiting a town with such splendid architecture. Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII in the beautiful St Andrew’s Cathedral here, and our itinerary included the Palais Rohan and Grand Theatre de Bordeaux. Bordeaux also has a fine art gallery to visit in your spare time, as well as the stunning Musee d’Aquitaine, which covers Bordeaux’s history from the Stone Age to the modern day, so do try and squeeze in a visit if you are a history buff.
Voyages to Antiquity Cruise Summary
I loved my first cruise because it was so easy to visit all these cities – and that is the joy of being on such a small ship – they can get closer to the city centres than the larger ones. The other thing I loved was returning ‘home’ each day, putting my bags in the cabin and then sitting out on deck, with a well-earned cocktail, as I shared the day’s experiences with my new friends.
Timeless Travels Magazine specialises in combining travel with history, archaeology and art.
Seville and Bordeaux Cruises on Aegean Odyssey
To follow in Fiona’s footsteps, Voyages to Antiquity will be sailing between Seville and Bordeaux on the following 2019 cruises:
- European Connoisseur – Odyssey Club Reunion Cruise Seville to London 4 June 2019 15 days from £2,595
- The Three Rivers London to Lisbon 14 August 2019 15 days from £2,695
Article reproduced with kind permission from Voyages to Antiquity