36 Days On Europe’s Great Waterways
PHOTO: Explore Europe – for a month! – with Viking. (Photo by Jason Leppert)
Ask most travelers and they will probably say that spending a week or two in Europe, exploring its great lands and waterways, is a dream come true and ranks at the top of most bucket lists. So then imagine spending a whopping 36 days cruising the coasts of Greece, Spain, Italy, Croatia, England and Monaco.
Viking Cruises’ Nordic Explorer sets its sights on an incredible 11 countries in a little more than a month with 26 guided tours. The stops along the way include:
Greece: The adventure starts here where travelers can see some of the most iconic sites in Greece, including The Panathenaic Stadium, also known as Kallimarmaro, a multi-purpose stadium in Athens. Step back into ancient Greek civilization inside the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon, which was dedicated to Athena Parthenos. The Summer Olympics in Rio just ended, but on this journey you will take a trip back to the site of the birthplace of the modern day Games in Olympia. You’ll finish out your visit of Greece on the romantic island of Corfu, where you will visit Mouse Island and the Vlacherna Monastery.
Italy: Say buongiorno to this beautiful country and ‘mangia’ because nothing tastes better than the fresh food at the Italian market in Rome. Cruisers will also visit stunning monuments such as the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum. In Tuscany, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is a must-see museum comprised of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Brunelleschi's Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistry of San Giovanni, the Crypt of Santa Reparata and the Opera Museum. The tilt was unintentional, but don’t accidentally miss looking at the Tower of Pisa. So much to see, so little time.
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France: The French love their wine and cheese and when the cruise stops in France you will want to check out Toulon. It’s a beautiful harbor and home to fishing boats, yachts, boutiques and brasseries. Later on in the itinerary, you will return to visit Cherbourg on Normandy’s coast, which includes touring a 12th-century abbey, the 30-acre gardens of the Château des Ravalets.
Spain: Cruisers will become very fond of Spain after spending five days touring Barcelona, Seville and Granada and taking excursions. Visit the Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey perched more than 4,000 feet above the valley and listen to the Escolania de Montserrat boys’ choir.
Portugal: Two stops in this beautiful country include Lisbon and Leixoes. Lisbon is the capital of Portgual and houses some of the most beautiful architecture as well as the 17th-century monastery that houses the tombs of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal. Leixoes is one of Portugal’s major seaports.
Norway: Thirty-five days and many more stops later, you’ll finish out your trip in Norway, where you can learn about this country’s many traditions. Make sure you taste Friele, a Norwegian coffee, and enjoy the intense, yet stimulating, art of cupping.
Whether you follow the itinerary or step out and enjoy some extra excursions in each port, this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime jam-packed journey.
More by Lisa Iannucci
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