Lisbon cruises offer numerous delights, from sandy beaches, picturesque villages and ancient archaeological sites to a wealth of museums, cathedrals and unique culinary and cultural experiences. Here is a just a sampling of the wide range of shore excursions available.
Enjoy Fado, Folklore and Food in Lisbon: The Fado originated as a song of considerable sadness sung by the poorer classes, expressing tales of unrequited passion, tragedy and jealousy. As Lisbon’s affluent families took an interest in Fado in the 18th century, it became more lighthearted and commented on topical events of the day. Your Fado experience begins with a short sightseeing tour of Lisbon en route to the restaurant quarter where Fado is performed. In keeping with the spirit of the songs, the décor, furniture and fittings of the restaurants often typify the taverns of the 15th to 18th centuries. While dinner is served, Fado singers and folklore dancers perform for you. Afterwards, return to the ship having savored some of Lisbon’s most distinctive cultural and epicurean flavors.
Travel from Malaga to the Caves of Nerja: Your tour will begin with a scenic 35-mile drive along the coastline east of Malaga. Enroute your guide will familiarize you with the area, the town of Nerja and the famous caves, which were discovered in 1959 and are considered one of the most beautiful caves in Europe. Inside are impressive stalagmites and stalactites, including the exceptional 105-foot high central column in the Cataclysm Chamber.
Sample Tapas in Barcelona: Try traditional Spanish tapas, the small dishes of tasty bites that typically are served as early evening snacks. You'll likely visit a couple of restaurants and enjoy the tapas with a glass of wine, beer or sherry. Other top shore excursion sites in the Catalan city include La Sagrada Familia -- the elaborate, unfinished cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi -- and the Gothic Quarter, Picasso Museum and Montjuic, a hill that offers panoramic views.
Watch a Flamenco Show in Cadiz: Sip your sangria, savor the tapas and feel the passion of a traditional flamenco performance, characterized by fiery guitar music and sensual, energetic movements. From this Spanish city, cruise guests also can travel to Jerez de la Frontera to admire the grace of purebred Spanish-Andalusian horses at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.
Create Your Own Perfume in the French Riviera: After disembarking in Cannes, travel to nearby Grasse, where the French perfume industry originated. Learn about the perfume-making process, then let your sense of smell guide you as you create your own scent from more than a hundred essences, such as wild lavender or sandalwood. Soaking up the sun on beautiful French Riviera beaches or touring the spot where the Cannes Film Festival is held are other popular activities at this port.
Try your luck at a casino in Monte Carlo: Have fun playing the odds at the Grand Casino in Monaco, the glamorous getaway for the rich and famous. Next, stroll through the tiny principality's narrow streets, past the Royal Palace, the Oceanographic Museum and the cathedral that houses the tombs of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. Prefer not to walk? Drive along the Grand Prix circuit or marvel at the views on a helicopter ride above this luxury resort area.
Visit Porto and enjoy dinner at the Alpendurada Monastery: Traipse through the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Medieval city center of charming Porto. Later, sail to Bitetos where you’ll indulge in a country-style dinner at the former 14th-century Benedictine Monastery of Alpendurada.
Admire Mallorca by Helicopter: The twenty-five minute flight will give you the chance to admire the North Coast to Soller, a lovely village located in an orange and lemon tree valley, surrounded by mountains and from there you will follow the most beautiful coast of the Island, locally called "Costa Nord".