Iberian Coast

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The Iberian Coast


Lisbon’s Belem district is home to three of the city’s great landmarks – the Modernist Monument of the Discoveries, the fairy-tale Belem Tower and the spectacularly ornate UNESCO World Heritage Jerónimos Monastery, which was built more than five hundred years ago to celebrate Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to India.

Also known as Oporto, Porto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and one of the major urban areas of the Iberian Peninsula. Located along the Douro River estuary in the north of the country, Porto is one of the oldest European centres of trade, and in 1996 its historical core was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On the Portuguese Algarve, journey from the historical resort of Portimão to Sagres Point, which looks out across the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean towards America, but before the Age of Discovery was considered the edge of the world. A visit here also affords the chance to see the lively town of Lagos, which is renowned for its excellent mix of culture and beaches.


On Spain’s northern coast, the cities of Gijón and Bilbao showcase a dynamic contrast between the autonomous regions of Asturias and Basque Country. Gijón has evolved from an historic fishing port to a dynamic urban hub, while Bilbao is celebrated for its picturesque beaches, unique tapas and the stunning Guggenheim Museum.

Cadiz and Jerez

With its narrow streets and charming small squares, the old town of Cadiz reflects the city’s rich history and position as the gateway to The New World. Jerez de la Frontera is famous for giving its name to sherry and of course there is always time for a tasting of this popular export.


Although Málaga may appear a little austere, you will soon find its historic city centre charming. The majestic, unfinished Gothic cathedral is surrounded by traditional balconied buildings, narrow pedestrian streets and the best tapas bars in the province.

Close-by and dominating the wonderful landscape of Andalusia, is one of the most magical places in the world and the most outstanding symbol of Moorish heritage in Spain, the Alhambra palace.


Catalan art nouveau, bustling markets and ancient Roman or medieval treasures – as soon as you enter the Catalonian capital of Barcelona you find yourself immersed in history. Nine of its unique buildings are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the world-famous Sagrada Familia, the crowning achievement of the great architect Antoni Gaudí, despite the fact it remains unfinished.


Founded by the Romans, Valencia is a charmingly old-world city but is also home to some wonderfully modern architecture, including the futuristic City of Arts and Science. This is also the birthplace of the world’s most famous rice dish, Paella, so be sure to try a dish!


A city with almost three thousand years of history, Cartagena is home to the ruins of the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Vieja, which was heavily damaged and abandoned during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 but has somehow managed to retain an intriguing legacy of disparate archaeological eras.


From the British territory affectionately known as “The Rock,” on a clear day you can see across the mouth of the Mediterranean all the way to Morocco.

Of course, no trip to Gibraltar would be complete without a stop at the Apes’ Den, home of the only free roaming primates in Europe, the famous Barbary Macaques.

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