19 Nights | ARTISANS & EXPLORERS
You will visit the following 15 places:
London – noisy, vibrant, diverse range of people, ideas and frenetic energy – is the capital and largest city of both England and of the United Kingdom. Considered one of the world's leading "global cities", the city remains an international capital of culture, arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport all contributing to its prominence. Today, among international tourists, London is the most visited city in the world!
Bilbao is a municipality and city in Spain, a major city in the province of Biscay in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. It is the main urban area in what is defined as the Greater Basque region. Situated in the north-central part of Spain, its main urban core is surrounded by two small mountain ranges. After its foundation in the early 14th century by Diego López V de Haro, head of the powerful Haro family, the city was a commercial hub of the Basque Country that enjoyed significant importance in Green Spain. This was due to its port activity based on the export of iron extracted from the Biscayan quarries. Throughout the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Bilbao experienced heavy industrialisation, making it the centre of the second-most industrialised region of Spain. Today, Bilbao is a vigorous service city that is experiencing an ongoing social, economic, and aesthetic revitalisation process, started by the iconic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, and continued by infrastructure investments, such as the airport terminal, the rapid transit system, the tram line, the Alhóndiga, and the currently under development Abandoibarra and Zorrozaurre renewal projects. Bilbao is also home to football club Athletic Club de Bilbao, a significant symbol for Basque nationalism due to its promotion of Basque players and one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history.
Alicante is a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca, and the capital of the Alicante province. The area around Alicante has been inhabited for over 7000 years. The first tribes of hunter gatherers moved down gradually from Central Europe between 5000 and 3000 BC. Some of the earliest settlements were made on the slopes of Mount Benacantil. By 1000 BC Greek and Phoenician traders had begun to visit the eastern coast of Spain, establishing small trading ports and introducing the native Iberian tribes to the alphabet, iron and the pottery wheel. By the 3rd century BC, the rival armies of Carthage and Rome began to invade and fight for control of the Iberian Peninsula. The Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barcaestablished the fortified settlement of Akra Leuka (meaning "White Mountain" or "White Point"), where Alicante stands today. The city is popular for its stunning beach views, nightlife, hotel resorts and festivals.
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,193,031, but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,836,970, and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. In 2009 and 2010, the city has been ranked among the three most important and influential cities in the world, among the first three "European cities of the future" according to a research published by Financial Times and among the top ten cities in the world in which to live according to the British review Monocle. The city is the home of the most visited art museum in the world; ''the Louvre'' as well as the ''Musée d'Orsay'' noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the ''Musée National d'Art Moderne'' a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations. It is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 367,569 inhabitants (1,500,000 in the metropolitan area). The city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. Florence is often known as the ''Jewel of the Renaissance''.
The capital of Portugal, Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with a contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today's Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that faces the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city. Lisbon enchants travellers with its white-bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy-going charm that makes it a popular year-round destination.
Málaga is a large city in the southern Spanish region of Andalucia and capital of the Malaga Province. The largest city on the Costa del Sol, Malaga has a typical Mediterranean climate and is also known as the birthplace of famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The city offers beaches, hiking, architectural sites, art museums, excellent shopping and cuisine. While more laid back than Madrid or Barcelona, Malaga is still the center and transport hub for the hugely popular Costa del Sol region, which is flooded with tourists in the summer, and the city has certainly cashed in on the sun and sand, with lots of new construction as well as hotels and facilities geared to tourists. However, Malaga also offers some genuinely interesting historical and cultural attractions in its old city and its setting on the coast is still beautiful.
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France, with an estimated (2008) population of 250,082. The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais. Bordeaux is the world's major wine industry capital. It is home to the world's main wine fair, Vinexpo, while the wine economy in the metro area moves 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the eighth century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.
Porto (also known as Oporto in English), is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and one of the major urban areas of the Iberian Peninsula. The urban area of Porto, which extends beyond the administrative limits of the city, has a population of 1.4 million (2011) in an area of 389 km2 (150 sq mi), making it the second-largest urban area in Portugal. Located along the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. One of Portugal's internationally famous exports, port wine, is named for Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport and export of the fortified wine. In 2014, Porto was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency.
Marseille, known in antiquity as Massalia, is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2. The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of 1,204 km2. 1,530,000 or 1,601,095 people live in the Marseille metropolitan area. Located on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is France's largest commercial port and largest French city on the Mediterranean coast. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais.
Barcelona – Spain's enchanting capital, second largest and most populous city. It is a huge city that vibrates with life, and there’s certainly not another city in the country to touch it for its sheer style, looks or energy. It is one of the world's leading tourist, economic, trade fair and cultural centers, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. Barcelona is home to masterpieces of many great architects – the most famous of which is Antoni Gaudí.
Monte Carlo, officially refers to an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco, specifically the ward of Monte Carlo/Spélugues, where the Monte Carlo Casino is located. Monaco has four traditional quarters - from west to east they are: Fontvieille (the newest), Monaco-Ville (the oldest), La Condamine, and Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo (literally "Mount Charles") is situated on a prominent escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera. Near the western end of the quarter is the world-famous Place du Casino, the gambling center which has made Monte Carlo "an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth". It is also the location of the Hôtel de Paris, the Café de Paris, and the Salle Garnier (the casino theatre which is the home of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo).
Civitavecchia is a town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Rome in the central Italian region of Lazio. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, the name ''Civitavecchia'' means "ancient town". The modern city was built over a pre-existing Etruscan settlement. The massive Forte Michelangelo was first commissioned from Donato Bramante by Pope Julius II, to defend the port of Rome. The upper part of the "maschio" tower, however, was designed by Michelangelo, whose name is generally applied to the fortress. North of the city at Ficoncella are the Terme Taurine baths frequented by Romans and still popular with the Civitavecchiesi. The modern name stems from the common fig plants among the various pools. And also next to the town is the location of the cruise ship docks. All major cruise lines start and end their cruises at this location, and others stop for shore excursion days that allow guests to see Rome and Vatican sights, which are ninety minutes away.