12 Nights | WESTERN EUROPE ESCAPADE
You will visit the following 10 places:
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.
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated 120 kilometres (75 mi) south-west of London and 30 kilometres (19 mi) north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. It lies at the northernmost point of Southampton Water at the confluence of the River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The local authority is Southampton City Council, which is a unitary authority. Just over a quarter of the jobs available in the city are in the health and education sector. A further 19 per cent are property and other business and the third largest sector is wholesale and retail, which accounts for 16.2 percent. Between 1995 and 2004, the number of jobs in Southampton has increased by 18.5 per cent. Southampton has always been a port, and the docks have long been a major employer in the city. In particular, it is a port for cruise ships; its heyday was the first half of the 20th century, and in particular the inter-war years, when it handled almost half the passenger traffic of the UK. Today it remains home to luxury cruise ships, as well as being the largest freight port on the Channel coast and fourth largest UK port by tonnage, with several container terminals. Unlike some other ports, such as Liverpool, London, and Bristol, where industry and docks have largely moved out of the city centres leaving room for redevelopment, Southampton retains much of its inner-city industry.
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.
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.
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.
Cartagena is a Spanish city and a majornaval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. The metropolitan area of Cartagena, known as Campo de Cartagena, has a population of 409,586 inhabitants. Cartagena has been inhabited for over two millennia, being founded around 227 BC by the Carthaginian Hasdrubal the Fair as Qart Hadasht, the same name as the original city of Carthage. Much of the historical weight of Cartagena in the past goes to its coveted defensive port, one of the most important in the western Mediterranean. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, together with Ferrol in the North. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and is home to a large naval shipyard. The confluence of civilizations as well as its strategic harbour, together with the rise of the local mining industry is manifested by a unique artistic heritage, with a number of landmarks such as the Roman Theatre, the second largest of the Iberian Peninsulaafter the one in Mérida, an abundance of Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine and Moorish remains, and a plethora of Art Nouveaubuildings, a result of the bourgeoisie from the early 20th century. Cartagena is now established as a major cruise ship destination in the Mediterranean and an emerging cultural focus. It is the first of a number of cities that eventually have been named Cartagena, most notably Cartagena de Indias (Cartagena of the Indies) in Colombia.
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.