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Setting sail from Lisbon
The roots of historic Lisbon's fame lie in its strategic position on the edge of the Atlantic and the fact it offers one of the world's greatest natural harbours. No surprise therefore that it became the home of the world's most famous explorers such as Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Built on seven hills, we always find Lisbon to be soulful, captivating and picturesque, with architecture which reflects its status as a great port.
Belem Tower, dating from the 1500s, was both a fortress and the explorers’ departure point. On the façade you will find a stone rhinoceros sculpted into the tower – Europe’s first sight of this extraordinary beast!
Portugal: Leixoes (Porto)
The pretty town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the highlights of the French Basque Country, on a crescent-shaped bay between Biarritz and the Spanish border. The streets of the old town are filled with charming timbered houses, and there are some great restaurants where you can sample Basque cuisine.
Bordeaux sits at the centre of the world's most famous wine region, and is home to a beguiling blend of beautiful buildings, sophisticated gastronomy and high culture. It's a marvellous place to spend some time, whether it's a day sampling wines, an evening at the opera or a night on the tiles.
Pauillac is one of the most important wine producing areas in France, home to prestigious labels including Château Lafite Rothschild, Latour and Mouton Rothschild. The town itself is one of the prettiest in the Médoc, and it’s well worth hiring a bike to explore the idyllic surrounding countryside.
Guernsey: St Peter Port
The island of Guernsey draws visitors south from the British mainland with its more favourable climate and beautiful coastline. The capital, St Peter Port, is a lovely little town of cobbled streets and elegant architecture, and there are also several interesting museums dedicated to the island’s occupation by the Nazis during the Second World War.
Situated on the southern bank of the Seine estuary, Honfleur was once one of France’s most important ports. It was also a favourite location of Monet and the Impressionists, and art lovers may well recognise the elegant Renaissance architecture of the old harbour, the Vieux Bassin.
Arriving in Portsmouth
Perfectly located on a magnificent harbour on the south coast of England, Portsmouth boasts a rich maritime and naval heritage. In addition, it has a glorious sea front, and theatres, art galleries, cathedrals and museums. The new Spinnaker Tower gives you a fine perspective on the area with stunning views from the top, and an interactive introduction to local history, including the Mary Rose wreck and Nelson's Victory. You can visit the house where Charles Dickens was born, and learn more about D-Day and Operation Overlord.
Tailor-make your trip
Our recommended hotel
The Pousada de Lisboa, newly opened in May 2015, has a great location in the heart of the city and an interior to wow you.
Take a day trip from Lisbon
Visit Sintra – Roman and Moorish influences make this magical city with its fairytale palaces and extravagant villas a must.
Where to stay in Portsmouth
Fortitude Cottage, just 50 steps from the water’s edge in the Old Town, is a great B&B. Try to get the Penthouse Room.
Day trips from Portsmouth
Portsmouth is gateway to so many Hampshire gems, but the best must be Chichester, perfect for a day tour.