Magic of Spain
As its name suggests, this à la carte eatery specialises in the likes of marbled steaks and meaty lobster tails. You’ve also got other meat and fish options, as well as plenty to satisfy a vegetarian palate. You’ll pay a cover charge to eat dinner here.
Marella Discovery 2’s main eatery is a big, stylish venue, finished in the colours of the sand and the sea. Daytime meals here come with a side-order of sea views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, and a grand double staircase leads up to a separate eatery.
Festival food stalls and iconic British beach huts provided the inspiration for this grab ‘n’ go eatery. This means you can expect to pick up things like bacon butties for breakfast, and sweet chilli chicken wings, mezze salads and focaccia sandwiches in the afternoon.
Portimao is full of fantastic seafood restaurants and has one of Portugal’s best shopping scenes. As for beaches, they don’t come prettier than neighbouring Praia daRocha.…Time in port: 08:00 - 18:00 | Tender to shore
The windswept cliffs of the Sagres Peninsula by any other name would be World’s End – or at least that’s what they thought in the 15th century. Until Henry the Navigator began exploring, it was thought the ocean horizon was the edge of the earth. And the first stop on this trip is the 16th-century, cliff-top fortress where Henry planned his adventures. Back then, the fort was his training school for the sailing elite. Next you’ll head to the Cape of St Vincent where Lord Nelson and Sir Francis Drake both battled the Spanish during their naval careers. From here you can see miles of bright blue sea and the rugged cliffs of the coastline - it’s nothing short of spectacular. And the final photo-stop of the day comes in Lagos, which is regarded as one of the "must see" towns of the Algarve due to its rustic charm and nine beautiful beaches. Here you’ll visit the building where the first ever slave market was held.
The Algarve’s whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and boat-filled harbours feature on many a postcard. And on this tour you get to see them for yourself as you explore two of the fishing villages freckling the coast. First there’s Ferragudo. With its beautiful bay and waterfront cafés, this tiny town’s still holding tight to tradition. Next up is Alvor with its old quay where fishermen still bring in their catches. Finally, you'll head back via a stop in Praia da Rocha with its famous sandstone cliffs and sandy beaches. Here you’ll stop for a drink at the 16th Century cliff-top fortress.
Dirt tracks. Mountain roads. Dusty river beds. You’ll leave no path un-travelled on this off-road adventure. Your day begins when you climb into a sturdy 4x4 and set off through the Algarve’s countryside. Race through peaceful valleys. Trundle along narrow village streets. And meander up tiny twisting roads, admiring the scenery as you go. You’ll pass orchards of almond trees, lemon groves, fruit fields and farms, so there’s plenty to fill your camera. Afterwards you’ll stop in one of the towns to learn how the local honey and firewater – ‘medronho’ – are made.
Portugal’s electric capital stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Madrid and Barcelona. You’ll find clusters of cocktail lounges in the Bairro Alto neighbourhood.…Time in port: 08:00 - 16:00
If you want to enjoy Lisbon’s sights from the comfort of a coach, this is the trip for you. It’s a full sightseeing tour that doesn’t involve any legwork. First up is the Belem Tower, a Medieval turret that’s become a symbol of Portugal. Perched on the banks of the Tagus River, its fairytale looks disguise its original role as a fort. Moving on, you’ll stop for photos at the Discoveries Monument, created in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. Next, you’ll head for the spectacular Jeronimos Monastery, next, where you can capture its beautiful exteriors on camera. From here, your journey will take you past the manicured Edward VII Park and the tree-shaded Avenida da Liberdade, before you stop for a breather at the fountain-speckled Rossio Square. The final stop of the day is the enormous riverside plaza, Comercio Square. Check out its beautiful arcades, triumphal arch and statue of King Jose I before you head back to ship.
If you make only one trip from Lisbon, Sintra should be top of your list. Portuguese royalty and English nobility have long had a love affair with the place, and the thick forests and surrealist architecture are a real contrast from urban Lisbon. Your first stop is Cascais, a traditional fishing port and a bustling holiday resort. You’ll stop briefly to take some photos, before carrying on to Sintra. Take a look at the Sintra National Palace, the summer home of the Kings of Portugal for six centuries. Then, wander round the ceramic and embroidery shops that you’ll find dotted here and there. Or just pick a pretty pavement café and enjoy a cool drink in the hot sun.
This one will appeal to the romantic in you. Known as the wedding city, Obidos has got a heart-warming past. It was freed from Moorish domination back in 1148, after which the first king of Portugal embarked on a mammoth restoration project. Towers were rebuilt, the little white houses were refurbished and soon the whole place was transformed. It certainly impressed King Dinis when he visited in 1282. He presented it to his new wife, Queen Isabel, as a wedding gift. And in the centuries that followed, countless other monarchs did the same. Today, it’s one of the prettiest towns in Portugal. Its chunky Medieval walls are topped off with towers and when you step inside, you feel as if time stopped ticking centuries ago. Ancient narrow streets are lined with white-washed houses. Bougainvillea and honeysuckle drench the place in colour and scent. And tiny little shops sell all sorts of traditional crafts. Some lovely churches and chapels line your path but the real must-see is the castle. From the top, the view is phenomenal. Think proud hills and sweeping valleys freckled with the occasional windmill. We’ll take you on a guided walking tour of this romantic city, then you’ll get some free time to explore for yourself. You’ll soon see that as wedding gifts go, Obidos takes some beating.
From its impressive harbour to its streets packed with Moorish relics, Cadiz is a great introduction to Spain. One minute you can be admiring medieval walls, the next…Time in port: 10:00 - 19:00
On this trip, you’ll get to explore photogenic Cadiz, which is thought to be Europe’s oldest city. Kick things off with a short drive along the coast making a stop at Genoves Park. Stroll through the well-groomed gardens to Caleta Bay where things might look familiar. This was one of the filming locations from the James Bond blockbuster, ‘Die Another Day’. Back on the coach, you’ll arrive in the old town, called Plaza San Juan de Dios, where you’ll set off on another walking tour – this time of the city. Your guide will lead you through narrow, cobbled streets, pointing out 18th-century houses and shops, and giving you the background on sights like the Town Hall and the Cathedral. The latter dominates the entire town with its huge gold dome and baroque façade. Later, you’ll cross the busy squares of Plaza San Antonio, Plaza Mina and Plaza España, before emerging in Plaza de Las Flores, where you’ll get a small amount of free time.
The picturesque city of Cadiz is said to be the oldest in Europe, and you’ll get a whistle-stop tour of its highlights on this trip - with a few photo stops thrown in the mix. Setting off you’ll pass the town hall, a neoclassical building that was completed back in 1861. Nearby there’s also Plaza España and a couple of the towns best parks, – Park Alameda and Park Genoves – full of well-tended gardens. Following the coast, we’ll take a photo stop near Playa Caleta at Castillo Santa Catalina – an imposing, 17th-century castle. Your guide will fill you in on its history, before you’re whisked to the city’s impressive cathedral. Here, you can take some photographs of its Baroque exteriors and huge gold dome, or stop for some Spanish coffee at one of the pavement cafés that surround it. Once you’re back on the coach, there’ll be one last photo stop, where you can soak up some spectacular sea views before heading back to the port.
This driving tour will introduce you to a couple of Andalucía’s cities – ancient Cadiz, which is said to be Europe’s oldest, and pretty Jerez, which is known all over Europe for its wine bodegas. The trip gets off to a start with a panoramic drive around Cadiz’s old quarter. You’ll circle the spindly, cobbled streets, and the vast squares, so be sure to have your cameras at the ready. We'll pass the 18th-century baroque cathedral, Plaza España - where a famous monument of the Spanish Parliament stands - before making our way to Alameda Apodaca, the city’s public gardens, From here, your coach will snake inland through the green Andalucían countryside. You’ll start to see the vineyards as you reach your destination – a wine cellar in Jerez de la Frontera. Here, you’ll get to taste the region’s famous sherry wine, and learn all about the making process behind the drink.
Set on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol, Malaga is a Moorish delight. During the Arab occupation of Spain, the city was the principal port of the Moorish kingdom of Granada.…Time in port: 08:00 - 17:00
Explore postcard-pretty Mijas, with its whitewashed houses perched high above Fuengirola and Mijas Costa. This place offers up spectacular views of the coast and the mountains. And its web of cobbled streets overflows with geraniums, red tile roofs and archways. It goes without saying, the village has retained much of its charm and quaint traditions, one of the most unusual being the donkey-taxis! You’ll get plenty of time to wander around, browsing the craft shops and just enjoying all that lovely scenery.
Discover Malaga, capital city of the Costa del Sol and one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. It’s a city full of ancient streets, lovely villas, lush vegetation and last but not least – sunshine! You’ll start your tour with a visit to Gibralfaro, the castle that crowns the hill overlooking the city. A steep path of 150 steps connects the castle and Alcazaba, the famous 15th-century Moorish fort. From here, continue to La Manquita, a beautiful Renaisssance-style cathedral, which you’ll see from the outside. Then you’ll get some free time to browse the shops, go for a stroll and take some pictures before returning back to ship.
Marbella’s well known for its hot climate, beautiful landscape and friendly locals. On this trip, explore the best of this Spanish town. Wander its quaint narrow streets. See the colourful houses decked out with flower-festooned balconies. And browse the tempting craft shops. Have your cameras ready as you take a guided visit to the famous Naranjos Square, the City Hall and the Church of San Jacobo. Then take a drive to the millionaire’s playground that is Puerto Banus. Admire the luxury yachts and pull up a pew in one of the open-air restaurants and bars that cater for an exclusive clientele. Spend your free time, shopping for souvenirs and just strolling around this exclusive slice of Spain. If you’re lucky you might even spot a yacht belonging to the King of Saudi Arabia, a regular visitor here.
A palm-lined promenade packed with waterfront cafés. Whitewashed houses freckled with fuchsia geraniums. World class museums stacked with futuristic attractions. That’s…Time in port: 10:00 - 18:00
As the cultural capital of the Costa Blanca, Alicante comes up trumps in the sights department. Think ancient fortresses, Baroque cathedrals and cute little squares. First on the agenda is Santa Barbara Castle, which holds the crown for being the biggest in the Med. It’s bagged itself a pretty spectacular location, too, set high up on the summit of Mount Benacantil. You’ll have a bit of time to wander around what’s left of it – the walls and turrets are a grab-bag of architectural styles from Gothic to Renaissance. Then it’s on to Alicante’s old quarter for a walking tour. You’ll learn all about the city’s history as you pass by the Town Hall Square and the Cathedral of Alicante, a pretty Baroque number that dates back to the 17th century. Last but not least, it’s on to the Explanada, one of the most beautiful waterfront promenades in Spain. Stroll down the palm-shaded streets or stop off at one of the cafes for a drink before heading back to port.
To most people, Benidorm is the Costa Blanca. It’s been a major player on the holiday scene for a good while now, and after a day here you’ll see why. The city is less than an hour away by coach, and when we arrive, we’ll leave you to explore on your own. Head for the Blue Flag-flying Levante Beach, rated among Europe’s best. Or plump for a bit of people-watching at one of the cafés along the promenade. Lining the beach you’ve got the high-rise hotels that Benidorm’s famous for. The skyline here is all skyscrapers looming in spiky clusters. But behind them, you’ll find the old town. Think cobbled streets, whitewashed little houses and noisy tapas bars. There’s plenty in the way of shops, too, from chic boutiques to market stalls groaning under the weight of souvenirs.
This tour has the perfect recipe – it blends a liberal helping of chocolate with a healthy dose of scenery to create a great day out. Your first stop is the small seaside town of Villajoyosa, and it’s straight to the famous Valor chocolate factory for a guided tour of all things cocoa-based. As well as discovering the secret steps to creating these delicious chocolates, you’ll get to watch a behind-the-scenes video, and taste the finished product. And chocoholics needn’t worry. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving these delicious treats behind, there’s a factory shop where you can stock up on freshly-made goodies. Then it’s down to Villajoyosa port for a bit of free time. Wander along the seafront and you’ll see a row of brightly-painted houses peering out to sea. Legend has it they’re painted like this to help guide the fishermen to shore. It’s back on the bus for the next stop, Altea. It’s a traditional Spanish town where whitewashed houses line the streets up to the Virgin of Consuelo church. You’ll have an hour here to soak up the atmosphere and get up close to this striking blue-roofed church that stands above the town.