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12 must-see sights in southern Spain

Spain cruise vactions are jam-packed with amazing destinations and cultural experiences, not to mention incredible food and drink. Here are some sights you should visit when cruising the south.

Spain cruises present an amazing opportunity to hop from one Mediterranean gem to the next in comfort and luxury – and vacations at sea with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) are no exception.

The popular brand has a wide range of exciting European itineraries to choose from, including cruises to Spain and Portugal.

NCL’s sailing Europe: Italy, France, Spain & Portugal onboard Norwegian Gem, for instance, whisks travelers to a host of fabulous continental highlights on a 12-day voyage.

Not only will there be lots to see and do ashore on a Spain cruise but there will also be plenty to keep you occupied onboard. Feast in Norwegian Gem’s multiple dining venues (including specialty restaurants Cagney’s Steakhouse, La Cucina and Le Bistro), submit to wellness magic at the spa and fitness center, get the cogs whirring at the casino, relax in the ship’s numerous bars and lounges and be entertained with live performances and comedy shows.

What’s more, NCL passengers on cruises to Spain can upgrade and benefit from the Free at Sea package, featuring Premium Beverages (a wide selection of soft drinks, spirits, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer) and specialty dining. You’ll also get Wi-Fi and excursion discounts (US$50 per stateroom, per port of call) while guests three and four in the stateroom pay only the applicable tax for their cruise on select sailings.

But back to the Mediterranean marvels. Here are some of the must-see sights to check out when you’re on an NCL cruise to Spain and the majesty of the south.


Towers & tanning

Norwegian Gem cruises to Spain and Portugal (as well as Saint Tropez, France) and its first Spanish destination is Cádiz [above]. Although many visitors use as it a jumping-off point for Seville, the port of Cádiz – a vibrant coastal city known for its rich history, beautiful beaches and lively atmosphere – is impressive in its own right.

These are the top three things you should visit on a Spain cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line:

Torre Tavira: Climb the Torre Tavira, the highest watchtower in the city, for panoramic views of Cádiz. The tower also houses a camera obscura that provides a unique perspective of the surroundings.

Playa de la Victoria: Spend a day at Playa de la Victoria, one of the most popular and longest urban beaches in Europe. Laze on the sandy shores, take a dip in the sea and indulge in beachside restaurants and bars.

Cádiz Cathedral: This impressive Baroque cathedral is a symbol of the city and offers fabulous views from its tower. Admire its stunning architecture and visit the crypt, where the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla is buried.


Palaces & perusing

From Cadiz, you can head to nearby Seville [below right & above], whether on an NCL Spain cruise shore excursion or on your own. The Spanish city is renowned for its rich history, exciting culture and architectural marvels. Here are three such gems:

Plaza de España: Located in the expansive Maria Luisa Park, this grand square is a remarkable example of Renaissance Revival architecture. Take a leisurely stroll around the plaza and admire the tiled alcoves representing different provinces of Spain.

Alcázar of Seville: The stunning royal palace is a blend of Moorish and Christian architecture. Explore its lush gardens, intricate tilework and beautiful courtyards, including the famous Patio de las Doncellas.

Seville Cathedral: An immense Gothic cathedral, this building is the largest cathedral in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss the iconic Giralda Tower which offers gorgeous views of the city.


Sugar & sanctuaries

Motril is your final southern Spain cruise port of call before Norwegian Gem [above, left] wends its way to the island of Ibiza and then north to Barcelona.

A small coastal town also located in Granada, Motril offers a relaxing coastal ambiance, natural beauty and opportunities to immerse yourself in local culture. Why not give these three top attractions a try on your cruise to Spain?

Ron Montero Distillery: If you’re interested in spirits, visit the Ron Montero Distillery, where you can learn about the production process of traditional rum. Take a guided tour and sample different types of rum produced locally.

Sugar Museum: Learn about the history of sugar production in the region at the interesting Museo Preindustrial de la Caña de Azúcar. Discover the process of sugar cane cultivation and production through exhibits and artifacts.

Charca de Suárez: Explore Charca de Suárez, a natural lagoon and bird sanctuary. It is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts and offers a peaceful escape surrounded by nature.


Caves & cable cars

OK technically, Gibraltar isn’t Spain at all, it’s a British Overseas Territory, but given its position at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula and the highlights one can visit on an NCL cruise to Spain there, we’ve decided to include it in our list anyway.

Small but mighty, Gibraltar [above] offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty and cultural attractions. These top sights will ensure you get the most out of your trip:

The Rock of Gibraltar: The iconic Rock is the main attraction in Gibraltar. Take a cable car ride to the top for breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including Spain and the Strait of Gibraltar.

St. Michael’s Cave: Located within the Rock of Gibraltar, St. Michael’s Cave is a natural limestone cavern with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. It has been used for various events and concerts over the years.

Great Siege Tunnels: Visit the Great Siege Tunnels, a network of tunnels that were carved out of the rock during the Great Siege of Gibraltar in the late 18th century. They provide fascinating insights into the territory’s military history.

Set Sail

Europe: Italy, France, Spain & Portugal with NCL

Duration: 12 nights

Where: Bilbao, Spain | Lisbon, Portugal | Portimão, Portugal | Seville (Cadiz), Spain | Gibraltar | Motril, Spain | Ibiza, Spain | Palma, Majorca, Spain | Barcelona, Spain | Saint-Tropez, France | La Spezia, Italy | Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

Ship: Norwegian Gem


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Published 06.09.23