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Have you heard of Palamos or Sete?

SmarterTravel

Cruise Editor Erica Silverstein is currently sailing the Mediterranean aboard Windstar’s Wind Surf. If you have any questions about Windstar, the ship in particular, or Mediterranean cruising, please email her at cruise@smartertravel.com.

Have you ever heard of Palamós, Spain, or Sète, France? Not only had I never heard of these towns before I looked at the Windstar itinerary, but it’s quite difficult to find even a brief mention of these places in a guidebook. The two towns were the first ports-of-call the Wind Surf visited, and though they may be lesser-known, they’re certainly enjoyable.

Palamós is located on the Costa Brava, up the coast from Barcelona. Excursions take guests to Girona and the Dalí museum in Figueres, but I chose to explore the city instead. I walked up to the old church, browsed among the shops, and strolled down the walkway that bordered the town’s beach. Other than dine on Spanish food, those are the only activities I believe you can do in Palamós proper.

It was not the most exciting day, but as the first stop on a Mediterranean itinerary, a soft day was essential for those of us still suffering from jet lag. I didn’t have to worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to see all the sights, yet I could enjoy a pleasant few hours off the ship. Many guests took the opportunity to read on the deck in the sunshine or, like me, pamper themselves in the spa.

Today, we’re in Sète, where there’s plenty to do for an entire day without feeling rushed. The half-day wine tasting trip to Montpellier was a popular choice, but again I chose to pass on the tour. I spent the morning wandering through the shopping district and happening on lovely plazas and gardens, such as the Château d’Eau garden with its veterans’ memorial and fountain. In the afternoon, I trekked out the jetty to the lighthouse and climbed a hill for views of the sea, the fort, and a 19th-century cemetery. More adventurous hikers can climb Mont St. Clair, the hill in the center of the city.

One of the highlights was stopping in bakeries on the way back to the ship. There are several exquisite bake shops selling sandwiches, breads, pastries, and other sweets along the main shopping streets. Sure, I’m already overeating onboard, but it’s always worth the calories to indulge in local French pastries!

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