At dawn, National Geographic Explorer slipped into the historic port of Malaga. First settled by Phoenician traders, it is one of the oldest continuously habited cities in Europe and was the base of our activities for the day.

Those bound for the Caminito del Rey walkway soon found themselves on the mountain paths and suspended walkways in the dramatic El Chorro Canyon. Stretching for five miles, the pathway was constructed in the 1900s to provide access to a newly built dam, but by the 21st century had fallen into disrepair. After an extensive renovation, it was reopened as a heritage trail in 2015.

Other guests headed for Rhonda, an even older town than Malaga. Perched on a high plateau, the old town is accessed by a stunning bridge that leads to one of Spain’s oldest bullrings and traditional Moorish buildings.

Those opting to stay in Malaga were treated to a tour of the old town and its beautiful cathedral. After exploring its rich art collection and seeing the Roman ruins at the heart of the city, guests explored the Picasso Museum where some of the artist’s greatest works are displayed.

Even after departing Malaga, the day wasn’t done. As we sailed west, the setting sun illuminated the historic rock of Gibraltar as we passed by and wished adiós to the Mediterranean.