Canary Island Paradise
Marvel at the floral delights of the Canaries
Lanzarote is deeply indebted to conservationist Csar Manrique view his incredible achievements at the Cactus Garden and his former live-in studio which he created around five volcanic lava bubbles!
If youre eagerly awaiting the unfurling of spring and long for the winter to draw to a close, why not join Saga Sapphire on this two-week cruise to the Atlantics subtropical islands, perennial favourites thanks to their glorious climate all year round. Discover the Floral Isle of Madeira and contrast a trio of Canary Islands which all have wonderfully fertile soil in common. See the results in the traditional markets packed with farm-fresh produce, as well as look forward to exploring sunny squares decorated with colourful blooms. Keen gardeners can flex their green fingers on visits to a variety of gardens showcasing tropical and subtropical flora from around the world.
Days spent exploring ashore are balanced with leisurely days at sea which you can spend as you please. Youll be able to broaden your horizons further during enlightening talks from a VIP gardener and practical DIY workshops where you may feel inspired to make a birdhouse for your feathered friends back home.
Also call at the Andalusian city of Cadiz, where youll have the chance to taste seasonal Spanish produce during a tapas workshop, and Lisbon, one of the greenest capitals in Europe.
Cadiz is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in western Europe. In the citys sinuous cobbled streets youll find a wealth of museums, churches and more than 100 watchtowers to explore, the most impressive of which is the 18th-century Torre Tavira. One way to experience the full flavour of the city is on a tapas workshop and bodegas tour.
Arrecife, Las Palmas
Explore the castles of San Gabriel and San Jose that once guarded the natural harbour of Arrecife, Las Palmas, against roving pirates, then dive into the historic heart of the city in the neighbourhood of El Charco. Alternatively, you could visit the Csar Manrique Foundation, where the work of Spanish artists inhabit the walls of Csars studio and home, which in themselves are pieces of land art.
Santa Cruz, Tenerife
The rich volcanic soils of Tenerife support a diverse and lush biosphere. Explore the natural wonders of the Botanical Gardens of Santa Cruz, where plants from Spanish territories were brought to acclimatise before they were shipped to the mainland. Other gardens of interest include the charming and tranquil aquatic gardens of Risco Bello and the Orchid Gardens, which date from 1774.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Enjoy a short stop over on the island of Gran Canaria, described as a continent in miniature because of its varied terrain and flora and fauna. Treat yourself to a short visit to Jardin Botanico Canario, the life work of Swedish-Spanish botanist, Erik Ragnar Svensson.
Enjoy one of the most memorable approaches as you sail into Funchal, the capital of Madeira. This tiny outpost of Portugal is a living botanical garden, with the islands rich volcanic soils supporting a wide variety of flora and fauna and vineyards. A must-visit is Palheiro gardens, which Phaidon included in their book The Gardeners Garden. It is not only famous for their fantastic plants but also for its stunning location, in the hills east of Funchal.
Explore the trendy Alfama district of Lisbon, as you climb the hill to the citys main castle, passing Se Cathedral, the National Pantheon and Saint Anthonys Church. Alternatively, you could relax on the beach, where surfers ride the massive Atlantic swells or join a tour the citys historic districts like a local on the 1930s tram, before tasting a glass of port and a pastel de nata cake a scrummy custard tart.