|Resort:||Spirit of Discovery|
Cast aside the winter blues
The balmy climes of the Canaries are the perfect antidote to the January doldrums. Join Spirit of Discovery on this voyage visiting four gems in this subtropical island chain to feel the blissful warmth of the winter sun on your skin. Beyond their sandy beaches washed by crystal-clear water, you can discover dramatic volcanic landscapes that shift from sand dunes to volcanic craters and towering mountains cloaked in forests, as well as charming colonial Spanish towns and villages that were founded alongside the discovery of the New World. Hunt down these sights and more on a host of exciting excursions, including a trek through the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Los Tilos Forest on the island of La Palma, and a new 4×4 tour heading off the beaten track through the mountain scenery of Gran Canaria.
In Lanzarote, keen walkers can admire the islands changing scenery on a trek from the highest point, Penas del Chache, through the Valley of 1,000 Palms before heading below ground to explore the haunting caverns of the Green Caves. When youre not out and about exploring, put a swing in your step on board during lively dance classes and show off your new dance moves during fun-filled evenings of live music.
The densely wooded slopes of Madeira have provided a welcome sight to seafarers since 1419 when the Portuguese first discovered it. Cruise in to the capital, Funchal, which has a fine setting in a natural amphitheatre on the south coast. You can set your compass by its 16th-century cathedrals twin towers from here shady lanes and cool squares fan out up the hillside tempting you to explore on foot. If you prefer, you can always see the sights by e-bike, an easier option for exploring this hilly island.
Santa Cruz, La Palma
Banana plantations, fruit orchards and primeval forests carpet La Palma, the greenest of all the Canaries. The diminutive capital of Santa Cruz rests on the slope of a volcanic crater and was once an important trading port between Africa and the Americas. Peep behind its modern facade to uncover a charming old quarter of historic Canarian mansions decorated with fanciful latticework balconies. This is the Santa Cruz once ransacked by French pirate Jambe de Bois better known as Pegleg in 1553. The city was later rebuilt with renewed fortifications, many of which remain today.
Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Tenerife is defined by its volcanic southern shores, a mecca for sun worshippers, and the lush highlands of the north which are divided by the towering Mount Teide, tallest of all Spains peaks the crater has a circumference of nearly 30 miles! Spirit of Discovery will cruise to the compact capital of Santa Cruz, set in the northeast. Its neat grid of streets is easy to explore and its 16th-century buildings, shady boulevards and attractive squares reflect its colonial past. For those in search of some R & R, join us on a visit to the award-winning Oriental Spa Garden in Puerto de la Cruz for the ultimate indulgent experience.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
With half of all Canarians living on Gran Canaria, the capital of Las Palmas has the most electric atmosphere across the archipelago. Its vibrant ambience has drawn parallels with its Latin counterparts thanks to its fantastic beach setting too. Enjoy shopping in big department stores and quirkier boutiques, soak up the sun at one of the many beachfront cafes or explore the small old quarter of Vegueta. Alternatively, explorer this continent in miniature on a thrilling 4×4 tour and discover its northern reaches which encompass picturesque villages and dramatic mountain scenery.
Named after the black volcanic reef that protects the city’s coastline, Arrecife once provided the perfect cover for ships hiding from pirates. Nowadays, the vibrant seafront acts as a gateway for travellers wishing to explore the town or the rest of this intriguing island. The volcanic landscapes of Timanfaya National Park legendary and offer a window into Lanzarotes explosive past. Join an excursion here to see the lava mounds, craters and desolate peaks firsthand or set off on a small group tour by 4×4 to enjoy a different view.
Spirit of Discoverys final stop will reveal the ancient Portuguese capital, from which many Portuguese explorers set off on their seafaring adventures. The Monument to the Discoveries, a 165-feet high sculpture of famous explorers gathered together on the prow of a ship, commemorates them, and you should see it on your approach to the port. To discover more about this golden era, visit the historic Alfama district, easily recognisable by its narrow medieval cobbled streets. The avenues of Baixa offer wonderful shopping, while two UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be found in Belm Jeronimos Monastery and Belm Tower.