Sunshine in the Canaries

Resort: Sunshine in the Canaries
Operator: Saga
Destination: Canary Islands
Price From: £2588.00

Unravel the mysteries of the Canary Islands

For a Canary Island cruise with a twist, join us for this crime-themed voyage which also gives you the chance to tour the bodegas of Portugals wine capital, Oporto. From hiking through primeval forests and trekking around volcanoes, to whale-spotting catamaran trips, you can discover a dramatically different side to this archipelago as you explore four of its sun-drenched subtropical gems, including the smallest El Hierro, and the largest, Tenerife. It would be a crime to miss out!

Saga price includes…

  • All meals on board, including 24-hour room service
  • Selected drinks#
  • All on-board gratuities
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Welcome cocktail party and Captains dinner
  • All port taxes and visas
  • UK mainland travel service to and from Southampton

 

Itinerary

Southampton

Embark Saga Sapphire.

Depart 1600.

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

FactFile

Population

253,651 (estimate)

Language

English

Currency

British Pounds Sterling

Time Difference

N/A

Climate

Southampton experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers. Its sheltered location makes it one of the UK’s sunniest cities.

Ship berths at

Southampton Cruise Terminal

Distance from Centre

300 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

Motor vehicles can pick up and drop off passengers immediately outside the Terminal Building.

Useful Information

Shopping

The city’s main shopping mall is the West Quay Shopping Centre, but there are many other shopping streets in the town centre.

Shopping Opening Hours

The West Quay Shopping Centre is open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.

Post Office

The main Post Office is at 32-34 Above Bar Street.

Tourist Office

There are Tourist Information Points at the Novotel Hotel on 1 West Quay Road, and also at the SeaCity Museum.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber’s number.

Emergency Services

Dial 999.

Banks

All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, with 24-hour ATMs.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Funchal

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

The floral isle is cloaked in subtropical foliage all year round, and a ramble along the islands man-made levada trails is a great way to admire the verdant scenery. For a more relaxed approach to exploring you could join a tour that ascends Pico do Arieiro to reveal fabulous views, stops at the pretty village of Santa da Serra and concludes with a tasting of the islands most famous export Madeira wine. Or you could take the opportunity to join a team of marine biologists for a thrilling ride aboard a RIB – rigid inflatable boat – in search of whales and dolphins.

Formed by a volcanic eruption, Madeira lies in the Gulf Stream, about 500 miles due west of Casablanca. Discovered by Portuguese explorer Jo£o Gonalves Zarco in 1419, this beautiful island became part of Portugal’s vast empire and was named for the dense forest which cloaked it – ‘Madeira’ means ‘wood’ in Portuguese. Sugar plantations first brought wealth here, and when King Charles II of England granted an exclusive franchise to sell wine to England and its colonies, many British emigrants were drawn to the capital, Funchal. Today’s travellers come to Madeira for the varied and luxuriant scenery, from mountain slopes covered with vines to picturesque villages and a profusion of wild flowers. The natural beauty of the island has earned it many pseudonyms such as ‘The Floating Garden of the Atlantic’, ‘The Island of Eternal Springtime’ and ‘God’s Botanical Gardens’ and our selection of excursions aim to show you why.

FactFile

Population

105,000 (approximate)

Language

Portuguese

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Mild winters and warm summers

Ship berths at

Molhe da Pontinha

Distance from Centre

Approximately two miles

Distance from gangway to coach

Approximately 250 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

The main shopping area is located in the city centre around the S (Cathedral).

Shopping Opening Hours

Open between 0900-1300 and 1500-1900 Monday to Friday, 1000-1300 on Saturdays.

Post Office

The Post Office is located on Avenida Zarco and is open from 0830-2000 Monday to Friday and 0830-1330 on Saturdays.

Tourist Office

The Tourist Office is located on Avenida Arriaga and is open between 0900-2000 Monday to Friday, and 0900-1800 at weekends and on public holidays.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

Banks are open 0830-1500 on weekdays, and 24-hour ATMs are located around the city centre.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Botanical Gardens and Monte
Enjoy a unique start to your tour by embarking on a 15-minute cable car ride to Monte, a charming hilltop town where you will be greeted by the impressive sight of its church, Our Lady of Monte. Set in a park and constructed in the 18th century on the remains of a 15th-century chapel, it is said to have been built by the first Madeirans born on the island, and every Assumption Day thousands of islanders make a pilgrimage to the church. You can enter the church if it is open. Perhaps take an optional toboggan ride to Livramento, traversing the streets in a wicker toboggan steered by straw-hatted ‘drivers’ (this is at an additional cost). Then visit the Botanical Gardens, home to a profusion of plants and flowers from all over the world which thrive in the island’s temperate climate. See the herbarium, terraces, greenhouses, knot gardens, topiary and cacti and enjoy the fine views. Finally, there will be a visit to a wine lodge for a tasting of the island’s famous wines.

This excursion requires walking approximately two miles, often up steep slopes and over cobbles. There are also around 85 steps in total. You will be driven across many narrow, winding roads with occasional steep drops vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. Floral displays in the gardens will vary from season to season. The additional cost of the optional toboggan ride – approximately …25 if you would like the toboggan to yourself, or …30 for two people sharing – will be added to your on-board account.

 

Cabo Gir£o
Discover the stunning coastal scenery of Madeira from the towering Cabo Gir£o sea cliff on this scenic excursion. After leaving the port area, head west and begin your journey following the coast roads, passing the fishing town of Cmara de Lobos, also known as ‘Sea Wolves’ Lair’. You then ascend into the mountains and pass row upon row of pretty vineyards, followed by scented forests of eucalyptus and pine en route to Cabo Gir£o. This cliff dominates the coast and towers 1,900 feet above the ocean, making it one of the tallest in Europe. From the top you can enjoy truly spectacular views along the unspoilt coastline, out across the Atlantic and down to the vineyards which run almost to the sea’s edge. After taking in the views, return to Funchal, passing Pico dos Barcelos along the way, with its views of the capital. Stop at the Old Blandy Wine Lodge for an included tasting of Madeira wine, famous the world over for centuries, before making your way back to the ship.

There is approximately 100 yards of unavoidable walking on this tour, with around 35 steps in total. There are steps to all the viewpoints: only the wine lodge is accessible to wheelchairs. You will be driven across many narrow, winding roads with occasional steep drops – vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration.

 

Four-Wheel Drive Tour
This fun and exciting four-wheel drive tour takes you both on and off road through some of Madeira’s hidden valleys and mountain roads, and will show you some of the island’s most inspiring sights. Discover beautiful scenery and see the many different types of wild flowers which have earned Madeira its name ‘the floating garden’. Your guide will point out the unique and rare native flora and fauna along the way, as well as the island’s varied wildlife, and there will be a short break for refreshments amid the spectacular surroundings.

While this excursion requires minimal walking, you will be required to cross some rough, uneven ground and you must be agile enough to climb into the vehicle unaided. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. The four-wheel drive ride is unsuitable for people with neck, back, hip or knee problems owing to the very bumpy terrain, and these vehicles have no handrails or space to store wheelchairs. The standard of vehicle may vary by make and model, some having steep access steps and no seat belts. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour.

 

Levada Walk
Following a ‘levada’ trail is one of the most enjoyable ways of seeing Madeira. These irrigation channels were created in the 19th century by the Portuguese settlers, who painstakingly carved them out of the rock by hand. Designed to carry fresh water from the north to the drier southern regions of the island, they helped to create many of the lush landscapes that can be seen today. This guided walk will follow the course of ‘levadas’ for over three miles, allowing you to admire the verdant plants, mountain views and green farmland that cover Madeira. You will first be driven to Vale Paraiso, where you set off for your two-hour walk. The first half will be a gentle stroll over fairly level ground, rising to the Camacha area with its great views. Then take a break for refreshments of either coffee or a soft drink, before resuming your trek – the second stretch will take you all the way to Roch£o, where you rejoin the coach for your return journey to the port.

This tour requires walking up to 3£ miles, over uneven terrain with many steps. This tour may be cancelled in the event of bad weather, or if the levadas are undergoing maintenance.

 

Madeira Island Delight
Leaving the quayside, pass through the centre of Funchal before climbing steeply out of town along a winding road that offers spectacular views over the harbour. You pass through the village of Monte, 1,677 feet above sea level, and then continue upwards through eucalyptus and mimosa trees to Terreiro da Luta, which has an elevation of 2,670 feet. As you climb even higher, the views will open out considerably as you cross Poiso Pass and reach the end of the road at the summit of Pico do Aveiro, 5,937 feet above sea level. From this vantage point there are magnificent vistas on a clear day. Leaving the peak behind, you head inland to Ribeiro Frio, where a short stop will be made to view the lovingly maintained grounds of the trout hatchery. Descending through Faial to the village of Santana, famous for its traditional thatched houses, you stop here to visit a vineyard and enjoy a wine-tasting at the Quinta do Fur£o, where lunch will be served. After lunch you drive to Portela Pass, with its magnificent panoramic views over the mountains and down to the sea. Your coach continues down through the fertile Machico Valley, where crops are planted on terraces along the steep mountainside. Once a small fishing village, Machico is now a holiday resort. It is said that the first two settlers landed here: Ana D’Arafet and Robert Machim, after whom the town is named. From Machico you drive back to the pier at Funchal.

This tour involves walking approximately half-a-mile, and ground at photo-stops may be uneven or slippery. Comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended. The visibility from scenic outlooks will depend on the weather. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

 

RIB Adventure
This tour aims to show you whales and dolphins in the sea around Madeira, and is accompanied by a marine biologist and skipper. Before leaving, there will be a short introduction, and then your adventure starts! There will be lookouts on land who will guide your boat towards the marine mammals. The RIBs are fully equipped for observing wild dolphins and whales. On most trips you will have the opportunity to see Short-finned Pilot Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, Atlantic spotted Dolphins and Common Dolphins that will amaze you with their acrobatic moves as they swim alongside the boats. If you are lucky, you may see a Risso’s Dolphin, a Beaked Whale or an Orca, all of which are occasional visitors to Madeira.

Warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy non-slip shoes are required. You may get wet from sea spray. You must be able to climb in and out of the RIB boat unaided. Access to the boat is along a wooden boardwalk that may be wet and slippery, and you will need to walk about 300 yards to and from the pier. The sea can be rough, making the ride very bumpy, so we do not recommend this trip for those with back problems. Each RIB boat has a capacity for 12 passengers. In the event of poor weather, trips may be postponed or cancelled at short notice. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour.

 

Scenic Madeira
Madeira is a beautiful island famous for its floral splendour. This excursion takes you on a relaxing drive through some of its most picturesque areas. Your tour begins with a scenic drive via Poiso Pass to Pico do Arieiro, the third-highest peak in Madeira, for a glimpse of the region’s natural scenery and fabulous views. Continue to Santa da Serra, a pretty village that stands at an altitude of 2,200 feet and is known for its pine, eucalyptus and wild flowers. Pause briefly here for refreshments at the Estalagem Santo da Serra, before continuing to the viewpoint of Cames Pequeno, overlooking the former fishing village of Machico and its harbour. After stopping here for photographs, your tour continues to Funchal, where you visit Blandy’s Wine Lodge for a taste of some of Madeira’s most famous export. During the Age of the Discoveries it became usual for ships sailing to the New World to pick up casks of wine from Madeira, and it was found that fortifying the wine by adding distilled alcohol would preserve it for the long sea voyage. Madeira’s fortified wines soon gained a reputation that survives to this day.

This excursion involves walking approximately 300 yards, partly over cobblestones, with around 40 steps in total. You can avoid some of the steps by remaining on the coach during photo-stops. There are many narrow, winding roads in Madeira with occasional steep drops: vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. A warm jacket is recommended as it will be much cooler at the top of Pico do Arieiro. Unexpected weather conditions could impact on the views seen, and regrettably no alternative routes are possible.

 

Tea for Two at Reid’s by Tukxi
Join one of the oldest Madeiran traditions – tea at Reid’s overlooking the Bay of Funchal. Opened in 1891, the hotel has always had a special place in the history of Madeira. Located on the outskirts of Funchal, perched on a clifftop headland above the bay, Reid’s is set in ten acres of lush semi-tropical gardens, and famous guests over the years have included Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd-George, Roger Moore, Gregory Peck and George Bernard Shaw. You will be picked up at the port in a ‘Tukxi’ – a delightful vehicle adapted from an Italian Piaggio Ape – and driven to Reid’s Hotel, where you have time to relax and take in the unique atmosphere before enjoying tea, scones,sandwiches and cakes on the terrace or in the cocktail bar. Savour the elegance and opulence of days gone by before returning to the port on board your ‘dolce vita’ style Tukxi.

This tour involves minimal walking, but you must be able to get in and out of the Tukxi unaided. Owing to the type of vehicle used, we do not recommend this tour for those with back or neck problems. In keeping with the elegant atmosphere of the hotel, no jeans, T-shirts, shorts, sports shoes or sandals should be worn. Admission to the hotel gardens is not included. The venue for the tea – terrace or cocktail bar – will be decided on the day by the hotel management.Please be aware that this tour requires a minimum and maximum of two passengers per Tukxi to operate.

 

Santa Cruz, La Palma

Arrive 1100. Depart 2200.

Today you step foot on the first Canary Island on your itinerary, La Palma, which is said to be the greenest in the archipelago. You can see more of the lush scenery by taking a tour of the island, which will also reveal the Taburiente Crater, one of the largest erosion volcanoes in the world.

Also known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the beautiful island), La Palma is typified by lush forests of pine, laurel and fern which contrast with the rugged splendour of the gigantic Taburiente crater. The island is dotted with attractive villages, which are a delight to discover, and the capital Santa Cruz also makes for an interesting day of exploration. Perched on the edge of the volcanic crater of La Caldereta, Santa Cruz comfortably blends modern architecture with old colonial buildings. Perhaps visit the fascinating Natural History Museum, stroll around the historic quarters and the Plaza de Espana or travel a few miles outside the city to the exquisite Church of Our Lady. If you enjoy shopping, you can find reasonably priced silver jewellery, leather goods and beautifully embroidered clothes, tablecloths and napkins, a speciality of the Canary Islands.

FactFile

Population

87,000 (approximate)

Language

Spanish

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Warm and sunny

Ship berths at

Santa Cruz, La Palma

Distance from Centre

350 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

50 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

Shops are located on O’Daly Street.

Shopping Opening Hours

Open Monday to Saturday from 0900-1300 and 1600-2000.

Post Office

The main Post Office is located at the city entrance.

Tourist Office

Located next to the port terminal building.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

Banks are open from 0830-1400 on weekdays. 24-hour ATMs are located around the town centre.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

La Hacienda and Silk Museum
Sit back, relax and enjoy the lush scenery as you travel along mountain roads, passing vineyards and banana plantations en route to the old town of El Paso. Here, a short stroll takes you to the unique Silk Museum where you can witness silk being weaved by a 500-year-old process. This is the only place in Europe where this method is still used. Scarves made from local silk, and a pair of shoes crafted by Manolo Blahnik, the famous Spanish designer, are on display. Afterwards, it is time to visit the beautifully restored 17th-century sugar estate, now the Hotel Hacienda de Abajo. Surrounded by rich vegetation and botanical gardens, the old manor house displays a varied selection of paintings, furniture and porcelain, in addition to a large collection of tapestries. Your guide will take you on a tour of the main rooms, and afterwards tea and pastries will be served, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. On your return journey to Santa Cruz, a short photo-stop will be made at La Glorieta Square, allowing you to view the stunning mosaics by local artist Luis Morera.

Visiting the Silk Museum and Hacienda involves walking several hundred yards with the possibility of a few steps. You should also be prepared to spend periods of several minutes at a time standing while the guide gives a commentary.

 

Los Tilos Forest Walk
Walk through Los Tilos Forest, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve home to a profusion of ferns, trees and other indigenous species. The tour begins with a short panoramic drive up into the hills to Mirador de la Concepcion, a spectacular vantage point with views over the city. From here it is a 50-minute drive to Los Tilos, which literally translated means ‘laurel forest’. You then set out on a one-mile walk through this wonderful forest of ancient laurels, lime trees and giant ferns. You will be accompanied throughout by a botanical guide, who will identify specimens and explain points of interest along the way. Emerging from Los Tilos, continue your walk along a beautiful stretch of coast to San Andres y Sauces, and here you will stop to rest and perhaps enjoy a cold beer, a cup of tea or a soft drink, before returning to your ship by coach.

This tour involves a total distance of two-and-a-half miles, including walking up steep inclines and over uneven surfaces. Walking in San Andres y Sauces is over cobbled streets and requires many steps. Good walking shoes and a walking pole (supplied on the gangway as you leave the ship) are recommended. Parts of the forest walkway have a steep drop on one side, protected only by a wooden fence.

 

Off the Beaten Track Adventure
Leaving the pier, head towards the hills of Las Breas, crossing thick vegetation and looking over Cumbre Nueva, the island’s main mountain range. Heading into Cumbre Nueva, continue across the National Park towards the Refugio del Pilar, until you reach the Mirador del Jable viewpoint where you stop to observe the Aridane Valley, the Caldera del Tabuiente and Cumbre Nueva hills. Continuing through volcanic landscapes and off-road tracks, pause at the San Juan volcanic area, where you will be able to see a remarkable lava river before crossing a large area of Canary Island pine. Make a short stop at a picnic area to enjoy a typical traditional snack before continuing to the town of Fuencaliente, where the San Antonio and Teneguia volcanoes are located. Your return journey back to the ship will be along normal roads.

Please note that the tour route is bumpy in places and that seat belts should be worn at all times. This tour is not recommended for those with back, neck or hip problems. Although there is minimal walking on this tour, participants must be able to get on and off the 4×4 bus, which has five high steps, unaided. In case of rain or very bad weather, the picnic will be eaten at a local restaurant and not in the open.

 

Scenic La Palma
Take in the highlights of La Palma on a scenic drive around the island, beginning in the capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma. From here you continue to the Mirador de la Concepcion, stopping for photos at this wonderful viewpoint before continuing to the Caldera de Taburiente, one of the largest extinct volcanic craters in the world. It is more than five miles in diameter and in places over 5,000 feet deep. Pause for photographs before stopping at the Balcon de Taburiente Caf for refrehments. From here, your coach takes you through the western part of La Palma to Los Llanos de Aridane, the largest town on the island, which has a population of over 20,000. Enjoy wonderful views of Los Llanos, picturesquely surrounded by cacti and banana plantations, before returning to your ship via the town of El Paso.

This excursion requires just a little walking at the photo and refreshment stops. There are eight steps at Concepcion viewpoint and ten steps at the refreshment venue, where the public conveniences are situated. A considerable amount of the travelling is along narrow, winding roads, sometimes with a sheer drop on one side: vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. A warm jacket is highly recommended as it can be cold and windy at the Taburiente Crater. Views will depend on the weather.

 

Star Gazing in La Palma
La Palma has one of the world’s clearest skies for observing stars, so it should come as no surprise that the largest telescope in the world is on La Palma, chosen on account of the darkness and quality of its night skies. This tour will set off in the evening, just when nightfall is approaching. From the harbour, your coach takes you to the Pilar viewpoint, about 3,300 feet above sea level, which was built especially for observing the night sky. Here a specialist guide will set up two telescopes for our group to admire the stars and planets. The observation activity will take approximately two hours. Using a laser pointer, your guide will tell you about the stars and show you where everything is situated. A cup of hot chocolate will be served during the course of the evening.

Minimal walking is involved. We recommend that warm clothes are worn, as temperatures may be low.

 

Volcano and Wine
This tour begins with a visit to the pretty church of Our Lady of the Snows. Here you can view the elaborately decorated images of the patron saint of La Palma, before continuing on to the Mirador de la Concepcin, where you can savour magnificent vistas across the town and east coast. Drive on through Brena Alta to Fuencaliente where you stop at the village of Mazo to visit the famous ceramics workshop and museum, ‘El Molino’. Upon arrival at the Volcano San Antonio, you may wish to partake in an optional walk to the volcano rim (weather permitting). Your tour then continues to the Bodegas Carballo, where you can enjoy sampling the local wines – with an opportunity to purchase some bottles – before returning to the ship.

This excursion requires a £-mile walk at the volcano. This walk is exposed and will not be possible in high winds. There is also a walk of approximately 165 yards each way to the ceramic workshop, up a steep path, with around 30 steps.

 

Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

The largest of the Canaries, Tenerife has plenty to keep you occupied. Mount Teide volcano, Spains highest peak, offers the chance to hike amid dramatic scenery, and the waters surrounding the island give you the opportunity to see whales and other marine life on a leisurely catamaran trip. Or, in keeping with the crime theme, you could visit Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast to see where Agatha Christie completed The Mystery of the Blue Train while convalescing on the island.

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a beautiful and scenic island which enjoys year-round sunshine and is dominated by Mount Teide. The mountain range runs through the centre of the island, with fertile valleys on the northern side. In the central part of the range is the gigantic natural crater of the Caadas del Teide, about 14 miles in diameter. Santa Cruz, the island’s pretty capital, was originally a small fishing village but has now grown into a modern city, and also contains 16th-century civic buildings and ornate private mansions. Near the pier is the Santa Cruz Palmetum, a Botanical Garden covering an area of 29 acres, specialising in palms.

FactFile

Population

900,000 (approximate) in Tenerife

Language

Spanish

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Mild winters and hot summers

Ship berths at

Muelle Sur

Distance from Centre

mile

Distance from gangway to coach

There may be a 20-yard walk from the gangway to the coaches.

Useful Information

Shopping

There are shops along Calle Castillo and Calle del Pilar.

Shopping Opening Hours

Shops are usually open between 0900-1300 and 1600-2000.

Post Office

The Post Office on Plaza Espaa is open 0900-1400 weekdays and 0900-1300 on Saturdays.

Tourist Office

There is a Tourist Office on Plaza Espaa which is open from 0900-1400 Monday to Friday.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

A bank is situated on Plaza Candelaria and is open 0830-1400 Monday to Friday.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Gardens of the Valley
The abundant colour and sheer variety of plants, flowers and vegetation that thrive in the Canary Islands is the focus of this delightful excursion. First take a drive along the island’s main highway to Puerto de la Cruz, an old colonial town on the north coast. The first garden you visit is the Jardin Botanico, which was founded by a royal decree of King Charles III of Spain in 1788. He wanted to create a nursery where plants, shrubs and flowers brought by the Conquistadors from the New World could acclimatise to Spanish soil. Many of the plants here are the original specimens, delivered shortly after the opening of the garden. The centrepiece is a huge South American fig tree whose enormous branches and roots have created an outlandish treehouse. From the Jardin Botanico it is a short drive to the Risco Bello Garden. A delightful contrast, this is a water garden with lakes, a grotto, waterfall and Japanese bridge. Your final visit is to the Orchid Gardens of Sitio Litre, which have had many distinguished visitors including the famous crime writer Agatha Christie. These tranquil gardens are bursting with colour and have the largest collection of orchids in the Canary Islands. You will have time here to enjoy tea and coffee with pastries and to browse in the shop before the return drive to Santa Cruz.

This tour involves walking a distance of approximately one mile, some of which is over uneven ground. There are also around 30 steep steps. The journey to Puerto de la Cruz should take around 45 minutes each way.

 

La Laguna and Tasting
Heading north from the port, you will reach La Laguna, Tenerife’s former capital, which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Here you start your walk, passing the Sanctuario del Cristo, a 17th-century Franciscan convent. Head next to the Calle Obispo Rey, a beautiful street lined with noble 18th-century buildings with impressive faades. Returning to your coach, leave La Laguna for Tacoronte, a fertile agricultural area and the island’s wine capital. Here you stop at a local bodega, an old wine cellar, where, surrounded by barrels, with hams and cheeses hanging from the ceiling, you taste the delicious local wine, accompanied by tasty Canarian delicacies.

You should expect to walk up to £-mile in La Laguna, most of which will be along cobbled streets, with the occasional step or kerb to negotiate. There is minimal walking at the bodega, although you may need to remain standing for around ten minutes. Casual clothes, comfortable shoes and sunscreen are recommended.

 

Mercedes and La Laguna
After departing the busy harbour of Santa Cruz, enjoy a drive along Maritime Avenue to the charming fishing
village of San Andr s, one of the island’s oldest settlements dating from 1497. The village is renowned for its stunning golden beach, Las Teresitas, which was partially man-made using 216,000 tons of sand imported from the former Spanish Sahara. Pause for photographs here, before driving on to El Bailadero, the highest point of this area, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of a wild landscape. After passing through a tunnel, you then reach the other side of the Anaga Mountains and the hidden village of Taganana, where you stop to sample some local wine and cheese. Suitably refreshed, continue through the living museum of Mercedes Forest to Pico del Ingles, Mirador del Carmen and Cantera: all offer outstanding views of the wild countryside and the northern coast. You return to Santa Cruz via La Laguna, perhaps pausing to visit the 18th-century ‘Iglesia del Cristo’ (Christ Church) along the way.

There is relatively little walking on this excursion: around 500 yards, with a steep slope between the refreshment venue and the coach. The journey through the Anaga Mountains involves travelling along steep, winding roads – vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. Access to the church interior may be restricted in the unlikely event of our visit clashing with a religious service.

 

Mount Teide
Discover Tenerife’s most striking natural feature, Mount Teide volcano. Rising to a height of 12,000 feet, it is the highest peak in Spanish territory and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Your excursion begins with a drive towards the old colonial capital of La Laguna, the cultural and religious capital of Tenerife, situated in the Aguere Valley amidst beautiful surroundings. From La Laguna, journey south along the base of the mountain range, through pine forests and foothills to Teide National Park. Declared a national park in 1954, the park includes an enormous volcanic crater which is over 29 miles in circumference. The park is situated at an altitude of over one mile above sea level: in winter, snow and gale force winds often close roads through it. During the summer months this arid landscape, which gives visitors the impression of having walked onto the set of a western movie, can reach temperatures of over 100£F. At the heart of the crater you enter the National Parador Visitors’ Centre, and stand in the shadows of the majestic Roques de Garca. On your return journey to Santa Cruz there will be several photo stops where you can savour the breath-taking scenery.

This excursion involves approximately 550 yards of walking, over some uneven surfaces, and a considerable amount of standing; any additional walking will be at your own discretion, and may well be partly over uneven ground and cobblestones. A warm jacket and/or layered clothing is highly recommended, as it can be cold and windy in Mount Teide National Park.

 

Mount Teide Hiking Tour
In 1954, Las Caadas del Teide was declared a National Park of Spain. It is the largest of all the Canary Islands National Parks and covers an area of about 47,000 acres. It is one of Spain’s most visited National Parks and also one of its most spectacular. Journey to around 7,500 feet above sea level through the Esperanza Forest, one of the most attractive places on the island. The cool forests of eucalyptus vegetation make way for occasional glimpses of Mount Teide. Your scenic drive will next take you to the National Park of Las Caadas, an enormous crater from which emerges the majestic cone of Mount Teide. Begin your hike at the Mirador de Los Tajinastes in the the beautiful and rugged Ucanca Valley. Enjoy the flora and fauna of this picturesque part of the island as your guide leads you along the park trails. Your hike will end near the Hotel Parador National, where you stop to relax and enjoy refreshments before joining the coach back to the port.

This tour is only suitable for those in good physical condition. The hike is anticipated to last approximately 2£ hours and involves some gentle inclines. Wear a warm jacket or warm layered clothing, and footwear suitable for hiking.

 

Northern Delights
After leaving the busy harbour of Santa Cruz, enjoy a drive along Maritime Avenue to the charming fishing village of San Andr s, one of the island’s oldest settlements, dating from 1497. The village is renowned for its stunning golden beach, Las Teresitas, which was made partly from 238,000 tons of sand imported from the former Spanish Sahara. Pause for photographs here before driving on to El Bailadero, the highest point in this area, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of a wild landscape. Through a tunnel you then reach the other side of the Anaga Mountains and the hidden village of Taganana, where you stop to sample some local wine and cheese. Once refreshed, co

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