The Glorious Canary Islands
|Resort:||Spirit of Discovery|
Follow the sun south
Join Spirit of Discovery on a classic voyage south to the sunny climes of the Canary Islands its not for nothing that the Romans called them the Fortunate Isles thanks to their enviable fine weather all year round. Stop first at the Portuguese island of Madeira whose mountainous sights are yours to behold both day and night during an overnight in port theres even the opportunity to go stargazing! A trio of the most popular Canary Islands await your discovery next: Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. Contrast colonial cities with diverse volcanic interiors which vary from verdant forests to lunar-like landscapes. On your return journey home pause at El Ferrol, scene of fierce battles throughout the ages but now a portal to the lush Spanish province of Galicia. On board, youll be joined by an expert from whom youll be able to learn about the exotic subtropical blooms which decorate this corner of the world. And if youre feeling inspired, there will be a chance to capture the colour and beauty of the region during watercolour classes on board.
Enjoy the mountain views as Spirit of Discovery cruises up to Madeiras enchanting capital which is spread across a natural bowl like a blanket. Berthing almost in the centre of town, Funchals heart is but a step or two away from the ship. An overnight mooring lends itself perfectly for an evening of star gazing. Head up into the mountains, away from the city lights, to observe the northern hemispheres night sky free from light pollution. Imagine what nebulae and star clusters you can spot with help from a local expert guide!
Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Backed by imposing mountain peaks, Tenerifes capital is a cosmopolitan blend of historic edifices and modern architecture. Once an important waypoint for seafarers seeking New World riches, discover 16th-century buildings, shady boulevards punctuated by stout palms and attractive squares lined with pavement cafes. One of the citys newest attractions is the waterfront auditorium, the gleaming white curves of which are hard to miss. For a change of scenery, venture into the Esperanza Forest, a vast expanse of pine forest, before pondering the Pyramids of Gmar. Dating back to no earlier than the 19th century, these stepped collections of lava stone are held together without mortar and have caused much bafflement within the scientific community.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Life truly is a beach in Las Palmas, Gran Canarias vibrant capital which extends on to a peninsula. Combine fine beaches with excellent duty-free shopping and the enchanting old quarter of Vegueta to see for yourself why this is such a popular destination. Or why not use Las Palmas as a base for exploring this continent in miniature? Seek out picturesque villages, dramatic mountain scenery and even sweeping sand dunes.
Laid-back Arrecife unfurls in a line of low-rise buildings along Lanzarotes east coast. Give a nod of appreciation to visionary Csar Manrique for preserving the islands unique volcanic character by campaigning against unsightly skyscrapers and billboards. A celebrated artist and architect, discover Csars creative talents on a visit to his former home and studio. Alternatively, to get closer to the island he so loved, hotfoot it across Timanfayas scorched lava fields in some places the ground is actually hot to touch!
El Ferrol, Spain
El Ferrol is a must for anyone with an interest in maritime history. It has a hydraulic-powered dockyard, an imposing naval fortress and the neoclassical San Felipe Castle. Ferrol is also a gateway to the verdant province of Galicia, known for its fine wine and the holy city of Santiago de Compostela. Discover Galicias answer to Versailles on a visit to the manicured gardens of Pazo de Oca. It is set in the grounds of a 15th-century manor house where youll be moved by beautiful fountains and an artificial lake. Also visit Pazo de Galegos, the former residence of Don Antonio Lopez Ferreiro, who is believed to have discovered the long-lost tomb of St James.