Enjoy the CRUISE SALE – Selected sailings with FREE drinks & tips included. (Call for more details & applicable sailings)
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An island that blends the exotic mood of the Caribbean with a hint of home (it was British for over 350 years). Here rum punch and calypso meet afternoon tea and cricket in perfect harmony, and Bridgetown’s Trafalgar Square is older than our own. With over 30 miles of beaches, 3, 000 hours of sunshine a year, welcoming ‘Bajan’ smiles, excellent shopping in the port and flying fish for lunch, Barbados is for many British visitors the quintessential Caribbean island!
At the head of the idyllic island chain of the 30-or-so Grenadines, scenic St Vincent packs into its 18 x 12 miles an extravagant canvas of lush tropical valleys and mountains, home of hummingbird and hibiscus, breadfruit and bamboo, limes and mahogany. In the little capital of Kingstown, the animated markets, dramatic coastal views from historic Fort Charlotte, and luxuriant Botanical Gardens (oldest in the Americas) will detain you – while beyond await Soufriere’s towering volcano and the lovely 60 ft waterfall of Baleine.
The world’s smallest island shared between two nations – its 16 miles square (and more developed) southern part is Dutch and the northern, French – hilly St Maarten in the Windwards is a dual personality setting of absorbing contrasts. Philipsburg, built on a sand bar, is the old capital and still preserves some attractive colonial architecture, though the island’s enticing beaches, excellent restaurants, and shops stocked with duty-free bargains will probably detain you longer!
Adjust to the easygoing pace of St Kitts’ dignified little capital, then check out its imposing cathedral before lingering over the purchase of attractive batiks. Ascending past the lush sugar-cane fields to take in the sweeping views from the 17th century Brimstone Hill Fortress – the ‘Gibraltar of the West Indies’ whose ramparts recall Anglo-French battles fought here long ago.
Since their discovery in the early 15th century, the Portuguese Azores have played an important part in oceanic navigation. They were a logistical point for the discovery of new worlds; a port of call for ships engaged in trade between Europe, America and India; and a place to lay anchor for the galleons bringing the wealth of the Americas back to the old world.
Dominated by ‘the Rock’, a towering 1, 396 ft sentinel that guards the Straits, the Arabs’ Gebel el Tarik or Tarik’s Rock is today simply ‘Gib’. Resolutely British for nearly 300 years, its unique setting unites the oddly familiar – from the helmeted policemen to Marks & Spencer – with an extrovert Mediterranean mood. Test the shops and pubs in Main Street and Irish Town, take a cable-car ride to enjoy the grandstand views to a nearby Africa, and of course make a call on those Barbary apes!
The busy port city of Andalusia, the Spain of gazpacho and paella, flamenco and fiesta, recaptured from the Moors of the 15th century after 800 years of conflict. Enjoy the panorama from Gibralfara Castle, and visit the Moorish Alcazaba fortress, the birthplace of Picasso, and a wine cellar to try the famous local dessert wines. Or travel to Granada, to the glorious Alhambra, whose proud 14th century palaces and exotic gardens are Spain’s finest expression of Moorish art.