Canary Islands Cruises
While they sit in close proximity to the UK and for a sailing from Southampton, the Canary Islands have a landscape that feels a world away from our own. Otherworldly, lunar almost, the region located a stone’s throw from the coast of Africa serves up year-round sunshine and much more than meets the eye on first impression.
An abundance of sandy beaches scatter the seven main islands that tend to make up Canary Island cruise itineraries, ranging from slices of black volcanic sand to golden, seemingly endless swathes. Hikers ramble amongst wildflowers or with their head in the sky of cloud forests in one of four national parks like La Gomera’s Garojomay National Park or Lanzarote’s ochre-hued Timanfaya. Star spotters search the night skies above La Palma, one of the best stargazing spots on earth, while the Saharan sands the edge Tenerife were made for days involving nothing more than stretches of sunbathing, broken up by seafood suppers and cold cocktails as the sun starts to drop.
Canary Island Cruise Ports of Call, Gran Canaria.
Canary Island Cruise Ports of Call, Lanzarote.
Canary Island Cruise Ports of Call, La Palma.
Canary Island Cruise Ports of Call, Lisbon.
Canary Island Cruise Ports of Call, Maderia.
Canary Island Cruise Ports of Call, Tenerife.
Shake off your package holiday preconceptions; Gran Canaria is a natural beauty long lauded for dramatic landscapes that can go from mountain moonscapes to undulating sands in just a few footsteps. Las Palmas harbour is Gran Canaria’s heart and soul, the sort of place where dinner just tastes better than it ever could at home. A lengthy promenade was made for people-watching on route the the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, the most impressive bit of architecture of the whole archipelago. Less manmade wonders await in its flora and fauna, and in the Maspalomas Natural Dune Reserve, nirvana for sunseekers, romantics and the odd nudist. When the sunsets (something best seen from the sand dunes), the bright lights of Las Palmas beckon. Marble malls and a plethora of restaurants sit in harmony with cobbled streets and pretty courtyards, the warm nights and a tendency for cruise lines to extend into late evenings call and overnight stays making for mealtimes that last for hours.
Lanzarote is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve featuring terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Put simply, the destination quite literally has it all. The island has been around somewhere in the region of 15 million years and parts of it don’t look too dissimilar to how they would have all those years ago. It was born through fiery eruptions and lava fields still dot the land in Lanzarote, the volcanic landscape of its Timanfaya National Park making for an unforgettable shore day. Walk in the shadow of the Montañas del Fuego, or ‘Fire Mountains’, watch geysers come alive and eat meals cooked in cast-iron grill one a hole in the ground, so hot are temperatures just below the surface.
La Palma sits pretty as the most north-westerly of all the Canary Islands, a place where lush laurel forests butt up to volcanic craters, rocky ravines and Atlantic Ocean vistas that seem never-ending. More than 600 miles of footpath spans it all; don’t forget your walking boots. A cruise to La Palma delivers you to the island capital, Santa Cruz, arguably the prettiest of all Canary Island towns with its paintbox condos set against verdant green hills. Spend a while in these historic streets, stopping for lunch in the shade of a 17th century church, before venturing higher into the mountains that flank Santa Cruz for a new view. And come nightfall, don’t forget to look up; La Palma was recently named the first Starlight Reserve on the planet and it is an experience every bit as magical as it sounds in clear skies.
Tenerife is the winter-sun favourite we Brits turn to year-after-year. It’s a failsafe, promising scorching sunshine when we need it most of warmth-starved skin come November or December. Perennially popular, the volcanic island draws millions of visitors each year with a livery harbour front, a whole ocean’s worth of watersports and the fiery volcanic lunarscapes of Mount Teide, Tenerife’s star attraction. Those with families in tow or a need for speed head straight for the twists and turns of Siam Park, home to tens of pulse-pounding attractions including Europe’s tallest water slide. No, it’s fine – you can go first!