Gran Canaria to Lisbon - Islands of the Atlantic Expedition Cruise

Gran Canaria to Lisbon - Islands of the Atlantic Expedition Cruise

Gran Canaria to Lisbon - Islands of the Atlantic Expedition Cruise

Gran Canaria to Lisbon - Islands of the Atlantic Expedition Cruise

Travel information 11 days MS Spitsbergen
Departure
March 1, 2023
Price from $ 4,999
$ 3,749
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Check prices and availability Request a quote

Join us on an epic expedition to Madeira and the Canary Islands, from laurel forests and idyllic palm-covered valleys to sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

Varied landscapes and ecosystems

Your expedition starts in Gran Canaria, often called a ‘continent in miniature’ due to its varied landscapes and ecosystems. Explore the capital, Las Palmas, before embarking on your cruise. Enjoy an authentic slice of traditional Canarian life in La Gomera, including their unique whistling language. Discover shimmering natural pools, lava-sculpted rocks, and pine forests in El Hierro before sailing to La Palma, dubbed ‘La Isla Bonita’ (‘The Pretty Island’).

Towering volcanoes, laurel forests

Tenerife is dominated by El Teide, the world’s third-largest volcano. Get ready to take in a unique landscape of craters, volcanic cones, ancient rocks, and streams of petrified lava. Explore Lanzarote’s volcano-sculpted landscape or take it easy on one of its legendary beaches. Madeira is aptly nicknamed ‘Garden of the Atlantic’. Sample exotic fruits and world-famous wines in the capital, Funchal, before venturing farther into the island’s interior.

Golden Sands, historic ports

With Madeira getting all the attention, Porto Santo quietly offers picturesque scenery, gently rolling hills, and miles of undisturbed sandy beaches. Stroll through the small and compact capital or take one of several walks to beautiful viewpoints. Your expedition ends in Lisbon, featuring a historic old-town and nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Gran Canaria to Lisbon - Islands of the Atlantic Expedition Cruise Gran Canaria to Lisbon - Islands of the Atlantic Expedition Cruise
  • Day 1
    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

    The miniature continent

    Estimated time of departure is 7:00 PM

    Gran Canaria is no stranger to curious explorers. The third-largest island of the Canarian archipelago has seen pirates, privateers, and explorers come and go, including Christopher Columbus himself. And over the past few decades, geologists have come to the island in droves to study its volcanic terrain. Now it’s your turn. Discover this ‘continent in miniature’ and see its dramatic mountain terrain.

    Las Palmas is the capital of the island and a treasure trove for history buffs. Feel like you’ve traveled back in time by heading to Vegueta, the city’s Old Town district. Stroll through narrow cobbled streets and alleyways and admire old churches and brightly colored colonial houses. Visit the Cathedral of Santa Ana and its bell tower for panoramic views of the Old Town, the harbor, and beyond.

    Most visitors to Gran Canaria’s come to see the geological wonders a few hours outside the capital. The island’s most distinctive natural feature is the Caldera de Tejeda volcanic basin, in the heart of the mountainous interior. Home to the sacred Roque Bentayga rock formation, this is an excellent area to explore and learn about the islands’ fascinating geological history.

    Once aboard MS Spitsbergen, settle into your cabin before attending a mandatory safety drill. Locate the Science Center, the Explorer Lounge & Bar, the restaurant, and the observation deck. We’re sure you’ll be frequenting these areas. After the welcome dinner, your expedition is underway! It’s a perfect time to sink into an armchair in the Explorer Lounge with a beverage.

    If you feel like extending your cruise, we recommend booking our optional Pre-Program in Las Palmas to further explore this beautiful island. The program includes an overnight stay in Las Palmas and an excursion taking you to the city’s main sights and the impressive Bandama Crater.

    Day 1
    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

    The miniature continent

  • Day 2
    San Sebastián de la Gomera, Spain

    Paradise off the beaten track

    Our first stop is the historic island of La Gomera, the second smallest island of the Canary Islands. Looking for an authentic slice of traditional Canarian life? Experience it in La Gomera.

    Founded in 1487, San Sebastián is the island’s charming capital. Columbus called here before heading to the Americas—so did British and Portuguese pirates seeking to plunder New World fortunes.

    San Sebastián is small enough to explore by foot. Stroll along Calle Real, the main street in the Old Town, for the best the town has to offer. Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asunción is a church worth seeking out. Columbus and his men are said to have prayed at this traditional Baroque-style building before setting sail.

    A leisurely stroll takes you to the 15th-century fortress Torre del Conde, a beautiful and whitewashed stone building in a lovely green space. Head to the intriguing La Gomera Archeological Museum and learn about the island’s first settlers.

    La Gomera’s steep ravines and narrow valleys caused the islanders to develop a unique way of communicating over long distances: a loud whistling called el silbo. Listening to a demonstration of this traditional form of communication on an optional excursion is always a highlight.

    At the top of this almost circular volcanic island sits the jaw-dropping Garajonay National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join an optional excursion that will bring you on a pleasant hike through laurel forests and idyllic palm-covered valleys, along with walks to high-mountain panoramic peaks.

    A spectacular circular path wraps around the island’s perimeter, with trails appropriate for walkers/hikers of all fitness levels. It’s probably best not to do the entire 87 miles of it. A walk to the panoramic views and black sands of Playa la Guancha is a worthy sample.

    Day 2
    San Sebastián de la Gomera, Spain

    Paradise off the beaten track

  • Day 3
    Puerto La Estaca, Spain

    The edge of the Canary Islands

    Only a million years old, El Hierro is the youngest, smallest, and westernmost of the Canary Islands. You’ll feel that sense of remoteness from the moment you set foot on the island. It’s a straight line across the ocean to the Americas from here.

    El Hierro is a typical Canaries island: volcanic, with characteristic dark rocks shaped by eruptions, powerful winds, and landslides. The unique geology of its oceanic volcano in the early stage of shield development led UNESCO to classify it as a World Biosphere Reserve.

    El Hierro has few natural harbors, so most villages are inland. Valverde, the only landlocked capital in the Canaries, is just over four miles away from La Estaca, our port for the day. Valverde is a relaxing small town founded in 1610—much later than any other capital in the Canary Islands. You won’t find traffic lights or fancy shops here, just the easy-going atmosphere of the most traditional capital in the archipelago.

    Walking is the best way to explore El Hierro, by far. Visit the island’s natural highlights on an optional excursion, which are conveniently crisscrossed by a network of marked trails suitable for all fitness levels. Discover shimmering natural pools, lava-sculpted rocks, pine forests, peaceful flower meadows, and twisted trees bent by the force of the elements. By the time we wave goodbye to El Hierro, you’ll appreciate how beautiful this island really is.

    Day 3
    Puerto La Estaca, Spain

    The edge of the Canary Islands

  • Day 4
    Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain

    La Isla Bonita

    La Palma more than lives up to its nickname, La Isla Bonita (meaning ‘The Pretty Island’). Home to unspoiled pine and laurel forests, banana trees, and palm groves, La Palma is certainly the Canary Islands’ greenest. This island has it all, including rugged gorges, towering mountains, and sheer cliffs.

    In days of old, Santa Cruz de la Palma served as a trading post on the way to the New World. Today, the island’s capital is considered one of the most attractive towns in the archipelago.

    Begin exploring the city at the vibrant main street of Calle Real. You won’t miss the monumental Plaza de España, lined with magnificent Renaissance-era buildings, including Santa Cruz’s iconic city hall. For many, it’s the best example of Canarian architecture around.

    Many streets feature traditional wooden balconies lavishly adorned with plants and flowers. Some of the best examples are on Avenida Maritima, just five minutes from Plaza de España.

    No visit to Santa Cruz is complete without a stroll through faded colonial glory in the La Canela and San Telmo districts. Visit the quirky building housing the eccentric La Palma Island Museum, set inside an old convent. You’ll find everything from natural history to local crafts, astronomy, and art exhibitions.

    Hiking in La Palma is superb and some walks start directly from Santa Cruz. The most impressive hikes, however, start farther afield. The central highlands, the southern volcanoes, and the spectacular Caldera de Taburiente National Park offer fantastic walks, rated as among the best in the archipelago. Join us on an optional excursion and enjoy the best walks in the Canary Islands!

    Day 4
    Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain

    La Isla Bonita

  • Day 5
    Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

    The rof the Canary Islands

    Legend has it that when Alexander von Humboldt landed on Tenerife’s coast one misty morning in 1799, he found the view underwhelming … Until the fog lifted, that is. Then, the first rays of sun illuminated the white summit of Mt. Teide. Just a day later, he headed for the peak, lured by an almost magnetic pull that many find irresistible. Welcome to Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands.

    Santa Cruz is one of two joint-capitals of the Canary Islands and features a vibrant harbor, charming old-world appeal, and a slick modern edge. The imposing Plaza de España, located close to the port, is the perfect place to start exploring the city. Walk uphill from here to Plaza de la Candelaria and take in the façades of the old casino and the 18th-century Palacio Carta.

    Calle del Castillo is a popular place to browse small shops. You’re now in the historic heart of Santa Cruz, so wander the grid of ancient streets around it. Look for the beautiful plazas of Príncipe de Asturias and Los Patos as you explore, then head for García Sanabria Park for a feast of the senses. Among tropical flowers, ferns, and numerous other plants, discover sculptures hidden among the trees and art exhibitions.

    No trip to Tenerife is complete without visiting Teide National Park and its centerpiece, the colossal El Teide. Join one of our optional excursions to the world’s third-largest volcano. Rising 12,198 ft above sea level, it’s so large that it creates its own weather system on the island. Get ready to explore a unique landscape of craters, volcanic cones, ancient rocks, and streams of petrified lava.

    As you can imagine, the national park offers outstanding hiking opportunities. Trails of differing lengths give you the most scenic views in the archipelago. Be sure to bring a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots—and your camera, of course.

    Day 5
    Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

    The rof the Canary Islands

  • Day 6
    Arrecife, Spain

    The fire island

    Our next stop lies just 78 miles off the African coast. The easternmost of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote’s desert-like landscape stands in sharp contrast to its lush green siblings to the west. This terrain is defined by eroded volcanic formations, deep U-shaped ravines, and vertical cliffs that give way to a wide central plain covered with aeolian sand. Lanzarote is a geologist’s dream!

    Long before Arrecife became the island’s official administrative center, it was a popular fishing port. Today, it’s a welcoming and sun-kissed town full of charm. Walk over the bridge to San Gabriel, one of two castles overlooking the harbor. Learn about the island’s history in the tiny museum and soak up great views from the castle.

    Arrecife’s Old Town is a short walk away and spreads around the Charco de San Ginés lagoon. Enjoy a pleasant seaside atmosphere with the elegantly whitewashed fisherman houses, brightly colored boats bobbing in the water, and lively bars and restaurants. Stroll around this charming area and check out the main historical buildings. Visit the 17th-century San Ginés church and, around the corner, Arrecife’s first two-story building, the 18th-century Casa de los Arroyo.

    When you’d like to take a break, sit at an outdoor restaurant, order tapas and a drink, and enjoy life in one of the sunniest places on Earth.

    Lanzarote’s ace in the hole is its stunning beaches. Head to El Reducto, the town’s main beach. Protected by natural reefs, this white sand-beach resembles a large pool. Featuring clear, calm waters, it’s the perfect spot to swim and relax on the sand.

    Or join an optional excursion to discover Lanzarote’s natural wonders. The spectacular volcanic landscape of Timanfaya National Park, along with the famous Jameos del Agua lagoons and its long lava tubes, are all within easy reach. Hiking the volcanic trails of Lanzarote is an amazing experience!

    Day 6
    Arrecife, Spain

    The fire island

  • Day 7
    At Sea

    Bound for Madeira

    After all the adventures on your expedition so far, enjoy a relaxing day at sea and recharge. As we sail toward Madeira, soak your tired muscles in one of the hot tubs or head out on deck and watch for wildlife. Or work up a sweat in the gym or the sauna.

    Expedition Team members will share their knowledge of Madeira and prepare you for the adventures ahead. Lecture topics today may focus on the archipelago’s history and wildlife, including birds and whales. Learn about the threat of invasive plant species on Madeira and how the local community is working to remove them from the national park.

    These days at sea are an excellent opportunity to spend some time getting to know the crew and your fellow explorers. Strike up a conversation at the bar and see what you and your shipmates have in common.

    Day 7
    At Sea

    Bound for Madeira

  • Day 8
    Funchal, Portugal

    The garden of the Atlantic

    Enveloped by swathes of moist laurel forest, Madeira rises majestically out of the Atlantic in various shades of green. Generous layers of ferns, mosses, and lichens cover volcanic rocks and ancient trees, creating a dense jungle habitat. Funchal, the island’s capital, is set in a natural amphitheater on the sunny south coast. It’s impossible to find a more idyllic location.

    Funchal is a quaint-yet-cosmopolitan city that hasn’t lost any of its old-world charms. Wander down the narrow winding streets of the historic Old Town and delight in the painted woodwork of houses, shops, cafés, galleries, and museums. Sample Madeira’s famous fortified wines in one of the many bars and restaurants.

    A visit to Funchal Cathedral is a must. Dating to 1485, it has a beautiful wooden ceiling and is a classic example of Manueline architecture. The historic farmers’ market is a short walk from the cathedral, bursting with the vibrant sights and sounds of vendors selling their fresh produce. Why not sample some local delights? A must-try is the exotic ananas-banana, literally a pineapple banana that only grows in Madeira.

    Take the cable car to the picturesque village of Monte for glorious views of Funchal and the bay. While you’re up there, visit the 18th-century Nossa Senhora do Monte church and the delightful Monte Palace tropical garden. Stroll around this landscaped haven and see its vast exotic plant collection, along with art exhibitions from around the world.

    For something truly memorable, travel back down to Funchal in an exhilarating ride in a carro de cesto, or ‘basket cart.’ These are essentially wicker baskets with seats set on wooden skis. So hold on tight as you descend over a mile from Monte to Funchal!

    To discover Madeira’s isolated villages, terraced agriculture fields, and dramatic topography, feel free to join an optional excursion that takes you farther into the interior.

    Day 8
    Funchal, Portugal

    The garden of the Atlantic

  • Day 9

    The magic of golden sand

    Porto Santo is so small it could fit into its sister island, Madeira, six times over. Yet, its dainty size is exactly what makes it so appealing. With Madeira getting all the attention, Porto Santo quietly offers picturesque scenery, gently rolling hills, and miles of undisturbed sandy beaches.

    Stay out on deck and watch for dolphins and seabirds as we approach the island. Cory’s Shearwaters, Northern Gannets, and Great Skuas are commonly seen in the winter months. If you’re lucky, you might spot Sandwich Terns, Kentish Plovers, Manx Shearwaters, and Bulwer’s Petrels.

    We’ll dock for the day at Vila Baleira, Porto Santo’s small and compact capital. It’s an easy walk to the palm-lined square of Largo de Pelourinho, home to most of the island’s cultural landmarks. Start with the charming little church, Nossa Senhora da Piedade, built in the 15th century. Best known as the house where Christopher Columbus lived and had a son with a local noblewoman, the so-called Casa de Colombo is another must-see.

    Relax like a local at a café sipping vinho do Porto Santo, the island’s distinctive reddish-brown wine. Most visitors are undoubtedly drawn by the almost-five miles of golden sands that line the coast. Relax, frolic in the turquoise waters, or take a nice walk.

    Head down to Ponta da Calheta on an optional excursion for gorgeous views over the jagged island of Ilhéu da Cal. Another hike takes you north to the summits of Pico do Castelo and Pico Branco, rewarding you with stunning birds-eye views. For something a bit different, cross the island to drink the (reputedly) miraculous spring water of Fonte da Areia, said to guarantee eternal youth.

    Day 9

    The magic of golden sand

  • Day 10
    At Sea

    Relax and reflect

    Enjoy one last relaxing day at sea. As your journey draws to a close, today is all about reflection.

    Our Expedition Team will be eager to share their favorite moments of the trip with you and offer their final lectures. Recap the fascinating sights you’ve seen along your journey. On this day, our resident photographer often presents a slideshow recapping your cruise. The crew might even put on a show!

    If you prefer solo reflection, find one of the ship’s quiet nooks. Take time to edit your photos, update your travel journal, or dive back in to the book you are reading. All the while, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and seabirds as we creep closer to the mainland.

    Enjoy a farewell dinner and speech from the captain. Afterward, relax in the panoramic Explorer Lounge & Bar with a beverage and trade highlights with your new-found friends as we sail to Lisbon.

    Day 10
    At Sea

    Relax and reflect

  • Day 11
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Legendary Lisbon

    Estimated time of arrival is 7:00 AM

    This morning, your expedition comes to a triumphant end with delightful views of Lisbon as we cruise up the Tejo River. Built on seven hills along the shores of the scenic Tagus River, Lisbon ranks among southern Europe’s most enchanting cities—with a fascinating history, to boot.

    If you have time, explore the old town before you head home. A walk around Baixa, Bairro Alto, and Alfama, the main historic districts of Lisbon, is essential. Almost everything of historic interest in these charming historic districts, along with a great number of small shops and boutiques.

    Start at the Praça do Comercio in the Baixa district and make your way to Praça Rossio to see the statue of King Pedro IV. Then head up to Largo do Chiado to explore the narrow streets of Bairro Alto. You’ll find Lisbon Cathedral among the labyrinthine of Alfama’s streets, around the old Islamic quarter, along with Roman amphitheater ruins and the impressive 11th-century Moorish fortress with panoramic views of the city.

    Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are nearby. Closely connected to Portugal’s Age of Discovery and explorers such as Vasco de Gama, Belém is also home of the famously delicious ‘Pastel de Belém’ custard tart. Don’t go home without trying it!

    Want to explore Lisbon and its surroundings before returning home? We recommend joining our optional Post-Program. On this Post-Program, you’ll explore Lisbon’s fascinating historic districts and then resorts outside the city, including the UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra, Monserrate Palace, and a guided excursion to the beaches of Cascais. Then you’ll return to Lisbon to spend the night.

    As you return home, no doubt you’ll already be planning your next adventure. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon!

    Day 11
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Legendary Lisbon

Departures

2023

  • January
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March:
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What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
  • Range of included activities

Onboard activities

  • Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
  • The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • The ship has hot tubs, panoramic sauna, and an indoor gym
  • Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations

Landing Activities

  • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition photographers help configure your camera settings

Not Included In Your Expedition

  • Air travel
  • Travel protection
  • Baggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and sea conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities are expected
A large ship in the water
A group of people posing for the camera
Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
A room filled with furniture and a large window
Photo: © Tor Farstad
Your Ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 180
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54 m
Beam 18 m
Speed 14.5 knots
A large ship in the water

MS Spitsbergen will take you on a cruise beyond the ordinary. She cruises along the Norwegian coast from September to May and becomes part of our Global Expedition sailings the rest of the year.

Read more about MS Spitsbergen

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