Azores with Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canary Islands, and Madeira

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Tour Description

We follow in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus as we take on this Azores expedition, including a Canary Islands tour. Step ashore on the Rock of Gibraltar; delight your senses in Moroccan bazaars; and set sail for the Canaries, Madeira, and the splendid Azores. We spend two days in Morocco, visiting legendary Casablanca, Agadir, and Taroudant, often called “Little Marrakech.” Then, we bring true meaning to the term “Azores adventure travel” by navigating interior volcanic crater lakes, hiking into an unearthly cavern on Graciosa, and exploring the wild volcanic crater of Faial Island.

Azores and Canary Islands Expedition highlights include:

  • Visit to tiny La Gomera Island as part of the Canary Islands tour; Columbus departed from here when crossing the vast, unknown ocean before him.
  • Exploration of Tenerife, home to El Tiede, Spain’s highest peak, with a hike to the bizarre Roques de Garcia.
  • Wine tasting in Funchal, Madeira, where expert viniculture techniques have produced the namesake local vintages for centuries.
  • The World Heritage Site of Angra do Heroismo on Terceira Island during your Azores expedition.
  • Accommodations aboard the lovely, 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey for the ultimate in expedition travel.

What to expect:

For your Canary Islands and Azores expedition, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. When ashore, we will walk moderate distances, unaided, over rough terrain and cobblestone streets, and climb stone steps, some without hand rails. As with all Zegrahm expeditions, you will be accompanied by expert historians and naturalists, who will enlighten you on the cultural and natural riches you will encounter. Temperatures will range from 55° - 70°F on our Azores tour.

Itinerary

Day 1

USA

After breakfast we visit Europa Point for superb views of the Strait of Gibraltar. Walk through the labyrinthine St. Michael’s cave and meet the resident troop of Barbary apes.

Day 2

Granada, Spain

Today we visit the lovely Alhambra. Begun in 1338, this fantasy-land of lacy stonework, slender columnar arcades, beautifully-tiled chambers, porticos, and courtyards surrounding light-reflecting water basins, has beguiled visitors through the ages. This afternoon we drive to Malaga and board the Clipper Odyssey.

Day 3

Granada, Spain / Malaga / Embark Clipper Odyssey

Today we visit the lovely Alhambra. Begun in 1338, this fantasy-land of lacy stonework, slender columnar arcades, beautifully-tiled chambers, porticos, and courtyards surrounding light-reflecting water basins, has beguiled visitors through the ages. After lunch visit Granada’s splendid cathedral and enjoy a walk along the Alcaiceria, a delightful crafts precinct, once the ancient Moorish Silk Market. In the afternoon we drive to Malaga and board the Clipper Odyssey.

Day 4

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

After breakfast we visit Europa Point for superb views of the Strait of Gibraltar. Walk through the labyrinthine St. Michael’s cave and meet the resident troop of Barbary apes.

Day 5

Casablanca, Morocco

We begin with an excursion to the colorful Central Market, followed by a stop at the Hassan II Mosque. This seaside building, the second largest religious structure in the world (after Mecca), is a stunning example of contemporary religious architecture.


Optional Two-Day Excursion to Marrakech

Tuesday & Wednesday, May 8 & 9
Optional Two-Day Excursion
to Marrakech
Join us for a two-day optional overnight excursion to magical Marrakech. Explore sites such as the opulent 19th-century Bahia Palace, the medina—a World Heritage Site—the Koutoubia Mosque, the imperial Saadian tombs, and Djemaa El Fna Square. Or you may join an optional birding excursion in the Atlas Mountains.

Day 6

Agadir / Taroudant

After an early lunch on board we drive inland from Agadir to Taroudant, often called “little Marrakech.” We walk the fortress ramparts, through the central plaza and the souks. The Berber Market offers a fascinating array of spices and vegetables, while the artisan souk displays silverwork, leather goods, and carpets.

Day 7

Lanzarote Island, Canary Islands

This afternoon choose a scenic drive north to the Mirador del Rio for superb views and continue to Jameos del Agua, a lava-tube cave transformed by famed local artist César Manrique into a delightful series of pools, gardens, and a natural amphitheater. Or, choose a tour to Timanfaya National Park, which showcases the island’s stunning volcanic landscape of craters, multicolored petrified lava streams, geysers, and smoking fumaroles. Here we can observe 177 species of rare plants, many of them unique to the Canaries. A third option is a birding tour with our expert on board ornithologists.

Day 8

Tenerife Island

From the capital of Santa Cruz, a full-day exploration takes us to the Botanical Gardens and the attractive town of La Orotava. In Teide National Park we see twisted volcanic formations of basalt and obsidian surrounding El Teide, Spain’s highest peak. After lunch we take a hike to view the Roques de Garcia—bizarrely eroded rocks at the mountain’s base. Birders enjoy an excursion to spot many of the 200 species that populate the varied habitat. Or, choose a half-day excursion visiting the northern side of Tenerife, with its charming villages, dramatic viewpoints, and the university town of La Laguna. This World Heritage Site, designated for being the first, non-fortified Spanish colonial town, has superb examples of 16th – 18th-century architecture and a layout that became a model for many American colonial towns.

Day 9

La Gomera

This mountainous island has little arable land; to grow their crops, generations of villagers have reshaped the landscape into a series of terraces, punctuated by palm groves. Take a scenic morning drive to Garajonay National Park to view the thick forests of protected laurel, with an opportunity for a hike.

Day 10

Madeira Island

Enjoy brunch on board as we are greeted by the stunning volcanic contours of Madeira on the horizon. In the late morning we explore Funchal and its surroundings. A cable car takes us to the top of Monte, with its 18th-century church and splendid views. Then either descend by coach or by speedy toboggans, which slide through the island’s characteristic levadas (old water canals). Back in Funchal, our local guide takes us to the town’s historic sites; the main square, São Lourenco Palace, the 15th-century cathedral, and the open-air market—one of the most sumptuous in the Atlantic. Or, opt for a full day of birding.

Day 11

Cruising the Atlantic Ocean

Enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Our lecture series continues and we learn more about the history, geology, and culture of the Azores.

Day 12

Santa Maria Island, Azores

This morning we drive along the picturesque east coast, visiting villages, a church, and a museum. In the afternoon enjoy a choice of either an active hike between two charming villages, or a scenic tour to the village of Anjos—where Columbus landed after his first passage to the Americas.

Day 13

Terceira Island

Take a walking tour of photogenic Angra do Heroismo—a World Heritage Site—with impressive 400-year-old fortifications that are unique examples of military architecture. After lunch on the ship, choose a cultural excursion to São Sebastiao; Praia da Vitoria, with its central plaza and historic district; and a wine museum. Or, hike up Monte Brasil with its scenic overlooks and botanical wonders, then visit the famed cave near Algarda Carvao.

Day 14

Graciosa Island

This morning watch for the whales and dolphins that frequent these waters. After visiting the museum at Santa Cruz, we drive inland and pass through several picturesque villages. Stop at the village of Praia and the chapel of Senhora Da Ajuda for stunning views of verdant coastline. Or, join a local ornithologist for a birding tour by Zodiac.

Day 15

Pico Island / Horta, Faial Island

Pico is the second largest of the Azores Islands and a designated World Heritage Site for its vineyard culture. We depart for a beautiful morning drive through highlands of spring flowers and endemic vegetation. Visit the Whaling Industry Museum and stop at a Madalena vineyard where we sample local wines and cheeses. Lunch is on board as we cross the narrow strait that separates Pico from Faial Island. We dock in Horta for the afternoon, one of the most popular yachting harbors of the Atlantic.

Day 16

Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island

This morning we visit the highlights São Miguel—picture-perfect landscapes of lush green fields lined with basalt; the smoking fumaroles in the town of Furnas; and the crater lakes of Fogo and Furnas. After we view the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens, enjoy lunch at a local hotel. Birders enjoy a tour in the area near Caloura. This afternoon there is free time to explore before our final overnight on board.

Day 17

Ponta Delgada / Disembark / USA

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for independent homeward flights.

Departures

Pricing Information

Clipper Odyssey

One of the finest adventure ships afloat, the Clipper Odyssey is a 110-passenger luxury expedition vessel, ideally suited for cruising in off-the-beaten-path locales. On all Clipper Odyssey expeditions, guests have access to a fleet of Zodiacs, which allows remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. All cabins on a Clipper Odyssey cruise have an ocean view, safe, minibar, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, and sitting area with sofa. Beds can be configured for twin or queen-size sleeping arrangements, and all cabins have an en suite bathroom complete with shower and small bathtub. In the comfort of their cabin, passengers can track the progress of their expedition on the Global Positioning System broadcast—a highlight of a Clipper Odyssey voyage for adventure-minded guests. Additional facilities include a gourmet kitchen featuring American and international cuisine, dining room, lounge, small library and gym, outdoor pool, and gift shop. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. Ship registry: Bahamas.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.