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THE CANARY ISLANDS & IBERIAN PENINSULA BY SMALL SHIP

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Madrid
  • Canary Islands
  • Madeira
  • Casablanca
  • Tangier
  • Lisbon
  • Porto
  • Santiago de Compostela
  • A Coruña
  • St Malo
  • London

19 Days Expedition Voyage
  • Departing:
  • 15 Apr 2023 Selling Fast

Discover Europe’s westernmost coasts and far-flung islands by small ship. Our private charter of the MS Hebridean Sky begins amid the otherworldly landscapes of the Canary Islands. This embrace of the remote and the idyllic continues as we venture to Madeira’s archipelago. We also cruise the shorelines of Morocco, Portugal and Spain, stopping to soak up centuries of art and culture.

Map
Hebridean Sky
Hebridean Sky

Private Charter Aboard MS Hebridean Sky

Enjoy exotic coastal landscapes, sumptuous dining and the oceanic lifestyle aboard MS Hebridean Sky. Our intimate small ship escorts no more than 96 guests to seldom visited regions of Europe’s west coast, along with its remote islands.

Portugal
Canary Islands

Tailor Your Discovery

With Your World experiences occurring in most of the destinations during our journey, enjoy the opportunity to customise your experience. See the National Palace of Sintra, admire the blue city of Chefchaouen and explore the sublime Jameos del Agua cave.

Canary Islands
Canary Islands

The Canary Islands & Madeira

Discover the transcendent beauty of these rare North Atlantic gems. The enchanting harbours and mild climates of Funchal, Arrecife and Santa Cruz de Tenerife are complemented by their unspoilt tropical gardens and indulgent wines.

Portugal
Portugal

Portugal’s Architectural Allure

Admire Porto’s pastel-coloured houses lined along the Douro River. The intricate and distinctive blue azulejo tiles, meanwhile, grace the facades of many of the city’s buildings. In Lisbon, the grand Queluz National Palace proudly exhibits the ornate features of the rococo style.

Itinerary

Arrive in Madrid and join an exploration of Spain’s vivacious capital. Afterwards, we are transferred to the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques. Here, we get to know our fellow travellers over cocktails and a Welcome Dinner.

Investigate Madrid’s cultural layers today with a choice of these Your World experiences:
— Travel to the World Heritage-listed city of Toledo and learn how many Christians, Jews and Muslims all lived together in harmony here.
— Pay a visit to Segovia, one of medieval Spain’s most important cities. Its famed aqueduct remains a marvel of Roman engineering.
— Explore some of Madrid’s celebrated cultural institutions, including the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum and El Retiro Park. Then, savour a wide selection of Spanish cuisine at San Miguel Market.

Today, you have the option of setting out on another of the Your World experiences from yesterday. Or you may prefer to soak up more of Madrid’s artistic and culinary riches at your own pace.

Today, Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, welcomes us. Explore the island at your leisure before enjoying the hospitality of the Iberostar Heritage Grand Mencey Hotel.

Get to know the island’s capital city, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, more intimately today by selecting a Your World experience:
— Journey to the Canadas del Teide National Park and take a cable car to the top of the highest mountain in the Spanish territories, Mt Teide.
— Indulge your senses in San Cristobal de La Laguna, with wine tastings and a discovery of its charming brightly coloured buildings.
— Leaving from Mirador, set out on a hiking trip to Mt Teide for spectacular views of the surrounding area.

Late this afternoon, we board the MS Hebridean Sky, our purpose-built small ship, which we call home for the next fourteen nights.

Our ship docks early this morning in the port of Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote. Disembarking, we take a short drive to the resort town of Puerto del Carmen, where palm trees line the shore and rows of white buildings form a backdrop to the beach. After a visit to a local winery, we make our way to the peaks of the volcanic Montañas del Fuego, also known as the Fire Mountains, owing to their red surface. Upon reaching the apex, we pause to marvel at the seemingly lunar landscape.

Alternatively, you may like to unearth more of Lanzarote with one of these Your World experiences:
— Descend into the surreal Jameos del Agua cave, where the talented local artist César Manrique utilised his architectural talents to highlight the beautiful surrounds.
— Trek through the Valley of the Thousand Palms, admiring the white houses of Haría, and explore the unusual Green Caves, once used as a sanctuary for locals hiding from marauding pirates.

Relax aboard the MS Hebridean Sky during our day at sea, as we make our passage north over the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean with Madeira in our sights.

This morning, we reach Madeira’s shores, where an in-depth exploration of the island has been arranged. Claimed by Portugal in 1419, the region is today officially known as the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Enjoy the waterfront and gardens of its capital, Funchal, on your own schedule. Having regrouped, a cable car takes us high above Funchal to Monte. Breath in the cool air as we navigate winding pathways through alluring tropical gardens. On returning to Funchal, we peruse the wares of local markets. This afternoon we have two Your World experiences from which to choose:
— Blandy’s Wine Lodge has been producing fine Madeira wines for more than 200 years, and we have a chance to go behind the scenes to learn about its production – from barrel cooperage to bottling – as well as enjoying a tasting in the historic cellars.
— The waters off Funchal are renowned for the proliferation of whales and dolphins, so we climb aboard RIB boats and scan the seas for pilot whales, as well as bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Enjoy informative lectures and entertainment on board the MS Hebridean Sky, as we chart a course along the North Atlantic to Morocco.

Arriving in the port city of Safi, we’re presented with Your World experiences:
— Visit the less-frequented coastal town of Essaouira and behold the striking combination of Portuguese and Berber architecture on display here.
— Embark on an exploration of Essaouira with renowned photographer Darren Lewey. Darren will take you on a journey to the old port battlements and also introduce you to portrait photography.

From here, there is also an optional overnight excursion to Marrakesh available, at an additional cost. Admire the Koutoubia Mosque and take a walk to the ornate Bahia Palace. Visit Villa Oasis, home of Yves Saint Laurent, or enjoy browsing the wares available at some of Marrakesh’s famed souks. Stay overnight at La Mamounia, then continue to the Majorelle Gardens and the YSL Museum by horse and carriage. Travel to Casablanca tomorrow to meet back up with our ship.

Today, we reach Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city. Here, the following Your World experiences are on offer:
— Discover the thriving city of Casablanca and visit the Hassan II Mosque, which features the largest minaret in the world. Afterwards, take a trip along the coast to Ain Diab Resort.
— Travel to Morocco’s capital, Rabat, and gaze upon the Royal Palace, home to Morocco’s king, as well as the grand Hassan tower and the ancient ruins of Chellah Necropolis.

The former International Zone of Tangier – as part of a once-divided Morocco – is considered to be the inspiration behind the film Casablanca. Serving as a passage for refugees fleeing from Europe during the war, Rick’s Café is widely regarded to be based upon the bar at Tangier’s Cinema Vox.

Disembarking our ship, we discover Tangier’s history and influence with an enlightening Your World experience:
— Explore the city, as well as the Kasbah Museum and its lush grounds.
— In Tétouan – one of the oldest and biggest medinas in Morocco – enjoy exclusive access to the Royal Palace.
— Be mesmerised by the striking blue-walled city of Chefchaouen, setting out on a survey of the area on foot.

Having crossed the Strait of Gibraltar this morning, we make our approach to Cádiz, one of Europe’s oldest settlements. Nestled within the region of Andalusia, this fascinating city is renowned for its 126 watchtowers. Erected during the 17th and 18th centuries, these observatories served as a means for merchants to locate their ships as they entered the harbour.

Your World experiences are the order of the day:
— Admire Cádiz’s historically significant structures, including its waterfront castles, baroque-neoclassical cathedral and the famed Gran Teatro Falla.
— Travel the short journey to Jerez de la Frontera, world-renowned for its sherry. After visiting the 12th-century Moorish castle, the Alcazar, we withdraw to one of the region’s traditional bodegas to enjoy a spot of wine tasting, while also gaining some local production insights.
— Alternatively, you may prefer to explore Cádiz at your own pace.

We set sail at midday, enjoying lunch aboard our ship.

Hugging the Spanish coast, we soon cross the border into Portugal. Rounding the Iberian Peninsula, our ship cruises further north, before shortly arriving in Lisbon. Colourful residences populate gradual inclines and the Castelo de São Jorge keeps watch over the city from its position atop the hill that shares its name. We negotiate the city’s network of alleyways and vertiginous streets before taking advantage of these two remarkable Your World experiences:
— Visit the opulent Queluz National Palace, the royal family’s residence of the late 18th century.
— Travel to Sintra and visit the National Palace of Sintra, home to Portugal’s nobility for over 400 years.

Afterwards, enjoy time at your leisure to explore the Old City.

Cruising further north along the Portuguese coast, our ship docks in the Port of Leixões. A short drive then places us in the coastal city of Porto, where pastel-coloured buildings line the Douro River. It is said that the city was instrumental in the shaping of the original Harry Potter novel, during the time that J.K. Rowling taught English here.

Opportunities for exploration abound with a selection of Your World experiences:
— Visit the Casa de Campo and admire its gardens.
— Sample local varietals at Quinta da Aveleda wine lodge in the Douro Valley. 
— Join a tour of vibrant Porto. Admire the architecture of the city, noticing the distinctive blue azulejo tiles which adorn many of its buildings.

Crossing back into Spain, our ship docks in A Coruña, on the Galician coast. From here, choose to make the journey south to Santiago de Compostela. Visit the city’s renowned cathedral, explore the surrounds further on foot, then refuel with a tapas tasting. You may prefer to remain in A Coruña and discover the charms of this less-frequented locale, which is replete with hidden gems. Enjoy a tour of its Old Town and sample some Galician cuisine, along with the regional wine. Afterwards, develop your palate further and appreciate more of the local flavours at a tapas bar.

Relax aboard the MS Hebridean Sky during a day at sea, as we cross the Bay of Biscay and round France’s Quélern Peninsula on our way to Saint-Malo.

We arrive today in the walled city of Saint-Malo. Head east along the coast to the captivating island of Mont Saint-Michel. Wander the narrow streets of this medieval village and approach its celebrated abbey. From here, your guide will lead you to some of the island’s hidden corners, while recounting a fascinating history. Otherwise, learn of the region’s seafaring past, which includes the exploits of many a ruthless pirate, while taking a walking tour of the city. Witness the island’s spectacular castle, while walking its ramparts, and see the house of Duchess Ann.

This evening, we reconvene for a Farewell Dinner aboard our ship, where we toast our remarkable journey.

Cross the English Channel overnight and arrive in the city of Portsmouth. Here, we disembark the MS Hebridean Sky and farewell our fellow travellers, our magnificent voyage now at an end.

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