Cruising the Canary Islands: Highlights, Tips, and More

Welcome to the breathtaking world of the Canary Islands! This sun-kissed archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean is a paradise for travelers seeking adventure, culture, and natural beauty. And what better way to explore this stunning destination than on a cruise? From hiking through rugged terrain to lounging on pristine beaches, a Canary Islands cruise offers a wide range of experiences that cater to all tastes and preferences.

As you sail through the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic, you’ll discover each island’s unique charm and diversity, from the volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote to the lush forests of La Gomera. You’ll explore bustling cities, quaint villages, and historical landmarks, all while indulging in local cuisine, music, and shopping.

So sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey through the main highlights of a Canary Islands cruise. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s always something new to discover on these beautiful islands.

What You Need to Know About Cruising the Canary Islands

Picture this: you’re on a luxurious cruise ship, gliding through the turquoise waters of the Atlantic, with the stunning Canary Islands as your destination. If this sounds like your dream vacation, then you’re in for a treat. The Canary Islands are a must-visit destination for any traveler, offering a unique blend of culture, nature, and adventure. And the best part? UK travellers can cruise from Southampton to the Canary Islands, making it easier than ever to embark on this unforgettable journey. But before you set sail, there are a few things you need to know about cruising the Canary Islands. From the best time to go to the must-see destinations, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to plan the perfect cruise.

Major Cruise Lines that Go to the Canary Islands

Ahoy there! When it comes to Canary Islands cruises, there’s something for everyone. From small ships that cater to a more intimate experience to mega liners that offer all the bells and whistles you could ask for. Short cruises last for a few days, and longer ones can take you all around the archipelago. Some cruises may focus more on the culture and history of the islands, while others may highlight the outdoor activities and natural beauty. So, consider what you’re looking for and choose your perfect vessel.

The following major lines offer Canary Islands-bound cruises:

  • Royal Caribbean International: A popular choice for families and adventure-seekers, Royal Caribbean offers a range of onboard activities such as rock climbing, ice skating, and surfing. Their ships are known for their innovative features and large scale, accommodating thousands of passengers.
  • MSC Cruises: An Italian-based cruise line based in Geneva that offers a Mediterranean-style experience with a focus on luxury and elegance. MSC is known for its diverse itineraries and world-class entertainment options.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: This cruise line is perfect for those seeking a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. Norwegian’s ships are designed with a modern and contemporary flair, featuring a variety of dining options and entertainment choices.
  • Carnival Cruise Line: Known for their fun and lively atmosphere, Carnival is a popular choice for families and young adults. Their ships feature a range of onboard activities, including waterslides, mini-golf, and live entertainment.
  • Princess Cruises: A premium cruise line that offers a refined and elegant onboard experience. Princess is known for its exceptional dining options, attentive service, and luxurious amenities.
  • P&O Cruises: A UK-based cruise line that offers a classic cruising experience. P&O’s ships are known for their sophistication and traditional British charm, featuring elegant dining rooms and a range of onboard activities.
  • Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity offers a modern and upscale cruising experience with a focus on luxury and relaxation. Their ships feature world-class dining options, luxurious spas, and elegant staterooms.
  • Holland America Line: Holland America offers a classic cruising experience with a refined and elegant atmosphere. Their ships feature traditional dining rooms, world-class entertainment, and a range of onboard activities.
  • Costa Cruises: An Italian-based cruise line that offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Costa’s ships are designed with a Mediterranean flair and feature various onboard activities and entertainment options.
  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines: A UK-based cruise line that offers a traditional and classic cruising experience. Fred. Olsen’s ships are known for their smaller size and intimate atmosphere, featuring elegant dining rooms and a range of onboard activities.

These cruise lines offer a variety of itineraries that include the Canary Islands as a destination or port of call, with varying durations and departure points. It’s always a good idea to research and compare the different cruise options available to find the one that best suits your preferences and budget.

How to Choose the Right Cruise for You

Shiver me timbers! With so many cruise options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, consider what you’re interested in seeing and doing on the islands. Are you an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a foodie? Second, decide on the type of experience you want. Are you looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation? Third, take a look at the different amenities and activities that each cruise offers to make sure they match your preferences. And lastly, check your budget and find a cruise that fits your wallet without breaking the bank.

Masca Beach
Masca Beach is Worth the 3-Hour Walk – @violin

Best Time to Go

Set your compass for the perfect time of year to embark on a Canary Islands cruise! The best time to go is during autumn and winter when the weather is mild and the crowds are fewer. During these months, the temperatures usually range between 20-25°C, making it a great escape from the colder weather in other parts of the world. If you prefer a warmer climate, then the summer months of June to August might be the perfect fit for you. Just be prepared for larger crowds and higher temperatures.

So, are you ready to set sail on your Canary Islands adventure? With these basics under your belt, you’re one step closer to experiencing all the highlights these beautiful islands offer. Bon voyage!

Main Highlights of a Canary Islands Cruise

Embarking on a Canary Islands cruise is an experience like no other. With breathtaking natural landscapes, rich history and culture, exciting outdoor activities, and mouthwatering cuisine, it’s no wonder that this archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean has become a popular destination for cruisers worldwide. In this section, we’ll explore the main highlights of a Canary Islands cruise, including the must-visit destinations, the best outdoor activities, the vibrant local culture, and the top shopping and dining experiences. So get ready to set sail on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting and diverse region.

The Same Atlantic Ocean Guanches Looked
The Same Atlantic Ocean Guanches Looked at Centuries Ago – @daliu80

Beautiful Landscapes

Teide National Park, Tenerife

If you’re looking for a landscape that’s out of this world, then you must visit Teide National Park in Tenerife. Located in the heart of the island, this park boasts the highest peak in Spain, Mount Teide, which towers over the landscape at 3,718 meters. The park’s unique volcanic terrain and lunar-like landscape make it feel like you’re walking on another planet. The park is home to various flora and fauna, including the Teide violet, a species of violet found only on the slopes of Mount Teide. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the park’s native wildlife, like the Canarian lizard or the Berthelot’s pipit.

Anaga Rural Park, Tenerife

Anaga Rural Park is a true gem of Tenerife, boasting lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and picturesque villages. This stunning natural wonder is a hiker’s paradise, with countless trails that wind through the rugged terrain and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Masca Valley, Tenerife

This valley is surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation, making it one of the most picturesque spots in the Canary Islands. The valley is also home to the small village of Masca, which is believed to have been around since the 16th century and is full of traditional Canarian architecture. You can take a guided tour of the valley and village, where you’ll learn about the area’s history and culture.

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

Set sail and prepare to witness the incredible raw power of nature in Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park! It is home to over 100 volcanoes that erupted between 1730 and 1736, covering the landscape in ash and lava. The result is a stunning, otherworldly landscape that looks like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie. You can take a guided tour of the park, where you’ll learn about the area’s geological history and see the geothermal activity up close, like the famous geysers that shoot water and steam high into the air. Don’t forget to check out the park’s restaurant, where the chefs cook food over the volcanic heat, giving it a unique flavor you won’t find anywhere else.

Los Hervideros, Lanzarote

Los Hervideros is a stunning natural wonder located on the southwestern coast of Lanzarote. This unique landscape is made up of a series of rocky cliffs and caves that have been carved by the mighty waves of the Atlantic Ocean. As the waves crash against the rocks, they create a dramatic display of water spouts and mist, making it a must-visit attraction for any cruise that includes Lanzarote.

Garajonay National Park, La Gomera

Garajonay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important natural reserves in the Canary Islands. This stunning park is home to a unique ecosystem that has remained largely unchanged for millions of years, featuring dense laurel forests, dramatic cliffs, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Columbus House
Columbus House in Vegueta – @gumbao

Rich History

San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife

San Cristóbal de La Laguna is a historic city on Tenerife’s northern coast. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its beautifully preserved colonial architecture and rich cultural heritage, with stunning churches, palaces, and public buildings that date back to the 16th century.

Vegueta, Gran Canaria

Set sail for the charming Vegueta, the old town of Las Palmas, on Gran Canaria! It is a treasure trove of historic architecture, with buildings that date back to the 15th century. You can wander through the winding streets and alleys, taking in the colorful buildings and quaint shops. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Casa de Colón museum, dedicated to the history of the Canary Islands and their role in discovering the Americas. It’s a fascinating look at the rich cultural heritage of the archipelago.

Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park, Gran Canaria

The Cueva Pintada Museum and Archaeological Park is an immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey through the rich history of Gran Canaria. The museum is built around an ancient cave used as a dwelling and features stunning examples of pre-Hispanic art and architecture.

Castillo de San Sebastián, La Gomera

Prepare to explore one of the most iconic landmarks in La Gomera: the Castillo de San Sebastián. The castle dates back to the 17th century and was built to defend the island against pirate attacks. You’ll be able to explore the castle’s many rooms and towers, and learn about the history of the island’s defenses. And don’t miss the chance to take in the stunning ocean views from the castle’s ramparts.

Vibrant Culture

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Craving a cultural experience that’s full of energy and excitement?Then you must experience the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This event is the biggest and most vibrant Carnival in the Canary Islands and one of the biggest in the world. The streets come alive with colorful costumes, music, and dancing, as locals and visitors alike celebrate together. The festivities last for weeks, with parades, concerts, and competitions, culminating in the grand parade, where the Carnival Queen is crowned.

La Recova Market, Tenerife

La Recova Market is a vibrant and bustling market located in the heart of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This historic market dates back to the 19th century and features a wide range of stalls selling everything from fresh produce and seafood to traditional crafts and souvenirs.

Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves, La Palma

The Bajada de la Virgen in La Palma is a religious and cultural event like no other in the Canary Islands. This event is a religious pilgrimage that takes place every five years, where the statue of the Virgin Mary is taken from the church in the town of Santa Cruz and paraded around the island. The pilgrimage is accompanied by traditional music and dance, and locals dress in traditional Canarian costumes to honor the Virgin Mary.

Casa-Museo del Timple, Lanzarote

The Casa-Museo del Timple is a museum dedicated to the traditional music of the Canary Islands. A small, five-stringed instrument, the timple is essential to the islands’ musical heritage. The museum features a vast collection of timples and other traditional instruments, as well as exhibitions and performances that showcase the rich musical culture of the archipelago.

Local Cuisine and Music

Canarian food and music are a must-try for any culture vulture wanting to stimulate the senses. The archipelago is known for its unique blend of Spanish, African, and Latin American influences, which have given rise to a distinctive culinary and musical scene. The local cuisine is characterized by fresh seafood, stews, and unique ingredients like gofio (toasted maize flour), ropa vieja (shredded beef), mojo sauce (a spicy condiment), and bienmesabe (a sweet almond dessert). You can also try dishes unique to each island, like gofio escaldado (a stew made with gofio) on Gran Canaria or puchero canario (a hearty soup) on Tenerife. The music scene is equally diverse, with traditional folk music, salsa, and reggaeton all having a strong presence.

Los Gigantes Cliff of the Giants
Los Gigantes Cliff of the Giants – ©amoklv

Outdoor Activities

Hiking, Trekking, and Cycling

These activities are great ways to see the Canary Islands’ stunning landscapes up close and personal. The archipelago has a wide range of trails that offer breathtaking views of mountains, volcanoes, and forests. You can choose from easy routes that take you through charming villages, or more challenging ones that take you to the highest peaks. Cycling is also popular, with many scenic routes that take you along the coast or through the islands’ interior.

Go to: Anaga Rural Park in Tenerife, Garajonay National Park in La Gomera, and Caldera de Taburiente National Park in La Palma

Surfing

If you’re looking for an outdoor activity that gets your heart racing, then you must go surfing in the Canary Islands. The archipelago is a surfer’s paradise, with world-class waves that attract surfers from around the globe. You can find breaks that are perfect for beginners, as well as ones that are more challenging for experienced surfers. The warm and clear water makes it an ideal spot for a day out on the waves.

Go to: El Confital in Gran Canaria, Playa de Famara in Lanzarote, and El Medano in Tenerife

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

The Canary Islands are known for their consistent winds, making it a prime location for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The combination of the steady trade winds, warm water, and diverse landscapes makes it an ideal spot for water sports enthusiasts. Doing windsurfing and kitesurfing when on a cruise allows travelers to explore multiple islands and experience the different conditions and terrains, making it a thrilling and adventurous activity to add to their itinerary.

Go to: Sotavento Beach in Fuerteventura, Playa de las Burras in Gran Canaria, and Playa de las Cucharas in Lanzarote

Boat Tours and Scuba Diving

Ahoy, sea explorers! If you’re looking for an outdoor activity that lets you discover the wonders of the ocean, then you must go on a boat tour or scuba diving in the Canary Islands. The archipelago is surrounded by crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, including colorful fish, dolphins, and even whales. You can take a boat tour to secluded coves and hidden beaches, or go scuba diving to explore the ocean’s depths. The underwater landscapes are stunning, with volcanic rock formations and coral reefs that are home to a diverse array of sea creatures.

Go to: Los Gigantes Cliffs in Tenerife, Costa Teguise in Lanzarote, and La Restinga in El Hierro

Walking in Maspalomas Coastline
Walking in Maspalomas Coastline – @tupungato

Shopping and Dining

Local Markets and Street Food

If you’re looking for an authentic taste of the Canary Islands, then you must visit the local markets and try the street food. The markets are a bustling hub of activity, where you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. You can sample local delicacies like papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes), gofio (roasted cornmeal), and churros with hot chocolate. The street food scene is equally impressive, with food trucks and stalls offering dishes like bocadillos (sandwiches), pinchos (skewers), and croquetas (croquettes).

Go to:Mercado de Vegueta in Gran Canaria, Mercado Municipal Nuestra Señora de Africa in Tenerife, and Mercado de Abastos in La Palma

High-End Restaurants and Designer Boutiques

If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, then you must visit the high-end restaurants and designer boutiques in the Canary Islands. The archipelago has a thriving luxury scene, with restaurants that offer haute cuisine and boutiques that feature designer brands. You can dine in style at Michelin-starred restaurants that serve creative dishes made with local ingredients or shop for the latest fashion trends at designer boutiques that feature clothing, accessories, and jewelry. What’s even better is that the islands are a duty-free zone. This means you can enjoy tax-free shopping on luxury goods like perfume, jewelry, and electronics.

Go to:Puerto Calero Marina in Lanzarote, Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, and Plaza del Duque Shopping Center inTenerife

Tips for a Memorable Canary Islands Cruise

Embarking on a Canary Islands cruise is a dream come true for many travelers. To make the most out of this unforgettable journey, it’s essential to plan ahead and prepare accordingly. In this section, we offer insider tips and tricks to help you create memories that will last a lifetime while exploring the stunning archipelago. From packing essentials to shore excursions, we’ve got you covered.

Planning Your Itinerary

  • Research the islands ahead of time and prioritize your must-visit locations.
  • Consider the time of year and weather conditions when planning your activities.
  • Leave some room in your itinerary for spontaneity and unexpected discoveries.

Shore Excursions

  • Book your excursions in advance to ensure availability
  • Choose excursions that align with your interests and fitness level
  • Make sure to budget for additional expenses like food and souvenirs during your excursions

Onboard Amenities

  • Take advantage of onboard activities like shows, spa treatments, and fitness classes.
  • Research dining options and make reservations ahead of time if necessary
  • Familiarize yourself with the ship’s layout to avoid getting lost and missing out on activities

Packing Essentials

  • Bring comfortable shoes for walking and hiking excursions
  • Pack clothing suitable for the weather conditions and activities you have planned
  • Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for sun protection
  • Bring a day bag for shore excursions to carry essentials like water, snacks, and a camera.

Discover the Best of the Canary Islands on a Cruise

A Canary Islands cruise is the perfect way to experience the beauty, culture, and adventure of this archipelago. From stunning national parks to vibrant festivals, there is something for everyone on these islands. You can hike and cycle through breathtaking landscapes, surf the waves of the Atlantic, indulge in local cuisine and shop duty-free luxury goods, or simply relax onboard with top-notch amenities.

With proper planning and a sense of adventure, you can have a truly memorable experience on a Canary Islands cruise. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, the Canary Islands offer a unique and diverse experience that is sure to leave you with lifelong memories. So what are you waiting for? Book your cruise today and embark on a journey to discover the best of the Canary Islands.

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