The Canary Islands, a sun-washed archipelago of seven islands, are located on the Atlantic Ocean, a mere 62 miles west of Morocco. During the Golden Age of Exploration, Spanish galleons routinely sailed here to catch the prevailing northeasterly trade winds that would propel their fragile wooden ships across the ocean to the New World. Today the Canaries are an autonomous community of Spain, though ties to Spanish history and culture live on in the islands’ stately colonial architecture, exquisite gardens and enduring art.
Holland America Line offers three itineraries that feature these graceful islands. Two of them—our 28-day Holy Land, Casablanca & Canary Islands Explorer and 14-day Casablanca & Canary Islands Explorer—are based in the Mediterranean. While the other—our 26-day Casablanca, Canary Islands & New World Explorer— includes a transatlantic crossing from Rome to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Whichever itinerary you choose, the Canaries are the perfect destination for relaxing, exploring and enjoying. Warm in winter and hot in summer, the climate is mostly arid, with seasonal trade winds keeping things comfortable.
During your stop in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, enjoy a leisurely paseo (promenade) along Calle Castillo, a charming 17th-century street, lined with shops and cafes. Venture out to nearby San Cristobal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with pastel-colored mansions and historic churches such as the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Or travel to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tiede National Park, and summit Mt. Tiede, Spain’s highest peak, by cable car for spectacular views of the island.
Arrecife, on the east coast of Lanzarote, began as a fishing village in the 15th century, growing in importance with the development of trade between the Old World and the New World. History buffs will want to explore Castillo de San Gabriel, which was originally built as a wooden fortress, then rebuilt in stone, after pirates burned it down. If you love castles, gardens, city views and art, visit the Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo in the Castillo de San José. Stop in the graceful Church of San Gines then find a charming outdoor café and relax with churros and an espresso, just like a local.
Back onboard your elegant, mid-sized ship, continue your immersion in each fascinating destination at Explorations Central (EXC™). Dine on locally sourced seafood with wine pairings, and savor the sunny, spicy cuisines of the Mediterranean. Enjoy an America’s Test Kitchen cooking show or hands-on workshop. Hone your photography and video-editing skills in a Digital Workshop powered by Windows®. Or take a yoga class in our fully equipped Fitness Center.
There’s so much to see and do—from refreshing spa treatments to live music and a wide variety of entertainment each evening —your cruise ship is truly a destination in its own right, the perfect extension of a thoroughly pleasurable travel experience in Europe, the Canary Islands and beyond.