This 8-day trip covers the archipelago's three easternmost islands. Traveling by road and ferry, you'll discover historic villages, orchards, forests, mountains, beaches, volcanoes, and vineyards to understand just what makes this region of Spain so unique. There will be plenty of free time to explore each isle's capital—especially in the evenings—to round out this fun adventure. End the adventure in Madrid to experience the magic of a flamenco show.

Highlights

  • Visit a coffee farm, orange grove, and cheese producer on Gran Canaria
  • Take a ferry to the wildest part of Fuerteventura for stunning windswept beaches
  • Circle the epicenter of a volcano & visit nearby vineyards on Lanzarote
  • Learn about César Manrique—a famous artist, sculptor, architect, and activist
  • Stay overnight on each island's capital for your pick of tapas restaurants and bars

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Fly to Tenerife on the Canary Islands & Explore Santa Cruz Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Day 2 Jeep Safari on Mt. Teide Volcano Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Day 3 Free Day in Tenerife  Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Day 4 Ferry to Gran Canaria & Explore the North Coast Agaete
Day 5 Hike in Gran Canaria's Hills Agaete
Day 6 Depart Arrecife & Fly to Madrid Madrid
Day 7 Free Day in Madrid & Evening Flamenco Madrid
Day 8 Depart Spain  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Tenerife on the Canary Islands & Explore Santa Cruz

Beautiful Beaches of Tenerife
Beautiful Beaches of Tenerife

Upon arrival from your cruise in Barcelona, a private driver will take you to Barcelona´s airport to catch your flight to Tenerife. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and settle into your hotel. Afterward, explore the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Tenerife is the popular destination in the Canary Islands, attracting over six million visitors a year. Famous resorts and white sandy beaches meet remote alpine villages, cultured port settlements, and ancient towns. There are numerous ways to explore Tenerife. You can enjoy walks through tropical forests, observe volcanic activity, or visit museums, temples, and modern art. 

Start your exploration of Santa Cruz at Plaza de España, then walk through the city and enjoy some of the city's main sites, such as Castillo de San Juan Bautista, García Sanabria City Park, and the Palmetum Botanical Gardens. In the evening, enjoy dinner in the historic central district.

Day 2: Jeep Safari on Mt. Teide Volcano

Rugged Views of Teide in Tenerife
Rugged Views of Teide in Tenerife

Awake early for a Jeep Safari excursion to Mt Teide, where you'll traverse the lands of one of the highest volcanoes in the world. You'll discover first-hand what it means to live on the slopes of a volcano by visiting the small villages within Teide National Park, a World Heritage Site. These towns, such as Vilaflor, reveal the uniqueness of the park and its inhabitants.

Along the way, you'll enjoy the many attractions and surprises of Mount Teide and stop at the scenic viewpoints such as La Ruleta Vista Point and Mirador de las Narices del Teide

After the tour, you'll have free time to enjoy the island.

Day 3: Free Day in Tenerife 

Look for dolphins in the blue island waters

Today you can explore Tenerife and relax at the beach, or you can enjoy an optional activity or excursion. One option is to enjoy a day trip to the neighboring island of La Gomera, which is where Christopher Columbus made his last stop before leaving for the discovery of the Americas. The island is filled with cedar forests in Garajonay National Park and impressive rock formations such as Roque de Agando.

While on La Gomera, you'll stop at the Mirador de Abrante, where you'll enjoy lunch and interact with the traditional indigenous language. On the way back to Tenerife, you'll discover the cultural and historical past of San Sebastián with visits to the Church of the Assumption, the Chapel of San Sebastián, and the Torre del Conde.

Another option is to enjoy a night climb of Mt. Teide, the highest peak in Spain, where you'll observe the sky at 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level. This is an ideal place to stargaze thanks to low light pollution. Afterward, you'll enjoy a 4-course dinner at the nearby restaurant, Bodegas Reverón.

If you're interested in viewing wildlife, the Canary Islands are an excellent place to go whale watching. As you leave the port, you'll look for pilot whales and dolphins, viewing them from aboard the ship or through the boat's underwater windows. Upon crossing the tourist coast of the south of Tenerife, you'll reach Bahía Blanca in La Caleta, where you can enjoy a relaxing bath in the calm waters of the bay and under a waterfall. Before returning to Tenerife, you'll enjoy a buffet lunch aboard the ship.

Day 4: Ferry to Gran Canaria & Explore the North Coast

Church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas
Church of San Juan Bautista in Arucas

Today after breakfast you will make your way to Tenerife's port to take a ferry to Gran Canaria Island, located a one-hour trip away from the coast. 

Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and head out to explore. Due to the island's unique microclimate, the valley is ideal for growing coffee beans, tropical fruits, and grapes for wine-making. Over the course of the day, you'll visit a working coffee plantation and participate in a tasting. You can also check out an organic orange plantation and have lunch in a traditional tapas bar. 

In the afternoon, spend some time visiting two of the area's nearby towns: Arucas and Galdar. While in the area, stop in to see La Cueva Pintada, an archaeological museum, and Santa Maria de Guia, a village known for its cheese production. Look for the special queso de flor (cheese flower), a cheese that's made with thistle.

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Day 5: Hike in Gran Canaria's Hills

Lava landscapes in the island's interior
Lava landscapes in the island's interior

Today after breakfast, you'll spend the day exploring another area of Gran Canaria—this time the mountainous central interior of the island.

Start the day with visits to two of the highest and oldest villages on the island: Tejeda and Artenara. From here, you'll walk for about an hour through the forest of Tamadaba as you follow the local irrigation system. From here, continue for another hour to reach Roque Nublo, the iconic rock on the very top of the island, for extraordinary views in all directions. Somewhere along the way, you'll have a picnic lunch prepared with local products grown on the archipelago.

Return to Agaete after the tour where you'll have free time to explore more of the village in the evening.

Day 6: Depart Arrecife & Fly to Madrid

Fishing boats in Arrecife
Fishing boats in Arrecife

It's time to say goodbye to the Canary Islands! Depending on your flight, enjoy some free time to walk around Arrecife and perhaps shop for some souvenirs. At the designated time, you'll drive to the airport to drop off your rental car and catch a flight to Madrid.

Upon arrival in Madrid, make your way to your hotel in the city center and head out to explore before your city tour.

Today,  you'll discover the city of Madrid and explore its cultural highlights with the help of an expert guide. On this walking tour, the guide will recount the history of the city and its development from a medieval seat of Spanish power to a modern metropolis of international renown. You'll also learn about current social and cultural events to ensure you're up to date on what's happening in 21st-century Madrid.   

After you've experienced a bit of the city, the guide with leave you at a great local restaurant for lunch. You'll then have the rest of the day to explore on your own. Visit the expansive plazas in the heart of the city, such as the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol, which date back to the 15th and 14th centuries, respectively, and embody classic icons of Old Madrid. 

Madrid is also home to can't-miss museums like the Prado Museum, which boasts one of the finest collections of European art spanning the 12th through the 20th century and featuring the works of masters like Goya, Bosch, El Greco, Titian, and Diego Velázquez, among others. There's also the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain's national museum of 20th-century art, that contains works by masters such as Picasso and Salvador Dalí. 

After a bit of culture, you might consider visiting El Retiro Park. This 308-acre space is the green lung of Madrid, abounding with sculptures, fountains, a man-made lake, and a 400-year-old Mexican conifer which is regarded as the oldest tree in Madrid. There are also must-visit gardens here including the Jardín de Vivaces ("Garden of Vivacious Plants"), Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (inspired by the Andalusia region), and a garden home to over 4,000 roses (best to see these blooms from May through June). 

When evening arrives, head up to one of the city's many rooftop bars for a drink and view of the city lights.

Day 7: Free Day in Madrid & Evening Flamenco

Flamenco, the Art of Spain
Flamenco, the Art of Spain

Today is a more relaxed day in Madrid. You can spend the morning enjoying the hotel amenities or get out and explore the city on foot. If you're a sports fan, opt for a tour of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, the 81,000-seat stadium home to the Real Madrid football club. You might also consider taking a stroll along Fuencarral Street, a popular downtown shopping area full of upscale brands and designer boutiques. 

In the evening you'll have the chance to experience and appreciate one of Spain's premier cultural offerings: flamenco. This musical style enjoys a rich heritage that dates back to the 9th century when the music and dances of immigrants in the Andalusia region mixed with the cultures of local Moors and Jews. Over the centuries, the intermingling of these various influences synthesized to produce the style of Flamenco that has come to define Spanish folkloric music.

Day 8: Depart Spain

Adios, Spain!
Adios, Spain!

It's time to say farewell to Spain! Depending on the time of your flight reservation, squeeze in one more morning of sight-seeing, perhaps picking up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departure onwards.