Dotted throughout the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean are islands of volcanic origin that were never connected to continental landmasses. Volcanic activity has shaped the dramatic features of Cape Verde, Canary Islands and Azores, which are renowned for their exceptional biodiversity. Discover the best places to visit on an Atlantic Islands cruise.
Pronounced ‘kaypvuhd’, the wonderfully diverse islands of Cape Verde are a melting pot of seaside towns, sandy beaches and volcanic mountains. With a mix of African and Portuguese influences, Cape Verde is rich with history, renowned for producing some of the best coffee beans in the world and filled with natural wonders.
Where is Cape Verde?
The archipelago of Cape Verde is the westernmost point of Africa, located 620 kilometres (385 miles) off its coast.
Where should I visit in Cape Verde?
Fogo Island is also known as the ‘black pearl’ of Cape Verde for its black volcanic sand. A must-see town is São Filipe, the capital of the island, with its colourful Portuguese colonial architecture, cobbled streets, vibrant market and local museum. At 2,828 metres (9,281 feet), Fogo volcano is the highest point in the Cape Verde Islands.
Boa Vista Island
Boa Vista is the most easterly island in the archipelago. Marine turtles, extensive sand dunes, 55 kilometres (34 miles) of beaches and traditional music are the island’s main drawcards. It is also one of the best places in Cape Verde to see humpback whales, which visit between January and May to breed and give birth. Be sure to visit its sleepy capital, Sal Rei.
Santo Antão is a mountainous island known for its sensational landscapes, including ‘ribeiras’ – deep, narrow canyons with near-vertical walls. Pass through small hamlets clinging to the sides of hills, where locals roast their own blend of coffee, filling the air with its distinct aroma. Take the chance to taste grogue, Cape Verde’s national drink made from sugar cane.
Where are the Canary Islands?
Northwest of Africa, this Spanish archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean 108 kilometres (67 miles) off its coast.
Where should I visit in the Canary Islands?
El Hierro is the smallest and most south westerly of the Canary Islands and is located below La Palma. The island is famous for its volcanic landscape, remarkable rock formations and diverse flora. The spectacular marine life attracts scuba divers and snorkellers from around the world. UNESCO has classified El Hierro Biosphere Reserve as part of the Man and the Biosphere Programme.
La Gomera is the second smallest of the Canary Islands. Visit the Old Town of its charming capital San Sebastion, home to the Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asunción, where Columbus and his crew attended mass before setting sail for America. Learn about the island’s unique flora and fauna on a guided walk through one of the oldest laurel forests in the world on the north of the island.
The Azores is an area that attracts large numbers of whales and adventurous sailors. Dr Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue recognises the Azores archipelago as a Hope Spot, and many of its islands are recognised by UNESCO as places of universal value.
Our new purpose-built ship, the Sylvia Earle, is a floating ambassador for the conservation of the planet. Paying tribute to Dr. Sylvia Earle, the ship is certified 100% Climate Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the places we travel to.
Where are the Azores?
Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the archipelago of the Azores is where three continental plates meet.
Where should I visit in the Azores?
Classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the island offers a number of sublime walking trails to choose from. There are countless waterfalls and birders can expect to see diverse migratory species. Flores also features some splendid Portuguese architecture including the 19th-century church Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the Flores Museum.
The small and lush island of Graciosa also boasts stunning walking trails, from coastal hikes to a walk along the perimeter of a volcanic cone. Venture to Furna do Enxofre, a spiral staircase into a 100-metre (328-foot) cavern beneath the plug of a former volcano. This well-known volcanic feature still exudes fumes and has bubbling mud pools.
Terceira Island is renowned for its rich historical heritage. The city of Angra do Heroismo is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Visit its small but impressive botanical gardens, main cathedral and delightful town square. Ths island offers superb birdwatching and is home to a colony of common terns and roseate terns.