Navigate the routes of explorers to discover remote Atlantic isles, from Cape Verde to the Canaries. Explore birding paradises and a UNESCO-listed biosphere. Journey to Marrakesh and Casablanca, and revel in Costa del Sol Glamour of Marbella.
Take a look into the city known as "West Africa’s Window to the Western World," where architectural vestiges of its French rule are still on display, and peaceful islands beckon offshore of beautiful beaches. Dakar’s once tumultuous past is now revived with a brimming cultural scene, full of diverse markets and art galleries.
Day 26 Dakar, Senegal (1B,1L):Our final port of call is Dakar, Senegal; a bustling and energetic West African capital. We’ll visit the infamous slave-trading post of Gorée Island and learn about the history of the region and its importance to the slave trade. The tour includes visits to the dungeons and slave quarters, the traders’ opulent homes, the House of Slaves and Le Castel, offering a fascinating look into this dark time. We’ll also visit the IFAN Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Senegal. After lunch, we’ll explore Dakar’s incredible markets, Great Mosque and colonial architecture before checking into a hotel for our final night on the continent.
Sao Filipe, Fogo Island, Cabo Verde
A colonial gem of Portuguese architecture that seems to stand still in time, São Filipe sits regally atop the cliffs of Fogo Island. Beyond the historic center of Bila Baxo are sweeping views of black sand beaches and commanding surf. Explore the “lost” city of Chã das Caldeiras, built inside the volcanic crater, and taste the wines produced from the rich soil. Hikers relish the challenge and rewarding views from a trek up Pico de Fogo, just one of the island's many fantastic hiking sites.
Porto Novo, Cabo Verde
With towering peaks, agricultural terraces and palm trees swaying against a backdrop of verdant fields, the island of Santo Antão at first glance resembles Southeast Asia or perhaps mountainous Peru. Discovered and colonized by the Portuguese, the island—part of the 10-island country of Cape Verde—has European roots, and a claim as the first European outpost in the tropics. Explore the main street to see the harbor, old mansions, a small church and markets selling fresh fish and goat cheese.
Santa Cruz de La Palma, Spain
Flanked by fertile green hills, Santa Cruz de la Palma hugs the east coast of La Palma in the Canary Islands, a Spanish-held archipelago wrought from volcanic activity. The old town showcases a Caribbean feel and color palette, and cobbled streets lead to a marketplace where equally colorful products are sold, including mangoes, papayas, passion fruit and sugar cane.
Puerto de la Estaca/ El Hierro, Spain
El Hierro was once thought to be the end of the world until Columbus ventured from here to the Americas. Now, it’s a place where millions of facets of the natural world begin – a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve that seems far removed from the modern-day charms of its neighboring Canary Islands. Meadows of wildflowers, juniper groves and pine forests are dotted with natural pools and trails for wandering, while exceptional diving lies just beyond shore.
Selvagem Grand, Savage Islands, Portugal
More than 40,000 Cory’s shearwater birds dominate this tiny speck on the map between the Madeira Islands and Canary Islands, overwhelming the human population of precisely two: a guard of the Natural Reserve and a biologist who resides in this natural haven to study the shearwaters’ behaviors. That’s not to say it’s a quiet, sleepy place. When the shearwaters are in residence, their calls can be heard from the zodiacs by which you’ll explore these shores.
The 16th-century Ksar El Bahr fortress presides over this town on the Atlantic coast, which also boasts the National Museum of Ceramics and an old town milling with marketplaces along the Rue de Souq. Beyond Safi, venture to Marrakesh for the heightened flavors, sights and sounds of the city. Ancient artistry is everywhere here, in the Saadian Tombs, palaces and museums. Explore the multi-faith traditions and architecture that color everyday life, and wander the workshops of the local Souqs.
With visions of Bergman and Bogart filling the imagination, it’s easy to explore the French-colonial design and narrow alleyways of the old Medina, and bargain-filled souks are reminders of mysterious days past. Yet this gleaming city has a firm grasp on the 21st century and today encompasses broad palm-lined boulevards, attractive public parks and soaring high-rises.
Puerto Banus (Marbella), Spain
Subtle it is not. The waterfront of Puerto Banús in Marbella is lined with lavish yachts while the evening avenues are illuminated by glitzy nightclubs and restaurants. Sunset over these harbors is especially spectacular, after a day spent exploring beyond the modern delights into the deep heritage of Romans, Phoenicians and Moors. The old town is a lovely contrast, set against the Sierra Blanca mountains and lined by winding lanes and flower boxes.
See the wealth of historical treasures found in the coastal city of Màlaga. Once a major trading port, Màlaga has an eclectic mix of sites influenced by the Phoenicians, the Moors, and the Spanish.
See the wealth of historical treasures found in the coastal city of Màlaga.