- National Geographic Explorer
- Luxury Expedition Ship
- 148 Capacity
- 10 Days
- Price from
Summary : Step aboard National Geographic Explorer and sail to the heart of the Atlantic Ocean to discover the lush, mountainous archipelagos that combine the breathtaking landscapes of Hawaii with the charm and culture of old-world Europe. Explore the seafaring history and living cultures of the Portuguese archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, which served as starting points for the bold explorers heading west to the New World. You’ll drink in the islands’ ways, view the natural wonders and spectacular geology of these volcanic isles, and see their current volcanic activity. And while the islands are the expeditions’ focus, the seas surrounding them often yield exhilarating whale sightings, especially the Azores, known worldwide as a top destination for whale-watching. Then venture to romantic Sevilla, Spain where all the images of Andalucía, from orange trees and flamenco to lace fans and mantillas, come alive before your eyes and ears.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
Free Subscription: Complimentary 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine (one per booking).
$8,790 to $16,150
Fly overnight to Ponta Delgada on the island of São Miguel. After time to relax a bit, explore the Furnas Valley and its famed hot springs, hiking the trails, or perhaps visiting the lovely garden of Terra Nostra. And savor a traditional Azorean cozido lunch, naturally cooked from the volcanic activity—underground!
The Azores are a whale-watching mecca and go in search of these gentle giants. On the island of Faial, see how dramatically the landscape changed when its volcano erupted in 1957. Stroll along the marina, visit the excellent scrimshaw museum, and raise a glass at legendary Peter’s Café Sport, where sea adventurers historically dropped off their mail. For those interested, scuba diving can be arranged.
Go ashore at Santa Maria, historically significant as the first landfall of Christopher Columbus on his return from the Americas. With your naturalists, hike the trails that will allow you to experience the scenery and atmosphere of the island. In the afternoon, your local whale experts, like the Maasai trackers of East Africa who have centuries of ties to their surroundings and an instinct for scouting its wild inhabitants, will guide you on your late afternoon whale-watching.
En route to Madeira your expedition team will tell lively tales about the Golden Age of Exploration. Keep a constant lookout for seabirds and marine creatures, stopping to observe them or perhaps film them with the ship’s underwater camera; head up to the bridge and pick up a pair of binoculars. Take time to catch up on your reading in the glass-enclosed library. Have a rejuvenating massage and sauna, attend a wellness session, work out in the gym, or simply relax.
Madeira has beautiful scenery, with a delicious climate. Walk in the endemic laurisilva (laurel forest), a UNESCO site. Wander along the tranquil levadas (former irrigation channels), visit the botanical gardens and the new Whale Museum. You’ll sample Madeira’s seafood, have a tasting of the famed Madeira wines, and hear a performance of authentic Fado singing. Be sure to browse the colorful public market and exquisite embroidery factory, as well as the excellent Madeira Story Museum. You may want to take a ride on the famous wicker toboggans down the steep streets of Monte, or take a long leg-stretching hike along the beautiful Ponta São Lourenço at the eastern tip of the island.
On your way to Spain, you'll have an ever-vigilant lookout for marine life, and also have presentations preparing for your time in Spain.
From the port city of Cádiz, head through Spain’s southern province of Andalucía, famous for flamenco dancing. The provincial capital of Sevilla blends the vibrant culture of today with centuries of history and old-world charm. Observe the diversity of cultures found so often in Spain—the beauty of the Moorish legacy and the might of the Catholic kings. Explore the Old City, visiting Sevilla’s impressive Gothic cathedral, one of the world’s most beautiful, see its renowned Giralda bell tower (once the minaret of a mosque during Sevilla’s Moorish days), and the tomb of explorer Christopher Columbus. A highlight is a visit to the Alcázar, the Mudejar Palace and Fortress of Spanish kings for almost seven centuries. Return to the ship in Cádiz.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for homeward-bound flights.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.
Accommodations aboard ship or in hotel per itinerary; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship, some meals ashore; all shore excursions and sightseeing; transfers to and from group flights; tips (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges; services of a ship physician and expedition staff; use of kayaks.
Air transportation; extensions; passport and visa expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, email and laundry; gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.