In 1998 this place welcomed nearly four million visitors, outnumbering any other National Park in Spain. And it’s easy to see why. Shooting into the sky at an enormous 12,402 feet, Mount Teide in Las Canadas National Park is Tenerife's most famous landmark and the highest mountain in Spain. You’ll pass through the lush Esperanza forest, too, with its cool eucalyptus glades. The landscape starts to change the further you go, ending up with the well known volcanic surface.
This one certainly lives up to its name. In fact, the scenery is so striking, you might well be living life through a lens for this half-day trip. Your tour starts with a coach ride through the Orotava Valley – Mother Nature definitely got all green-fingered for this one - and a stop at the Humboldt viewpoint. From here you’ve got an almost birds-eye view of the landscape. From vineyards to banana plantations, this place is bursting with colour. Next up, it’s on to somewhere a little more manmade but equally Kodak-worthy – Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife’s top tourist hub. You’ll take a drive past all the must-sees – the famous meeting place of Plaza del Charco, or Puddle Square to use its other name, the pretty fishing harbour and, finally, Playa Jardin – the locals’ favourite volcanic beach. Lastly, you’ll follow the narrow coastal roads to the San Pedro viewpoint and wind the tour up the way it began – with a show-stopping vista of the island, but this time it plunges right down to the coast.
Fancy a day doing your own thing in Tenerife’s most happening resort? Then join us for a drive to the island’s party capital, Playa de las Americas. After hopping on the coach straight from the pier, you’ll travel south in air-conditioned comfort. We’ll supply the map and the rest is up to you. Jump on a jet ski or just catch some rays on the black volcanic sand. You’re in the sunniest and driest part of the island, after all. Later, hit the shops, then head to a restaurant for a taste of the local papas arrugadas. This potato dish is served with a sauce known as a mojo, and every family and restaurant on the island has their own secret recipe. Whether you’re feeling energetic or want to take it easy, this place has it all – you just need to figure out where to start.
If you fancy getting to grips with La Gomera’s rugged interiors, this trip is ideal. You’ll set off from La Gomera’s capital, San Sebastian, which is packed with low-rise, brightly-coloured houses, and narrow, winding streets. The Valley of Hermigua, which is well-known for its sprawling banana plantations, is first on the agenda today. You’ll get a good look at the vast fields on your way to Agulo, a pretty village that’s surrounded by a huge basalt wall, which measures 300 metres high. There’ll be a photo stop here, so you can get out and enjoy the panoramas across the Atlantic Sea. If you’re really lucky and the weather is clear, you’ll be able to see Tenerife in the distance, too. Finally, you’ll drive through the sweeping Garajonay National Park, an ancient ecosystem that’s part of the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage collection. Look out for wildlife unique to the area, as you pass Jurassic-sized ferns and spiky cacti. There’ll be one more stop en route to the ship at Agando – an area of bizarre basalt rock formations that have formed over thousands of years.
La Gomera moves at a much sleepier pace than its Canary Island neighbours. The island’s main attractions are its lush valleys, rocky mountains and sprawling greenery, and this driving tour will give you a great introduction to the landscape. It begins in the peaceful capital, San Sebastián, where you’ll board a coach at the city’s harbour, before trundling past the rainbow-coloured houses that tumble down the hillside. Once upon a time, San Sebastian was the HQ of Christopher Columbus, and you’ll pass La Asuncion Church where he and his crew attended mass before setting off to find the new world. Leaving the capital behind, you’ll head south to Los Roques de Agando, a well-known viewpoint that looks out over a surreal rock formation. After a photo stop here, you’ll continue through the pretty villages of Chipude and El Cercado, the latter of which is famous across the island for its beautiful pottery. There’ll be a final stop in the village of Arure, where you’ll enjoy a demonstration of the local whistling language, ‘El Silbo’. Afterwards, you can sample some of the local liquor, Mistela – a sweet mix of grape juice and brandy – before you head back to the ship.
La Gomera’s Garajonay National Park is an ancient ecosystem that stretches for over 15 square miles. Its deep gorges and thick woodland have earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and the hundreds of walking trails here mean visitors can enjoy it from every angle. On this tour, you’ll don your hiking boots for a trek through the park’s humid depths. You’ll set off with your guide through the Laurisilva Forest first of all, making tracks for Garajonay Rock. At over 1,487 metres above sea level, it’s the highest point on the island and, on a clear day, the views stretch all the way out to Tenerife and La Palma. Continuing through Laurel Forest, you’ll pick a path along a watercourse, which eventually leads to a tiny chapel. Then, you’ll journey through El Cedro Forest, which is set in the heart of the park. Ancient trees, blackberry bushes and cacti line the bumpy paths here, and you’ll follow them to the end of the trail, ready for a scenic drive back to the ship.
Start as you mean to go on - so the old saying goes. And that’s certainly the case on this trip. Your day begins with a cable car ride from Funchal to nearby Monte. Make sure you’ve got your camera ready because once you reach the top, on a clear day, the panoramic views are superb. When you get to Monte, head for the famous Church of Our Lady of Monte, known for its striking façade of dark basalt stone and whitewash. Then it’s decision time - do you slip and slide down the narrow streets in a toboggan, or rejoin the bus for a more sedate journey down the hill? Sitting in a wicker basket mounted on wooden runners, two drivers guide the sled down through narrow streets, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Ernest Hemingway once described the experience as ‘exhilarating’. After your ride - whichever one you choose - relax in Funchal’s tranquil Botanical Gardens. Wander through the grounds, inhaling the sweet scent of exotic blooms. Your last stop is at a souvenir shop where you can admire delicate lace as you sip fine Madeiran wine.
One thing’s for sure, Madeira’s not short on natural beauty and this tour serves up some of the island’s best sights. Visit the quaint fishing village of Camara de Lobos where Sir Winston Churchill used to spend his time capturing the views on canvas. Then it’s on to Cabo Girao, a towering cliff that drops down into the sea – an awe-inspiring sight worthy of a place in your holiday scrapbook. Afterwards, you’re off to one of the most enchanting spots on the island - Eira do Serrado. From this viewpoint, look out over the remote mountain village of Curral das Freiras, framed by sweeping valleys and jagged peaks. Breathe in the fresh, crisp air and browse for souvenirs in the nearby local craft shop. Your final stop is at Pico dos Barcelos to take in those last dreamy views before making your way back to Funchal.
Your morning starts at Funchal’s Farmer’s Market, where stalls groan under the weight of fruits, vegetables and fragrant blooms. Then take a ride through the hills of Funchal and clap eyes on the greenery that gives Madeira its name ‘The Floating Garden’. Once you get to the Botanical Gardens you’ll get some time to yourself to walk the terraces that climb from 200 to 300 metres. Explore the paths that wind between dragon and coral trees, and see all those beautiful flowers that have been brought here from around the world. Set some time aside for the views, too – the city of Funchal stretches out far below you. When you’re done there, take an exhilarating cable car ride to the village of Monte. Perched high up on a hill, its landmark is a little church whose twin towers spear the skyline. After you’ve had a chance to explore, it’s time to head back to Funchal by coach, polishing off your trip with a visit to one of Madeira’s wine cellars.
You’ll feel like you’ve switched continents when you dine at this restaurant. It offers a pan-Asian selection of curries and noodle dishes, a separate sushi menu, plus bespoke dishes created by master chef Ian Pengelley exclusively for Marella Cruises. This is one of the ship's speciality restaurants, so there's a charge to dine here – plus, we recommend you make a reservation in advance.
You’ll be whisked to sunny Spain when you dine in this section of The Mediterranean, which specialises in tapas dishes for dinner. Or you can take your taste buds over to Portugal and try espetadas – meat or veg skewers – for a little extra. It's open at lunchtime, too, for light bites, like sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
The main waiter service restaurant is a good-looking place, with a gold-and-grey colour scheme and floor-to-ceiling windows. Menu-wise, you can expect traditional dishes with a modern twist.