The ultimate off road experience - Climb into your dune buggy for the ride of your life. Follow your experienced guide along the roads up into the mountains of La Palma, zooming past beautiful scenery with the wind in your face… then it's time to go off road! Blast along mountain paths and through dense jungle roads, deeper into the La Palma countryside, no other vehicle can go where you go. Stop for some stunning views of the Island before racing off again.
Mother Nature had a field day when she created La Palma and here’s your chance to see some of the best bits. Driving through gorgeous countryside you’ll come to the little church of the Santuario Virgen de Las Nieves, the patron saint of La Palma. There’s time to take photos before making your way to the star of the show - La Caldera de Taburiente National Park. This enormous National Park is actually a volcanic crater, the biggest in the world in fact. The rugged walls effectively form a natural fortress – so much so the Benahoares sought refuge here when the Spanish invaded in the 15th-century. Inside the crater bowl you’ll find sweeping woodlands and dense pine forests. Make a photo-stop at Mirador de La Concepcion, which offers up spectacular views over Santa Cruz de La Palma. Then carry on to Mirador de La Cumbrecita, a viewpoint at the southern part of the park that’s an incredible 1250 metres above sea level. Cameras at the ready!
La Palma may be small but it certainly packs a punch in the natural wonder stakes. Take La Caldera de Taburiente, for example. This enormous National Park at the heart of the island is actually a volcanic crater – the biggest in the world in fact. On this trip, you’ll drive through the lush southeast of the island, headed for the town and volcanoes of Fuencaliente. Along the way, stop at the little village of Las Manchas to see the square inspired by Spanish design king, Gaudi. Then, once you get to Fuencaliente, visit the San Antonio crater. Enjoy breathtaking views down into a valley and then peer down into the depths of the Teneguia volcano, which last erupted in 1971. After that, check out the Visitors’ Centre to find out how the Canaries were formed. Your day of discovery continues with a trip to a wine cellar, where you can try a few of the local tipples. Last but not least, you’ll make one last stop, in Mazo. Take a look at the pottery centre of El Molino, housed in an old windmill, before heading back to 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.
If there’s one place you HAVE to go in Lanzarote, it’s Timanfaya National Park. Born out of fiery volcanic eruptions, this corner of Lanzarote is all craters, calderas and cones. Drive through the barren landscape taking in the luna-like scenery and stop to see local guides perform amazing volcanic experiments. They’ll turn brushwood into fire and cups of water into steaming geysers. You can even take a camel ride through the scorched valleys and across the crater’s edge. Leaving Timanfaya behind, pay a visit to the vineyards of La Geria where you can try – and buy – the local tipples before heading back to the ship.
If your holiday mantra is ‘busy doing nothing’, you’ll love this trip to Lanzarote’s most popular beach resort, Puerto del Carmen. This is one of the few places on the island that doesn’t close down for siesta – its sandy beaches, shops, cafés and bars buzz with life round the clock. Pick up some souvenirs, stock up on your duty frees or simply laze away the day in the sunshine, the choice is yours. It’s a fun, half day trip that’s spot on if you’re ready to relax.
A set transfer to the second largest tourist resort in Lanzarote, Costa Teguise. Time is your own to explore and enjoy this popular resort. It's an easy way to get there as taxis are limited in the port area.
Leaving the pier behind, you’ll set off towards Playa del Ingles before arriving in Maspalomas. The dunes here are somewhat of a celebrity in these parts – people come from far and wide to admire the huge mounds of golden sand. There’ll be a quick photo stop here, before you move on to Puerto Mogan, one of the most picturesque towns in Gran Canaria, thanks to its cobbled streets, traditional bougainvillea-clad houses and old harbour filled with bobbing fishing boats. You’ll have about an hour to wander around, so you can browse the shops for souvenirs, relax on the small beach, or head to one of the waterfront restaurants and tuck in to a plate of ‘sancocho’ – salt fish stew served with plump wheat dumplings.
If you’re a connoisseur of art and culture, the island’s cosmopolitan capital is a must. Your first stop is “Mirador de Altavista” where you will enjoy great views of the city, port and Las Canteras Beach. After this, you head to Barrio Vegueta, Las Palmas’ old quarter, its maze of cobbled streets and sun-dappled squares is a joy to explore. Make a stop outside the house and museum of Christopher Columbus. Here, your guide will be on hand to give you the low down on this great explorer. Following some free time here you’ll head to the heart of the city, keep an eye out for bronze statues of Canarian dogs which gave the islands their name. Next up is leafy Parque Doramas, a sleepy park that’s spot on for relaxing. Take a look at the famous ‘dragon trees’. A cross between a tree and a cactus, they don’t have any rings so their age is a total mystery. Parque Doramas is also where you’ll find Pueblo Canario, a traditional-style Canarian village complete with cutesy craft shops. Last but not least, you’ll get to see one of the island’s most impressive natural sights – the Caldera de Bandama - an extinct bowl-shaped volcanic crater at the heart of Gran Canaria. Over 3,000ft high, it’s one of the few inhabited craters in the world and, as you can imagine, the views it offers up are out of this world.
If you want the perfect picture reminder of Gran Canaria, a visit the golden sand dunes of Maspalomas is a must. Located on the island’s south coast the pristine dunes aren’t the only attraction. The climate on this side of Gran Canaria is normally the best on the island. In fact, it was here that the first tourists headed, turning the sleepy little town into a top holiday destination. This half day tour is simple – We’ll drop you off as close to town as possible and your escort will give you a pick-up point and time. All you have to do is choose how to spend your free time. With up to 3 hours and a mix of shops, cafes and, of course, plenty of room to spread out on the beach to catch some rays – where to head first. If you fancy stretching your legs then why not head to the promenade where you can enjoy your free time on the seafront of Meloneras.