Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands - Atlantic Island Exploration

This voyage explores the richness of the Azores and stark beauty of the Canary Islands. Starting from historic Lisbon, we sail to verdant volcanic islands, including UNESCO World Heritage sites. Our route gives you the chance to discover gems like lovely Madeira and the isolated, golden beaches of Porto Santo, then on to colourful Tenerife and stunning La Gomera. This journey offers a great mix of cities, villages and natural beauty, all enhanced by the expertise of our friendly Expedition team.

  • Explore the verdant, volcanic islands of the Azores
  • Discover the hidden charm of Funchal, Porto Santo and La Gomera
  • Experience the sophistication of Lisbon and the artistic heritage of Tenerife
  • Learn about the rich history of exploration at every turn from our Expedition team
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The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather and wind conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

Departure 31 March 2019

Departs from Lisbon, Portugal

The Atlantic islands offer an embarrassment of riches to travellers: from rich history and exquisite architecture, to hidden natural pearls and fascinating cultures. This journey brings you to the best of the Azores and two of the famed Canary islands in a round trip expedition that begins and ends in historic Lisbon

Seven hills of history

Discover the steep streets and charming neighbourhoods of the Portuguese capital, where MS Midnatsol waits for embarkation. 

With nicknames like the green, purple and black islands, it´s easy to imagine how unique and distinctive each of our Azores destinations are.  

São Miguel is studded with lakes and rolling hills, mountains and green plains. The island’s capital is the charming university town of Ponta Delgada.  

Ilha do Faial is a stunning natural destination, with a deep, flower-filled volcanic cone. 

On Ilha Terciera, the lovely and historic port of Angra do Heroísmo was founded in the 15th century as an ideal stopping place for traders from the New World.   

Also known as the “pearl of the Atlantic”, Madeira is a veritable floating garden in the ocean, hosting rare and lush plant and animal life. Funchal is a modern, cosmopolitan city that offers inviting cafes, interesting shops, cobblestone streets and a magnificent natural setting. 

The volcanic sand of Porto Santo has been said to have curative powers, prompting visitors from all over to travel to this remote isle. Take a stroll on the island´s golden beaches. 

The contrasts of the Canaries 

Our two stops in the Canary Islands, Tenerife and La Gomera, seem worlds apart, yet are separated by only a short stretch of sea.  Tenerife hosts elegant modernist architecture, Teide National Park and some lovely beaches.  La Gomera is less visited and features a spectacular cloud forest interior, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Day 1

Legendary Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is a legendary city with centuries of history, built on seven hills along the shores of the River Tejo. Take some time to visit world famous sites like Tower of Belém before embarkation on MS Midnatsol.

Day 2-3

Towards volcanic beauty

At sea

We sail west towards the volcanic archipelago of the Azores. These nine islands are the western frontier of Europe, and each has its own unique character. Our expert lecturers will prepare you for the upcoming visit. Take a little time to chat with your fellow travellers or just enjoy the deep relaxation of being at sea.

Day 4

The green island

Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island

Known as the “green island”, São Miguel is the largest of the 9 islands, studded with lakes and rolling hills, mountains and green plains. The island’s capital is the charming university town of Ponta Delgada.

Join an excursion to the Sete Cidades Massif to see a volcanic crater and lake-filled caldera, and tour the otherworldly landscape of cones, pumice deposits, and lava domes. The scenic Lagoa das Sete Cidades is a highlight of this protected landscape, considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal.

Day 5

Colourful Starting Point for Atlantic Crossings

Horta, Ilha do Faial

Colours on this island are not confined to green vegetation, blue sea and white houses. The breakwater is covered in murals and paintings, thanks to a local tradition that holds that good luck will follow sailors who leave their mark here before setting off across the Atlantic.

Head inland for a walk in the Calderia, a nature reserve which is home to beautiful flowers. Visit the award winning underground Volcano Museum to learn about the formation of the islands. Or enjoy a refreshment at Peter Café Sport, which opened in 1918 and has served as a hub for whalers, sailors and even spies. 

Day 6

The purple island

Angra do Heroismo, Terceira

Visit the lovely and historic capital of the archipelago. Angra was founded in the 15th century, prospering from its location as an ideal stopping place for traders from the New World. Take in the historic 16th century fortress of São João Baptista. Beyond the edge of town, with the Serra de Santa Barbara massif looming in the west, the island hosts a wild and hilly scenic landscape.

Day 7

Madeira bound

At sea

Enjoy another idyllic day at sea, taking in the fresh salt air, relaxing with a drink or a book, and scanning for wildlife in the living ocean.

Day 8
Photo: Karol Kozlowski Photo

The magic of golden sand

Porto Santo

This place has been called “one long beach, with a bit of land attached”. The volcanic sand of Porto Santo has been said to have curative powers, prompting visitors from all over to this remote island. Enjoy a visit to these golden beaches. The rugged interior of Porto Santo is perfect for exciting excursions, walks, and has a lot to offer history buffs. After all, a little-known explorer named Christopher Columbus made his home on the island´s capital: Vila Baleira.

Day 9

The garden of the Atlantic

Funchal, Madeira

Also known as the “pearl of the Atlantic”, Madeira is a veritable floating garden in the Atlantic, hosting rare and lush plant and animal life. The Laurissilva Forest, tracing back to the Tertiary period, is composed of evergreen species that were dominant in Europe 20 million years ago, but today is only found here and a few other isolated spots.

Funchal is a modern, cosmopolitan city that offers inviting cafes, interesting shops, cobblestone streets and a magnificent natural setting.

Day 10

Relax and reflect

At sea

The day is yours. Relax on deck or indoors, learn more from our lecture series, and compare memories with your fellow explorers as we sail towards the Canaries.

Day 11

El Teide and History

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife is bustling and boasts stylish modern architecture, while the interior of the island is dominated by Teide National Park and the El Teide volcanic peak – the highest point on Spanish soil. Join an optional excursion to this spectacular volcano, or to San Cristóbal de la Laguna, with lovely 15th century architecture and an active artistic community.

Day 12

Beauty Off the Beaten Track

San Sebastián de la Gomera, La Gomera

San Sebastián de la Gomera is an oasis in the Atlantic that is visited far less frequently than the other islands. The steep ravines and narrow valleys of the landscape caused the islanders to develop a unique way to communicate over distances: a loud whistling, called el silbo

The island´s main attraction is the incredible scenic beauty of its interior.  Garajonay National Park is a magical place, a dense laurel forest that captures the fog drifting in from the surrounding sea.  UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage Site and a visit to this landscape is highly recommended.   

Day 13-14

A relaxed journey north

At sea

Heading north, we sail for Portugal´s mainland. Our lecturers will have many interesting presentations to put your trip in perspective. A final chance to relax and reflect with new friends about the adventures of the past weeks.

Day 15

Cruising up the Tejo


Early risers will be rewarded with a lovely view of Lisbon as we cruise up the Tejo river, ending our journey in the capital of Portugal.

Arrival 14 April 2019

Location Lisbon

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional Excursions and Gratuities
Your ship Excursions


Challenge your inner explorer and experience everything that Europe has to offer with our diverse range of optional excursions.

Contact us

Getting you there

Please contact us if you wish to add on return flights and airport transfers to Lisbon.

Hurtigruten Land Adventures

Complete your holiday with a Hurtigruten Land Adventure before or after your sailing. Choose between multi-day tours including hotels in Halifax and Reykjavik.