Mount Pico is the highest mountain in Portugal, at a height of 2,351 metres. A near-perfect cone, Mt Pico provides the ultimate hiking experience. Those who wish to climb should register with the visitors centre at the trailhead at Cabeço Das Cabras. The slog to the crater is signposted, followed by a short, steep climb to the summit itself, which offers stunning views of the neighbouring islands.
The Azores are full of breath-taking places that are sure to stop you dead in your tracks. One of those places is Sete Cidades. Sete Cidades is an enormous caldera (large volcanic crater formed by a major eruption leading to the collapse of the volcanoes mouth) with sparkling twin lakes. There are many superb walking trails that criss-cross along the caldera.
Capelinhos Volcano is an underwater volcano that erupted off the island of Faial in 1957. For many years’ scientists studied this rare geological phenomenon. Their findings can be found in great detail at the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre which also occupies the now obsolete but still accessible lighthouse.
Basking in year-round sunshine, a cruise to the Canary Islands affords a wealth of scenic surprises. Beyond the abundant beautiful beaches, the volcanic islands offer verdant forests, sprawling deserts and dramatic lunar-esque landscapes.
One of the most well known Canary Islands is Tenerife. This volcanic area is home to extraordinary beauty and diversity, with remote mountain-ridge villages, cultured port settlements and charming old towns. Head to Parque Nacional del Teide - a Unesco World Heritage site and Spain’s most popular national park – where you can take the cable car up to the peak of El Teide.
Lanzarote is perhaps the most intriguing island within the Canaries. With 300 volcanic cones and blackened lava fields, Lanzarote is full of fascinating sights. Nestled within many of the blackened lava fields, across the abstract volcanic landscape are low-growing vines. This is Lanzarote’s wine country – most wines produced here are dry malvasías, though muscatel and other grapes are also cultivated. There are two main wine-growing regions which sit side by side’ La Geria and Tinajo-Masdache.
Gran Canaria is well known for its cheese. At Mercado de Vegueta in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria sample delicious creamy cheese blended with thistle flowers at one of the many stalls.
Cruising to Cape Verde is on many people’s bucket list. With wonderful white sand beaches, it’s no wonder that the island of Boa Vista translates as ‘beautiful view’. The capital of Praia is strewn with cobbled streets and colourful houses. Nature lovers will appreciate the many indigenous species found on the island, including the green vervet monkey and reptiles such as geckos, frogs and colourful lizards.
Mindelo is a vibrant island city, complete with cobblestone streets, candy-coloured colonial buildings and yachts bobbing in a peaceful harbour. The city has many specialist markets, with fishermen taking their daily loads directly from the nearby jetty to the stalls ready for sale.
Exploring the beautiful island of Madeira is a dream. Home to a feast of flora and fauna, it’s easy to see why it has earned the nickname of ‘the floating garden in the Atlantic’. Offering boundless beauty, this haven of nature is a visual treat to savour.
The capital of Madeira, Funchal is where you’ll find some of Madeira’s best experiences. This inviting city with a bustling marina, cobbled centre, museum dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo and an ascending backdrop of mountains just waiting to be explored.