Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Madeira, & Azores
Wondering how there could be more to the Iberian Peninsula? Get off the mainland and visit one of the four archipelagos belonging to Spain and Portugal. Diversify your trip to the Peninsula with an added adventure and a unique cultural experience. Off the eastern coast of Spain and in the Mediterranean Sea lies the Balearic Islands. Comprised of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, the multiple islands allow many options when planning your itinerary.
Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, goes beyond white sand beaches and blue waters. The history of Mallorca tells stories of ancient Greek, Roman, and Moorish civilizations. Visit the charming small towns, the Tramuntana mountains, or step back in time upon entering the Royal Palace, Cathedral, or Castle.
Diving south to the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco, another Spanish archipelago sits, the Canary Islands. The Canaries are a group of 7 islands including Fuerteventura, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, El Hierro, Lanzarote, La Palma, and Tenerife. Known for their geographical and cultural diversity, the Canary Islands add an element of exceptionality to your Iberian adventure. With a mix of Spanish, African, and Latin American cultures, the islands have a distinct culture that can be felt in their art, music, and gastronomy.
In Tenerife, take in the Anaga mountains or catch the views of Spain’s highest peak, Mount Teide. This volcano is also the highest point above sea level in the Atlantic. Head to the colonial town of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of its own, but also home to yet another World Heritage Site at Teatro Leal, known for fine arts performances and innate architecture. Learn about the island’s indigenous population, the Guanches, and witness first hand the Pyramids of Güímar. No matter where you are on the island, keep an eye out for some fo the world’s best marine life. Possibly the best way to experience the culture of the Canary Islands is by attending a Romería, a religious parade full of colors, music, and traditional dancing.
The Portuguese archipelagos of Azores and Madeira bring their own magic to the Iberian Peninsula. As the western most point in Europe, the Azores Islands are where Europe meets the tropics. As a historic world trading site, the culture of Azores is as unique as can be. The islands even house two UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Angra do Heroísmo, the key port connecting the Americas to Europe.
São Miguel, the largest island, offers the opportunity to see some of the world’s best whale watching, bathe in a natural hot spring, or try the traditional Cozido das Furnas beef stew.
Step into tranquility when you land on Madeira. This final Iberian archipelago is known for all things nature and relaxation. Take a cable car to the high peaks with stunning views of the surrounding ocean and islands, explore the volcanic caves to learn about the geological history of Madeira, visit one of the world’s tallest sea cliffs, or simply take a deep breath in the serenity that is Madeira.