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Cruising the National Parks of the Canaries with Saga

Mile for mile, the Canary Islands have more National Parks than any other part of Spain.

And while you’ll need to venture away from the coast and head inland to find them, a cruise is still a fantastic way to explore these jewels of the Canaries. You can visit several islands on one trip, and in all-inclusive luxury too.

Here’s our rundown on four parks set across the islands – Caldera de Taburiente, Garajonay, Teide, and Timanfaya.

Caldera de Taburiente National Park, La Palma

A view of Caldera de Taburiente National Park on the island of La Palma

Discover why La Palma is known as ‘the beautiful island’ at Caldera de Taburiente National Park. This is a destination that is off the standard tourist trail for most land-based holidays.

Rising out the centre of the island, it’s a huge crater covered in pine forests, criss-crossed with ravines and waterfalls. It’s one of the most majestic National Parks in all of the Canaries.

Saga arrange an optional guided tour with an expert guide, which is available on all cruises that stop at the island of La Palma.

Another famed Biosphere Reserve on the island is Los Tilos Forest, home to a profusion of ferns, trees and other indigenous species. It’s another of La Palma’s natural wonders that’s well worth exploring.

Garajonay National Park, La Gomera

Garajonay National Park, La Gomera

Another of the archipelago’s smaller gems is La Gomera, a welcome stop on many of Saga’s no-fly Canary Island cruises.

The National Park on this island is Garajonay, a vibrant green rainforest of laurels, fir trees and river gorges covering 10,000 acres.

Saga’s carefully-planned excursion heads away from the port and into this UNESCO-listed wonder. It can easily be mistaken for a fairytale forest, filled with ancient flora and fauna.

Tie your hiking boots tightly and grab your walking poles for a rewarding hike past ferns, laurel and faya trunks. You’ll also notice the constant presence of a gently-running stream, drawn from the misty clouds which are carried by the winds and dropped into the valley.

A well-earned picnic and rest is needed before heading back to the ship.

Teide National Park, Tenerife

Teide National Park, Tenerife

Just over 20 miles from the cruise port of Santa Cruz, you’ll find Teide National Park. Located in the centre of the island, it’s the largest and oldest of the Canaries’ four national parks.

Surrounded by lava flows, pine forests and wildflowers, at the centre is the peak of Mount Teide, which rises up almost 25,000 feet from the ocean floor.

Due to its geology and impressive visuals, Mount Teide has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. If you want to get up close and see it without a demanding hike, Saga arrange a fun drive and tour along the base of the mountain range.

The arid landscape here often gives visitors the impression of having walked onto the set of a western film!

At the heart of the crater you’ll visit the National Parador Visitors' Centre, which stands in the shadows of the majestic Roques de García. During the tour, a stop will also be made for refreshments. On your return journey to Santa Cruz there will be several photo stops where you can savour the breath-taking scenery.

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote

Lanzarote has a fascinating history. One of its most notable events being the eruptions of the 1730s, when the volcanoes in the Timanfaya area erupted for six years and covered nearly a third of the island with lava.

This volcanic landscape is revealed in Timanfaya National Park, also known as 'Fire Mountain'.

It’s another popular optional tour for Saga’s cruise guests.

The trip includes walking around the craters and lava beds in this lunar-like terrain. At Islote de Hilario, you can watch a demonstration of the volcano’s latent power, as wood is ignited and steam produced by using the heat just below the surface. Although volcanically dormant, temperatures of up to 610°C have been recorded at a depth of 13 metres, and up to 277°C at just 10cm!

Weather permitting, guests are then taken to Janubio with its salt pit crater, where vegetables are grown in fields of lava pellets and grapes are cultivated in cinder pits.

Like so many sights on the Canaries, it makes these wonderful isles seem almost otherworldly, and far more interesting than their old reputation for ‘sun, sea and sand’ holidays.

Cruising the Canaries in all-inclusive luxury

There’s always so much more to discover in the Canary Islands when you visit on an all-inclusive luxury cruise with Saga.

It’s not like staying in a hotel, where you’ll be limited to one island. Instead, the itineraries on our sister ships Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery will take you ‘island hopping’ from one to the next.

Plus, you’ll step aboard the ship here in the UK, no flying is required. All while enjoying first-class service aboard our modern smaller ships, with so much included in the price and your very own balcony to enjoy private views of every island you visit.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.