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The Artisan Blog
Famed for its aromatic botanical gardens, volcanic landscape and plentiful marine life, it’s no surprise that Madeira has been voted Best European Island Destination for 6 years in a row by the World Travel Awards. What’s more, when you take a closer look at Madeira’s cultural scene, you’ll soon see why they are reigning champions.
Our ethos has always been ‘bucket list experiences in extraordinary destinations’ and though we emphasise the experience side of our trips, we’re incredibly proud of our hand-picked destinations. That’s why we were thrilled to see that others think the same - in fact, they think some of our destinations are the best in the world! Big 7 Travel recently revealed their reader’s poll of the 50 best islands in the world, and we think you’ll recognise some familiar names on there.
Situated in the mid-Atlantic, remote, volcanic yet full of life sit the nine islands of the Azores.
The archipelago’s islands are divided into three; the Eastern Group (Santa Maria and São Miguel), the Central Group (Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial) and the Western Group (Corvo and Flores). On first glance, the rocky landmasses all have a similar presence - rugged and green with impressive geological structures, but delve deeper and you’ll find an individual charm on each island.
Whale watching in Madeira is one of the most popular activities during any visit to the island, and for good reason. With over 20 different cetacean species swimming in the surrounding waters, you’ll have a high chance of seeing a splash of a whale’s tail, a spurt from a blowhole or even a full breach!
Due to the depth of the water around the island, whales can be spotted as close as 5km away from shore where the ocean floor reaches more than 3000 metres deep. However, our whale watching excursions during your holiday in Madeira include a boat trip to give you an even better chance of seeing the wonderful marine life in their natural environment.
Whale watching in the Azores is a must-do activity during any visit to the archipelago. As one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries, it’s almost imperative that you get out onto the surrounding waters and look for the 20 different types of resident and migratory cetaceans found here.
When both the BBC and National Geographic have travelled to the Azores with their cameras ready to record these fantastic animals, you know you’ve come to the right place for whale watching.
2019 is almost upon us and we think there’s no better way to help beat the post-Christmas blues than to start planning your next holiday abroad. You could even make a New Year’s resolution to start ticking off some travel experiences from your bucket list!
My very first memory of Iceland is seeing it on a travel programme as a child and being completely captivated. I couldn't quite tell you why – I think it planted itself in my 6 year old mind as this big frozen country – a mystical, otherworldly place in the middle of the sea that seemed so far from and so unlike anything else.
As strange as it sounds to most of my friends and family, I have never been a fan of hot places and whilst I appreciate a bit of sunshine every now and then it's the cold that I enjoy the most (I'm one of those people that enjoys when the English two week summer is done and I can get out my woolly jumpers again...) so Iceland, even by just its name, was a place that called out to me.
Since then I always wanted to visit and it was forever in the back of my mind as a sort of bucket list place that I knew I wanted to visit when I was a grown up (as far off as that seemed at the time).