Atlantic Islands Bucket List
Image credits: Maderia Promotional Tourist Board, Futurismo Azores Adventure
Picture clusters of volcanic islands sitting in the mid-Atlantic, their jagged terrain criss-crossed with trails to explore, landscapes flushed with colour and the surrounding waters rich with marine life. This is the Azores and Madeira, and when you look at what they’re made of, it’s no surprise that there are some truly fantastic bucket list experiences to be had here. In fact, we’re still bemused that these archipelagos are not at the top of everyone’s travel list.
Our Atlantic Islands Collection is all about experiencing the best of these locations and, especially in Madeira, going beyond the usual tourism experiences. Moreover, the top of the must-do activities here often involve ticking incredible items off your bucket list. Here are a few of the experiences you can enjoy during your holiday:About Atlantic Islands Bucket List
The whale watching opportunities in the Azores are something we can’t stress enough, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Both the BBC and National Geographic have visited here for that very reason, and you could have your own Attenborough-esque adventure as you look for blue, fin and humpback whales among others!
Madeira’s waters also share the same great viewing potential with an array of different species found here including sperm whales and short-finned pilot whales.
By making use of the dolphin’s natural curiosity whilst respecting its intelligence, swimming with wild dolphins is a more attainable experience than you might think. What’s more, knowing that the animal has chosen to come to you and witnessing how it moves through its natural habitat while you are the visitor, is both humbling and exciting.
You won’t miss out on this bucket list experience if you choose to go to the Azores either. There are plenty of wild dolphin swimming opportunities here too, with many different species passing through the surrounding waters.
In the Azores for example, you’ll make use of the dormant volcano craters in Sete Cidades as you cycle around and, kayak over, two crater lakes.
Botanical gardens and once-in-a-lifetime vantage points
Madeira’s famed botanical gardens are a must-see during any visit here. Indeed, the island has been described as ‘Portugal’s Garden Island’ and there are few better ways to enjoy the sub-tropical climate than by walking amongst the varied plant life.
Venturing out of the gardens, the plants continue to thrive, particularly when you take to the traditional walking routes known as Levadas. Found all over Madeira, they are irrigation channels which connect the mountain tops to the villages below. Many provide great walking routes as the paths snake their way around the island and often lead to outstanding lookout points. During our holidays, we feature some truly fascinating trails to show off the magnificent island views.
The views are not to be missed in the Azores either. For example, our trips could take you via jeep to see the shimmering ‘Lake of Fire’, a crater lake with multiple vantage points and hiking options. Or you could enjoy a relaxed trip to visit a vineyard so spectacular, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.