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Colorful shores of the Azores

Cape Verde, Canary Islands & Azores

Lisbon - Lisbon - Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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Explore the extraordinary biodiversity of Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, and the Azores, which are renowned for their spectacular landscapes. Admire the magnificent birdlife and breathtaking coastline and mountain landscapes. Start your voyage on Fogo Island, also known as the "black jewel" of Cape Verde due to its black sand resulting from volcanic activity. The main attractions of Boa Vista Island are sea turtles, expansive sand dunes, beaches, and traditional music. Before your trip ends in Ponta Delgada, you can also visit Furna do Enxofre to learn about the small, green island of Graciosa.
Explore the beautiful AzoresExplore the beautiful AzoresBeaches of Cape Verde IslandsLisbon, PortugalExplore for a stunning view of the seaColorful shores of the Azores
  • Explore Tenerife-La Gomera Hope Spot in the Canary Islands
  • Hike among dramatic landscapes shaped by millennia of volcanic activity
  • Enjoy some of the best whale–watching experiences in Europe
  • Experience birdwatching in Cape Verde and Canary Islands
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Lisbon

Having made your way to Lisbon, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception and Pre-Embarkation Briefing. Afterward, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).

Day 2: Embarkation

Please ensure that your luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labeled with your name and cabin number. Any valuables or personal items should be kept on you throughout the day. Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. 

Final, mandatory pre-embarkation health screening and COVID (rapid antigen) testing will be completed before transferring to the airport for our charter flight to Praia, Cape Verde.

After arriving in Praia and if time allows, we enjoy some of Praia’s main sites, including a visit to the old town of Cidade Velha, the former capital of Cape Verde, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The views of the town from the fortifications of Forte Real de São Filipe are sublime. In town, we might visit Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário, a church dating back to 1495, which was seen by explorers Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus who stopped in Praia soon after the church was built. A marble whipping post in the town square is a bleak reminder of the many people brought to Cape Verde from mainland Africa to be traded as enslaved people.

Day 3: Fogo Island, Cape Verde

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Zodiacs shuttle us ashore at the port of São Filipe where we begin our exploration of Fogo Island, also known as the ‘black pearl’ of Cape Verde for its black volcanic sand. Wander the cobbled streets of São Filipe, a colorful Portuguese colonial town, exploring the vibrant market and local museum.

Leaving the charming town, we drive along serpentine roads that take us higher and higher towards the entrance to Parque Natural do Fogo, where the Fogo volcano is located. At 2,828 meters (9,281 feet), the volcano is the highest point in the Cape Verde Islands. Fogo Island is a single, massive active stratovolcano that last erupted in 2014. Fogo is Portuguese for ‘fire.’ The dramatic landscape of Fogo has been shaped by centuries of volcanic activity, leaving a landscape of collapsed calderas, lava fields, and craters.

Day 4: Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Boa Vista is the most easterly island in the archipelago. The island's main attractions include marine turtles, extensive sand dunes and 55 kilometers (34 miles) of beaches, and traditional music. Between January and May, small pods of humpback whales visit Cape Verde to breed and give birth to live young, and Boa Vista is one of the best places to see them.

Sal Rei is the capital of Boa Vista Island. It is a quiet, sleepy town with its charming palm-filled main square, Praça da Santa, brimming with flowers and pavilions. The Santa Isabel church is located in the square and features the graves of the Jewish Ben’Oliel family, who fled persecution in Morocco in the 1800s. After exploring the town square, perhaps enjoy a stroll along the Avenida dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Avenue), which runs along the waterfront, or perhaps explore the old harbor and the boatyard.

Day 5: Santo Antão, Cape Verde

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In Santo Antão, we disembark at Porto Novo to begin our exploration of this mountainous island and its sensational landscapes. We drive north into the island’s steep mountainous interior cut by deep, rocky ravines and venture into verdant forests, stopping to view an old volcanic caldera, Cova de Paúl. We pass through small hamlets clinging to the sides of hills, where locals roast their own blend of coffee, filling the air with its distinct aroma.
Santo Antão’s ‘Ribeira’ – deep, narrow canyons with near-vertical walls – is one of the island’s most impressive features. Our exploration of the island includes a walk among lush farming valleys where breadfruit, bananas, papaya, and sugar cane grow. You may also have a chance to taste grogue, Cape Verde’s national drink made from sugar cane.

Day 6-7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As we sail north to the Canary Islands, enjoy informative and entertaining lectures from our Expedition Team, who may present talks on various ‘ologies’, including volcanic geology, marine biology or ornithology, and cultural geography. You may spend your time editing photos of Cape Verde or simply enjoying the many wonderful facilities on the ship.

Day 8: El Hierro, Canary Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
El Hierro is the most minor and south-westerly of the Canary Islands and is located below La Palma. The island is famous for its volcanic landscape, remarkable rock formations and diverse flora. The spectacular marine life attracts scuba divers and snorkellers from around the world. UNESCO has classified El Hierro Biosphere Reserve as part of the Man and the Biosphere Programme.

Departing from the tiny harbour town of La Estaca, we begin our ascent to El Hierro’s small, quiet capital, Valverde, meaning ‘the green valley’. Valverde is the only capital in the Canary Islands that is not located on the coast. Enjoy a walk through the town where no building is more than two storeys high and there are no traffic lights. Perhaps stop to visit the beautiful 18th-century church Nuestra Señora de La Concepción.

Day 9: La Gomera, Canary Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The island of La Gomera, shaped like a near-perfect circle, is the second smallest of the Canary Islands. San Sebastian, the capital of the island is a picturesque village and harbor. The town is best explored on foot. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the main street of the Old Town, Calle Real, where the stunning church, Iglesia de la Virgen de la Asunción, is located. It was here that Columbus and his crew attended mass after loading his ships with supplies and water before setting sail for America. Today, the church is still used by the crew to pray for safe passage before they depart on voyages. You will also have an opportunity to visit the church at the end of the day.

Today’s adventures will focus on the scenic north side of La Gomera Island and the beautiful national park, where you will learn about the local flora and fauna. Enjoy a short and easy guided walk through one of the oldest laurel forests in the world; a prehistoric ecosystem that has survived due to the island’s temperate climate. The area became a national park in 1981, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Day 10-11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Our onboard lecture series continues with fascinating talks on the people, history, and culture of the islands visited on our voyage and presentations on wildlife and geology. You may choose to keep fit in the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness center.

Day 12: Flores, Azores

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the archipelago of the Azores is where three continental plates meet. It is an area that attracts large numbers of whales and adventurous sailors. Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue recognizes the Azores archipelago as a Hope Spot and says, ‘The Azores archipelago is a magnet for life. It really is a magical place. Launching the Azores as Hope Spot is so logical – just ask the whales. They know how special this place is. This used to be a place where whales were killed, and now people are making a living by respecting the whales and having people come out and visit them as fellow citizens of the planet.’ 

Not only is the Azores archipelago a Mission Blue Hope Spot, but many of its islands are also recognized by UNESCO as places of universal value.

Day 13: Graciosa, Azores

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The small and lush island of Graciosa awaits with adventures of a visit to Furna do Enxofre, where we descend by spiral staircase into a 100-meter (328-foot) deep cavern beneath the plug of a former volcano. This well-known volcanic feature still exudes fumes and has bubbling mud pools.

In 2007, Graciosa was classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Azores are internationally recognized as a spectacular destination for birdwatching. The archipelago boasts approximately 30 breeding species, with the number of occasionally seen species already approaching 400, and Graciosa is home to a number of endemic species, including Monteiro’s storm petrel.

Day 14: Terceira, Azores

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Terceira Island is renowned for its rich historical heritage. The city of Angra do Heroismo is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A walking tour of Angro do Heroismo includes a visit to the small but stunning botanical gardens, the town’s main cathedral, and, the delightful town square. You may choose to visit Algar do Carvão, a volcanic cave showcasing magnificent stalactites and stalagmites of amorphous silica, where the upper walls are covered in ferns, mosses, and liverworts.

The island offers superb birdwatching and is home to a colony of common terns and roseate terns nesting in a specially protected area. It is also possible to spot waders from North America here. Excursions for whale watching and swimming with dolphins are also available on Terceira Island.

Day 15: Ponta Delgada | Disembarkation

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark in Ponta Delgada, where a charter flight awaits to transport us back to Lisbon. Flight times are yet to be confirmed and if time allows, we will explore some of São Miguel Island’s attractions. São Miguel features a number of delightful gardens to explore including the António Borges Garden, named after the greatest Azorean landscape architect, and the José do Canto Botanical Garden, which has collections of rare plants. Terra Nostra Park features a thermal swimming pool and more than 2,000 trees, and Ponta da Ferraria is a spa and bathing site with therapeutic springs that have been used since the 15th century. All are fantastic options to enjoy before transferring to the airport for our charter flight to Lisbon. 

Important note: Aurora Expeditions operates in remote and challenging environments, and in the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage you to be flexible and to adopt an adventurous attitude when joining our voyages. This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change due to weather, sea state, and other conditions beyond our control.

Please note that on this voyage, Aurora Expeditions is required to partner with local tour operators for the included shore excursions and optional activities mentioned in the itinerary.


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Dates & Prices

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Greg Mortimer-Aurora StateroomGreg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
230.34 ft² - 245.41 ft² - 6 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, three single beds, porthole window, desk area and 42" flat-screen TV
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Aurora Stateroom Twin Share
170 ft² - 245.41 ft² - Greg Mortimer features 8 porthole rooms, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
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Balcony Stateroom C
224.97 ft² - 266.95 ft² - 14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom B
254.03 ft² - 266.95 f - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom A
259.41 ft² - 301.39 ft² - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
303.54 ft² - 432.70 ft² - With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage 418.71 ft² - points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
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Captain's Suite
478.99 ft² - The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.
  • 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 13 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • Flight from Lisbon to Praia on Day 2
  • Flight from Ponta Delgada to Lisbon on Day 15
  • Transfer from airport to hotel on arrival Day 1
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Lisbon on Day 1
  • Transfer from hotel to airport on Day 2
  • Departure transfer to airport on Day 15
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Reciprocity and Vaccination Charges
  • Passengers traveling with Aurora Expeditions are required to be covered by a reputable travel insurance policy that includes baggage loss, cancellation & curtailment of the holiday, medical, accident, and repatriation/emergency evacuation coverage worth at least $250,000 USD.
  • Add-on activities should be reserved at the time of the booking.


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.


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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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