See classical architecture, hob-nob in hip bars, or scale an imposing volcano.
Tucked into the far southwestern corner of Europe, the nations of the Iberian Peninsula are home to diverse cultural riches and myriad opportunities for outdoor exploration. Start a cruise vacation to experience Spain's Islamic-inflected architectural heritage at the Alhambra in Granada and the Giralda in Seville. See the dramatic cliffs and turquoise waters of Portugal's Algarve, and take exhilarating hikes around the calderas of active volcanoes in the Canary Islands. As an added bonus, the food and drink in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands is life-altering — from finger foods like Spanish tapas and Portuguese petiscos to crisp white wines like Vinho Verde and bold reds from Rioja.
See classical architecture, hob-nob in hip bars, or scale an imposing volcano
Retrace history along Spain's coast, from the lives of world-famous artists to monasteries dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus.
The imaginary camaraderie between Picasso, Gaudi and Miro notwithstanding, the works of these men are a great way to add culture to your Spanish cruise. Visit Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Cathedral or Miro's "Woman and Birds" sculpture in Barcelona. Then tour the impressive collection of the Picasso Museum in Málaga for something truly distinct.
Need a break from the bustle of Barcelona or the lazy crowds of Lisbon? Take a train down the coast to from Barcelona to Sitges, the capital of Catalonian chill or northward from Lisbon to Sintra, whose colorful Pena National Palace has quickly become one of Portugal's most notable sites.
Nature is in abundant supply in Europe's sunniest sector. Laze on the sandy beaches of Spain and cliff-hewn shores or Portugal, scale volcanic craters in the exotic Canary Islands, or sip fine wines in the region's stunning vineyards.
Earn your tapas by taking one of the region's many great hikes. In the Canary Islands, the hike up the Teide Volcano is positively exhilarating. Or get your physical activity in close to a city: Walk up to Barcelona's scenic Park Guell, or make the trek to Lisbon's stunning Miradouro da Graca viewpoint.
When to go to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands comes down to the experience you want to have. If you don't mind crowds and plenty of sunshine, come during the summer months between June and August or in the shoulder months of May and September. Choose the winter months of January and February if you prefer a quieter vacation.
The weather in Spain, Portugal and the Canaries is pleasant most of the year, though winter can be rainy and occasionally chilly. Summer (and most of spring and fall) are dry, but it's not uncommon for daytime temperatures to rise up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in the Canary Islands and low-lying places in Spain and Portugal.
The culinary patchwork of Spain, Portugal and Canary Islands is as colorful as the various languages its people speak and the many cultural traditions they follow. From the tapas in Spain to meat and potatoes covered in Canarian mojo sauce, you're sure to find many ways to express your contentment during your vacation.