Departing Mallorca, and the charming honey-stone streets of Palma, we’ll sail for the Spanish mainland. Cartagena is best admired from the battlements of its castle and time is well spent roaming Roman ruins, museums and the astounding Old Cathedral of Cartagena. Málaga has been rejuvenated in past decades and the city now has tapas and arts scenes to rival any in Spain – the latter including a multicoloured Pompidou outpost and an excellent museum devoted to local boy, Pablo Picasso. Sea-kayaking trips into caves are available nearby if you’d prefer some rural exploration.
British-owned Gibraltar, aka ‘The Rock’, has a familiar vibe, with red pillar boxes, fish-and-chip shops and Palladian architecture. You’ll also have the chance to explore extensive war tunnels, botanic gardens and a macaque-patrolled nature reserve. We’ll then move on to the Canary Islands, likely to still be sun-soaked this deep into autumn. From the main city Las Palmas, it’s easy to explore Gran Canaria’s lush north – pausing in pastel-shade towns and banana plantations before wowing at the Bandama Caldera, a magnificent volcanic crater. Our final stop is Tenerife’s handsome capital Santa Cruz. Most visitors hasten through here, bound for beaches – yet the excellent shopping, street art and parks merit closer inspection.