Terrifying volcanoes, lush and fragrant pine forests, unearthly beautiful landscapes of cooled lava, miles of sand dunes, so reminiscent of the Sahara and prehistoric sites, whose purpose is not understood to this day. No, this is not a movie set – these are the Canary Islands.
With its subtropical climate and amazing sandy beaches, the Canary Islands are a popular holiday destination.
Canary Islands Overview
Although they are closer to Africa than to mainland Spain, the Canary Islands carry the typical Spanish charm. This Atlantic archipelago consists of seven islands: Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, and Tenerife are popular tourist destinations, while Hierro and Gomera are not as developed as the others and remain quiet and untouched. At least for now.
La Palma has higher rainfall than the other five islands, which makes it noticeably greener, with a pleasant environment and a lower degree of development. Caldera de Taburiente National Park is a national nature reserve on the island, with an impressive, huge crater created by erosion.
Fuerteventura stands out among the Canaries for its glimmering sand and turquoise swimming lagoons. It might only be 100 km from one end to the other, but there’s enough room to fit in all sorts. There are 80 designated beaches in total, 6 of which hold the coveted Blue Flag status.
Gran Canaria and Tenerife are the most popular islands among tourists and offer a lot of fun activities, events, and vibrant nightlife in the urban areas of the islands. Not far from the city, in the park of Tenerife, you can admire Mount Teide – the huge volcano, which ranks number three among the highest volcanoes in the world and the highest point in Spain – 3,718 m.
In Lanzarote is Timanfaya Park, another Canary Park that offers visitors the opportunity to see a unique landscape that can not be found anywhere else in the world – black sandy beaches and lava fields as far as the eye can see.
Hierro and Gomera are largely undeveloped and have not changed significantly for hundreds of years. In Parque Nacional de Garajonay you can find Gomero – a place of centuries-old laurel/bay/forests.
The official language of the islands is Spanish, but if you know English you will not be superfluous, as most of the locals speak English at a satisfactory level. All this combined with the cheap packages for hotels and plane tickets makes the archipelago a very attractive destination.
Most of the Canary Islands have a mild climate. The winter is warm (+ 19 / + 23 ° C), the summer is hot (+ 24 / + 30 ° C). The average water temperature in summer is + 20 / + 23 ° C, in winter + 17 / + 20 ° C. The temperature in Tenerife does not fall below + 20 ° C, and in summer it does not rise above + 25 ° C. The water in the ocean is + 20 / + 22 ° C. Gran Canaria has some peculiarities – a sharp change of natural areas: from high, forested mountains, on the tops of which there is almost always snow, to sunny beaches. The mountain peaks make it difficult for the cold northern winds to penetrate the southern part of the island, so a warm and dry climate prevails there.
How to get to the Canary Islands
The location of the islands, as well as the fact that they are still islands, reduces the options for getting here to two: by air and by sea. Daily flights from the Iberian Peninsula to the airports of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are available for most of the year. There are also daily flights from major cities in Western Europe to Gran Canaria and Tenerife, and there are many cases where airfare is extremely low.
What to see in the Canary Islands
- The incredible dunes of Maspalomas
- Casino and Aqualand Aqua Park on the island of Gran Canaria
- Timanfaya Volcanic Park
- The Mountain of Fire and the Mirador del Rio observation deck, on Lanzarote
- Teide National Park and the pyramids of the city of Guimar in Tenerife
- The best in Gomera – Garahonai Reserve and basalt columns in Los Organos
- El Hierro is interesting with its Norman settlements and Lagartario National Park
- La Palma with its ancient juniper forests and petroglyphs
- The sights of Fuerteventura – herds of goats, caves, and mills, as well as the Betancourt Museum on the crater of a quiet volcano.
7 Things you must do in the Canary Islands
- See the carnival in Tenerife in February;
- Visit Loro Park in Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife)
- To dream that next time you can stay in the smallest hotel in the world “Punta Grande” on the island of Hierro (reservation required)
- To get new “heels” after the fish-spa procedure
- To feel like a grain of sand standing on the shores of the fearsome Atlantic Ocean
- Enjoy the lunar landscapes and palm oases 10 minutes away from each other on the island of Gran Canaria
- Look at the stars through the excellent telescopes at the Roque Los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma.
The Canary Islands provide tourists with rich opportunities for entertainment and a wide range of experiences – from nightclubs, bars, and hidden beaches to remote and unchanged villages, natural landscapes, and water sports of all kinds.