magnificence of the volcanic Canary Islands archipelago is undeniable with each island offering up its own unique charm and style that mixes a wealth of culture and history with a thriving modern side that is bursting to the surface.
The landscape is varied and often dramatic with snow capped mountain peaks, dense pine tree valleys, enormous sand dunes, volcanic tunnels and pristine beaches amongst some of the islands most stunning and striking areas of beauty.
The Canary Islands are located
within the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest of the Spanish mainland and north west of Africa near to Morocco.
The climate in Lanzarote is sub tropical and varies slightly with each island, however the Canary islands are well known for their superb all year round weather which often averages between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, often being cooler during the evening than during the day and around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above during the summer months.
Canary Islands Cuisine
Dining out in the Canary Islands is a great pleasure with plenty of restaurants and cafes where you'll be treated to a variety of mouth watering cuisine from traditional dishes and specialities from the Canary Islands and Spain as well as international cuisine.
Traditional dishes include a wrinkly potato dish known as papas arrugadas that is usually accompanied with the colourful and sometimes spicy sauce called mojo and is served both on its own or as an accompaniment to a meat dish. The Canary Islands also has a superb location within the Atlantic so its no surprise that there is a great selection of fresh fish and seafood dishes on offer.
Wholesome stews such as the fish stew Sancocho are also popular as are Spanish favourites paella and tortilla. A dish known as Ropa vieja is another classic which contains shredded meat such as pork, chicken, beef or all three that are often served with potatoes and a tomato sauce.
There are also island specialities such as La Palmero cheese from the island of La Palma which produces a smoked cheese out of goats milk. Another goats milk cheese product is Majorero which is made on the island of Fuerteventura.
Fruit cultivation within the Canary Islands is also something of a speciality with the likes of mango, peach, avocado, pineapple, papaya and of course bananas in plentiful supply.
Canary Islands Shopping
There are plenty of shopping opportunities with the Canary islands from markets selling mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables to fresh meat, bread, cheese and fish.
Capital's such as Santa Cruz De Tenerife and Las Palmas have plenty of boutiques as well as larger department stores that offer a wide selection of clothing from both local and international designers. Handicrafts such as beautifully made pottery, colourful jewellery, baskets and leather goods are also widely available from markets and shops around the islands and its worth having a good look around before purchasing gift items as prices and quality will vary.
The islands of Lanzarote and La Palma both have World Biosphere Reserves and La Gomera and Tenerife both have UNESCO declared
World Heritage Sites.
- The Teide National Park, Tenerife
The iconic Mount Teide is the centrepiece of the vast National Park which features forests of Canary Island Pine as well as many more species of plant and animals such as the Canary Island Lizard, Skink and Canary Island Wall Gecko.
- Caldera de Taburiente National Park, La Palma
The national park contains the enormous Caldera de Taburiente mountain range which contains a 10 kilometre wide crater shape that is surrounded by green valleys filled with Canary Island pine trees. The highest point is at Roque de los Muchachos which offers spectacular views of not only La Palma but also of nearby islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and Tenerife.
- Garajonay National Park, La Gomera
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is named after the rock formation Garajonay which is the highest point on the island and offers superb views of the area and is surrounded by evergreen luaral forests.
- Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote
Timanfaya National Park contains the active Timanfaya volcano as well as the striking volcanic landscape which is covered in volcanic soil and home to several species of flora and fauna. Tours of the park are available along with a few restricted walking trails.
The Canary Islands have several airports and ports on many of the islands such as Port of Los Cristianos, Tenerife, Port Gran Canaria and Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura to help accommodate its many visitors.
Once on the main islands you'll find plenty of taxis available as well as busses and if you plan to explore the islands attractions and sites of interest a hire car can be the best option.
Flights in between islands are also possible with flights available between the islands of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria:
- Tenerife South Airport (TFS) is located within Granadilla de Abona
- Tenerife North Airport (TFN) is located in San Cristobal de La Laguna a few miles outside the capital Santa Cruz.
- Lanzarote Airport (ACE) located in San Bartolome, Las Palmas just to the southwest of Arrecife.
- Fuerteventura Airport (FUE) is located a few miles outside the capital Puerto del Rosario.
- Gran Canaria Airport (LPA) is located approximately 10 miles outside of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
- La Palma Airport (SPC) is located a few miles outside the city of Santa Cruz de La Palma
- La Gomera Airport (GMZ) The airport is located close to Playa Santiago and about 20 miles away from the capital San Sebastian de la Gomera.
- El Hierro Airport (VDE) is located a few miles outside the small Capital Valverde.
The Canary Islands
The seven main Canary islands each offer their own charming characteristics, made up of the remnants of former volcanoes and offer some of the most striking landscapes, rock formations, sublime beaches and crystal clear waters in the world accompanied with excellent weather pretty much all year round allowing for no end of adventure travel and watersports as well as shopping and sightseeing some of the many historic buildings, museums and architectural gems that are to be discovered on many of the islands.
The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife offers superb scenery including the Teide National Park which contains the impressive Teide Volcano which is the third largest volcano in the world and one which dominates the islands landscape. Other areas of the island which cannot fail to impress are the enormous cliffs which tower above the ocean and which have been appropriately named Acantilados de Los Gigantes or The Cliffs Of Giants. In contrast to the dramatic coastline are vast areas of lush green valleys and ravines
well known for their vineyards as well as plenty of architecture and monuments from historic cathedrals and castles to modern structures such as the Auditorio de Tenerife found within the islands lively capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife which also offers no end of shopping, dining and nightlife to keep you entertained and the theme parks, beaches and superb clear waters are as inviting as ever... more about Tenerife
- Gran Canaria Island
The popular island of Gran Canaria contains the populous capital of Las Palmas and has deservedly gained the reputation for being a mini continent, with a variety of dramatic landscapes and even weather climates over different parts of the island. Gran Canaria offers dramatic mountains within the centre to deserts and stunning beaches to the south which are perfectly suited to no end of water sports and beach resorts and on to the stunning pine forests which are set in amongst ravines, mountains and valleys, perfect for walking. There are also plenty of museums, art galleries and historic buildings that include the popular Cathedral de Santa Ana as well as no end of shops, restaurants and a lively nightclub scene... more about Gran Canaria
Lanzarote has many impressive and striking areas of volcanic history which include the lava tube caves known as Cueva de los Verdes, which are located within the protected area of Monumemento Natural
del Malpais de La Corona and which also continue to form the Tunnel de la Atlantida or Tunnel of Atlantis which is a long underwater lava tube that was created by the Monte Corona volcano several thousand years ago. The islands landscape is also home to a variety of flora and the vines of La Geria with their curved walls protecting them from the winds are a traditional method of cultivation on the island that is still used today. Amongst the many rocky outcrops are sublime sandy beaches which openly lend themselves to the thriving beach resorts, upmarket boutiques and restaurants and for those wishing to venture away from the resort there are also several architectural gems to be found on the island such as Church of Candelaria, Tias as well as charming structures such as windmills and the 18th century Castillo de las Coloradas, a Martello styled fort at Playa Blanca... more about Lanzarote
The island of Fuerteventura is a declared UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the second largest of the Canary Islands with Puerto del Rosario as the capital. The island is home to some spectacular stretches of pristine beaches, impressive sand dunes and lagoons and this is the island for windsailing and other water sports such as diving and surfing. There are also plenty of small fishing villages and towns such as Bentacuria have a rich history and architecture with several museums as well which contain many archaeological delights.
- El Hierro Island
This tiny fertile island is located to the southwest of the archipelago and offers superb rocky coastline that is well suited to paragliding, diving and contains many beautiful coves and rock formations. There are no end of stunning walks available across the island taking in some superb views and wildlife along the way.
- La Gomera
The wild mountains, green valleys, tropical forests, colonial towns and traditional hamlets are some of the
sights awaiting you on this incredible island. A walkers paradise there is so much variety to the landscape here that you'll be intrigued to discover what's around the next corner from vast banana plantations, vineyards, orchards, a monastery and colonial towns to the lava pillars of Los Organos where the vast splendour of these unique pillars rising up from the ocean simply have to be enjoyed by a boat trip, also allowing you to take in many other areas of the islands stunning coastline.
- La Palma Island
The intriguing and wild island of La Palma has dense forests and a rugged coastline as well as the impressive volcanic crater with no shortage of wildlife both on land and at sea to keep you entertained. This is one of the most superb islands for astronomy with unbelievable clear skies that allow for no end of star gazing. There are also plenty of beaches and remote coves where the sublime waters cannot fail to tempt you in for a swim and snorkel. And for the walking enthusiast the Los Tilos Gorge is set amongst a stunning laurel forest and features wonderful scenery, caves and streams.
Canary Islands Main Cities
Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas on Gran Canaria are both thriving capital cities of the Canary Islands and each offer their own unique charm, historic sites and bustling Spanish atmosphere.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
The city of Las Palmas offers plenty of history and culture which also mixes beautifully with the cities modern side that has no end of upmarket shops and boutiques as well as cafes and restaurants serving a good selection of Spanish cuisine to help keep you going.
There are plenty of attractions within the city which include the Cathedral de Santa Ana which is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside and dominates the surrounding area and indeed much of the city as well. There are plenty of museums such as the Casa Museo de Colon, Maritime Museum and Elder Museum of Science and Technology as well as the perfectly placed urban beaches of Playa de las Canteras and Playa de las Alcaravaneras which are bordered by hotels, restaurants, bars and shops with both beaches being incredibly popular all year round.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The capital city of the Tenerife
is vast and thriving with bustling shopping streets, restaurants and an ever expanding nightlife scene. Sites to visit include art galleries and museums such as the Museum of Nature and Man (Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre) which offers several museums in one and has plenty of information about the Berber inhabitants of the Canary Islands known as Guanches.
Other notable structures include the Auditorio de Tenerife which shows off the cities more modern side and is located in front of the vast Plaza de Espana which features an artificial lake and the impressive war memorial known as Monumento a los Caidos, which was designed by architect Thomas Mendez Machado in honour of those who perished during the war.