Lying against the western shores of Morocco, the Spanish-speaking Canary Islands have a unique culture. With a justified fame, these very special islands of Spain offer the opportunity to have a glimpse of the real island life without having to travel a long way into the Pacific. The Canaries are only 108 kilometers away from the northwest African mainland.
From Golden Beaches to Volcanic Black Sands
The Canaries are sunny and warm throughout the year. With the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic, spectacular volcanoes, and a land bearing the marks of struggles between the Spanish and the Portuguese to conquer her, the Canary Islands deserve one of the first spaces among the places you must add to your bucket list. The islands have beaches with golden sands reminiscent of the Saharan deserts, as well as black-sand beaches created through centuries of volcanic eruptions.
Even The Skies Are Protected
Forty percent of the ancient forests covering the archipelago are under protection. These forests host dozens of wild-life parks, waterfalls and pathways of splendid scenery.
What’s more interesting, not only the forests of the Canaries, but also her skies are protected: The trade winds and the temperature change that they create prevent cloud formation over the islands. So the clear skies above the Canaries are perfect to observe the skies at all times, and there are special legal provisions to prevent electromagnetic and light pollution. Thus, the Canary Islands are one of the world’s best stargazing spots.
A rich marine ecosystem and warm waters… The Canaries are also a top destination for sea mammals. From the big blue whale to lively dolphins, twenty-six different species swim around the islands, often close enough that you can watch them from the shore.
Delicious Fruits, Local Cheese and Wine
Canary Islands’ volcanic soil rich in minerals, together with the temperate climate, gives a wonderfully intense taste to fruits and vegetables grown here. Potatoes, bananas, tomatoes and zucchini are harvested all-year round. The tropical climate makes the exotic fruits like mango and papaya very juicy. The parrotfish, groupers and corvina (brown meagre) of the Atlantic, together with the multicultural cuisine traditions of the Canaries, invite you to an unique voyage of taste. The gastro pubs, beach-bars, traditional ‘quachinches’ kitchen and sea-food restaurants offer an impressive variety and quality.
We recommend the exquisite Majorero cheese of Fuerteventura, and you must visit the wineries of Lanzarote to taste the Malvasia wines. And for the evenings, don’t forget to treat yourself with cava, the Spanish sparkly wine.
The Canaries consist of seven islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and Fuerteventura) and islets around them. You can visit wealthy modern cities with a lively night life and interesting shopping places, as well as villages and small towns still bearing the marks of colonial times.
Tenerife – The Crown of Spain
The 3.718-meter high Teide Volcano, the highest summit of Spain, is in Tenerife, which is the largest of the Canaries. Teide National Park, including the volcano, is impressive with its volcanic formations and generous nature. Southwestern coasts of Tenerife are the best places to observe whales in the ocean. To see some of the best examples of Spanish colonial architecture, you should visit La Laguna town.
Gran Canaria – A Miniature Continent
With its 236-kilometre shore line and 60 kilometers of gorgeous beaches, the Gran Canaria island is also famous for spa and wellness centers. Here, you should definitely see the Maspalomas Beach, it has the characteristics of a desert and an oasis at the same time. The constant winds shape the sand dunes in a different way every day. Gran Canaria’s centrum is another appealing alternative with its historical structures and museums. That’s why the Gran Canaria is like a little continent on its own right.
Lanzarote – To Another World
Lanzarote is like another planet with its black and red rocks, it’s colorful earth with a peculiar texture, and its calm environment. Formed by lava, the Green Cave which was once a shelter from pirates’ attacks is a striking geographical structure you won’t forget. The Green Lagoon is another site to give you the feeling you’re not on Earth anymore: a natural amphitheater formed by the volcano explosions of 1730, and an underground crater in emerald green… The lagoon is colored by algae living in warm water, in an alluring contrast with the black beach.
Fuerteventura is a relatively calm island. You can easily find a place own your own on its beaches kilometers-long beaches. Fuerteventura is one of the best windsurfing spots in the world. Surfers enjoy the windy coasts on the northeast. Wind surf lovers come here to ride on the best waves of Europe.
The Canary Islands have a subtropical climate: Long summers and warm winters. Enjoying sunlight 300 days a year, the average temperature is 23°C. Winter on the Canaries is like spring time, and summers are not too hot: Average temperature for August is 28°C and although that might rise to 30°C, it’s never sweltering. During winter time the average temperature is 22°C, with occasional rises to 25-26°C, or even 30°C from time to time.
Sea water temperatures are around 19-21°C during winter and spring, and 22-24°C in the summer and autumn.
One of the first things you will notice when you get to the Canaries is that this wonderful climate reaches deep into everybody’s heart and soul. Just like the lovely weather without any winter chills and burning summer heat, the people of these islands also have a kind, open and joyous nature. All this happiness will surely reflect in you, too.