The Canaries Location History Facts Highlights When To visit

The Canaries Location History Facts Highlights When To visit

The Canaries are a group of seven volcanic islands off the Atlantic coast of North Africa. They cover a total area of 7,540 sq km (2,900 sq mi) containing some of the world’s most dramatic scenery.

Each Island has its own unique landscape and endemic flora and fauna, ranging from the desert of Fuerteventura to the lush Mountainous forest of La Gomera. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the cosmopolitan capital of the archipelago, reputed to have the best climate in the world.

Canary Islands

Tenerife, the largest island, has the most varied scenery – a landscape of fertile valleys, steep cliffs and wide sandy beaches dominated by the towering outline of El Teide, the third largest volcano on earth at 3,718 m (12,195 ft) high. La Palma, the ‘green island’, has the world’s largest volcanic crater, La Caldera del Taburiente with a diameter of 9 km (6 mi) and a depth of 770m (2,525 ft).

The smallest island, Hierro is also the rockiest with a dramatic coastline plunging straight into the sea. Lanzarote is the most extraordinary of all – a surreal volcanic landscape of petrified lava from 18th and 10th-century eruptions.

Tenerife

The stark beauty of its eerily empty scenery, dotted with ancient vineyards, brilliant coloured flowers and sparkling white houses is unlike anywhere else on the planet – a truly memorable experience.

When to visit:

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All year. The Canaries have a sub-tropical climate with very little variation in temperature and warm seas whatever the season.

How to reach:

International flights to Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Ferry to any of the five larger islands from Cadiz, mainland Spain. Local flights or ferries between the islands.

Highlights:

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  • Barrio de la Veguetta, Las Palmas – the historic district of L of as Palmas with beautiful colonial architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Telde, Gran Canaria – a village in a beautiful setting with traces of the Guanches, the original inhabitants of the Canaries.
  • Betancuria, Fuerteventura – the oldest village of the Canaries with a Cathedral dating from 1410.
  • Montana de Fuego, National Park of Timanfaya, Lanzarote – active craters in the sensational volcanic moonscape.
  • Valle de la Orotava. Tenerife – a beautiful valley with the lovely town of Orotava where you can see the Casas de Los Balcones, traditional 17th-century buildings.
  • Santa Cruz de la Palma – an incredibly picturesque port town with steep alleys, backed by a huge volcanic crater, the Caldereta.

You should know:

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The Canaries are a self-governing region of Spain. Although they were one of the original package tour destinations, the tourist developments are generally well contained and do not interfere with the enjoyment of the island’s rich heritage and sublime scenery. The fact that four of Spain’s National Parks are to be found here – on the islands of La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife and Lanzarote – and no less than five UNESCO sites gives some indication of the staggering natural and cultural beauty of the Canaries.

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