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Canary Islands

Canary Islands Travel Guide

flights to Canary Islands

One of the most popular destinations in the world for sun-starved Europeans the Canary Islands are often regarded as a somewhat undesirable destination due to their reputation as a home from home with sunshine for countless hordes of lager louts, pensioners and pushy Germans. It is true that the major islands have embraced tourism with a vengeance and much of the best coastlines are now vast strips of high-rise hotel complexes and entertainment centres. But the beaches are arguably the best on the planet and you really donít have to venture that far away from the throngs to appreciate the stunning beauty of these wonderful islands.

Often referred to as the Caribbean of Europe, Tenerife is situated just off the northern coast of Africa. The largest of the Canary Islands, it enjoys constant good weather, making it an ideal holiday choice all year round. To the north of the island is a tropical paradise, strewn with palm trees, banana plantations and exotic plant life, whilst the interior abounds with breathtakingly beautiful landscape. These amazing contrasts are as much responsible for the islands continued popularity as the superb weather. Consequently, Tenerife offers holidaymakers an endless choice of things to see and do.

With its endless sandy beaches, dramatic mountainous interior, desert like dunes and acres of lush green vegetation, Gran Canaria is the most scenic of the Canary Islands. Although smaller than both Tenerife and Fuerteventura it is, nonetheless, home to half the entire population of the archipelago. Its superb climate and diversity of natural features has helped make it one of the most popular year-round holiday destinations in the world.

Sixty miles off the coast of Africa lies the second largest of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura. This geographical no manís land has the longest coastline of the Canary Islands, its interior filled with wide plains and gentle valleys. With mile after mile of warm, untouched sandy beaches, tempered by a refreshing breeze off the Atlantic, it has become a haven for sun worshippers seeking tranquillity. The least populated of the archipelago, it has some incredible desert scenery, scattered with windmills and small villages with whitewashed houses. You could almost be in North Africa.

The most easterly of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote shares the same latitude as the Western Sahara and Florida, ensuring daily average temperatures of around 88 degrees. Recently declared a Biosphere Reserve it is also known as Isla de los Volcanes due to the 300 or so cones scattered throughout the island and mainly appeals to escapists, sun worshippers and water sport enthusiasts. It is an island of contrasts. Lanzarote has several resorts, all of which adhere to a development code inspired by the famous Canary Island sculptor, Cesar Manrique. There are virtually no high-rise buildings and the majority of interiors are of traditional design.

La Palma is also known as Isla Bonita or the Pretty Island and it is not hard to see why. The annual rainfall is higher than any of the other islands in the archipelago and it is by far the most verdant. Regarded by some as the hilliest island in the world La Palma has few decent beaches and therefore attracts visitors who appreciate the outdoor life Ė horseback riding, trekking, climbing. La Goma is even less touristy, its main attraction being the 9880acre Parque Nacional de Garajonay. Popular with those who have a taste for adventure and a fascination with nature, the dense forest landscape is dominated by the Alto de Garajonay, which offers some truly amazing views. The least developed of the Canary Islands is El Hierro, which is also the smallest. Largely untouched by tourism is does however have some wonderful scenery with pleasant towns and villages spread throughout the island.

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