The Canary Islands are special autonomous community of Spain and are located off the northwest coast of Africa , about 100 kilometres (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the closest to the mainland) from Morocco and the Western Sahara The Canary Islands, although technically coming under Spain and part of the EU , are autonomous with their own government and taxation systems. The total population is roughly 2.1 million with most of them living on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria
Each of the Canary Islands (and their satellite isles) are extremely different in feel. Some people love one island, but hate another. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and your island encounters may be totally different to the encounters of another. While some of them are real beach destinations, like Fuerteventura, others combine culture and Tenerife, nature and like Gran Canaria. Whereas La Palma is very beautiful with a tropical feeling.
All the islands of the Canary Islands have a volcanic history, which explains the black beaches of the islands. All the sandy beaches you will find on the islands are man made. The islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean , about 100 to 400 kilometres from Morocco and Western Sahara The Teide vulcano on Tenerife is the highest mountain of Spain, topping the MulhacÃ©n in the Sierra Nevada by more than 200 metres. El Hierro saw the last volcanic activity on 2011, when an undersea volcano erupted just of the southern coast.
The Canaries are split into 2 different communities: Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
The following islands are part of Santa Cruz de Tenerife:
The following islands are part of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria:
The volcanic nature of the island of Tenerife meant that the land has few natural beaches. Those that exist are characterised by black sand created from the island’s volcanic rocks. The demand for tourist sun-bathing space, however, has led to the creation of resorts and man-made beaches, with golden sand having been imported in some cases. Some of the best beaches of Tenerife are Los Gigantes and San Juan in the west and FaÃ±abe, in the South with its golden excellent facilities, s and showers. Also popular are Torviscas with its marina, Playa las Americas for its grey sandy stretches and los Cristianos’ beach. Candelaria in the east has a little black shingle beach. Up north Puerto de la Cruz has a beach with fine black sand, and at Santa Cruz golden sand has been imported for its Terasitas beach.
Getting there: Flights to Lanzarote from most major cities in Europe, as well as from the other islands, arrive at the Lanzarote Airport 5 km away from the capital, Arrecife. Ferries arrive at Playa Blanaca from Fuerteventura, La Palma, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria. Some of these ferries are legs of an overnight ferry from Cadiz , Spain.
The oldest of the Canaries, this island is known for its kilometers-long beaches of white sand and shallow, clear water, perfect for water-skiing, wind-surfing, fishing, or sailing. It has the longest coastline of all seven islands, spanning 340 kilometers, and is easily accessible by a 40-minute ferry from Lanzarote.
Fuerteventura is also notable for its dry climate, giant white sand dunes, and camels ready to give tourists a lift only a stone’s throw from the beach. One is reminded of the island’s close proximity to Africa, particularly when visiting the Dunes National Park, where the tranquility of snaking dunes likens to a mini-Sahara.
On the eastern coast, you’ll find steep cliffs and coves which are perfect for snorkeling or scuba-diving, due to the subterranean trove of caves and rock formations. In the southern part, a region of virgin beaches called JandÃa makes up one of the most important wild areas on the island. Almost all the beaches here are nude beaches and offer an experience of untouched nature away from the bustle of tourism, where hardly any roads can access. You can also take a short ferry-ride over to the Island of Lobos, a protected natural reserve where a great variety of bird and plant species can be spotted.
Getting there: Flights come into Fuerteventura Airport, 5 km outside of Puerto del Rosario, from the other islands and from most major European cities. Ferries arrive at Corralejo from Lanzarote, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria.
The most extraordinary sights on this island are its steep ravines of granite rock, which plummet from almost 2,000 meters high to meet the coastline. From just about anywhere you can appreciate the sheer force of nature that Gran Canaria has to offer. Its vegetation can be found in such far-away places as America, Europe, and Africa. You can explore a variety of flora in areas like Tejeda , with its lush green valleys of almond trees, and Mogan , a valley where tropical fruits are cultivated. There are also many fishing villages worth visiting for their mountainous sea views and small-town such as Agaete, charm and Arinaga. In the ancient city of Arucas, huge banana plantations, rocky coves, and volcanic areas form neighboring landscapes.
Don’t forget about the endless white sand beaches and turquoise waters, which can be enjoyed in Maspalomas , located next to an area of sand dunes, and also in Playa del InglÃ©s, both of which Lanzarote make up the more popular areas for beach-going. For quieter beaches and pretty coves, try La Costa de BaÃ±aderos or Playa de las Nieves, both of which offer incredible mountain views.
Tenerife is serviced by two airports: Tenerife North (TFN) and Tenerife South (TFS).
These airports receive a lot of flights from all over Europe , Tenerife South Airport having by far the most possibilities. Lowcost airlines like Easyjet (from London and Manchester ) and Ryanair have found their way as well, the last having most flights, including to/from Brussels , Dublin , Edinburgh , London , Glasgow , Madrid , Porto and Weeze (near DÃ¼sseldorf ).
Numerous other airlines serve Tenerife South though, the choice is wide.
Tenerife North Airport (TFN) is located about 10 kilometres from the city. Tenerife North mainly serves other Canary Islands , cities in mainland Spain , and several cities in Germany Also, two airlines fly here to/from Caracas in Venezuela
Lanzarote Airport (ACE) is the third busiest airports of the islands, follwed by Fuerteventura Airport
TrasmediterrÃ¡nea provides ferries from Cadiz in Spain to and from the Canary Islands.
Naviera Armas runs weekly services between Portimao in mainland Portugal to Madeira and on to Tenerife, with connections to other Canary Lanzarote, Isl, like Gran Canaria and s.
The Canary Islands are linked by a smaller airline called Binter Canarias , which also has a flight to Marrakech from a couple of the islands.
A tram linking Santa Cruz bus station and La Laguna opened in 2007 costing â‚¬2.35 return in about 40 minutes. There are also plans for a train linking Santa Cruz and Los Cristianos.
To rent a car is the best option for discovering the remote wilderness regions.
Buses are the most typical method of public transportation around the islands. Mile per mile they are expensive while compared to mainland Spain but you are not going to travel really far away. We are, after all, islands. Most buses in touristic routes are adequate. Do not expect the drivers to know more than a couple of sentences in English or German, though they would try to be helpful.
TrasmediterrÃ¡nea and Fred Olsen , are the primary operators between the Canary Islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro.
An excursion by car around the island will take you to such places as BreÃ±a Baja on the east, a series of small coves with transparent waters which include the popular Playa de Cancajos. In the southernmost point, you will find the town of Fuencaliente , which is filled with pine trees, vineyards, and volcanic craters. On the western coast, towns such as Puerto de Naos and Tazacorte have picturesque ports and attractive beaches. La Palma also has one of the world’s most important telescopes at the International Astrophysical Observatory, located close to the island’s highest mountain, Roque de los Muchachos.
Getting there: Direct flights to La Palma airport in the city of Santa Cruz de La Palma are available from mainland Spain, the other islands, and some cities in northern Europe. Ferries arrive in Santa Cruz de La Palma from Tenerife and Gran Canaria
This is the smallest island of the Canaries, as well as the least populated and least traveled, making it a perfect spot for those wishing to get away from it all and experience nature to its fullest. Its clean beaches and mountain scenery offer a relaxing, non-package tourist vacation.
A plateau and mountainous area make up the central part of the island, where rises up as the highest peak. From here, you can admire the views of the gulf, forests, volcanic craters, and of the entire island. The coast also offers a fascinating and unfamiliar sight with its cliffs jutting out from under the water, as if they were little crag islands. El Golfo is where the largest amount of cliffs can be found along with the some of the highest viewpoints of the area.
Other attractions on El Hierro include its natural swimming pools of tranquil water at Tamaduste and Monacal, both situated in the north. In La Frontera, separated from the rest of the island by mountains, you can taste some delicious products cultivated on its fertile lands: wines, smoked cheese, tortillas. A curious sight is the region of Sabinar, where the Sabinas, trees native to the island, can be seen. These trees are unlike any others, with their trunks bent over double and twisted into strange shapes by the strong winds of this region.
Arepas – tortas created from fine corn flour filled up with minced meats, cheese, or lovely mango.