The beautiful Spanish archipelago known as the Canary Islands – or the Canaries for short – is situated a short distance from Morocco off the North African coast.
The Canary Islands receives a staggering 12 million visitors a year from right across the world. So what is it about these Spanish Islands that attracts such a large number of tourists? Well, there are the incredible beaches, year-long summer climate, unique tourist attractions, and many people do not know this, but the Canary Islands are home to the world’s third-largest volcano. It’s not only tourists who are drawn to these islands but also sportsmen who come to practice and astronomers who come for the clear evening skies.
There are many islands and islets but the 7 main Canary Islands are La Gomera, La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, El Hierro, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura. Out of these, Tenerife is the largest, most developed and most visited of all the islands. The island interior environments range from dry and semi-desert to lush green hills with forests. Below I will give a brief overview of each of the 7 main Canary Islands and what you can expect there.
Where Are The Canary Islands?
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The 7 Canary Islands
Tenerife Island, as previously mentioned is the largest and most popular of the islands. It’s also known as the island of a thousand experiences and once you see everything it has to offer you will understand why it has earned this name. The Teide volcano which reaches heights of over 3,700 meters sits on this island. Tourists often climb Teide on guided tours for some of the most incredible views. Then there are the beaches, beautiful small Spanish villages, a terrific golf course, whale watching expeditions and lots lots more. No wonder so many international travel publications call Tenerife Island the perfect family island holiday destination.
Lanzarote Island stands out from the rest in the sense that when you are here you will actually feel like you are on a different planet. This is because of the volcanic red and black colored rocks combined with strange tranquility. Tourists are often drawn to the stunning shorelines and strange lava formations but there are also other attractions. For example, winery is a very popular industry here so expect to tour a lot of wineries and sample some of the best wine from Europe.
Gran Canaria Island
Gran Canaria Island features a world-renowned biosphere reserve on the western section of the island and has a total of 35 miles of breathtaking beaches right around. The beaches are almost as diverse as the actual island itself and tourists are offered a wide range of activities such as visiting museums, going shopping, go whale watching, visiting and exploring the actual biosphere reserve itself, explore the forest hiking trails or simply relax on any of the 35 miles of beaches. Another attraction here is the mini desert on the south of Gran Canaria island with its incredible Maspalomas Sand Dunes.
Fuerteventura Island is known for its 70 miles of beaches, pristine green colored waters, and unbelievable landscape views. It’s also known for its cheeses as there are several cheese manufacturers on the island, most of who exports to the rest of Europe. Tourists are free to tour and sample any of the cheeseries on the island. Other attractions include the usual beach activities like sailing, windsurfing, and beach hopping. Fuerteventura Island is a great family island destination.
La Palma Island
La Palma Island is another of the volcanic islands but this one is different because the interior is largely covered in what actually looks like the Jurassic Park forest. Tourists here will be able to enjoy climbing various extinct volcanoes, watch the unbelievably clear evening skies, go for walks along forest trails, and lounge around on the beaches. La Palma Island has earned itself the Starlight award for its clear evening skies which is why it attracts astronomers – both professionals and amateurs from across the world.
La Gomera Island
La Gomera has been nicknamed ‘The Magic Isle’. The interior of the island consists of some rather rough landscapes which make traveling in some parts rather difficult but it’s well worth it. It’s home to Laurel Rainforest – which also happens to be the last remaining laurisilva forest in Northern Africa as Northern Africa once had quite a few of them. La Gomera Island, just like Lanzarote and Fuerteventura Island, is known for its exquisite wineries and cheeseries.
El Hierro Island
El Hierro Island is the smallest of the Canary Islands and is spectacular in many ways. For example, tourists will enjoy free wi-fi from any corner of the island and it’s also the only island in the world that is 100% independent from fossil fuel as it entirely runs on renewable energy thanks to the Viento hydroelectric plant. Interestingly, in 2011 there was an underwater volcanic eruption that prevented scuba divers from exploring and enjoying the waters but recently these dive sites have recovered. El Hierro is also known for its abundant green forest-covered hills, volcanic formations, and tall sea cliffs – making it an incredible island holiday spot.
The Best Time To Visit
Any time of year is a great time to visit the Canary Islands thanks to its year-round and consistent sub-tropical climate.
Check out the best best Canary Island beaches here.
For more general information on this incredible destination check out spain.info.