Canary Islands: European sunshine capital
Puerto Naos Beach, La Palma
- Autonomous region:
- Canary Islands
Less than four hours away by plane from most European cities you will find crystal-clear waters, endless, white-sand, paradise beaches and warm year-round temperatures. The "fortunate isles" await you so that you can enjoy all they have to offer at any time of year. Everything is especially designed for you to have a great time. Leave the cold weather behind and head for the Canary Islands: we are waiting with open arms.
If you visit the Canary Islands you will discover a magical world, full of amazing natural features. Their 22ºC average year-round temperature will enable you to enjoy the magnificent tourist infrastructures. Hotels, housing developments, water parks and water sports facilities can be found along the 1,500 kilometres of coastline, offering a wide and varied range of leisure activities. Seven islands with very different landscapes and environments, but one common feature - high quality beaches that have been awarded the EU Blue Flag, with a climate that has no room for bad weather. Vast sandy beaches, coves and cliffs provide the perfect setting to enjoy a few days relaxing next to the Atlantic.
Beaches to suit everyone
Fuerteventura has the vastest beaches in the entire archipelago. Turquoise waters bathe kilometres of white sands on mainly unspoilt and deserted beaches. Lanzarote, however, is the land of colour contrasts. Coves sheltered by cliffs provide the chance to practise nudism, and its black sand beaches are unique. Gran Canaria is a must - with beautiful spots such as the Maspalomas dunes, the fishing harbour of Mogán or the cliffs of Andén Verde.
In the south of Tenerife there are vast sandy beaches with calm waters, suitable for all the family. Places such as Las Américas, Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes and La Costa del Silencio are internationally renowned for their warm temperatures and their pleasant people. El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera lead out to the ocean with steeper coasts and dark beaches. Fishing harbours and small coves in which natural pools are often formed are their distinctive features.
As well as a subtropical climate and a volcanic landscape, the Canary Islands are lucky enough to have excellent conditions for water sports. Their coasts have the most innovative water sports facilities and marinas to practise sailing, water skiing, kayaking, surfing… although windsurfing is one of the most popular sports all year round. Thanks to the constant presence of trade winds and mild temperatures in the islands, people who love this sport find the perfect setting here. El Médano in Tenerife, Jandía in Fuerteventura or Pozo Izquierdo in Gran Canaria stand out because of their exceptional conditions, and world windsurf championships are held there.
Those who come to the islands to enjoy the sun and beaches will discover that the Atlantic has many more surprises in store. One of them is the marvellous volcanic-origin ocean beds. Here, snorkelling and scuba diving attract many enthusiasts, who dive into the waters to enjoy the underwater caves, cliffs and crevices that are impossible to find elsewhere.
Culture and Nature
However, as well as the leisure options that attract travellers, we cannot forget that the Canary Islands have an incredible historic and cultural heritage. It is a mixed land that was used as a stopover on the way to conquer America. The cities speak of the roots of the Guanche people (the old settlers in the islands), and they are also influenced by people from Andalusia, Portugal and America. San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Tenerife), awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation, for example, has many colonial constructions in the historic centre. The marvellous artistic heritage that César Manrique left on the island of Lanzarote is also very interesting for visitors: los Jameos del Agua, El Mirador del Río and El Jardín del Cactus are places not to be missed.
For nature lovers, there are many routes in protected spaces, such as the national parks of Cañadas del Teide (Tenerife), Timanfaya (Lanzarote), Caldera de Taburiente (La Palma) and Garajonay (La Gomera). Routes that will take us through laurisilva forests (a botanical relic from the Tertiary Period), volcanic spots and seas of clouds, 2,000 metres above sea level. We must not forget that the islands of El Hierro, Lanzarote and La Palma are Biosphere Reserves, and the island of La Gomera has been awarded the World Heritage designation.
A perfect place to stay for everyone
And if the varied landscapes and views attract thousands of travellers every year, the hotels confirm that it is the ideal place they dreamt of. Luxury hotels, housing developments, rural houses or Parador Hotels are available for travellers.
Those who are looking for sunny days and busy nights can choose from the many housing developments along the coast. They are tourist areas with all the comforts and services available for travellers. Magnificent beaches suitable for relaxing or carrying out many different types of activities lead to restaurants, bars, discos, cinemas and shops at the end of the day. But the Canary Islands also have spectacular spots especially for those who want to get away from urban areas and tourist complexes. Rural tourism has increased over the past years with more people enjoying protected areas, without forgetting the quality of the water and coasts. As part of quality tourism, the network of Parador Hotels offers five magnificent hotels on the islands: modern constructions, with a typical Canary Islands flavour, where the landscape and peacefulness are the main protagonists.
Many of these hotels have golf courses nearby, where travellers will be able to play all year round. The courses have been designed by world renowned designers and have taken into account the setting and the environment. Experienced and amateur golfers will enjoy these installations that are integrated into the landscape.
Plans all day long
There are endless leisure possibilities, especially in the tourist and urban areas. Water parks, zoos, go-karting circuits, camel safaris and theme parks and are just a few suggestions. The cultural programme offers films, theatre, exhibitions and concerts. All kinds of festivals take place, with emblematic ones such as the Canary Islands Womad Festival, or the International Digital Film Festival, known as El Festivalito. We must not forget popular festivals - some of them of international tourist interest - such as the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in which travellers will find themselves in a oasis of colour, dancing and fun, and especially, the joy of the people of the Canary Islands.
This joy is also expressed by the delicious gastronomy: the fish from the Atlantic, whether in a stew, fried or grilled, is enhanced when tasted with papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) and green mojo sauce. Traditional recipes also prepare tasty dishes such as gofio (toasted cereal flour), rabbit with salmorejo (a kind of thicker gazpacho), sea urchins and watercress stew. And to wash down our meal, we can choose any of the nine high quality wines with the local Designation of Origin label. Two types of cheese (Palmero and Majorer) prove the quality of the traditional products.
Shopping is also interesting in the islands. The old free port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria used to attract a large number of merchants selling goods from all over the world. Although this special tax condition no longer exists, the Canary Islands still offer high quality electronic products at lower prices than the European Union.
Connected to the world
And this whole world of sensations is only a few hours away by plan from the main European cities. There are eight airports distributed over the islands. Connections are guaranteed with more than 85 countries in the five continents, and more than a hundred with Tenerife Sur Airport. The airports are strategically situated near tourist areas and the capitals of the islands. All the tourist areas are easy to access, although we must not forget that the complex relief of the islands will take us through mountain and high-mountain areas. In some cases we can travel from one island to another by sea: pleasant trips across the ocean that will afford a different view of the outlines and profiles of the islands.
So close, so easy and so wonderful. Come to the Canary Islands where spring lasts 365 days: sun, beach, entertainment… Everything is ready for you to enjoy an unforgettable experience, which will make you want to come back.