Seven very different islands that do have some things in common: crystal-clear waters, year-round summer temperatures, a broad range of leisure activities available and, of course, beaches. Is this your idea of good holiday? It is all awaiting you in Spain, less than four hours flight from the major European capitals: welcome to the Canary Islands. Sun, sea and good weather are guaranteed all year round. These islands will even surprise you offering much, much more. Come and see for yourself all there is to discover.

"Islas afortunadas" (the charmed isles) is the well-deserved nickname given to the Canary Islands archipelago. Why choose the Canary Islands for your holidays? There are many good reasons that make this archipelago the ideal destination for an enjoyable holiday. Firstly, any time of year is perfect for a visit, thanks to the summer temperatures that reign all year round, averaging some 22º Celsius (71.6º Fahrenheit). The variety of different coastlines to be found on the islands is another of their main attractions. They have 1,500 km of coast where you will find everything from long beaches of golden sand to wild areas of dunes and tranquil little coves hidden between sheer cliffs. There is loads to choose from on these seven islands whose landscapes and atmospheres are so very different.

Beaches and services to suit every taste

Discovering all that the Canary Islands have to offer is easy, given that there are direct flights from the main European cities to this privileged enclave in the Atlantic Ocean. The eight airports that are spread over the different islands will take you to the broad beaches of Fuerteventura and Tenerife, the volcanic sandy landscapes of Lanzarote, the sand dunes of Gran Canaria, or the natural swimming pools and small coves to be found in El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera. You will see that each island is a world in itself, full of contrasts and possibilities. You will also find they have excellent hotel and services infrastructure, all offering good value for money - yet another reason to make the Canaries your destination.

Hotels of all different categories, holiday apartments, country house lodges and cottages, and "Paradors" (luxury, state-run hotels) - you will be sure to find the option that best suits your tastes and requirements from the broad catalogue of accommodation on offer on the islands. Not forgetting, of course, the wide range of leisure activities available. The lively nightlife is just one of the attractions. There is also a varied cultural calendar including exhibitions, theatre, music and shows of all types. For a fun, family day out, water parks, zoos, camel safaris, theme parks and go-karting circuits are just a few suggestions.

A privileged area for sports

For lovers of sports and excitement, the Canary Islands also have a few surprises in store for you. Water sports fans will find a real paradise in the islands' installations and marinas. If you are into windsurfing, then get ready for one of the finest locations in Europe for the sport. The islands' exceptional natural conditions and trade winds mean fun is guaranteed as you try to dominate the waves on your board. You can even attend one of the international championships that are often held here.

The archipelago's volcanic landscape is another major attraction for sports enthusiasts. Its unique seabed is a wonder for snorkellers and scuba divers, while back on dry land, incredible walls, canyons and fissures of all kinds are ideal for those who prefer climbing, canyoning and caving.

The magic of nature

But if there is one thing not to be missed, it is the Canary Islands' impressive natural heritage. This is perhaps the least known face of the archipelago, usually more famed for its sun and sand attractions. We should mention here that the islands of Lanzarote, El Hierro and La Palma have been declared Biosphere Reserve in their entirety by UNESCO. Among the hugely valuable protected areas you should not miss, figure: the Teide National Park in Tenerife, home to Spain's highest peak; The Caldera de Taburiente National Park in La Palma; the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote; and the Garajonay National Park in La Gomera, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

Also well worth experiencing are the islands' rich history and culture. These go from the very roots of the ancient residents of the Canaries, reflected in popular traditions and fiestas, to the wonderful example of Latin American colonial architecture to be found in the Tenerife town of San Cristóbal de la Laguna, also designated World Heritage.

The list of attractions to be found on the Canary Islands goes on and on. This is why it is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Millions of travellers have already seen it with their own eyes and come back year after year. So we can only recommend one thing: come and discover it for yourself.

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