The Canary Islands have long been associated with all inclusive holidays. Tripadvisor.com has recently voted the Canaries as having six out of ten of the best beaches in the whole of Spain. However, there is far more to the archipelago than just glorious temperatures, crystal clear waters and powder soft sand.
Canary Islands Overview
The Canary Islands are group of Spanish islands situated just off the north coast of Africa. Because of their location they are subject to equatorial weather conditions, which gives them the added advantage of almost guaranteed sunshine 365 days a year. They have a long and complex history, with evidence of Neolithic settlements across the islands. The Canaries have also been visited or invaded by a number of races including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Europeans, Arabs and Portuguese. Each invader has left remnants of their culture behind, reflected in the eclectic cuisine, architecture and numerous festivals of the islands today.
For those looking to incorporate a natural angle into their sun holidays, the Canary Islands are filled with fascinating and unusual wildlife, both on and below the land. There are four national parks, two of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The other two are recognised as World Biosphere Sites, reflecting their ecological importance. These are regularly visited by tourists on nature trek holidays, where they can see over 600 endemic species of flowers, birds such as the Blue Chaffinch (photo) and Tenerife Ringlet and animals including geckos and the El Hierro Giant Lizard.
Below the waterline, the variety of life is even more spectacular. The seas surrounding the once-volcanic islands play host to a multitude of vibrant and colourful creatures such as Leatherback turtles, starfish, sea anemones and a breathtaking array of fish. Many visitors enrol in the local scuba schools so they can experience the marine life in its natural environment.
In addition to the Islands’ natural splendour, the Canary Islands are well served for holidays of all types. There are seven islands, each with its own unique character. Golf is a popular pursuit across all of the islands and there are over 20 world class courses to challenge even the most dedicated player. With the islands being so well served by the ocean, it is small wonder that the PWA World Windsurfing Championships are held here, and the Lanzarote Volcano Triathlon sees competitors swimming five kilometres as part of their trial.
Visitors looking to soak up some culture will enjoy other aspects of Canarian life such as the Tenerife Gastronomy Fair or the Gran Canaria Opera Festival. While the Canaries are synonymous with a hedonistic party scene, this tends to be only on certain areas of certain islands. While revellers flock to areas of Tenerife and Lanzarote, families and those looking for peace and quiet can remain undisturbed on the same islands, albeit in different areas.
Families will have no problem with entertaining younger visitors. In addition to the beaches, water sports and wildlife reserves, there are a variety of theme parks such as Tenerife’s water kingdom, Siam Park, and Aqualand in Maspalomas.
The Canary Islands are as rich and diverse in what they have to offer as they are in the bounty of wildlife and stunning panoramas. Sun is an integral part of any holiday, but it doesn’t have to be the deciding factor, especially when there is so much more to discover.