The Canary Islands
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the archipelago. It is located north of the Tropic of Cancer, among Gran Canaria, La Gomera and Palma.
The archipelago of the Canary Islands is composed of 7 main islands and numerous minor islands, all of volcanic origin, in the Atlantic Ocean, off north-western Africa.
There are only a few references to these islands at the time of the Romans and Greeks. It is said that they gave origin to the myth of the Garden of the Hesperides. Some people say that you can still see the vestige of the mythical Atlantis. There are many doubts concerning the name of these islands: they may be named after the dogs which first inhabited them.
There is a legend concerning the mountain range Atlantis inhabited by the Canari. The first European settlers to arrive were the Genoese followed by the Aragonese, the inhabitants of the Balearics and the Portuguese. The Spaniards attempted many times to conquer these islands until the XV century when the archipelago became part of the Spanish sphere.
Today the Canary Islands are an autonomous community belonging to the Reign of Spain which maintained in its climate and landscape, peculiar characteristics similar to those of the close African coast.
The islands are well connected, both by water and air. Departures are regular every day from the main centres of the principal islands like Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
The most beautiful islands of the archipelago
Today the Canary Islands are one of the favourite tourist destinations in Europe, thanks to their pleasant climate all year round, their beautiful landscapes, lush vegetation and beautiful beaches.
These are the strong points of the archipelago.
El Hierro is one of the minor islands of the archipelago. It is more secluded than the other beaches and treasures unique species of plants. Its beaches are wonderful.
- Playa de la Restinga: nice equipped beach, close to the fishermen’s village it is named after, it is the perfect departure point for scuba diving and exploring its beautiful seabeds.
- Tarocón: this wonderful little bay is on the southern part of the island and offers wonderful natural pools digged in the basalt reef. It is part of the Marine Reserve El Mar de Las Calmas.
- La Cala de Timijiraque: this wonderful beach is on the northern coast of the island. It is shaped like an amphitheatre and is one of the few sandy beaches of the area. It is a protected site but nearby you will find restaurants and equipped areas.
- La Caleta: Close to the airport, it offers natural pools and rock paintings, which witness the presence of the old inhabitants of the Canary Islands.
- El Tamaduste: It is close to a small fishermen’s village with a huge wonderful natural pool.
- La Maceta: Located on the northern part of El Hierro, in the bay of El Golfo, its wonderful natural pools will enchant you. Nearby is a small pebble beach which is a corner of paradise.
La Gomera is in the western part of the archipelago of the Canary Islands and is its sixth largest island. Despite its volcanic origin, there are no active volcanoes on it.
The National Park of Garajonay, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986, is home to a wonderful living fossil forest, and the best example of subtropical forest near Europe. It is really important from a cultural and historical point of view.
Other beaches situated on the island:
-La Calera: This family-friendly beach in the Gran Rey Valley is characterised by calm waters.
- Del Inglés: The nudist beach of La Gomera, it is popular since the hippies’ times. Despite being a naturist beach, it is very close to restaurants and bars.
- La Cueva: This very long and large beach is situated close to the port of San Sebastian de la Gomera, close to tourist facilities of any types.
- Vueltas. This black sand beach is in an urban area in Gran Rey Valley.
- De Santiagos. 2 km from the airport, this beach is on the southern coast of the island and has a small fishermen’s village developed around it.
The whole surrounding area is equipped for tourism and offers high level hotels. Nevertheless, it keeps the quiet atmosphere of a fishermen’s village.
It is the fifth island in population and size. You will find the Nation Park of Caldera of Taburiente. Since 2002 it is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The landscap is characterised by woods and different volcanoes.
Some beaches on this island:
- Las Canteras is one of the most popular urban beaches of the Canary Islands, it is 3km long and can be visited all year round.
- Del Confital is a peaceful beach, popular among locals. It is the only dog -friendly beach on the island.
The long golden sand of de Las Alcaravaneras is in Las Palmas.
- Playa Del Hombre is ideal for surfers and it is a 45-minute walk from the village of Sitges.
- Playa Los Roques is peaceful and slightly isolated, surrounded by reefs.
Lanzarote is in the north-eastern part of the archipelago and is its third most populous island. You will find the National Park Timanfaya surrounded by an evocative volcanic landscape. It is the symbol of the commitment of the artist César Manrique to this island. Lazarote is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Located in the northern part of the island, Famara, one of its most popular beaches, presents a fascinating landscape which is deal for surfers.
- Caleton Blanco is a family-friendly beach close to Orzola. It is very well protected from winds and is made up of wonderful white sand.
- Calas De Papagayo is in the southern part of the island. Its fine golden sandy beach is protected both from the winds and waves.
- El Jablillo is located in the eastern part of the island, on coast Teguise, is an equipped urban beach and is close to shops and bars.
Gran Canaria is home to one of the capitals of the archipelago, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is known as “continent in miniature” as it presents a great variety of climates and landscapes.
The southern part of the island is touristically developed and thanks to its mild climate, as it does not often rain, it is home to Palmitos Park, a natural park displaying exotic vegetation.
- Playa de Amadores is known as the beach of lovers, on the south-western part of the island, between Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogan with its golden sandy beach and crystal-clear waters, it is perfect for a romantic holiday.
- Playa del Inglés is the most touristic and popular beach of Gran Canaria. Situated in Maspalomas, it was built in the 1970’s and became the main tourist centre of Gran Canaria.
- Playa de Maspalomas is a huge beach, connected with Playa del Inglés. It is very well equipped and meets all tastes and needs. It is also visited by nudists.
- Playa del Confital, on the northern part of the island, on the protected peninsula of La Isletta, is a natural beach loved by locals.
- Puerto Rico is in the western part of Gran Canaria, in the municipality of Mogan. It is recognised as having the best climate in the world. The beach is very well equipped and suitable to people of all ages.
Fuerteventura is the second biggest island of the archipelago with its 150 km of continuous beaches and breath-taking panoramas.
- Corralejo presents suggestive dunes made up of fine and white sand. All the area is part of a natural park.
- Cofete is 30 km long, surrounded by the most important mountains, as the Jandia Zara rises almost 1000 m above sea level.
- Sotavento is 20 km long. It is divided into the bays of Playa de la Barca, Risco del Paso, Playa de Jandia where the world windsurfing and kitesurfing championships are held. This site offers natural pools.
- Esmeralda is one of the best equipped and popular beaches.
- Gran Tarajal is on the south-eastern part of the island. It was awarded the Blue Flag and boasts a 700-metre black sand shore. Perfectly equipped, it is close to restaurants and bars and is flanked by a wonderful promenade.- Esquinzo is a secluded surfer’s paradise characterised by black rocks contrasting with white sand and high reefs overlooking the sea.
How to reach the islands from Tenerife
The archipelago of the Canary Islands is a real treasure. If you stay on Tenerife, it won’t be difficult to reach other islands for your excursions, as you can also travel by boat and plane.
EL Hierro Airport
Aeropuerto de los Cangrejos is a small airport in El Hierro on the north-eastern coast of the island, 9 km from Valverde. It was inaugurated in 1972 and offers national flights only which connect El Hierro with the airport of Tenerife North and the ports of call of Gran Canaria and La Palma
La Gomera Airport
The Airport of La Gomera is close to Playa Santiago. The terminal was opened in 1999.
La Palma Airport
La Palma Airport is located in Breña Baja and Villa de Mazo, 8 km south From Santa Cruz de La Palma.
The international airport of Lanzarote is located 5 kilometres from Arrecife.
Located close to the city of Puerto del Rosario, it was opened to commercial traffic in 1950.
Gran Canaria Airport
The international Airport of Gran Canaria, or Airport of Gando, is locate between Teide and Ingenio.
Why to visit the Canary Islands
There are many reasons for visiting these islands: their unique climate, their enchanting landscapes, their beautiful well-equipped beaches, their fantastic natural areas.
Scuba diving in the Canary Islands
These islands can become the departure point for fantastic scuba diving experiences thanks to their fantastic seabeds. There are many wonderful spots where you can dive.
Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Lanzarote, El Hierro, Gran Canaria offer many options thanks to their wonderful flora and fauna and interesting wrecks.
Where to stay in the Canary Islands
There are many accommodation facilities to choose from, for all budgets and tastes. From the more touristic Tenerife, to the more peaceful and traditional La Gomera and El Hierro. All offer high quality hotels, B&Bs boarding houses and apartments.
You only need to pack!