A Beginner’s Guide to the Canary Islands

Advice Blog Destinations Travel Tips
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If you’re eager to go on a cruise holiday this year but don’t yet know where to go, I heartily recommend that you consider the Canary Islands. This part of Spain has long been popular among British travellers, but don’t worry if you’ve never been here before and aren’t sure if it’s right for you. You’re certain to find it an enthralling destination!

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As you may have already guessed, given the fact it is in Spain, the archipelago benefits from some truly terrific weather. Not only does it receive around 3,000 hours of sunshine a year (which is more than anywhere in Europe), but its annual temperature is a thoroughly pleasant 22 degrees C.

You’ll develop a glowing tan wherever you go, but it’s important to think carefully about what you’d like to see and do. With the Canaries consisting of seven islands, I recommend you look for cruise deals that stop by at least a couple of them so you get a fuller sense of its terrific culture and landscapes. To give you an idea of where in the region to go, I’ve set out some information about three of what I think are its best islands.

Lanzarote

While the Canary Islands is famous for its lunar-like terrain, there is perhaps no isle where this is more the case than Lanzarote, which formed after a series of volcanic eruptions that started some 22 million years ago.

Come here and you’ll have the opportunity to explore some diverse terrain, ranging from towers of solidified lava to vast canyons. The Timanfaya National Park is a particularly good place to get acquainted with the island’s stunning landscape, while in the Chinijo Archipelago Nature Reserve you’ll get to see a vast range of marine birds.

Lanzarote also contains a wealth of golden beaches that are perfect for relaxing on and soaking up the famous Spanish sunshine. Among these is Dorada, a 300 m stretch of golden sand in Playa Blanca that is well sheltered from the wind and, as such, is great for families to visit.

La Palma

Nature lovers, meanwhile, are bound to enjoy a cruise that calls in at La Palma. Often called isla bonita – which in English translates as ‘beautiful island’ – this part of the Canaries is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and features a number of stunning nature reserves and parks.

One place I particularly recommend is La Caldera de Taburiente National Park. This is the ideal destination for keen walkers, not least of all because it is home to a towering volcano that has a 5-mile wide crater. Elsewhere, you’ll discover verdant laurel forests, black sand beaches and towering mountain ranges, while adrenalin junkies will have the chance to try their hand at everything from paragliding to mountain biking.

Gran Canaria

The final island that I’m going to look at is Gran Canaria. If you’re hoping to develop a golden tan on a cruise holiday, you’ll be glad to know that the isle offers ample sunbathing opportunities, thanks to its 236 km of coastline. Among the many beautiful locations you can recline on is Maspalomas – a sandy stretch that is nearly 3 km long and is good for bird-watching – and Las Canteras, which is ideal for a variety of sports.

Head to La Cueva Pintada (‘the painted cave’ in English) and you’ll get to see some fascinating aboriginal cave art, while the Guanches archaeological site contains artefacts made by the island’s first settlers.

This is just a brief guide to the Canary Islands, but if you’re thinking of making it the destination for your next holiday let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

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