While living in Spain, I took advantage of the “puentes” (long weekends) with side trips to Barcelona, Granada, the Balearic Islands, and also to the Canary Islands. On my trip to the Canary Islands, I stayed in Tenerife (seen above). There, I rented a manual transmission car, in rough shape, and took off on an adventure driving around the island to get a view of the volcano, Teide, marvel at the vistas of the black and white sand beaches, and admire the Atlantic surf. After the ride, I certainly needed to refuel as the car was not smooth shifting like my good ole Honda. I did so with an array of tapas (appetizers), cañas (small draft beers), and a typical dessert drink of the Canary Islands, a chilled banana liquor. With just a “puente” I had time for exploring only one of the Canary Islands. Thus, I have asked a peer, Marina, to share her tips on the Canary Islands, including Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. Enjoy her summary of the Canary Islands!
Where are the Canary Islands?
The archipelago of the Canary Islands is located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco, but despite the distance are part of Spain. The islands have thousands of kilometers of beaches and natural parks.
What are the draws of each of the Canary Islands?
The island of Tenerife is one of the largest and most visited islands in the archipelago. The country’s highest peak, the Teide, is located in the Teide National Park on this volcanic island. There are both black and white sand beaches on the coast, and visitors will be able to enjoy many water activities, including surf.
The island’s main city is Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which has many bars, restaurants and shops. The main meeting point is the Plaza de España, a centric square. Nearby is the Nature Museum where visitors can see mummies and artifacts that used to belong to the Guanches, the blond, tall, inhabitants of these islands. In the Fine Arts Museum visitors will find many paintings by Canarian artists. There are several ancient churches, including the ancient Church of San Fernando.
Puerto de la Cruz is another popular town with several kilometers of beaches and many bars, clubs and restaurants. There are several parks, and the Loro Park, a large park where visitors can see many species of parrots and other animals, is located there. The town has a navigation museum.
Las Palmas is this island’s main city. There are many duty free shops that make it a very popular destination for those who enjoy shopping. Those who prefer the beach can choose between the sandy beaches, the rocky ones and the ones located near the dunes.
The historical center is located near the Triana and Vegueta districts. There are several museums dedicated to the Guanches, who were the native people of this island. The City Hall is one of the city’s main landmarks, as is the Episcopal Palace and the centric Santa Ana Square. Visitors interested in archeology can visit the Llano de Brujas settlement and those who enjoy fishing will be able to deep-sea fish.
This barely spoilt island is one of the closest islands to the west of Brazil. It has pristine beaches, a large national park that spreads over a third of the island and several traditional towns. The National Park of Garajonay is located in the center of the island.
It is said that Fuerteventura is the oldest of these islands. This island has long beaches and is a destination for families and those who enjoy outdoor activities. There are several natural parks and many of the island’s most notable structures were formed as a result of several volcanic explosions, including the caves of Ajuy, Caldera de Gairia and Cardón Mountain.
The Timanfaya National Park is the island’s main attraction. Set on a volcano and with a landscape of red sand, the park offers many activities, including camel rides. There is a restaurant at the top of the highest peak in the park where visitors can enjoy meat grilled above an active volcano. The beaches of this island attract those who want to practice water sports. Windsurf and diving are two popular sports, and there are many surf and diving schools on the coast where visitors can rent the necessary equipment.
**Guest post provided by Marina, travel writer for Destinia.co.uk, providing hotel and hostel bookings around the world including Spain.