The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a group of islands situated off the northwest coast of mainland Africa.
While geographically a part of the African continent, the Canaries are one of Spain’s autonomous communities and an outermost region of the European Union.
The Canaries are a major tourist attraction, with its perfect climate, golden beaches and natural beauty. The archipelago gets over 12 million visitors every year.
Things to see
The archipelago is made up of seven large islands, one minor island and several small islets. Here are some of the sights that you may want to visit while on a cruise:
- Fuerteventura – This is the second largest island of the Canaries, next to Tenerife. Fuerteventura has at least 152 beaches along its coastline, featuring around 50km of talcum-like white sand, and 25km of black volcanic soil.
- Gran Canaria – Most tourists stay on the southern part of Gran Canaria, which is sunnier and has less rain than the north side of the island. The south is home to beach resort communities and the 20-hectar Palmitos Park, an aviary and botanical garden.
- Lanzarote – Lanzarote’s 213km coastline is composed of 16.5km of beach and 10km of sand, while the rest is rocky. One of the island’s main attractions is the Timanfaya National Park.
- Tenerife – The largest and most populated island in the Canaries, Tenerife hosts the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife,second largest carnival in the world. The island also features beaches, vineyards, banana plantations, and Mount Teide, the third largest volcano in the world.
- La Gomera – Found in the centre of La Gomera is the Garajonay National Park, which features these huge rocks found along the island. La Gomera highlights include the local wine, Tecina Golf and the beaches.
- El Hierro – It may be the smallest, but there are many places to see in El Hierro including the Ventejis mountain range,beaches, Frontera Rural park, and the Guinea Eco Museum.
- La Palma – They don’t call La Palma “isla bonita“ (beautiful island) for nothing. The island features the Caldera deTaburiente National Park, the Piscinas de Fajana saltwater bathing pools, and its nearly 100 different types of plants.
The Canary Islands is a popular tourist destination not only because of its natural beauty, but also because of its year-round spring weather. Average temperatures range from 18ºC (64.4ºF) during winter and 24ºC (75.2ºF) during summer.
The temperatures between seasons could differ by around 6ºC. Water temperatures, on the other hand, range from 19ºC during winter and 22ºC during summer.
When to go
Since the Canaries are perennially spring, it’s a great destination throughout the year. Its winter months, which are slightly cooler, are from December to March. Its summer months are from July to September.
The winter months are the Canaries’ peak season as tourists from North America and Europe converge in the archipelago for the warmer weather. Summer is pretty busy too since Spaniards go to the Canaries during this time.
There’s also a carnival season from February to March. Carnivals are festive seasons that are held before Lent.