The Canary Islands are an archipelago off the coast of Morocco but are actually a autonomous region of of Spain. Famous for its amazing beaches, all year round fantastic climate, its Carnival and Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain. The seven main islands are (from largest to smallest in area) Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. The archipelago also includes : La Graciosa, Alegranza, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este. The capital is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Tenerife is the most popular destination thanks to its resorts like Santa Cruz with its 3 week Carnival in February and Teide National Park with its unbelievable mountain top and volcano. Then it has beautiful, scenic towns like Garachico and La Orotava. The Island has it all : fantastic seafood, delicious wines and is perfect for exploring including by foot as its perfect walking territory.
Fuerteventura is the least developed famous for its desert-like landscape. Corralejo is a popular family resort full of windsurfers and surfers. Morro Jable is famous for its long beaches and Jandia Natural Park home to migrating dunes, volcanic peaks and amazing birdlife.
Gran Canaria has an incredible diversity of landscapes. The sands of Maspalomas are a must do, then in the interior there are subtropical forests and rugged mountains. Las Palmas has a lively nightlife and sandy beaches. The island is a walkers paradise. The island also has excellent wines too.
Lanzarote is the least spoilt thanks to the local, modernist architect César Manrique. This rich volcanic island is also home to a unique viticulture with delicious Malvasia grown in it’s volcanic craters. Timanfaya National Park is an UNESCO biosphere reserve where access to it is strictly controlled. The tiny island of La Graciosa is nice and quite and car-free. Lanzarote’s best resort is Playa Blanca in the south with its white sandy beaches.
La Palma is also an UNESCO biosphere reserve with rainforest and volcanic landscapes. From the dizzy heights of Roque de los Muchachos in Caldera de Taburiente National Park you can enjoy incredible views of the archipelago and take a nice stroll. The capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma, is an attractive historic, resort town worth a visit.
San Sebastian de la Gomera is popular for walkers to explore including its mountains as the footpaths are well signed. The local wine is worth trying as is the Almagrote, an addictive spicy cheese paste.
Finally, the Island of El Hierro (iron) is the least accessible island where Columbus said goodbye to Europe. It’s a really wild place with steep cliffs and rugged hills. It a great place for diving or for plain peace and quiet!