In Christopher Columbus’s time, the Canary Islands were believed to mark the end of the world. After being conquered by the Spanish in the 15th Century, the Canaries become a popular stopping point for explorers, traders and missionaries on their way to the Americas.
The islands have also appeared earlier in Greek and Roman times and were written about in texts and affectionately named the “happy islands” and “fortunate islands”. It is no surprise that the fantasy city of Atlantis has also been theorized to lie amongst the sub-tropical islands making up the archipelago. Suffering some tumultuous times in the past few centuries, the Canaries now enjoy the protection of Spain while remaining an autonomous community with a thriving tourist industry.
Nowadays the Canaries are best known for being a popular tourist destination especially for Europeans. In fact, tourism makes up 32% of the economy which is hardly a revelation considering the islands’ mild sunny climate that it enjoys all year round, with temperatures rarely falling below 18C in winter or above 24C in summer. The climate is regulated by the warm Gulf Stream and Trade Winds making any time of year good for a visit.
The seven islands that make up the archipelago offer visitors a range of activities, scenery and lifestyles that can live up to any vacationer’s desire. The lively islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria at the centre of the island chain host some wild resorts teeming with beach activities and night life. Many people choose to stay here for the social scene but the islands also offer plenty of options for taking a break from the partying to enjoy some of the island’s natural beauty.
If nature rather than nightlife is what appeals to you, there are plenty of other islands to explore. La Palma is considered the most beautiful and untouched of the islands and has its own microclimate. Visitors to the island seek its lush, green rainforest-like atmosphere but often don’t realize that this foliage is a result of the higher levels of rainfall it receives! Designated a national reserve in 1974 and subsequently recognised as a globally protected site by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Lansarote’s Timanfay Park should not be missed by those seeking fantastic volcanic island landscapes including black sand beaches and fields of petrified lava.
The island Fuerteventura boasts the longest beaches of the Canaries and is most popular for family holidays or couples seeking a tranquil holiday away from it all. Cheap flights to Fuerteventura and the other islands are easy to find in advance or on the fly.
Whether you are looking for all night raves and foam parties or a quiet holiday in gorgeous surroundings, the Canary Islands can deliver. Choices amongst the seven islands abound and the close proximity to the UK and plentiful flights available make the islands an ideal destination for a short getaway or a longer visit.
About the Author:
Andrew Regan is an online, freelance author from Scotland. He is a keen rugby player and enjoys travelling.